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The Most Accessible Form of Surfing

It seems that no matter who you talk to or where you go in the world,  surfing is constantly recognized as the ultimate cool and desirable sport.   I can’t imagine anyone ever saying that they wouldn’t want to try surfing if given the opportunity.  Although I haven’t done any traditional surfing,  I’ve been surfing a surf ski for 10 years, and every year I become more and more addicted.   There is simply nothing that compares to riding a wave.

I’m on a mission to help people realize that surf ski paddling is a form of surfing.   The only real difference is that you are sitting down.   True that you aren’t likely to go through a barrel,  but on the flip side, you get the opportunity to surf from wave to wave.  Ultimately surfing hundreds of waves  in a single session.  As your skills advance you will find that just like a surfer, you are constantly maneuvering on the wave and finding subtle ways to make the rides better and better

To me,  the surf ski is the ultimate enabler of  a super accessible form of surfing that anyone can do.   I say this because:

  • On a surf ski you can surf any waves bigger than 1 1/2 feet in size.
  • Unlike good traditional surf breaks, 1 1/2 foot waves are everywhere.  Even if you don’t have a body of water large enough for the wind to  produce 1 1/2 foot waves,  you can almost always find a boat wake that works
  • While you need a solid paddle stroke,  you don’t need nearly the level of fitness to catch waves on a surf ski that you do to catch waves on a surfboard
  • With a surfski you can easily paddle upwind then turn around and surf the waves in
  • Surfski paddling is very low impact and something you can easily do into old age

I could go on with words, but the video below says it all.   This was taken over Labor Day Weekend.   The conditions in this video are extremely common where we live on Lake Michigan.    8-9 mph of wind, kicking up 2 foot waves.    These waves can be surfed all day long.  As is common, in this video we were only paddling a tenth of mile offshore then turning around to surf the waves in.     Watch the video and observe how easily the surfski cruises upwind.    Then notice how I chase the  swell ramping up to match the speed of the swell and then voila,  surfing the wave.     As you get better and better,  the momentum of the initial surf run will be carried forward to the next, and on, and on.   A perfect rhythm of paddling, surfing, paddling, surfing.   The beauty is that in this zone, the addiction of the surfing all but wipes out any realization that you are actually pushing your heart rate and getting an amazing cardio, core, strength, and balance workout at the same time.
Disclaimer:   I am not wearing a PFD in this video.   This is extremely unusual for me.   It was a 90 degree day with 70+ water temperatures,  I was not paddling further than a 1/4 mile off shore,  and the wind was directly on-shore.