× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Is there something below beginner?

1 year 4 months ago #26847 by Ultra Newbie
Dear Collective wisdom, I am looking for a surf ski but due to location, at the bottom of Lake Huron there is not a lot of stores to go and try boats. So I'm hoping to get some advice to try and see if I am reaching to far to early

When posts say the V7 or Mako XT are beginner boats how do they figure in terms of getting going as compared to a wider SOT kayak? I am frustrated with the slow speed and almost infinite stability but is the jump to a surf ski possible for a 44 year, 230 lbs guy with 18.5" at the hips, (somewhat precludes a higher performance boat)?

Unless materials are super thing a 19" beam seems like a dream at the moment. I do not big ocean size waves but constant lake roll and chop, so a ski will get me more time on the water when the wind blows from the north and we get lake surf.

Any advice on stores local ish to Port Huron/ Sarnia would also be appreciated.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26862 by Atlas
Hi Ultra Newbie.

There is no reason to think you can't start paddling a beginner ski right now. They are after all made for beginners. The Epic V8 is probably the gold standard. The Fenn Bluefin, Stellar S18S, Think Ace, Vajda Hawx 52, Nelo 520 are also great beginner boats. There are more I'm sure. The Fenn XT is not really a beginner boat. You may be OK with it because it will sit nice and low in the water under your weight. However it is nowhere near as stable as the Fenn Bluefin.

Of course none of these ocean skis have the infinite stability of the plastic SOTs. However they are quite manageable and they are easy to remount. The difference in performance will be astonishing if you've never paddled one.

I wouldn't get too hung up on which one to get as long as you're comfortable on the one you buy. None of them are duds and you will almost certainly buy a faster boat at some point anyway. It is important however that you don't buy any ski without test paddling it for an hour or more because there can be comfort issues that may not show up in a short paddle.

Good luck.

Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26863 by Spacehopper
I'd second Atlas's post - you'll be just fine with any of the present entry level boats and a little practice!

I've had plenty of complete beginners out on the V5/V6/V7 & V8 over the past couple of years and most of them take to it like a duck to water. Ditto wing paddles - much easier to get used to than people make out, particularly the Epics which seem more forgiving than others I have tried.

I wouldn't discount the V5 - even though you might read some sniffy 'it's not a proper ski' comments on here. Have been borrowing one and have come to prefer it to the V7 for pure fun in choppy waves. In our little local training group (V7s, V8s, V8Pros and a Swordfish) I find the only one I can't fly past on the V5 is the Swordfish and it's paddled by someone far yournger and fitter than I am... It's also the smallest outlay - so if you really don't get on with it you won't have spent too much!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #26864 by dannyboy
Are these guys too far from you. looks like great selection of the Epic line.

tcsurfski.com/

They rent and give lessons !!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26865 by TaffyMick
Hi Ultra Newbie,

Have several kilos on you weight-wise and transitioned from sea kayaks to surf skis and racing hulls several years ago. My first true beginner ski was the Fenn Bluefin. However, I made the fatal mistake of having the lightest build which did cause me to not to paddle it to its full potential. A great beginners boat all the same. One day I had a paddle of the Stellar S18S in their Advantage layup and was hooked.

I used that boat in conditions where dolphins feared to swim. Had my share of swims, but easy to remount and very stable. In fact, a friend of mine used one in the Doctor (a World class ocean ski race off the coast of Western Australia) a couple of years ago and beat a number of elite skis to the finish line (very rough conditions). The beauty of the S18S is that it taught me how to surf downwind without holding back because of the "wobble factor". As the Big O always says, "Stability Before Ability".

My surf ski of choice at this moment is a 2 gen Stellar SR intermediate ski. Why Stellar? Simple...they seem to work for bigger paddlers better than the other offerings. And I am not the only one who thinks that way.

Anyhow, cannot go wrong with the boats that Atlas has put forward. Welcome to the world of surf skis.

Mick

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26866 by kwolfe
I'll 3rd or 4th what others have said. I started with an Epic V8 performance layup about 14 months ago and love it. I have only fallen out of the boat twice (once when I first got on and once when the wave broached it for the first time). The V8 is amazing stable. I'm to the point where I have to try and fall out and even then it takes a very concerted effort!

Funny enough, but the boat is so stable for me now that I'm already looking to upgrade to a intermediate or advanced ski so I'm selling mine. And with your size rear, you should be able to fit.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26867 by Aurelius
The Mako XT was my first surf ski, and it was a handful for the first three weeks after having paddled only a sea kayak. I would not recommend it as a first ski. Recently I bought an Epic V7, which should be stable enough for any beginner to learn on. It may feel a bit tippy at first, but you'll acclimate in no time.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26876 by nell
Use that link to TC surfski, or this one for the Think dealer in Grosse Pointe area:

www.greatlakessurfski.com/

A visit to either one will most likely be very helpful to get you started and on your way with the right ski and gear that you need to have fun and to be safe.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 4 months ago #26893 by red_pepper
You might find the Stellar S16S to your liking; a great mix of stability and performance. I sell Stellars just north of Fort Wayne, IN, but I will be just north of Detroit in a few weeks.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 3 months ago #27150 by Ultra Newbie
So I took your advice and booked a lesson with TC Surfski ( www.tcsurfski.com ). I would highly recommend anyone in the Michigan area, or a little further a field to get in touch with Nick. The lesson was well tailored to my needs and the area around Traverse City could not be a more beautiful to go and paddle around.

