There are some brilliant regular kayaks out there but the vast majority of them are made for ponds, lakes and slow-moving water. If you ever want to hit the waves with your kayak then you are going to need to get the best surf kayak you can.

In order to get the best surf kayak there are a few key aspects that you are going to need to consider. The shape and the volume are going to be important as are the rocker and any accessories that you want to have.

To make it as easy as possible for you, we have developed a surf kayaks buying guide to answer all those key questions and have also completed a list of the best surf kayaks available on the market. Once you’ve read through this, you’ll know exactly what you need.

How To Choose A Surf Kayak – Buying Guide



With kayak surfing there are going to be plenty of challenges that need to be overcome and differences compared to kayaking on a river or a lake. The shape of surf kayaks has to be very different in order to be able to deal with different challenges.

The reason for these different challenges is that they are going to need to plane across the surface of the wave. This is a major difference in how regular kayaks try to perform as they aim to try and give you a smoother ride.

While kayak surfing, you don’t want a smooth ride as you’re going to want to be riding the waves and not cutting through them. Due to this, the hull is going to be flattened to allow for as little water displacement as possible.

A regular kayak will have more of a pointed hull for it to be able to cut through the water and be able to smoothly pass through any ripples that might be on a pond or a lake. Surf kayaks are designed with the thrill of the surf in mind.

Just as with a regular surfboard, the bottom tends to be flat with a few fins or skegs on the bottom to give you a high level of maneuverability through the water. This is the best shape possible to ride those waves and for these reasons, these types of kayak aren’t going to be transferable.

A surf kayak most likely isn’t going to give you the stability that you’re looking for on something like a lake and a regular kayak isn’t going to be able to ride the waves. It’s the best idea to get a kayak that is going to be perfect for your own individual purpose.


The volume of a kayak is going to be its inner capacity to hold water, the reason that this is important as it’s a determining factor in how much air is going to be in a kayak and therefore how much buoyancy that it is going to have.

If you imagine something such as a creek boat, then this is going to have a high volume. This makes sure that neither end will submerge easily under the water and it also means that it will be able to resurface very quickly.

This adds more stability but it also takes away from the maneuverability of the boat and its ability to cut through the waves. Due to this, having a high volume is not going to be the best idea for a surf kayak as you are not going to be able to achieve that you want to.

There are even products such as the playboat where the front and back will be tapered in order to decrease the volume and allow you to perform tricks. While surf kayaking, nearly all the volume will be focused on the center to give the highest amount of agility as possible.

Standard surf kayaks are going to have a little more volume and therefore a higher amount of stability. They are still going to be very agile though to get you into the right position to ride those waves and give you the best time possible.

Due to these factors, it’s important to choose the right volume for you. Generally the lower the volume, the higher level of expertise you need. A regular ocean surf kayak is going to have a good balance whereas a playboat is going to be more extreme.

Low Rocker

The rocker of the boat is the curve of the kayak from its bow to its stern. Each wave kayak is going to have a different level of curve and this is going to have a major impact on how easily you are going to be able to ride a wave. There are two types of rocker and they are continuous and kick.

A continuous rocker is exactly what it sounds like and there will be one continuous curve from the front to the back of the kayak. The reason for this shape is that it minimizes the amount of area that the kayak is touching the water.

This will allow it to spin more freely over its center which translates into a much higher level of agility. This means that you can do quick turns which is ideal for when you are river running and need to make those quick movements.

The other type of rocker available is a kick rocker. This is when the kayak will have a much flatter bottom and then the hull will kick up when it comes to bow and the stern. This is will spread out the amount of contact that the hull is going to have with the water.

This is going to be better for play moves and riding waves as you are going to have that base that sits on the top of the water while the tips will be well clear. This is a more ideal shape for what you want to achieve while you’re out there on the water.

Again, you only have to picture a surfboard to see what the ideal shape is going to be. A kayak of course can’t be completely flat as it is a type of boat which is why the ends are going to kick up from it to keep you in the water.

As well as the rocker, the chines on a boat are going to be very important too. This is seen as the section of your boat’s hull that is going to sit under the waterline and this is going to have a big impact on how it handles when it’s in the water.

