Surfski Paddlers: Learn Two Essential Skills

July 15, 2022

Two Essential Skills for Surfski Paddlers

Surfski paddling burst into the sports scene around 2017 and its popularity continues to grow as its accessibility improves, more people learn about it, and the boards become more performance-oriented.

tips for surfski paddlers If you’re already a fan of surfskis, then you’re familiar with the versatility of these long kayaks–as well the joys of its versatility. A surfski board is sleek and fast (one of the fastest), and it can be paddled on rivers, oceans, lakes – on water that’s smooth, choppy, with swells, breaks, and waves, and downwind or upwind. You can paddle at your own pace, meaning you can take slow and easy or paddle to set your own personal best record!

Learning the basics

With a wide range of surfskis now available, enjoying these fitness and racing-oriented sit-on-top kayaks is no longer exclusively reserved for advanced paddlers. With craft like Epic’s stable  V-5 or V-7, it’s relatively easy for anyone to get comfortable and feel the glide. But even in these beginner surfskis, there are some essential skills that are helpful to know.
tips for surfski paddlersHere are two that we think are a great place to start:

  1. Remounting: this is a skill that any paddler in any craft should know and practice—how to get back in after falling in the water. Now, sometimes this will happen because you want to go for a swim—other times, it will happen because a wave or boat wake caught you unawares. Regardless, research and then practice methods of remounting your surfski. Start in calm water and progress to ever more challenging conditions. As you practice in rougher water, please make sure to use the buddy system—always have a partner or a small group of paddlers watching and standing by to assist. In the end, having a solid remount will make you much more comfortable and confident in almost any situation.
  2. Forward Stroke: good wing paddle technique will help you get the most enjoyment out of these potentially quick kayaks. The wing paddle is designed to most efficiently harness the muscles used in torso rotation. A great forward stroke video is available on the Epic Kayaks website. It’s also important to note the differences in how a wing paddle moves through the water compared to a traditional paddle. The wing paddle typically “stalls” when it moves past your body towards the stern of the boat—providing no stability. The shape of the wing paddle also makes it possible to only do a low brace if you need to save yourself from falling in or want to brace yourself as you surf a small wave or boat wake.

Here at Bill Jackson’s, we’re thrilled to feature the latest in surfski boards, including  Epic’s stable V-5 or V-7, as well as other popular brands.

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