Surf Kayaking

Surf Kayaking is the fun, addictive and dynamic sport of riding a wave just like a surfboard rider does using a specifically designed fast and maneuverable Kayak. Possible manoeuvres include bottom turns, top turns, cutbacks, floaters, re-entries, late takeoffs, barrels and aerials and paddlers can have just as much fun in small surf as they can in big!

There are two types of surf kayak – the International class (kayaks 3metres or longer, measured on a horizontal plane) and the High Performance class (kayaks 2.75m or under, measured on a horizontal plane). These kayaks are made from plastic, fiberglass, carbon or carbon kevlar. High Performance surf kayaks also have three fins, which can be moved to suit the type of surf you are riding and the types of manoeuvres you are trying to perform. This combined with the performance hull shape provides dynamic speed and control across a wave. Most surf kayaks are “Sit In” style using a Spraydeck to keep the water out and a seat belt system to give the paddler better finite control. There is also a High Performance Sit On Top Surf Kayak for those that feel more comfortable being able to jump off.

In surf kayaking you are trying to be very active in boat. Your body is the power source and your paddle is the pivot point. You want to explode your moves from within the boat with good core strength and the drive of your body rotation for control, balance, trim, speed and carving. You look to where you want to be on the wave and drive the boat there with rail-to-rail movements and timing on the wave rather than paddle strokes.

A World Championship Competition is held every two years. Top ranked surf kayakers from each country qualify to compete in team and individual events. Categories include Mens, Womens, Juniors, Masters and Grand Masters. The competition is run in 20min heats of approximately four people. A panel of judges undertakes scoring using the same criteria as a board surfing competition awarding points for wave size, paddler speed, power and flow of manoeuvres.

You can check out more information on Surf Kayaking Equipment and Skills Courses at