Kayaking Technique Forum

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Recommendations for surf kayaks

OK, Here's my situation. I've been paddling for less than a year, and have a 17' glass Eddlyline Raven which I dearly love. I live near the Oregon coast and take it out regularly to the mouth of several river bays so that I can get a taste of salt water experience. I typically paddle about 50 yards inside the real surf line and catch some of the residual surf (3-4 ft high) and turbulent waves near the shore.

Yesterday, after a good session of that at my local bay, I took my boat out to a nearby beach to experience some real surf. It was soooo fun, just trying to stay upright in that breaking surf! Waves were more in the range of 6-8 feet peak to trough although I recognixe that is a very subjective measure. It seems that every set was giving me a faceful of saltwater. I feel that surfing will be a great way to improve my bracing skills and have a great time and realize that a shorter boat would probably be more appropriate for that environment.

So my question to the thread is this, "What would be a good choice for a surf kayak, and what properties should I look for?". This will be the second kayak in the fleet. My intended use is solely for ocean beach surfing. I'm leaning toward a sit-on-top like one of the Cobra models which seem reasonably priced at about $500. Also, any recommendations about paddles and other gear are appreciated.

BTW, you may notice a little extra spring in my step this morning. I had a bit of a kayaking epiphany yesterday.... On two occasions I got knocked over in the surf and managed a "Combat Roll". They weren't quite textbook technique, but I ended upright breathing air instead of swimming. I've had a decent pool roll for a while, and often practice out in the real world, but these were my first in combat.