Surf kayaking is one of the most exciting and exhilarating water sports to exist. It is similar to surfboarding, but with a boat and paddles designed to ride waves. It is no surprise that many experienced kayakers are eventually lured into attempting this enjoyable sport.
If this applies to you, you’re likely seeking something that will easily convert from surfing to other whitewater activities. If you’re new to the sport or new to surf kayaking in general, here a few kayaks are designed for surfing that are best to purchase this year.
6 Surf Kayak Reviews
DAGGER JITSU 6.0 kayak by Dagger
This is arguably the best kayak for surfing that you will find on the market, created by Dagger exclusively for this purpose. It has a double-step rail that makes it quick to ride the fastest waves. The Dagger Jitsu has excellent control, which makes it a worthy buy even for a beginner.
This kayak has an excellent hull rocker that distributes volume evenly when tackling waves. This creates superb, dynamic three-dimensional moves in holes. A surfer will enjoy themselves on a moving wave and be able to keep up with speed.
Despite its small size at 6 feet and 33 pounds, this kayak comfortably handles heavy paddlers. Dagger designed this kayak with a conscious effort to elevate comfort. The result is a great Contour Ergo Outfitting system, boasting seat pads and an adjustable backrest, leg lifters, and strong thigh braces.
If you’re looking for a perfect little kayak that is great for a beginner.
RIOT KAYAK MAGNUM 72 by Riot
The Magnum 72 is a high-performance whitewater kayak that does great in high water volumes like the ocean and seas. At 7 feet 11 inches and 44 pounds, its considerable size makes it fast while still maintaining stability. This gives it a substantial advantage for tackling steep waves, while it remains light enough for one person to handle comfortably.
The kayak has a sleek deck shape and a hull design that makes it a great tracker. Its cockpit is larger than most surf kayaks, but this ensures the surfer doesn’t keep rocking. It has excellent flotation and resurfaces smoothly after a drop, preventing the kayak from going vertical.
This kayak features an excellent unity seat with adjustable footrests. Sturdy straps for thigh support also ensure the surfer is secure and comfortable for an enjoyable prolonged ride. It’s perfect for a person of average weight to carry into water and back.
RIOT KAYAK BOOGIE 50 by Riot
This 7-feet speed surf kayak is your best bet if you are seeking a thrilling ride, pumped full of adrenaline. It has a long, sharp front that makes accelerating easy for optimum speed levels. The slender design ensures the ability to easily cut through a wave when necessary.
The kayak has excellent buoyancy that allows it to carry up to 200 pounds without impacting tracking. The hull is made of lightweight, plastic, scratch-resistant construction material that lengthens shelf life significantly. This is a great purchase, as surfing causes a lot of damage to kayaks with less durable material.
This surf kayak also has fins that make for straight tracking. The Boogie boasts a large cockpit area that allows for easy movement for the surfer. It also has an adjustable, comfortable, non-slip back seat that cradles the back for comfort.
It can carve like a surfboard because of the hard rails, which makes it very suitable for a surfboarder who wants to try using a kayak instead. A great option for surfers at beginner level due to features that make it easy to control.
OCEAN KAYAK MALIBU by Johnson Outdoors
The Malibu is the best for tandem surfing, produced by a company that has topped the best kayak charts for years, Johnson Outdoors. It has a large cockpit that comfortably handles two adults plus a child or a pet, which makes it great for a small family.
It also comes with thigh straps to secure a lunch pack, so the surfers can paddle away for hours without the worry of getting back inland for food. Its high back seats are made for comfort and are ideal for long rides. The front seat can be turned around to face the back for easier communication, while the middle seat is fitted with perfectly placed, comfortable footwells that make paddling easy.
Twelve feet long and weighing 57 pounds, this kayak has handles on the sides for easy carrying between two people. It can also be secured on the roof of a vehicle for transport. The Malibu comes with a strong, capable driving system that makes for easy propulsion.
The paddles that come packaged with the kayak are sturdy and will last a while.
The hull is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is virtually indestructible under regular use, which makes it an excellent long-term investment.
The kayak also repairs in case the surfer gets a scratch or gouge on it. This is the most versatile of kayaks because, with a little maneuvering, it can handle flat water, swift water, and rough water.
OLD TOWN CANOE VAPOR 10 Kayak by Johnson Outdoors
Johnson Outdoors can always be trusted to deliver. This is one of very few manufacturers that do not compromise quality while offering affordability. The cockpit of this model is just one thing that kayakers to have experienced it rave about.
Being so roomy allows for smooth movement of the arms, excellent accessibility, and the kayak is customizable for fishing expeditions. The boat is made of polyethylene for durability. It also features a layer of foam in the design that creates an excellent buoyancy effect, especially in rough waters. This foam also ensures the kayak is light enough for one person to carry easily.
