Just got my first Surf Ski today

1 year 6 months ago - 1 year 6 months ago #36995 by Ccrowe323
I apologize in advance if I’m not posting in the incorrect area, I’m used to the Tacomaworld forum for my truck and it’s pretty chill, so just let me know if I need to tighten up on how and where I post. 

Im 23 from Florida,US
So today I bought my first surf ski. After a couple weeks of looking for a used kayak locally for cheap, yesterday I came across a 1990s shearwater 20’ 6” surf ski for $400. Having not really know what a surf ski was I did some research and it intrigued me way more than a normal kayak. I live in Florida just a couple miles from the beach and Indian River. My main goal was for fitness but also enjoyment. Now before anyone says I made a mistake for buying this because I’m brand new to the sport and don’t know what I’m getting into, yes I realize it’s going to be a process of learning and that is why I decided to get one. I enjoy learning things even if it’s very hard and takes a while. I ride MTB DJs, and snow ski, so I understand the trials of learning a hard sport. I consider myself a quick learner so I’ve been told, I just wanted to get that out of the way before I get a bunch of replies telling me I’m in over my head. I know what I’m getting into, sorta haha. 
So back to the ski, I really don’t know much about them especially this older one, the guy I bought it from was about 70 and he said he bought it brand new in late 80s or earlier 90s. He just bought a new Fenn, and had about 5-6 others, said he used to race and so I trusted that he knew what he was talking about and that he actually was into the sport and not just someone who bought it, didn’t take care of it and was just passing it on. It has a couple chips and cracks, but I know how to do fiberglass repairs so I wasn’t worried about that. But I talked him down to $300 because of the chips needing repair and I went home with an old Surf Ski. I’m in the market now for a good but inexpensive paddle but first things first need to repair the boat. 
Just based on the picture and it needing some small repairs, does this seem like a good deal or did I pay too much for such an old ski? I appreciate any welcoming response and let me know if I’ve overpaid or scored on a vintage Surf Ski.

 
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1 year 6 months ago #36996 by robin.mousley
Not sure, but I think you scored a beautiful vintage ski in pretty astonishing condition!

Here's an interesting article on the boat (or at least one made by the same manufacturer).

kayakfari.wordpress.com/fitness/a-tale-o...indeisen-shearwater/

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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1 year 6 months ago #36997 by Ccrowe323
Yes I read that article, he writes good stuff, I also read his other where he cuts out the seat of the same one to move it further back and ended up installing a new foam stringer as the original apparently had disintegrated. I am going to try and get a borescope and look inside the boat in hopes it’s still solid but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the same condition as his. But I haven’t felt any soft spots that really seemed to squish or that couldn’t handle just some flat water until I get my bearings on the ski. 

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1 year 6 months ago #36999 by Epicpaddler
Awesome! For $300 you can't go wrong. That's less than my paddle cost. I wish I had found surfski paddling when I was 23. I'm almost 50 and I've only been paddling surfski's for three seasons. It's such an awesome sport. I really like racing, but since COVID has cancelled almost all the races, I've been cranking out the miles just for fun. Since you live in Florida you don't really have to worry about falling out and you can paddle year round without a wetsuit/drysuit. The only problem I see is it's addictive... you will be searching for another boat before you know it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ccrowe323

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1 year 6 months ago #37000 by mcnye1
Congratulations on your purchase and welcome to the club!  Just be careful because paddling can become addictive.

You say that you still need a "good but inexpensive paddle."  For a surfski, you really need a wing blade.  You will be tempted by the many cheap euro blade paddles available in box stores, but those are a bad idea because they will make you less stable than a wing.  Here in Florida even the least expensive wing  will cost about what you paid for the boat unless you are lucky and find a used one.  I'd suggest going to the Epic web site and using their "Paddle Wizard."  The Mid Wing or Small Mid Wing are both good first paddles.  While you are at it, watch some videos on how to use a wing.

My other suggestion is to join the Florida Competition Paddlers Association.  Our dues are dirt cheap and we hold ~15 free races each year all over the state.  Last weekend we were in the Tampa Bay area and next weekend is the Suwannee River.  In Sept, we have a race near you at Sebastion.  Besides the obvious comradery, you will learn a bunch by watching and talking to fast, experienced paddlers.  Another benefit is that this is a good way to demo boats and find used gear (like paddles) for sale.  Three of our members are surfski dealers and they sometimes bring demo boats.  Look us up on Facebook      

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1 year 6 months ago #37001 by Ccrowe323
Thanks for the info on paddles. I figured I would be spending that much as the more I  researched I found a wing blade was about $300 like you said. Even though I’d like to go the cheap route and get a normal kayak paddle for $150, I’d rather just save up and get the right gear. Or hopefully find one used for a decent price. You wouldn’t happen to know anyone selling a decent paddle for a good price? I wouldn’t mind paying shipping or possibly driving to get a good deal somewhere in Florida, I’m still searching craigslist everyday. 

