Small Boat Design

Discussions around designing small boats including kayaks and canoes.

Surf Ski vs. Racing Kayak

All,

I realize this is perhaps a naive question, which might even have been asked before. However, I do have to ask:

Why is it that surf skis are dominating open water challenges, such as the Blackburn Challenge? Looking at the times of the finishers over the past few years, the surf skis seem to have a clear time advantage.

However, when I look at the pure specs of high-performing kayaks, such as the Thunderbolt, Rapier etc., they seem to be pretty much on par with surf skis:

Epic V12: 21' and 17.1" and 32/23 lbs depending on lay-up
West Side Boat Shop Marauder: 21' and 17" and 24 lbs

What do you make of this? The hulls seem to converge to very similar dimensions and shapes. Is it that top athletes somehow prefer surf skis over kayaks? Why?

I'm thinking closed cockpits have the advantage of keeping water out (weight, which otherwise needs to be drained, increasing drag) and allowing for rolling, while open cockpits may be more comfortable (less hot and more movement of the legs perhaps?).

Regards,

Ruedi

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Surf Ski vs. Racing Kayak
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