Kayak surfing is sport that involves surfing in the ocean using a kayak. This quickly growing sport is basically like traditional board surfing, except instead of riding the waves on a board, you maneuver through the surf with a kayak.
Surf Kayaking was initially developed as a recreational activity which later turned into a sport of its own right. The sport has a lot of similarities to surfing using a surfboard, the only difference being the type of equipment used. Kayak surfing is steadily gaining popularity over the last several years in the United States and Europe. Kayak surfing is a relatively recent sporting invention. Although as a sporting activity, kayak surfing dates back to the 1920s, the first competitions occurred in the 1960s in Great Britain. During the 1980s, the sport began to pick up in Great Britain and the United States.
Kayak surfing is similar to whitewater kayaking, so it uses vessels that are very similar to small whitewater kayaks. But surf kayaks are often made of fiberglass instead of plastic, and they tend to be curved at the nose and flat at the back. The surf kayak’s design allows it to reach high speeds, but you don’t need big, fast waves to take up the sport. Even smaller surf, such as that found on the eastern coast of the United States, is suitable for kayak surfing.
What are the surf kayak types?
Kayak surfers have two choices for kayak type: sit-on-top kayaks, which are often used in warmer water, and sit-in kayaks. In both types, the kayaker needs to be attached to the boat. The paddler in the sit-in style is attached by the spray skirt (a waterproof piece worn around the waist to form a seal at the boat’s opening), and the paddler in the sit-on-top style must strap him or herself with high braces that allow the paddler to control the boat. For safety reasons, you generally shouldn’t use regular recreational kayaks to kayak surf. Instead you should use only sit-on-top kayaks designed for the ocean or certain whitewater kayaks with special spray skirts. In addition, you’ll also need double-sided kayak paddles to steer yourself through the waves.
Equipment needed and its composition
The major equipment required for surf kayaking are, surf kayaks and paddles. Several types of specially designed kayaks are used, of which the ones with a three fin thruster are the most common. The kayaks are made of either rotomolded plastic or composite glass material. The paddles used are double sided, which is usually between 1.6 to 2.3m long. Mostly feathered blades are used which allows it to pass smoothly through the waves. Paddles are usually made of fiberglass or carbon fiber material.
Competitions associated with surf kayaking
In surf kayak competitions, each rider is judged for the quality of moves made within a specific time limit, and are awarded points. The surfer with the most number of points wins the race.
The World Surf Kayak Championships is a major annual international competition conducted for the sport that is held in different cities around the world.