 I’ll definitely look you guys up, hopefully by September I will have some good hours in and join in a race, if I’m not too busy getting wet haha. 

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1 year 6 months ago #37002 by waverider
To be honest you never know what you want in a surfski until you have given it a good shot.  So picking up something cheap is a good start, even if turns out to be too tippy to get a handle on at least you will learn that. It will give you a benchmark to start from, Rather paying big money and finding the choice is one way or the other. Few stick with their first ski for long.

Agree with others you need a wing blade of some sort. Mine is only one of those Chinese generics half the price of a brand one, but its enough for me for now.

Start on shallow flat water and practice some bracing drills, oscar chalupskys vids are a good start. The sooner you can stay on it without falling off the sooner you can start to build confidence

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1 year 6 months ago #37003 by waverider
How is it for leg length? These are not adjustable I dont believe

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1 year 6 months ago - 1 year 6 months ago #37004 by Ccrowe323
Yeah, I didn’t really have $1500 minimum budget to work with anyways to get something new. And I enjoy fixing old stuff so I like that this one is a small project.  And I would rather get something tippy and learn to control it than get something really stable and not learn as much balance. 

Yeah I’ve definitely settled on getting a wing blade based on research and recommendations, and just watching racing videos and seeing the way those guys work their paddles and bodies,I would prefer to use more of my body than my arms when paddling to build more core strength.  I’m thinking of a mid wing, as I watch videos and people compare it to bike gears, I have a 27.5 MTB 10 speed single chain ring up front and a DJ single speed in the rear so I’m used to having a single speed where I’m not peddling fast but also not overworking myself, it’s right in the middle where I’ve got to peddle hard to get going but also don’t have to constantly work hard at speed.  With what I’ve learned so far I believe a Mid Wing is what I will want. I want more resistance than normal because I don’t like just free spinning in a light gear, I’d rather work a little harder and paddle less

I haven’t gotten it in the water yet, but just kinda sitting in it on the ground with no weight on it the leg length feels good. If I have to add some padding or something  to the rudder controls I will but feels good so far.  We’ll see in a week or two once I find a paddle. 

I was looking for a cheaper Chinese generic brand, I saw the Z&j or was it K&J? I can’t remember but they were still like 300ish shipped, not bad from what I’m learning haha, but was hoping I wouldn’t have to spend that much but I don’t want to skimp on learning correct paddle technique with the correct paddle

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1 year 6 months ago #37006 by MCImes
Welcome Crowe!
I sent you a PM with some paddle options. I dont think the forum notifies you about PM's by default, so click on your profile icon in the upper right and select PM's.

you will have a good time. Just remember that if you fall in a bunch not to get frustrated. if you cant master stability after a while you can probably make some money on the boat and get a slightly more stable one, if needed. but youth and determination go a long ways so you'll probably be fine.

I think many noobs start with a big blade then trend smaller over time, unless you're doing short distances ( less than 5 miles) or sprinting. a small-med wing (something like 730cm2 blade area) is right for 90% of people. I would not recommend a blade above 760cm personally. Im going to get an ultra small blade at ~680cm2 for longer distance paddling (10-15 miles) as they are much easier on the shoulders and arms. Im 35 and in good shape, for reference

Anyways, welcome! you chose the funnest sport around to try out!

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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1 year 6 months ago - 1 year 6 months ago #37011 by Ccrowe323
Got your Pm thank you, Haha you’re definitely right about the youth determination and also some ignorance in there as well. I don’t see myself selling this to get a more stable boat if I can’t stay up in it for a little bit. I will keep it until I learn how to use it, I would rather start with a more difficult ski and learn a very valuable skill than selling and spending more for an “easier” one. I know it will be frustrating and it might sound weird to say but I enjoy the frustrations of sports to push through and get better because I know what’s on the other side. I can’t tell you how many hard slams I’ve taken on dirt jumps on my bike and taking a week or two off from a sore hip or shoulder but I learned what I was doing wrong and adjusted. Especially considering the learning curve of tipping over is just getting wet, rather than physically hurt, I think I will just have to grow my treading skills in the water while I flip the ski back over haha. 

