Help me find a surfing kayak

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by LAM, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. LAM

    LAM Paddler

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    I am considering purchasing a kayak for surfing and I don`t have the slightest idea what I should look for. I just know that my explorer is too long (17.5) Would a Necky Eliza be a good choice? Romany LV? P&H Hammer? Delphin? Valley Storm? I am a smaller woman, 5'1" if I stretch up on tippy toes. What should I look for? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Lila
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Lila, where are you located? Lots of places down Here to go look at boats.
     
  3. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Hi Dave,
    We're up in Maple Ridge, BC. Just east of Vancouver. We have the opportunity to head up to Skookumchuck in September and Lila is trying to find a shorter boat than she has now to use. Neither of us has done much surfing so really not sure what to look for.
    Doug
     
  4. AM

    AM Paddler

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    I assume you guys are looking for a "kayak that occasionally surfs" rather than a dedicated "surf kayak", which is a different category of boat altogether. In that case, any of the boats you listed above would work, the main point of contention being price. You didn't mention Sterling's boats, which are spendy.

    Based on my own experience, starting cheap, I would look first at the Dagger Stratos. I've never paddled this boat, but I've surfed its predecessor the Alchemy on both shorebreak and tidal rapids quite a lot and it was great. Peter has the Stratos, so he'll be able to chime in.

    The Delphin is a solid performer. I've had this in similar conditions to the Alchemy and enjoyed it. It has more touring volume than the Alchemy/Stratos, so that is a consideration (I tripped for 10 days out of my Delphin a couple of summers ago).

    I haven't tried the Hammer, though I surfed alongside a guy who was in one last summer on Vargas Island (I was in a Delphin). Fun looking boat, though you really give up flat water speed and thus the ability to go far.

    Lots of Romany paddlers locally. They can add their $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  5. LAM

    LAM Paddler

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    Thanks Andrew. I will look into the Dagger Stratos. I think the Romany LV would be the perfect one, but I am looking for a used one and they just don't come up too often.

    What about the Necky Eliza? The write up on it says "The low aft deck offers optimum room for sculling, rolling, surf ability, and bracing." Does anyone have experience with the Eliza?

    Thanks !

    Lila
     
  6. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    If it is a one time deal, don't buy but rent. Last time I was there. Deep Cove Kayaks had a couple of Sterling boats in their fleet for rent. Get the IceKap.

    For tide race surfing, composite is good (less good for shore break surfing, as they are more easily damaged).

    Some other boats to consider: Delphin 150, smaller Aries (the composite version of the Delphin), Romany LV, Valley Gemini SP or RM (not ST).

    Possible would be Jackson Journey 13.5. You likely wold fit well, but not many people play with them to know if they are decent surfers. Probably want to add retention straps over the hatches, as they are not confidence inspiring.

    You may find the Alchemy and Stratos too large. My girlfriend is also 5'1" and found the cockpit openings of the small Alchemy just too large. She would fall out when she tried to roll. The Stratos is larger (more volumous, but same cockpit opening) than the Alchemy in both sizes.

    The Hammer surfs well, but I fear it would be too large to fit well. It fits me well, and I am 6' and 215 pounds. They are beastly heavy also.
     
  7. LAM

    LAM Paddler

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    Great Info Peter, thanks. So the Ice Cap is only 6 inches shorter than my Explorer LV. I am looking at going to Skookumchuck for the first time... perhaps my Explorer LV at 17.5 would be okay? Thoughts?

    Lila
     
  8. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Lengths are not always equal. In this case, rocker also matters. Other features are also built in to optimize for tide race surfing, but Sterling boats are known for having a lot of rocker as one of their design features. Often called banana boats due to the high rocker shape (ok, maybe not often, but that is what I have called them). So even though the length may be similar, the Sterling and NDK would react very differently.

    If you look at these 2 pics, you can see the rocker difference.
    Sterling: http://www.sterlingskayak.com/ice-kap1.html
    NDK Explorer: https://www.seakayakinguk.com/sea-kayak-range/explorer

    Forgot it before, but the Sterling Progression would also be a good choice (maybe better than IceCap) for you. IceCap is made for smaller paddlers but in many ways would be more of a touring kayak that also surfs well. It is made for smaller paddlers. The Progression would be a surf kayak that also tours, and is also designed for smaller paddlers (though maybe optimized for a little large than you, but much smaller than me). Not sure if Deep Cove has Progressions for rent, but they had an Ice Cap before (rented a couple of years when I was up there).

    The Explorer is similar to the IceCap in that I call it a touring kayak that also surfs. I suspect that the Ice Cap would be better, but you can definitely go out and use what you got and it should be a decent boat to use.
     
