Surf skis have a reputation for being all about racing, downwinding and racing but there are stable touring surf skis with storage hatches which are ideal for day trips, overnights and performance paddling.
I turned to surf skis as an alternative to sea kayaking.
After a near drowning stuck upside down in a closed deck skirted surf kayak 18yrs ago, I began to look for smarter sit-down and open cockpit kayak options.
There are a few stable surf skis like the Carbonology Cruze, Epic V6 and Stellar Sit on Tops (also surf ski’s) with storage hatches for day trips and overnights. But each are still 2x faster than sea kayaks and are great for downwinding and surfing.
Advantage of a Surf Ski over a Sea Kayak for Trips?
- Skis have super light weight options making it easier to carry by yourself thus also go faster with less weight to glide.
- Open deck means you don’t have to have specialized skills for wet exits and re-entries.
- Like a SUP, you can throw your legs over the side, sit in the cockpit sideways and pop out anytime.
- 2x as fast as sea kayaks! Better for up-winding.
Tip: Super light skis are not tough like a heavy sea kayak. Strengthen with a keel strip under the hull.
What to Look for for Touring Surf Skis?
- Not all skis are tippy. Look for 21-22″ wide, same width as many sea kayaks. Stable means you’ll also have more fun surfing and downwinding.
- 1-2 storage hatches that can carry overnight gear.
- There are plastic cheaper skis but they’re heavier often as much as 50-60 pounds. Can you carry this solo and car-top it?
- Fit – Try the cockpit, is it comfortable? If you’re tall like me, do you fit? Can u use leg drive or just squeeze in? Cockpits can be customized to your butt fit, so the stock feel isn’t the only way.
- You can use a kayak paddle with a ski. You’re not required to use a wing paddle. Even a canoe paddle works!
- Try before you buy.
Tall folks like me have less skis to choose from if you want to do the leg drive common in surf ski paddling. Stellar’s ‘Sit on Tops’ which are stable surf ski’s with hatches do fit tall folks. Check them out..
Check out my surf ski and SUP classes in the Pacific Northwest – www.salmonbaypaddle.com