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1 year 6 months ago #37012 by zachhandler
You are going to do great. Falling in is the key to learning. The number one barrier that i witness to people progressing in surfski is fear of falling out of the ski. If you dont fall, you arent testing the limits of this new toy, and it will take forever to figure out.

You should fall in as much as possible. Become like a seal, able to slither back onto the ski like it is nothing, in any size waves. If your remount is rock solid, and you always wear a leash, you can push your limits in some challenging conditions. 

Always wear a leash when you are past the breakers.  If you get separated from the ski on a windy day it is not humanly possible to swim fast enough to catch it. That is why you need a leash. Always grab the ski as you fall in. Make that a 100% reflex. The leash is just a backup for if  you fail to grab the boat. Leashes break.  I lost a friend when his leash failed and he did not grab the ski, and there are others on this story who could tell the same story. 

Avoid the surf zone until you have the basics figured out. A loose ski in the surf puts you and others at risk. When you get to the point where you can play in surf, unclip your leash in the surf zone so the ski doesnt pull your leg off or drag you under when you wipe out. 

Good luck. Have a blast. I am jealous of how much fun you have ahead of you!

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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1 year 6 months ago #37013 by waverider
Keep in mind it can be catch 22, if its too tippy, you cant learn technique and you actually learn bad, which is hard to unlearn. Good technique creates stability, so you get stuck and give up. In an ideal world its good to have a tippy boat and a stable one.

I would also keep an eye out in case a cheap stable one comes up, but they are harder to find as everyone sells old tippy boats because they cant use them or have upgraded. Older tippy boats have little value, as anyone who can use them is upgrading to a newer one and not in the market for an old cheapy.

but you never know when a gift horse comes your way

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1 year 6 months ago #37022 by Wombat661
I too was into Toyota truck. We had 22RE back then. Now youhave V6 power, but we had solid axel :) Mountain biked too. I got into surfski
and road bike for exercise now. You got to surfski sooner than I did back then,
but you will be into road bike eventually. Hahaha
I remember the first day I got the ski. It was sitting onthe ground, and I think what the heck did I get into. Got more interesting in
the water. Almost could not climb back in half mile from shore. That is part of
the fun going head first into this with no prior knowledge and figure out along
the way. What is the worst that can happen. (I assume you are not heading out to do reverse Miller run right now)
My own opinion is keep the surfski you have for a long time.Figure ways around the short comings. Use foam to pad the seat, pad the pedals,
bigger DK rudder or better leash system etc. It will work. There is a temptation
in any hobby to keep getting the latest. That actually takes away the fun.
Sometime I just stop doing it after getting the perfect gear. Can’t explain
why. Old gears that don’t work perfect is more fun.
When you are ready, Oscar Chalupsky is the man. Pay themonthly fee for his video until you get it. I keep paying anyway because it
really helped me. Paddle hard and long with wrong technique and you get
shoulder pain. Probably just a sore shoulder for you, but at my age, takes a
long time to heal.

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1 year 6 months ago #37023 by Ccrowe323

I too was into Toyota truck. We had 22RE back then. Now youhave V6 power, but we had solid axel :) Mountain biked too. I got into surfski
and road bike for exercise now. You got to surfski sooner than I did back then,
but you will be into road bike eventually. Hahaha
I remember the first day I got the ski. It was sitting onthe ground, and I think what the heck did I get into. Got more interesting in
the water. Almost could not climb back in half mile from shore. That is part of
the fun going head first into this with no prior knowledge and figure out along
the way. What is the worst that can happen. (I assume you are not heading out to do reverse Miller run right now)
My own opinion is keep the surfski you have for a long time.Figure ways around the short comings. Use foam to pad the seat, pad the pedals,
bigger DK rudder or better leash system etc. It will work. There is a temptation
in any hobby to keep getting the latest. That actually takes away the fun.
Sometime I just stop doing it after getting the perfect gear. Can’t explain
why. Old gears that don’t work perfect is more fun.
When you are ready, Oscar Chalupsky is the man. Pay themonthly fee for his video until you get it. I keep paying anyway because it
really helped me. Paddle hard and long with wrong technique and you get
shoulder pain. Probably just a sore shoulder for you, but at my age, takes a
long time to heal.


