Monday, November 30, 2015

Performance Surf Kayak Resources

On the Mendocino Coast, we always have surf. Some days are definitely better than others, but we always have something to surf.  We play in the surf as much as possible.  Through Liquid Fusion Kayaking, Jeff Laxier and I share our knowledge and love of the surf to teach basic surf zone classes for sea kayaks, whitewater kayaks, sit on top kayaks, and fishing kayaks.  We also offer private lessons and teach Performance Surf Kayaking Classes.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Jeff Laxier surfing at home on the Mendocino Coast. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Below is a compilation of surf kayak resources that we share with our students. Check them out and please let us know of any other helpful surf kayak resources that we can share.

Basics - Check out Keith Wikle's Go Kayak Now blog post - Surf Kayaking Basics.  This has information on what is surf kayaking and the type of kayaks used.

Etiquette - Gotta follow the rules of the playground (kayakers are notorious for misbehaving in the surf zone).  Surfline's Bill of Lefts and Rights is a good resource for the rules of surfing.   I like visuals so check out this diagram by Robert Saunders.
For an explanation of this diagram, click here.
The Tsunami Rangers have some good points to consider when surf kayaking.  Here is the Tsunami Ranger post on Surf Kayaking Etiquette.

Surf Kayak Skills - Many paddlers learn to surf kayak via the school of hard knocks.  Learning to surf takes hundreds of hours in the surf.  A little education and skills instruction will speed along your learning.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Cate Hawthorne surfing her hp surf kayak on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
Here's a website dedicated to surf kayak skills.

Here's a surf kayak skills video by expert kayak surfer Dessie McGlinchey.  The footage is awesome.

A good reference book for Surf Kayaking is Surf Kayaking: The Essential Guide by Simon Hammond.

Many paddlers can catch a wave, but the best way to learn performance surf kayaking is to take a surf kayak class or lesson, then get out and surf.  Another resource to help you with getting out there is the US West Surf Kayak Website.  It has surf spots, classes, and lots of other information on kayak surfing.
Cate Hawthorne surfing her freestyle whitewater kayak on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Jeff Laxier.
For those that don't live near the surf or get to surf enough, you too can improve your surfing skills.  One way is to watch surf videos - board surfing as well as waveskiing and surf kayaking.  From time to time, I post inspirational surf videos on my Facebook Page.

Do you have any favorite surf kayak tips or resources?  If so, please share them so that I can add them to this page.  


  1. Performance Surf Kayak Class coming up January 16-17, 2016

  2. Check out Glenmore Lodge's YouTube videos for surf kayak skills.
    Cheers, Cate

  3. Nice explanation of the surf etiquette. I have to admit to not following this when I first started but I do now. Thanks for sharing.