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Best Surf Kayaks

For Riding Small Waves

Best Options and Reviews

Published November 12, 2021 | Updated April 16, 2022

Honestly, there’s no specific build for surf kayaks. A recreational one could be a good choice while a fishing type would do too. It’s just a matter of finding the best features that will give excellent tracking, balance, as well as self-rescue if ever the waves capsize the vessel. So what is the best surf kayak available? In this article you’ll find the best surf kayaks available for riding the waves in the best way possible.

Before we dive into the best surf kayaks, I have to give some pointers when choosing a surf kayak. These features would be ideal if ever you decide to level up your kayak knowledge.

What Is The Best Surf Kayak? Ride The Waves With These Options 2022

Best Surf Kayak Buying Guide

Look for knee straps

Remember that you’re going to fight off waves here and you have to secure your legs more than ever. If you’re using a sit on top kayak, look for reliable straps. One rule in surfing on a kayak is “wearing the kayak” instead of plainly riding on it. You don’t find it great to be thrown into the water, right?

You might want a smaller kayak

Smaller kayaks could have an advantage when it comes to navigation. However, this might be a little low on tracking. A good assessment of your paddling skills will be the deciding point on this part. The size of your body would also be an important factor to consider when it comes to the size of the kayak.

Choose one with a heavy-duty hull

Waves will crash and topple your kayak. If you don’t have a sturdy hull under your equipment, prepare yourself for cracks and leaks. Heavy-duty plastic hulls are high in performance and it can also withstand scrapes if ever you crashed onto the rocks. Do you want to go straight to what is the best surf kayak available? Scroll down below.

Get the right leg room

getting the best leg room for kayaking in small waves

This is the most crucial point of surf kayaking. Uncomfortable leg placement would affect stability and efficiency of the paddler to maintain the buoyancy of the vessel. A spacious cockpit would be great as you can try different leg positions for the kind of paddling you’re doing.

The paddle will make a difference

It’s not enough that you get the best kayak, without a reliable paddle, you’ll be defenseless against the waves. Look for fiberglass or carbon paddles, as these are lightweight and less likely to break during an intense encounter with the waves.

A package with a life vest is a good option

A life vest is a staple when you’re kayaking. Only a few kayak packages come with this so it would be convenient to just buy it separately before embarking on surf kayaking. Never take chances with the waves! If you’re thinking about what is the best surf kayak available, scroll below.

Best Surf Kayaks Available:

1. Perception Sport Swiftwater Kayak

10 Reviews

Sturdy at first glance, the Perception Kayak Swiftwater 10.5 would definitely give you the ride you’re longing to experience. It’s excellent on tracking on moving water and it has an impressive speed that will make it both a surf kayak and a touring kayak in one. Swiftwater is made to have the exceptional buoyancy to keep you afloat even during long paddling adventures or if you’re thinking of going through the waves.

This kayak can carry up to 295 pounds of user weight that is already enough for an average paddler. Remember that this is a sit-inside type and it might not be the best choice for beginners in the surf kayaking activity. Still, it comes with a comfy seat, storage hatch, and webbings for added perks of bringing stuff with you.

Inside the kayak, there are adjustable foot braces to cater long or short legs. The kayak is 10.6 feet long so it’s safe to say that even tall users can use it with the same ease as mastering how to paddle it. It weighs 44 pounds that is heavier than the usual kayaks but it’s no longer an issue when you’re already in the water.

The only downside to this, so far, is its hefty price. If you’re not into making surf kayaking a serious sport, you might find the Perception Kayak expensive. Anyway, it pays to save more and invest on this one that has quality and features fit to fight the waves. What is the best surf kayak available? It’s the one with unfailing quality.

2. Ocean Kayak Sit On Top Venus 11

1 Review
ocean kayak sit on top kayak

For those who aren’t skilled on self-rescue when riding a sit-inside kayak, the Ocean Kayak Sit On Top Venus 11 would be the good option. It has a nicely shaped hull that can cut through water and add advantage when you’re dealing with the waves. However, it’s shorter than the Swiftwater at 9 feet 10 inches but still comfortable given that you can position your legs freely on the contoured feet supports.

The product indicates that it’s a surf kayak for women. Whether there’s a science to it or not, only the manufacturers can tell. But one thing that I can see here is the seat is lowered a bit than the usual kayaks to support the center of gravity of a woman’s body. But if a guy prefers the same setup, it’s also a good choice. Just take note that this one can only accommodate a maximum of 175 pounds of user weight. With that, shorter paddlers would be the best users for this kayak.

The kayak already comes with the seat but you have to buy the scupper plugs separately. Aside from that, it’s easy to navigate and there’s plenty of room on the kayak if the person’s body size is fit to it. With its fancy colors, there’s nothing not to love about it. The equipment is heavy to lift but once it’s on the water, boy, it floats and rides the waves! Just beware of the tight cords on the paddler keeper as it can be very uneasy to use. Still, this is what is the best surf kayak available is about.

3. Old Town Canoes and Kayaks Recreational Vapor 10

10+ Reviews

If you want to challenge your skill on the waves, get the Old Town Canoes and Kayaks Recreational Vapor 10. It advertises itself as a vessel for slow-moving waters, but as a bet on its quality, it can also be used on mild waves on the sea. It’s made from strong polyethylene with a built-in plastic seat so you can paddle all day long without experiencing back pains or numbness in the leg. There are knee and thigh pads that you can use on this semi-sit-inside kayak.

The well on the stern allows you to store small items without the need to open and fumble on a storage hatch. But if you’re riding the waves, it’s better to keep the stuff at the bilge of the vessel. The cockpit is spacious and even a 300-pound person can fit in with extra space to keep his belongings.

Another thing that makes this kayak a good choice is its affordable price tag. You can have a decent equipment for a cheaper price without the expense of tracking. However, the package doesn’t come with a paddle. You’ll have to buy it separately, and if ever, go for a fiberglass one that won’t easily need replacement.

There no string webbings either to secure some stuff but I think it’s a straightforward kayak if you’re planning to face the waves with less baggage. It’s what is the best surf kayak available beginners and it’s just right on price.

4. Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-Inside Kayak

35+ Reviews

Sun Dolphin is a famous brand due to its wide and reliable selection of kayaks that fits different activities. One of these is the Aruba Sit-Inside Kayak. Like what I said, it’s not a good choice for beginners to get this type if they are riding the waves as it’s harder to perform self-rescue.

This kayak has a built-in and contoured padded seat that will give comfort when paddling for extended hours. You can adjust the padded seat depending on the comfort level you want to achieve. There’s also a storage compartment on this kayak that’s sealed so your belongings will stay dry even when the waves crash in. There’s also a drink holder that you can use if you’re planning to embark on a laidback trip.

The Sun Dolphin kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 260 pounds. It’s smaller than most kayaks at eight feet so expect that tall users would have a hard time staying on this one for long trips. There are no footrests inside the kayak that might make it a bit comfortable. Still, the leg room will allow you to cross your legs and use different kayaking positions.

The advantage here is that you can transport this kayak easily because of its size and you can attach it to the best kayak roof rack. It’s also affordable if ever you’re looking for one that won’t break your bank just to get quality.

Now that you know what is the best surf kayak available, you can now decide which one deserves your money. Always look at the quality and the ease of use depending on your skill level. Sit on top is the safest bet if you’re still in the beginner’s phase while sit-inside models would be a great challenge to level up your adventure.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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