Personal Challenge: Learning to Surf a Kayak in Ocean Waves

May 26, 2022

Want to challenge yourself on the water? Here are some tips and tricks to get you started kayak surfing.
Personal Challenge: Learning to Surf a Kayak in Ocean Waves


Have you ever watched ocean kayakers glide down waves from the shore? It’s a pretty incredible feat that looks really playful and fun but requires much skill and determination. If you're thinking of trying this yourself,  before jumping into the deep end, be sure you're competent in some basics, as listed by Wear appropriate personal gear like a drysuit, life jacket, helmet and spray skirt. From there, having a kayak roll dialed and the appropriate style of kayak are critical. If you don’t have a roll dialed, think about taking some classes before proceeding. At the very least, knowing how to wet exit and self rescue are necessary because in fast-moving water, like ocean waves, you can count on being upside down at some point. 

Kayaks that Eddyline recommends for exploring kayak surfing include the Sitka series and Fathom. For beginners, Sitkas are the most friendly, playful and maneuverable. If you master the Sitka and want to challenge yourself further, pull the Fathom out of your quiver and give that a try.

Once you’ve got your gear, boat and basic skills dialed in, you're ready for instruction on how to kayak surf! Here’s a round up of some helpful resources that are sure to help hone surf technique.


Expert tips from Paddle Magazine

This article breaks down the anatomy of the surf zone for kayakers extremely well. Shoulder, spilling surf, dumping surf, the soup and rip current are all important parts of the surf to understand for your adventures into surf kayaking. Paddling out, catching a wave, riding the face, broaching and side-surfing, spins and loops are all essential surf zone skills this article breaks down. Although it covers whitewater surfing as well, there is a lot herein specific to ocean surfing. 


How to kayak in ocean surf from Aqua Bound

Delivered by Aqua Bound Pro Staffer Peter Lavigne, this article is a how to kayak surf informational piece from someone in the know. The first person perspective and narrative from Lavigne lends nicely to his advice and teachings. The best place to launch, ocean waves to start with, catching waves,navigating the surf zone and finishing your ride are all subject headers where Lavigne breaks down what you’ll need to know as you attempt to surf in the ocean. 


Technique: Surfing in Sea Kayaks from

An oldie but a goodie, this article shares much on body positioning, handling the line-up, dropping in on a wave and what to do if you find yourself in the soup. This article is housed on a blog specifically for sea kayakers.


Youtube education and learning

Are you someone that learns from watching? Check out these curated kayak surfing videos by folks who rally the ocean in Eddyline kayaks.

Sea kayaking tidal currents in the San Juan Islands

Eddyline Raven in Skookumchuck Rapids

Eddyline Sitka ST in waves