  9. Alana

    Alana Wave Seeker

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    I have a P&H Delphin 150 in Surf Spec (which they sadly don't make any more) and it's a very capable boat. I'm 5'7" and 110 lbs, and it isn't the tightest fitting boat I've owned, but the ratcheting thigh braces and the full foot plate mean that I can lock myself in pretty well.

    The boat comes alive in surf and swell, and it inspires confidence. When I initially tried it, I found that it behaved very different than my Avocet LV (which I had for ages) in surf, and there was almost a learning curve to be one with the boat. My Delphin now feels like an old (adrenaline filled) friend. :) Paddling the Delphin on flat water for an extended trip isn't exactly fun, and I wouldn't have one as an only boat, but you have an Explorer for that. ;)

    Stay away from the Delphin 155–it will be way too large for you. My husband owns one, and it's a completely different boat. I test paddled the Hammer (sadly only in flat water) and I was lost in the cockpit.

    Do you plan on surfing in deep water, or rock hopping as well? I have come to appreciate the bounce-ability of plastic boats. My Delphin's hull is a mosaic scratches and gouges, but it has bounced over sharp barnacle covered rocks that would have shattered a composite boat. This durability comes at a price, as my 15' tank-of-a-boat probably tips the scale at 60 lbs. The non Surf Spec boats are a fair bit lighter though.

    I also have an older Illusion, and it's great at surfing for a 17' boat, but I prefer my Delphin when I head for surf or rock hopping. The Progression looks like it would be a fantastic surfing machine, but I wouldn't have the heart to bash one against rocks... I also probably shouln't get another kayak...

    Regardless, whatever boat you decide on, I would highly recommend renting one for a couple days and paddling in some conditions and not just flat water. DSC_5533.jpg P1020979-2.jpg
     
  10. LAM

    LAM Paddler

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    Thanks Peter. Your information was very helpful.

    Alana, thank you as well. You have some great information. And those are gnarly pics!! Clayoquot?

    I am looking for plastic layup, second hand. It will be used only for surfing not for day trips / touring. I will definitely try before I buy as I am going to need a kayak that fits well and performs well because I will need all the help I can get out there! It is specifically for Skookumchuk and maybe Surge Narrows one day. I will check Deep Cove and Ecomarine to see what they have for rent.

    Thanks again everyone for your replies.

    Lila
     
  11. Alana

    Alana Wave Seeker

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    Happy to help.

    The first image is Clayoquot, the second is in the Deer Group.

    Oh, Vancouver Paddlefest is this weekend. It's very much flat water paddling, but I believe that P&H is going to be there. Also, Ecomarine and Deep Cove, and they usually have their fleet boats to demo.
     
  12. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Wow, Alana! Those are great shots! The Deer Group image ... is that just outside the Ross Islets?
     
  13. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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  14. LAM

    LAM Paddler

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    Thanks Mick. It must be gone already as they have not responded to our email.

    Lila
     
  15. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Lila, although the Necky Eliza was marketed as a "woman's boat", my paddling friend (5' 6", 102 lbs) tried it and didn't fit very well. Though you are looking for a somewhat specialized design, I think the adage, "There are no bad boats, just bad fits." might still apply. So be sure, after you've limited your choice to a few, to get in the cockpit and try them out first. As the same size clothes by different manufacturers fit differently, so with kayaks having the same specs. The over all design might be better for surfing than touring - that's one point. But your fit in the cockpit is another.
     
  16. BigandSmall

    BigandSmall Paddler

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    Lila if you guys are ever up our way you're welcome to take out our Alchemy S or Reval Mini. There's a wave or two here depending on river flows. There is also a new plastic Romany for smaller folk just released called the Sportive that looks promising for you. Peter, was there something wrong with the outfitting in the Alchemy S your girlfriend was using? I find ours locks down tight on my son but he's not rolling on his own yet. Hopefully it doesn't present an issue in the future. Anyway happy boat shopping.
     
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  17. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    The main thing was how big the cockpit opening was, as compared to how small she is (5'1"). Having a larger cockpit opening means the thigh braces are way spread out, to a position which she couldn't lock herself in. She would flip over and just fall out before she could roll.
     
  18. Alana

    Alana Wave Seeker

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    Dave, I think that it was actually just off of Fleming Island? It was a couple of years ago now...

    It's a little hard to tell by the photo, but the feature is a pour over.
     
  19. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Sure, same location, off Fleming and Sandford, near the Ross Islets. We flirted with that. Almost a stand alone feature, ideal for illustrating how a boomer can be concealed until, Boom! It is on you!

    Very cool.
     
  20. rider

    rider Paddler

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    That was actually just outside our camping spot on Diana if I remember correctly.