Pimp My Ski - Mods to the Red7

Sunday, 04 July 2010 16:33 | Written by 
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Jamii Hamlin and his Red7 Surf70 Pro - Cape Point Challenge 2007 Jamii Hamlin and his Red7 Surf70 Pro - Cape Point Challenge 2007 Credits: Jamii Hamlin

Jamii Hamlin loves the Red7 Surf70 Pro and has made a number of customisations to his ski: footplate, rudders, wave deflector and seat have all been modified.


Love at first sight

Rule #1 for long distance races is “don’t change your equipment just before the race”.  But in 2007, a week before the 56km Cape Point Challenge, Hamlin found himself without a ski; Red7 came to the rescue and offered him the use of a demo ski.

Happily he found the ski (and the carbon version that he's since upgraded to) perfect in (almost) every way...  

Since then he's paddled the skis in a couple of Durban World Cups, the Southern Shamaal PE2EL Challenge, another Cape Point and several False Bay Crossings and he rates it as the “most underrated pedigree ski on the market”, but his product designer soul couldn’t resist the challenge to make it still better.

Red7 Surf70 Pro

The next generation - the carbon Red7 during the 2009 Cape Point Challenge

Footplate Mods

The first thing Hamlin did was modify the bungy cord arrangement to clear the area in front of the footplate.  This makes it easier to insert drinks bags (or blocks of foam to reduce the volume of water when the cockpit floods).

Red7 Surf70 Pro bungy adjustment

Bungies tidied away - leaving clear space in front of the footplate

He also found the footplate adjustment a little coarse – and added wooden blocks to allow for finer changes.  The blocks are 5mm thick and the lower block is thicker than the top block, giving a “more relaxed” foot angle.

Red7 Surf70 Pro footplateRed7 Surf70 Pro footplate - modified

Wave deflector

Hamlin moulded his own wave deflector that he’s used on many of his skis.  It reduces the amount of water that finds its way into the cockpit when the paddler is punching through surf – and also keeps the boat (and paddler) drier in big downwind conditions.

Wave deflector


The original Red7 rudder had a curious shape and was notoriously ineffective in flat conditions.  Hamlin immediately increased the area of this rudder by inserting a fillet on the trailing edge.  (Having used one of his rudders on my original Red7, I can confirm that it improved handling quite dramatically).


Original rudder (modified) on L, big wave rudder on R

The rudder supplied with the later generation Red7 and (Green7) is better, but in big downwind conditions, Hamlin still prefers a larger custom version that has a fatter cross section that improves the stalling characteristics (See Dale Lippstreu’s article on rudders).

Rudder set

The full set!  (anti-weed lake rudder on R)

Custom Seat

Some time ago Hamlin built an adjustable canoe seat that allowed for height, angle and leg length adjustment (the seat earned an SABS Design Institute of South Africa Prototype Award in 2003).

Canoe seat

Award winning fully adjustable canoe seat

More recently he’s been experimenting to adapt the canoe seat to surfskis – a considerable challenge given the variety of shapes and sizes of surfski seats.

Prototype seats

Prototype surfski seats

He claims the seat is useful for some paddlers who suffer from “numb bum” and “dead leg” syndrome.  In theory the cutouts reduce pressure on the ischium bones and sciatic nerve while the seat increases height and improves, reach, leg drive and corrects the pelvic bone tilt, aiding rotation in the lower vertebrae.

Another benefit of the cutouts is that they ensure the paddler stays centered in the seat even when it's flooded (as sometimes happens for example when paddling downwind in big conditions.)

Hamlin can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



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