what, exactly is

Come To Surf, Or To Be SEEN Surfing?

– Last Updated: Dec-05-05 5:49 PM EST –

Seadart is exactly right. Competition at the popular breaks with big audiences on the beach/cliffs is always intense. Between kayakers and boardies, or just between locals and outsiders.

I surfed long boards on the east coast, and kayaks on the west coast. A lot of times the best spots aren't that popular, but you got to find them for yourself. No one is going to tell you where they are.

Google it…
Type in Swivel Fin Systems and you’ll see several sites, and images.

Kayak surfing
Kayak surfing is fun!! All the principles of board surfing apply and all the rules of surfing are followed.

I do a lot of kayak surfing and find that sit-on-top kayaks are best. I have a 12 foot Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT that I use in waves over 3 feet, and an 8 foot Ocean Kayak Yak Board that I use to play in waves under 3 feet.

Sit-on-tops are easier to get out through the surf break, and when you do turn turtle it is easier to get back on board.

Basically you have 2 choices: (1) approach the wave from behind, paddling over the top, or (2) stay in the area where the wave is building and about to crest and wait for the wave to lift the back of the kayak. Then start paddling, and turn into the face of the wave in the direction it is breaking.

Doing a high brace on the face of the wave will keep you on the face and traveling down the beach.

When the wave closes out go back over the top if possible, or turn away from the wave and ride the closed out break to the beach.

To Be More Accurate

– Last Updated: Dec-05-05 10:39 PM EST –

Catching up with a wave that has already passed? Sitting dead in the water waiting the arrival of a wave with the expectation that the wave will lift the back of the boat on its own? Ah...were it so easy.

The trick is to position your craft just in front of an incoming wave so that you begin to paddle with the objective of matching the speed of the wave just at it begins to break. Get too far out ahead, and its over-the-falls and into the rinse cycle....too late and the wave is headed shoreward, without you.

As to all-purpose SOT boats being “best”...well I guess that’s a matter of perspective. For those who have ridden high performance wave skis or surf specific kayaks, you might get an argument about your declaration. But “best” is a relative term and if what you ride meets your performance expectations...knock yourself out!

But one thing we agree on without qualification...paddle surfing is extremely fun!!!


– Last Updated: Dec-05-05 8:55 PM EST –

The craft we ride is always the "bestest" and "fastest." :)

Some "wino" in another forum swears by his (in)famous black scambler.

Another argues Johnson boats and skis are the "fastest" (though one wonders what other boats/skis he has rode to make the claim, etc.

Is the Vortex or the Reaction a better design? Round and round, the circle game...

I don't know much but I do know if you get the Stoke, then it's all good! :D


End Result - Segregation!
There is already an example of what happens when paddle surfers do not adhere to the time honored etiquette of surfing. That be the San Onofre surfing area located in northern San Diego County.

Failure to adhere to the self-imposed "rules” that have evolved to ensure order in the line-up, resulted in paddle surfers being banned from taking any paddle assisted craft out into the best breaks at San Onofre state park. The state actually implemented an ordinance that specifically defines where paddle surfers can and can not surf…and attached a substantial fine for failure to comply. To ensure compliance, the life guards and park rangers rigorously enforce this statute…much to the delight of the stand up crew.

So be forewarned…a precedent exists and will serve as a “model” for other government agencies dealing with the perceived risk paddle surfers present to the general ocean-going populous.

Black Scramblers

– Last Updated: Dec-05-05 10:40 PM EST –

I have seen the legendeary Ventura Black Scramber last year at Jalama and I am a believer.

Another aspect
I’m not sure you all answered the original question fully. Yeah,there’s surfing waves breaking on shore, like board surfing, but the reference to “on the high seas” in the question brings up surfing swells or wind waves farther from shore.

Correct me if I’m wrong (like this board would hesitate to correct anyone) surfing in the broadest sense is when you are moved forward by the combined effect of the motion of the water in the wave and by gravity, down the wave face. So you can surf a wave that isn’t breaking. In that case you can catch a lot of momentum from the waves and make time as well as have fun.

The water actually moves in a circular path as a wave passes. Thus, especially with a long boat, the forces are different on the bow of the boat from the stern and the stern will want to move up on the bow as you head down into the trough or into the wave ahead. That causes broaching unless you correct for it.

Oh, in whitewater or tide rips you (not me, you:-) can surf where gravity opposes the flow and stay in one place.