I got to try out both a V7 and V8. Coming from having little or no kayak experience the V7 felt a little tippy to start but as soon as I got moving it felt quite solid. Nick gave a great lesson on and off the water.Before we got on the water we talked through the fundamentals of the forward stroke, safety in boat and talked through some drills we would try out. This translated really well to the water and as soon as I could start and forget my feet for steering the stroke started to feel more confident. I switched over to the V8 for comparison and felt a few of the differences, like seat shape position, the responsiveness of the lower weight. Both boats were great, although I am glad the V8 came latter after I came to terms with the rudder.

So if you have little or no experience please do not be put off. I had a great time and just loved the speed by the end of the lesson. So I'm hooked! Just need to save a few more pennies and decide which boat to search out.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 3 months ago #27257 by [email protected]
Hey OP,

I've been following this thread since you posted it and it helped me decide to give surfskis a try too. I wasn't sure if I could do it, because I'm pretty out of shape (5'5" 200 lbs) and have only paddled those tourist kayaks recreationally, and only occasionally.

Well, I actually booked and had a private lesson with Kenny Howell over here in Half Moon Bay, CA this morning. Long story short, I didn't so well. Not even 10 minutes into paddling and I had flipped the boat and all of my pride ended up in the ocean haha. I was having trouble stabilizing and my lower back just wasn't comfortable sitting. We were paddling for maybe 30 minutes. I think my core muscles are just too weak.

So, we called it an early day, and I was kinda bummed out. I realized that my body simply isn't ready for this sport at this time. This will require some more work on my part, before I can try it again. But, I'm fired up now. Monday, a buddy of mine is going to help me to get started on a workout plan.

I learned something about myself today, and I also have a higher respect for the people of this sport. Glad to hear that you were able to get the hang of it on your first try. I am a bit jealous haha!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 3 months ago #27259 by Aurelius

[email protected] wrote: Hey OP,

I've been following this thread since you posted it and it helped me decide to give surfskis a try too. I wasn't sure if I could do it, because I'm pretty out of shape (5'5" 200 lbs) and have only paddled those tourist kayaks recreationally, and only occasionally.

Well, I actually booked and had a private lesson with Kenny Howell over here in Half Moon Bay, CA this morning. Long story short, I didn't so well. Not even 10 minutes into paddling and I had flipped the boat and all of my pride ended up in the ocean haha. I was having trouble stabilizing and my lower back just wasn't comfortable sitting. We were paddling for maybe 30 minutes. I think my core muscles are just too weak.

So, we called it an early day, and I was kinda bummed out. I realized that my body simply isn't ready for this sport at this time. This will require some more work on my part, before I can try it again. But, I'm fired up now. Monday, a buddy of mine is going to help me to get started on a workout plan.

I learned something about myself today, and I also have a higher respect for the people of this sport. Glad to hear that you were able to get the hang of it on your first try. I am a bit jealous haha!


You're being MUCH too hard on yourself. I was in great physical shape when I got my first surf ski, yet I couldn't paddle it more than one boat length without falling in the water. Sometimes I couldn't get even one paddle stroke in before losing my balance! But I didn't give up, and three weeks later I could paddle it all around the lake without falling in. Ask anyone what it was like being new to surf skiing, and you'll hear a similar story. Staying upright in a narrow boat with a round hull doesn't come naturally; it's a skill to be learned, just like riding a bicycle. If you managed to paddle for 10 minutes on your first try, you're already doing much better than I did. Keep at at, and before long you'll be wondering why it ever seemed hard to you.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 3 months ago #27263 by seajak
I agree with Aurelius, you are being too hard on yourself. My first question would be what sort of ski were you paddling? There are plenty of 'beginner' skis available now from all the major manufacturers. There is list earlier in this thread but the Epic V6, 7 and 8 and Stellar S18S and S16S are common examples. They have a wider beam and the hull has a flat section amidships which makes them a lot more stable. I paddle an S18S after a progression of sit-tops-over the last 10 or so years and at 72 have no desire (or need) to go to anything narrower. By all means keep up the gym work but try to find a boat you feel comfortable paddling, it will give you the motivation to keep going to the gym. Whatever you do, don't give up. This absolutely the best form of exercise you can do, especially as you get older, your back and core are going to love you for it :). Good luck with your search.

clay

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 3 months ago #27266 by [email protected]
Thanks for the kind words, y'all. I'll take the advice of paddling something, anything, at least once a week to keep the fire going.

I tried both a V6 and a V5. I've read lots of opinions that the V5 is one of the most stable boats in the Epic line. If that's stable, I can't even imagine the higher models some of y'all ride!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 3 months ago #27274 by Aurelius

[email protected] wrote: Thanks for the kind words, y'all. I'll take the advice of paddling something, anything, at least once a week to keep the fire going.

I tried both a V6 and a V5. I've read lots of opinions that the V5 is one of the most stable boats in the Epic line. If that's stable, I can't even imagine the higher models some of y'all ride!


It always seems that way in the beginning. When first tried performing a track stand on my mountain bike, it was so difficult that I was sure I'd never be able to pull it off. After several weeks of practice, I did it. Now it's so easy for me that I can do it without even thinking about it. I went through the same process when I was learning to paddle a surf ski, or learned how to juggle: at first it seems impossible, but then the moment comes when you do it, and you wonder why you couldn't have done it before.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

MCImes's Avatar

Surfski Listings - how to rate? (2 Posts)

5 hours 32 minutes ago
Fath2o's Avatar

Gorge ski for me (18 Posts)

1 day 16 hours ago
rickbinbc's Avatar

shoulder degeneration (4 Posts)

2 days 46 minutes ago
Protected by R Antispam