This kayak features a flexible drive system that makes handling and propelling simple. It has excellent stability considering its volume. The adjustable, comfortable flex seats, foot braces, and padded thigh braces allow for the best positioning. It is ideal for kayaker users of all levels, and anybody seeking a quality kayak on a budget.
SUNDOLPH ARUBA 10 by Sundolph
This sit on top kayak takes the prize for affordability, durability, and ease of use. Suitable for one-person use, it is 10 feet long and weighs 40 pounds. Carry handles on the sides make for easy handling though, so it shouldn’t be a problem for one person to haul it. The sit on top can comfortably handle a weight of up to 130 pounds.
The kayak is crafted with a rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex, high-density polyethylene hull. This is a durable material that makes it a moe significant investment. With its narrow bow and stern, tracking comes very easily. It has a large cockpit that houses one person, allows for flexible movement, as well as an accessible entrance and exit. The padded adjustable seats and footpegs add comfort for an unmatched price.
The kayak offers a generous storage compartment, a shock cord deck rigging for gear, and a holder that secures the paddles when not in use. The build and shape of this kayak make it an excellent fit for surfacing low-rise rivers and mild waters with gentle rises.
The width of the boat also helps provide an extra layer of stability, making it an excellent choice for beginners on Flatwater who plan on advancing to surfing.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Surfing kayak
With countless surfing kayaks on the market, you’ll need to find a model that meets your unique needs. The best surfing kayaks are easy on the glide when coasting waves. You want a kayak that controls easily and moves right where you want it.
Be on the lookout for these features for a great surf kayak.
- A flat bottom
- A sturdy rocker
- A larger board
These are general features that make a surf kayak great. Now that is established, you have doubtless scaled your choices down to a few kayaks. Now you need to identify one that’s a good fit for you. Here are a few things to consider.
Any sport opens the possibility of accidents, but surfing is a high-risk sport. You need to outfit yourself with safety measures.
- Look for a kayak that fits well
Your kayak should be tight enough that you are secure and comfortable, but simple enough to escape in seconds if you find yourself in a tricky position.
- Stability of the kayak
Look for a kayak with a cross-section hull profile for the best stability. If you miss this, a wider flat bottom on the kayak works too. This lowers its center of gravity, making it more stable.
The chime is the hard edge between the bottom and the sides of a kayak. The presence of chimes allows the surfer to lean the kayak on edge for better control and turning.
2. Size of the Kayak
Find a kayak that fits your body, ensuring that it’s comfortable and safe for you. Don’t just take the salesperson’s word for it – try it yourself. Get in, try the straps, and test out the regular movements that you would make while paddling.
Ask to try a paddle. Better to ask and be denied than not trying at all.
3. The Paddles
When determining the right-sized paddle to use, your height matters, especially in the upper body. Your height affects the impact because of the angle at which the paddle hits the water.
The length of the paddle goes hand in hand with the size of the kayak. A longer kayak requires a longer paddle. Try the paddle out during a test. Eventually, you’ll be able to buy one using only measurements.
Also, bear in mind that it’s possible that a person of your size won’t be able to use your paddle. This means their kayak has a different shape that requires a different length of the paddle.
4. Your Weight
Your measurements play into the kind of kayak to purchase. Weight limits are typically indicated on a kayak when buying, so this one won’t give you much of a problem. Remember, apart from affecting the kayak’s performance, your weight plays a huge role in kayak stability. Do not assume your weight – measure, and ensure you are below the limit.
Find a kayak that made of sturdy material. You do not want a kayak that becomes useless after the first few times on the water. The best are made of glass composites (a mixture of fiber, carbon, Kevlar) or rot molded plastic.
Can I surf in an inflatable kayak?
To be able to glide on waves, chimes are imperative. You can add these to your inflatable, but speed will not be optimum for riding through the waves. A fast kayak is needed for surfing. Inflatables are generally slower than hard-shell kayaks. That said, you can have a good time on the ocean with an inflatable kayak.
Do I have to learn kayaking on flat water before surfing?
No, you don’t. But, it’s a significant step to ensure you’ve mastered your moves on water. Remember, kayak surfing is a risky sport, and accidents happen all the time. You want to be fully equipped to handle any situation on the water before going against those waves.
What To Look For Before Buying a Surf Kayak
Your safety is paramount. Before anything else, make sure the kayak you want to purchase does not skimp on this. You must be safe on the water.
Are there specific paddles for surfing?
Certain materials make a paddle ideal for surfing. You want to look for durable paddles that can survive handling waves without breaking. The most common materials for surf paddles include plastic, fiberglass, and carbon fiber.