On the Subject of Boat Choices for Paddlers

Recreational Paddling / May 11, 2012

 Gelo and FP - two completely different boats, same awesome fun in the surf!

Gelo and FP – two completely different boats, same awesome fun in the surf!

Last weekend I took Gelo out for a surf session. I had my Stellar SR surfski, and I took my Liquidlogic Remix XP10 for him. One is close to 20 foot long and 19″ wide, the other is 10 foot long and over 40″ wide! You just couldn’t image two more different boats, and yet there we were out surfing together and having a blast.

We weren’t alone of course. There were plastic skis, short surf-board like surf skis, SUPs , a few outriggers, a mattering of ocean and spec skis and a couple of sea kayaks. All frolicking in the surf and having a great time.

Most surfski paddlers like to catch runners forward, I happen to like getting sideways

Most surfski paddlers like to catch runners forward, I happen to like getting sideways

It’s easy when you take up paddling to fall into a crowd and think there’s only one type of boat for you. I’ve had all manner of boats as I try different styles of paddling in different conditions, each with its pros and cons. And whilst on the water chatting to Gelo about what boat he might like to buy, it made me think more about the different boats out there and their uses.

Like me, Gelo is a playboater. He likes a short rush, the adrenaline that comes with speed, and the excitement of froth and rocks. He wants to surf his kayak, and he wants to smash it up rock gardening. My Remix XP10 is a great boat for all that – it loves whitewater, it surfs well and you can take it anywhere. My Stellar SR surfski is another great boat for our type of fun. It will catch almost any wave, surfs like a dream, stays on waves for longer than the Remix does and is easy to get back onto if you fall out. Of course, it doesn’t like smashing into cliffs quite so much – haha!

Is there a better way to spend a sunny afternoon than on the water? I think not.

Is there a better way to spend a sunny afternoon than on the water? I think not.

From all my paddling though, there’s one thing I’ve picked up, and that is that your boat doesn’t matter as much as you might think. Yes, each is better at something than another, but in the end your boat is only as good as the water it’s on and the fun the paddler onboard is having. Play around with lots but don’t get hung up on any one boat – just enjoy yourself and have a great time. Cheer, FP