The Ultimate Guide to Surfski Kayaks

Are you ready to dive into the thrilling world of surfski kayaking? Surfskis are specially designed kayaks that offer maximum efficiency on the water, whether you’re cruising on calm lakes or riding exhilarating ocean waves. With their open cockpit, easy remounts, and quick-draining capabilities, surfskis are the perfect choice for adventurers seeking the ultimate paddling experience. At UpStreamPaddle, we have a wide range of surfskis available to suit paddlers of all skill levels and preferences.

Choosing the Right Surfski

Selecting the perfect surfski from the many different styles, sizes, and constructions can be a challenge. But fear not! Our knowledgeable staff is here to assist you. Feel free to reach out to us anytime with your surfski questions. In the meantime, let’s dive into some essential information that will get you started on your surfski journey.

Surfski Ratings

To simplify your decision-making process, we have categorized our surfskis based on their performance levels. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler, there’s a surfski that suits your needs. Here is an overview of the rating categories:






  • Jet
  • Zip
  • Ace
  • Zen
  • Six
  • Evo
  • Ion
  • V5
  • V7
  • V8
  • V8 Pro
  • V9
  • V10
  • V12

Surfski Constructions

Surfskis come in a variety of construction types, each with its own unique characteristics. These constructions affect the weight, rigidity, strength, and cost of the surfski. Here are the different construction types for you to consider:

  • Rotomoulded (Epic Only)
  • Performance (Think & Epic)
  • Elite (Think) / Ultra (Epic)
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Mastering Surfski Paddling

Surfskis may paddle similarly to standard kayaks, but there are a few key techniques you should master to enhance your surfski experience. To refine your skills, consider taking lessons at our Deep Cove Kayak Centre, Cates Park Paddling Centre, or Jericho Beach Kayak Centre. These lessons will not only improve your surfski paddling but also enhance your overall kayaking performance.

First, let’s take a closer look at the surfski’s unique cockpit design. Unlike standard kayaks, surfskis have open cockpits with minimal seating arrangements. This design allows for greater rotational efficiency, as bulky seats and backrests can hinder your ability to rotate properly. With the footboard and pedals for steering, you can engage your feet and legs to generate more power and drive the boat forward. This hip rotation technique is crucial for efficient paddling.

For the paddle stroke, we recommend using a Wing Blade paddle. Surfskis feature prominent cutaways on the top deck, alongside the footwell, allowing you to plant your paddle blade closer to the surfski. Aim for the water next to your toes, engage your foot on the same side as the paddle, and rotate your core as you stroke. Remember to maintain a slight bend in your arms and pull the blade out of the water when it aligns with your hip. Repeat the process on the other side, and voila! You’ll be cruising in no time.

Don’t forget to securely attach yourself to your surfski with a leash. Surfskis are lightweight and can easily be swept away by wind or currents if not properly secured. Leashes are essential safety tools that can save lives.

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Finally, investing in a low-profile Personal Flotation Device (PFD) will make remounting your surfski after a capsize much easier. Check out our recommended PFDs, such as the Vaikobi VXP, V3, and Mustang Khimera.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge and skills, it’s time to embark on your surfski adventure. Explore our range of surfskis at UpStreamPaddle and get ready to experience the thrill of paddling like never before!


Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Practice water safety and consult professionals before engaging in any water activities.