West Side Boat Shop

I have noticed a few posts refering to West Side Boat Shop and the Thunderbolt. I am sort of trolling for a racing/conditioning K-1 and would like to know more. I am a 43 year old paddling junky with average skills that would rather workout in the water than in the gym. I live in a cold climate so lots of cold water paddling. Surf ski is out for that reason. I weigh about 155 lbs.

A Few Questions

How can I contact West Side to find out more about their products. No luck googling.

I know there are TB paddlers out there. Is this a boat for me? Any other suggestions if you don’t think it is a good idea?

What is your favorite racing/conditioning K-1?

Many Thanks


This topic came up just a couple of
weeks ago–if you do a search you’ll find the contact information for Doug Bushnell, who “is” West Side.

The Thunderbolt is a truly great boat design–very light and possibly the fastest K1 in existence, similar to a fast surf-ski. I found it too stable and too deep for my tastes (I’m the same weight as you, 5’9"), but one can’t argue with its forward speed. Take a look at the racing division of the Blackburn Challenge, which has no length restrictions–it’s owned by West Side Boats.

The wonderful, late, John Freeman, who often posted here, trained frequently in his West Side boats and found them to hold up well.


Contact info
Doug Bushnell can be reached at:

West Side Boat Shop

7661 Tonawanda Creek Road

Lockport NY 14094



Dated guess worried the boat out by now.

Isn’t the Thunderbolt an HPK and not a K1?

I wouldn’t count out a surfski. Many paddle them in cold climates. You don’t have to get an elite version since there are now wider skis which are more stable. If you do fall in the water you can get back in much faster than an HPK or K1 plus you don’t have to pump the water out. Go to http://www.surfski.info/forum/recent.html and ask the guys there.