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Surfski For Beginners

Surfski For Beginners

By: Bob PutnamComments: 0


Surfski Season is here!  Tuesday Night Race start April 4 and Jericho Wavechaser starts May 4.  But surfski paddling isn’t all about racing.  There are many applications in which paddling surfski is amazing.  
We currently have good stock of mid-level and beginner surfskis and more will be arriving in early May.  
At Coast Outdoors we are the #1 surfski dealer in North America and we carry Think and Epic surfskis. 
Heres the low down on surfskis.   
I’ve often talked to people who seem confused by the name surfski.  Lets break it down.  The surf bit comes from the origins where in countries like Australia and South Africa surfskis were used to punch out through the waves to assist swimmers in distress.  In those countries Surf Lifesaving is a big sport.  As far as the “ski” goes, I’m guessing its like “Jet Ski” 


Weight:  Most surfskis are half the weight of your standard 15 - 17’ touring kayak.  Surfskis are between 25 - 32 lbs.  This light weight makes carrying them a piece of cake, but more importantly the performance on the water is amazing.  Once you paddle a light surfski or kayak, its hard to go back to heavier craft.  Plus with a light surfski you are less fatigued after a long paddle and its easier to carry your boat to the car.  
Speed:  Often when I bring this up people say, “Oh I don’t care about how fast I go, I’m not racing”  Just imagine, you are paddling 1 km/hr faster than your friend.  You’ll be 1 km ahead of them after an hour.  And surfski can be 2-3 km/hr faster that a sea kayak.  You’ll be able to cover greater distance faster.  This is all because of the efficient hull design and light weight
Seating position:  Firstly you are not trapped inside a kayak and the seating / steering setup, allows you to sit upright, with knees together and engage your legs to help generate more power for improved forward stroke efficiency.
Flatwater Fun
As mentioned about you can cruise along at a faster pace and cover more ground in a shorter time.  Getting to your destination in record time.  
Downwind Exhilaration
This is where the surfski really shines.  Downwind paddling happens when the paddler is travelling in the same directions as the waves.  These are wind waves or ocean swell, not shore break.   Its takes more skill and the paddler has to accelerate their craft to match the speed of the wave after which the surfski will take off surfing down the face of the wave.  You can downwind paddling in many different crafts, outrigger canoe, sea kayak, SUP but the surfski does it best.   Many avid sea kayakers have never experienced this thrill, because sea kayaks can’t downwind in the same manner as a surfski.  The under stern rudder allows the paddler to maintain a certain amount of control when surfing down the wave.  Its a real thrill, and a good paddler will catch wave after wave, often doubling their top flatwater speed.  
Length & width
Generally the longer and narrower the craft is the faster it goes BUT with a narrower craft you sacrifice stability and your ability to generate power.  So sometimes the slower (wider) craft is faster, because you can paddle more aggressively.  You can get away with a narrower surfski in flatwater conditions but some paddlers will choose a slightly wider surfski for rough downwind conditions.  With surfski you cannot buy your performance, you cannot buy an expert level surfski and as a intermediate paddler expect to go fast.  Our mantra, is: “Its much better to grow out of a beginner model than it is to try and grow into an advanced model.  
Beginner , Novice surfskis
New to the Think Kayak Line up.  "The Zip” 14.75' (450 cm) x 23.5” (60cm) We have limited quantity arriving in May.  
In this category Epic Kayaks has the V5
Think Ace / Epic V8
These are 18’ surfskis, great for beginners who want to have an efficient flatwater craft to paddling around Deep Cove, or its also a great surfski for advanced paddlers who want an stable surfski to paddle downwind and experience the thrill of catching waves.  
Think Zen / Epic V8 Pro
Slightly longer and a bit narrower, so a little faster a little less stable 
Think SIX / Epic V9
These are starting to get into more performance surfskis.  Intermediate to Advanced
Think Evo / Epic V10  
Advanced or expert level in downwind conditions.  For this level of surfski you want to be an accomplished paddler who hits the water 2 - 4 times a week.  
Think Ion / Think Uno Max / Epic V12
These are expert level surfskis for people who are really into the sport.  
If you’re interested in checking out surfskis, the best way is to take a lesson.  We offer both group and private lessons.  Come into Coast Outdoors and ask some questions.  We love to get paddlers excited about this fun sport.  

Browse Surfskis


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