Kayaking Technique Forum

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surfers no different than kayakers

Hello fellow paddlers - back a bit early from BC trip. Great time - whales, bears lagoons, BIG water. This caught my eye as I am an avid surf kayaker. Some time ago I wrote an article on surf kayaking for Sea Kayaker which outlined rules for peaceful co-existence. No doubt some surfers are very nasty, even among themselves. It seems a growing trend in the sport - so much so that the old timers are really disgusted and starting to speak out in surf mags etc. It's an issue of overpopulation at prime spots with many people in pursuit of a few good rides.

Unfortunately kayakers have been part of the problem, as many do not have any understanding of the rules of surf etiquite. Over the years I've been embarassed by fellow paddlers seemingly arrogant approach to sharing the water. They drop in on surfers, bongo slide over them sideways, paddle out directly in front of them, or get established very early and further out on a wave as it peaks thus eliminating a waiting board surfers ride.

Our tool of choice, the kayak, can access and ride waves not easily obtainable by surf boarders. As such we get far more rides, and are not so dependent on well established peaks forming.

I offer these comments only to share the reality that not all kayak surfers are friendly to other users. Many are poor surfers as well that frankly are a hazard to others. Combine this with a "Hey it's free waves for all attitude", and it's no wonder we're not liked.

My experience has been more positive, but I will say that I've spent time easing my way in, being very friendly up front, and not dropping in or hogging rides. The tension has soon eased. I know that there are places that are just nasty - no argument. That's the bad side of human behavior. But we as kayakers have two distinct choices in my view. 1. We can perpetuate an us /them nasty competitive lose/lose environment, or 2. We can be courteous well informed skilled surfers. More of the latter can go a long way and it really is the only logical approach in my mind. There are a lot of really cool board surfers out there!