Welcome to the wonderful world of Surf Skis!
What is a surf ski?
Surf skis are long sit-on-top kayaks that are optimized for speed, efficiency, and surfing open water swells.
Surf skis have been popular on the world stage of paddle sports for decades, but they have just recently started to gain recognition in the United States. They have become very popular in Hawaii and on the West Coast, but are still being discovered by paddlers on the East Coast and in the Great Lakes.
What makes a surf ski special?
Surf skis are different than any other type of paddlesport craft.
Unlike sea kayaks that hit a 'wall' when they reach their relatively slow top hull speed, surf skis are very fast and let a paddler explore his or her own limits of fitness, strength, and technique. Also unlike flatwater racing kayaks, surf skis are at home and, indeed, designed for rough water. Their speed and powerful under-stern surf rudders allow paddlers to easily catch fast moving, open water waves for an exhilarating, high speed ride!
This combination of traits - speed, efficiency, and rough water handling - make surf skis the perfect boats for paddlers who are seeking fun, fitness, competition, excitement . . . or all four of those things!
Are surf skis hard to paddle? Can I learn to paddle one?
Surf skis come in many designs, ranging from stable models designed for beginners to ultra fast models designed for elite athletes on the world stage. Even people who have never paddled a kayak can learn to paddle a surf ski quickly and comfortably. In fact, with their comfortable sit-on-top cockpits, efficiency, and controllability, it's one of the easiest ways to introduce a new paddler to kayaking.
For paddlers or athletes from other sports who are looking for a way to workout on the water, surf skis are the perfect vehicle. With proper technique, you'll engage your entire core, your arms, and your legs, as well as developing balance and aerobic fitness.
Where can I try one or get instruction and coaching?
If you would like to try a surf ski, contact us to schedule a demo or an introductory lesson. The Art of Paddling offers surf ski and kayak instruction from Jeremy Vore, an insured, certified American Canoe Association Level 4 Open Water Kayak Instructor with over 23 years of paddling experience and 20 years of instruction experience.
Jeremy is also the Great Lakes regional Epic Expert, representing the Epic Kayaks line of surf skis, kayaks, and wing paddles. He would be happy to arrange an instructional package that includes an introductory lesson, a Epic surf ski that matches your skill level, and an Epic wing paddle.
Would you like to learn more?
If you're interested in the history of the sport and great insight into competition on the world stage, take 25 minutes to watch this phenomenal look at the 2012 US Surf Ski Championships from filmmaker and author Joe Glickman.
Join Molokai World Champion, Oscar Chalupsky, for a POV look at catching open water swells in a surf ski. Half of being a World Champion is fitness; half of being a World Champion is having an uncanny ability to read the water and find the best waves!
What happens when you fall off of your surf ski? You get back on! It's much easier than you might think. Here's a quick video to show you how.