Oh man I have a 2001 Tacoma 3.4 v6 but I wish I could find a rust free 22re In good condition. Toyota’s are the best, I wish my 1st gen Tacoma had a solid axle. Although I don’t need it in Florida as I don’t Offroad here because I’m not into mud but it comes in handy in the mountains for sure.
I mountain bike along side DJs, I have a road bike but have never ridden it lol, it was just a cheap older one off Craigslist but it’s just one thing that doesn’t interest me, usually I prefer sports to be outdoor in the woods or water, I don’t care for the idea of road biking, which is partially what made me look into paddling and eventually found the ski and learned what surf skis were and was very intrigued to eventually get good enough to go out in the middle of the ocean on this little boat with nothing else around. 

Haha, I am definitely looking at it sitting on the ground wondering whats going to happen on the first day out, in my head seems like easy fun but I have a feeling it’s going to be a little more difficult once I get in haha. 

I too prefer the older “project” over the new shiny ready to use perfect product. I believe it’s because getting caught in getting the “perfect” gear thinking it will make you better but really it’s all you that controls how well you do, there’s always a difference of correct and wrong gear but new and old usually won’t make a different.
Part of the reason why I bought a 2001 Tacoma Double cab and am in the process of swapping the auto trans to a manual (the double cabs were never sold with a manual new until 2nd gen 2005 which I don’t like) instead of buying a brand new or newer double cab that already comes manual. 

I was planning to keep it for a long time, especially that it’s an older “vintage” one. And I’ve already been thinking of adding coushion in the seat haha, depends on how it sits, I think I would prefer to sit higher to be able to keep my back straight when I paddle. 
Usually I will keep my first of whatever hobby or sport I get into until it breaks or is just time to retire from poor performance, but usually never sell it unless i don’t create a bond with it, but having to put some time into getting this one in the water will create that bond for me. Any time I work and put some time into something it becomes part of me in a way haha. And in another 5-10 years this thing will be pretty cool to look back and see a 90s ski compared to 30-40 years ahead. 
So I’ve heard from everyone so far that Oscar is the man to learn from, I will definitely check him out. 
I appreciate the reply and I always like to hear from someone who appreciates older things and doesn’t get caught up in the shiny new stuff just because it’s “the best of the best and will increase your efficiency by .0005%” 

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1 year 6 months ago #37024 by Epicpaddler
Another good resource is the Mocke brothers Intro to surfski, downwind, and surfski training video courses. Great video footage and excellent well presented content.  You might want to try it before you pad out the seat. Believe it or not, adding height decreases stability. Good luck in your quest. Can't wait to hear the first after action report.

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1 year 6 months ago #37025 by Ccrowe323

Another good resource is the Mocke brothers Intro to surfski, downwind, and surfski training video courses. Great video footage and excellent well presented content.  You might want to try it before you pad out the seat. Believe it or not, adding height decreases stability. Good luck in your quest. Can't wait to hear the first after action report.


I’m definitely going to get it in the water before adjusting anything, and I know it is less stable but it just seems like being higher would cause less hunching or being low to the water and having to keep my arms higher to paddle correctly

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1 year 6 months ago #37027 by Paddlehead
Check out the Maxpaddle website. I have a M333. Tough as nails. Had it 10 years and I paddle 5 times a week. It looks like crap now but still works. I have 2 mates who use the same paddle and we would all buy another one. The lever lock still works like new unlike more expensive paddles. I suspect they would be as cheap as chips to order.  
Paddle your cheap ski and enjoy learning. I've never been to Florida but I have seen Miami Vice and the water looks warm.
If you fall out who cares.

Current: NK Storm 61, Kayak Centre Zeplin.

Past: Epic gen3 V10, Fenn Elite carbon, Fenn Elite Vac glass, Fenn Elite SL, Gen 1 Stellar SEL ultra, Epic V10 gen 2, Carbonology Vault, Fenn Swordfish, Red7 pro 70, Think Legend, Red7 60, Fenn Xt.

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1 year 5 months ago #37046 by Wombat661
Glad there is someone out there that likes manual transmission. You will like it off-road. You know exactly how fast the wheels are going and when they are slipping. Had an auto Chevy Tracker, didn’t like the feel as much. Older trucks are definitely simpler more durable and gets the job done. 2001 Tacoma is good.
I never thought I would get into road bike. Had a old one sitting around for a long time. Hahaha. When you get around to trying it, I can tell you the secret to speed. They tell you all kinds of pedaling advice. Secret is feel the muscle you use to press the pedal down. On the up stroke, force those muscles to relax as if they are sleeping. Half turn power, half turn rest. Takes concentration to relax the muscle so they are not fighting each other. You can go miles at high speed.
You are getting into a good sport. Is great being in the ocean with the surfski. Nothing but vast stretch of water. That is cool. Then you get to the deserted side of the shore on a boat that is not supposed to stay upright. That is adventure :)

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