A hard chine is when there is going to be a more rigid definition and this is going to be able to give you a high amount of control and agility. This though means that the chines can catch on things under the water and it will also be more susceptible to changes of current affecting the kayak.

A soft chine is going to be a much more rounded hull and this is going to help to increase the stability of the kayak. It’s not going to be as agile though and making tight turns through the water is going to be harder than with a hard chine.


When you’re out there surf kayaking, it’s good to know that you have everything that you need in order to perform. This could be something as simple as having a great surf watch to be able to tell the time or the best kayaking gloves to be able to protect your hands.

In terms of being safe out there on the water though there are the three key accessories that you must have. They are going to be a life jacket/PFD, a paddle and a helmet. All those three are essential to safe surf kayaking.

In terms of a PFD, you want something that is going to keep you afloat in the water but isn’t going to restrict your movement. There are some great kayaking life jackets out there that are going to be able to do just that and keep you protected.

A helmet is a great idea in order to prevent any serious injuries from occurring. With a kayak helmet though, you want to make sure it’s going to be able to handle the challenges of surf kayaking as there will be different requirements with different types of kayaking.

Obviously you’re not going to get very far in a surf kayak without a paddle. Getting the right kayak paddles for surf paddling is going to give you the ability that you need without you getting too tired in the process. There is no point in getting a great surf kayak without a great paddle.

There are other great kayak accessories too that are going to help you when you are out on the water. A kayak wetsuit is going to be important when it is cold and you want to be able to get all your equipment to the water with a kayak roof rack.


Q: What Is Kayak Surfing?


In its most basic definition, kayak surfing is simply using a kayak to surf on the ocean waves. There is more to it than that though as you are going to have many different challenges than you would have if you were kayaking on a lake.

As we have seen here, it is going to require a different type of kayak as you’ll be want to be able to ride those waves instead of cutting through them. It’s also a completely different type of experience and one that you save to get used to.

Aspects like how to catch more waves in surfing are going to have to be learned as you gain more experience when you are out there is the open water. Choosing the right surf kayaking spot is also going to be important in order to have a more enjoyable experience.

It’s this requirement for a mix of know-how and expertise that can make kayak surfing such a challenge. It can be a huge amount of fun but as we have seen here, not only do you have to be comfortable in your kayak but you have the right safety equipment too.

Related Post: Kayak Surfing

Q: How To Stay Safe While Kayak Surfing?


It’s important that you know how to prepare for a surf trip and that involves getting everything that you need in order to stay safe. That firstly involves getting the right equipment that you need before you even touch the water.

While some more experienced kayakers may feel as though they can go without having some safety equipment, it’s always going to be the wisest move to make sure that you are protected. This involves wearing a PFD and also a helmet.

It’s important to follow surf kayaking safety rules when you are out on the water and it’s also a good idea to know how to do a kayak self-rescue. These will help to give you added confidence when you are out there trying to ride those waves.

The rewards of kayak surfing are going to be huge though and not only will you get the health benefits of kayaking but you are also going to have an amazing time too and be able to enjoy an experience that will leave you with some incredible memories.

Globo Surf Overview

Surf kayaking can be a huge amount of fun. It allows those who are confident on a kayak to enjoy the thrill of riding on the waves without having to learn how to surfboard. It can be an exhilarating experience but first you need to make sure that you are using the right equipment.

The first step is going to get a surf kayak that is going to be able to be perfect for the task. There are three types that we have looked at here, a playboat that is going to be great for those looking to do tricks on the water, an out-and-out surf kayak and one that is going to be suitable for being on whitewater as well as the waves.

They all have a slightly different shape, volume and rocker, and the best one for you is going to depend on your needs and which type of activity you are going to be doing. Once you have the best surf kayak for your needs, you want to ensure you are staying safe and have all the accessories that you need.

Hopefully this buying guide has given you all the information that you need in order to be fully confident in choosing one of the best surf kayaks. Once you have your kayak, you are going to be able to surf kayaking and enjoy an experience like no other.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!