TOP 8 REASONS TO PADDLE A SURFSKI
The Most Versatile Watercraft
Call me biased, but I believe the surfski is the most versatile watercraft on the market, not to mention the fastest. You can paddle it on rivers, lakes, or oceans. In flatwater, chop, big ocean swell and everything in between. Go upwind or downwind, and surf wind waves, ocean swell, shore break, and boat wakes. Cover long distances or go for short paddles. Cruise at a casual pace or red-line your heart rate. The possibilities are endless.
It is worth expanding a little bit on the ability to go upwind because this is what truly differentiates the surfski from a Stand Up Paddle Board. Wherever you can find an on-shore wind, with a surfski you can paddle out and surf in. This is really not feasible in a SUP. Additionally, if you are exploring and spending the larger part of the day on the water, in the surfski you don’t have to be so concerned about the wind picking up and creating a dangerous return situation.
As compared to traditional surfing, the magic of the surfski is that we can surf waves from 1 foot to 12 feet. These conditions are common in most bodies of water, as opposed to clean surf breaks which are much harder to find and often involve battling a lineup.
Water Benefits the Brain
While the conclusive science is still very fresh, we all intuitively know that water has a magical effect on the brain. If it didn’t people wouldn’t pay so much money to vacation on the beaches and buy homes with waterfront views. The book Blue Mind is one of the first to delve into the neural science of what spending time on the water does for our brains. It is worth checking out.
It is widely recognized and accepted that surfers are experiencing “Zen” moments. A surfski paddler surfing waves is experiencing every bit as much “zen” as a surfer and on a good downwind run the surfing is endless with no line ups to contend with.
It is unfortunate that much of the general public views the surfski as a narrow and tippy kayak that is unsafe for all but the most skilled paddlers. Nothing could be further from the truth. An entry-level surfski in the hands of a trained and equipped paddler is far safer than the millions of “bathtub like” recreational kayaks on the market. The ability to capsize and easily remount a surfski combined with self-bailing makes it considerably safer than any closed cockpit kayak.
A Super Hero Physique
Proper surfski paddling is about developing the core, obliques, lats, shoulders, and arms. In roughly that order. The elite paddlers demonstrate that with enough time in the surfski you are certain to achieve the much-desired “v shape” torso. Most importantly building a strong core in the way that the surfski does, will pay dividends in overall health and mobility and will translate to resiliency in everyday life.
Surfski paddling to build upper body endurance strength is a perfect complement to running and biking, and one of the best cross-training activities for nordic skiers.
Low Impact Equals Healthy Longevity
If there was ever a low impact and low injury sport, that would be surfski. With some basic instruction on technique and learning to protect your shoulders, you can easily enjoy a long paddling career. Falling off a surfski beats falling off a bike any day.
Anyone Can Do It
I absolutely believe and have witnessed first hand. Surfski is accessible to everyone. I have witnessed 8-year-olds and 70-year-olds pick up surfski paddling for the first time and absolutely love it. Man, woman, child, old, young, athletic or non-athletic with the right boat and the right instruction anyone can begin paddling a surfski and soon be catching waves and surfing until their heart’s content.
Flow States Greatly Enhance Life
The concept of Flow has been around for many years, the science around it is gaining more attention as we all seek to further heighten our experiences and performance. Surfski offers both a figurative and literal example of Flow on so many levels. It could be paddling on a dead flat inland lake or surfing a wild and crazy ocean in gale-force winds. There is hardly a surfski paddler who doesn’t access some level of Flow state on every paddle.
An Amazing Tribe
The surfski community stands above the rest for a willingness to welcome newcomers. The open water swell is a big and uncrowded space and is exponentially more fun to share with others. The most elite in the sport are some of the humblest people you’ll meet. World-class athletes in every respect, who will not hesitate to spend genuine time with absolute beginners. Think about the power of that. It is quite rare.