whtewater and surf kayak

I’m thinking of trying kayak surfing this summer but if possible, I want to look for a kayak that might also serve an occasional trip in a local river, where there are a few standing waves and rapids. For now I jut want to find something used and get some experience before considering a more “dedicated” boat. I suspect most of the use will be great lakes surf. Can anyone recommend some kayaks to keep my eyes out for?

not a yakker
but paddle with a bunch of them, and everybody surfs. LL Hoss, Gus, Dagger GT, basically anything with a flat bottom, which every ww yak I’ve seen has. Probably more important for you would be volume, based on your body weight. I’ll e-mail you about a site that’s full of ww yakkers.

Longer the better
the short new school boats are not fast enough to catch a wave early, so the ride is usually short and steep with the wave running you over

My take on this
Get a used surf specific kayak and you will enjoy surfing far more! River boats are OK for having a bit of fun, but painfully slow. People will disagree with that, but I say they don’t know what they don’t know.

See what you can do in a used surf kayak. Fins are a nice addition as well.

Agreed but …
Depends how much use he is going to get out of it. A decent surf kayak is going to be about $800 and hard to find, hard to test, especially in the midwest. A good all around boat is a Necky Jive, slow but reasonable, you can put fins on it if you want, but I probably would not bother. I would go for something at least 8’ with a planing hull.

I was in the same posistion a few years

– Last Updated: Mar-24-08 2:04 PM EST –

ago. Ended up getting a used Wave Sport Score. Perfect if you want a decent river runner and occasional use surfing at the coast. I'm 5'10", 175lb, and the system 3 seating is very comfortable. I can also keep my toes pointed up and out very similar to my seakayak (explorer).

At just over 8-ft long it has enough speed to catch waves. You can probably find a used Score for around 300 depending on the condition. A dedicated surf kayak would be best, but the Score is IMHO the best river and surf combo.

It has too much volume to be a real play boat, but you can do some tricks in the foam pile at the beach break.

There is a used surf boat on
boatertalk.com, right now. I completely agree with Salty. Surf boats are made specifically for the surf environment, whitewater boats don’t do nearly as well. You may also consider a wave ski.


Don’t know surf yaks, but
don’t put anything in rapids with

fins on the bottom.

right now might be a good time to
test a surf kayak,

we have three poly megas left, and one composite scarab.

Norsener, give me an email. We should hook up to do a surf demo.

A white water boat will surf. But it will surf like a tricycle goes down a steep hill.



For an intro surf boat, you might want to look for a used Riot Boogie, or one of the surfing SOTs like a WS Kaos or Cobra Strike.

The fins are removable …

Wavesport Score
Just a guess but I think most folks who surf surf specific boats would think this is a real dog. Too much tail rocker and the bow is too slicey.

Best Compromise Boat
I ever surfed is the Riot Trickster. Old style (longer, almost 8’)playboat with a slicey stern than really carves into the waveface. With the two inch fins installed, it holds better than any of the ww boats. On the river, it can do stern squirts and such. I can’t bury the bow in the river (I am too light) but this is a pretty good thing on a moving wave.

Trickster for someone under 160. The Prankster (big trickster) for anyone over. If you see one, go for it. Beats out the Jive, RIp, Gliss, Bliss that I had surfed before. And, more playful on a river.


I bought a used Necky Rip

– Last Updated: Mar-25-08 8:47 AM EST –

for similar reasons and found it to work well for beach surfing but not much fun on a casual river. If your in rapids it's great, but if your just going down a flat river, it's a pain to keep on course. I was at a pool session last year and someone had a river kayak with a drop down skeg on it. That might be something to consider if your going to use it on flatter rivers.

One way or another.

along those same lines…
My old Riot Dominatrix and Riot Tekno both had detachable fins and were sweet surfing kayaks.