Is that more what you were asking about?

And where the yaks get to surf is a lesser break in front of the power plant. Surfed there several times and had yaks dropping in on me all over. My pal, a world class surf kayaker got so frustrated he went ashore… Not my idea of a good scenario.

Thought for the day
Some board surfers starting to evolve …


Lower Level Of The Evolution Scale…
some day, their offspring may figure out that they can sit down and use a paddle with two blades… :wink:


“Surfing” On The High Seas…
is certainly apart of paddling/touring on “textured” day. But the term “kayak surfing” generally connotes folks who get into boats specifically designed to surf a beach or point break. The goal of most kayak surfing is not to cover distance and do it efficiently by controlling and surfing a long boat on non breaking open ocean swells and waves (which long boaters should learn) but to be able to ride and manuever a surf craft quite dramatically (dancing I consider it) on the green face of a breaking wave. Open ocean surfing with a long boat is usually about efficiency while covering distance in conditions. Kayak surfing is about making the moves in tune with a breaking wave, while remaining calm sometimees seemingly on the edge of disaster.

Well, that just my perception/definition of it.


i’m not sure what i was asking about…
since the only concept i had of surfing was with a board–like in those surfer-dude movies.

from what has been written here (which is a goldmine of info for someone who had no clue, thanks again to everyone) i suspect i’d be most interested in open water surfing just past the breaking waves, primarily as a means of covering distance or simply to experience the wind.

then there would be the occasional riding of the wave back into shore at the end of the paddling day.

ah, but i suppose both would require regular practice in order for me to be able to invoke at will…so i guess i’ve got to decide if i am interested in it, or not ;-).


– Last Updated: Dec-06-05 10:44 AM EST –

If you can't get through a breakzone on a given day, you probably don't want to be out there in the open water either... Even if you can handle the open water waves/swells (I think they are far easier), you still have to make your way back in, likely through the breakzone.


PS. Well, actually, if you pick your launch and landing spot(s), you can get out without going through the beach break washing machine.

there is a guy where I surf
that does this … he makes the whole thing look so effortless and graceful on days when the waves are mushy and friendly.

Sing is right though

– Last Updated: Dec-06-05 11:46 AM EST –

If you can't handle big waves don't go out in big swell. I went on a coastal paddle once with a bunch of seakayakers in seakayaks. We were sitting well out side the break zone with 4-6 foot rollers watching the waves pound the cliffs. Suddenly a huge dark line formed on the horizon. All of the paddle surfers in the group took off paddling straight out as hard as we could go. Someone yelled outside but most of the "seakayakers" did not have a clue, I paddled over a 12' cresting wall of water. It took out the "seakayakers" like they were dominoes and we spent about a half hour rescuing boaters, boats and paddles from the surf zone.

Easily Lulled
It is very easy to start assuming that, if you are sitting in swells of a given height for a while, that is the highest it’ll get. Or to believe that the Marine forecasts account for the once in a long while rogues that can show up when sitting in truly open ocean.

That said, kayakers need to be aware of staying away from being dumped on by breaking water or run into hard objects regardless of where they are. A large group was launching on a river one evening last season from a local dock. An unusually large wake got set up from a barge coming upriver - the thing was cresting nearly 3 feet over the top of not-low docks around the launch ramp by the time it hit them. Twisted them into some unusual arrangements and did a job on a good bit of the shore reinforcements.

We had a couple of paddlers that were newbies and/or in a rec boat that was not likely to handle that well, sitting a few feet offshore from some really jagged rock piles against the shoreline. It took some energetic verbal cues to get them to paddle further away from shore and out of the crest line.

LOL! But They Were All Wearing…
dyrsuits, outfitted with tow ropes and other latest gear, led by at least two “expedition” paddlers in Brit boats and, thus, ultimately all safer than us pinhead surfers who go out alone. :wink:


Who Are Those Guys?
Lately, these “hybrid” surfers are starting to make an appearance at San Onofre. To whom do they owe their allegiance? Are they stand up surfers or are they paddle surfers? So far, these guys drift between the two “communities”, challenged by neither.

Could these be truce brokers sent here by the UN to unite disparate factions? Or are they pioneers, boldly going where no surfer has gone before? Intriguing…indeed.

Somebody told me
that on a tropical vacation Kelly Slater started doing this … if that’s true be prepared for a stand up paddle surfer invasion.