Surf kayaking is sport that involves riding waves in the ocean using a kayak. Surf kayaking was initially developed as a recreational activity which later turned into a sport of its own right.
The sport has a lot of similarities to surfing using a surfboard, the only difference being the type of equipment used. Surf kayaking is steadily gaining popularity over the last several years in the United States and Europe.
The major equipment required for surf kayaking are surf kayaks and paddles. Several types of specially designed kayaks are used, of which the ones with a three fin thruster are the most common.
The kayaks are made of either rotomolded plastic or composite glass material. The paddles used are double sided, which is usually between 1.6 to 2.3m long. Mostly feathered blades are used which allows it to pass smoothly through the waves. Paddles are usually made of fiberglass or carbon fiber material.
In Surf kayaking competitions, each ride is judged for the quality of moves made within a specific time limit, and are awarded points. The surfer with the most number of points wins the competition.
The World Surf Kayak Championships is a major annual international competition conducted for the sport that is held in different cities around the world. The Santa Cruz Surf Kayak Festival is another popular competition conducted annually.
- Surfing — participants stand on a surfboard, and use the waves for propulsion.
- Kayaking — boat races using a small, narrow boat propelled using a double-bladed paddle.
- Wildwater Canoe — kayaks or canoes are used to negotiate a natural stretch of rapids on a river as fast as possible.
- Sprint Kayaking — sprint kayak racing on flat water over distances from 200m to 1000m.
- Surfboat Rowing — a team of riders compete using surfboats on a course out and back through the surf.
- Beach Sprint Rowing — short rowing race in the open water also involving a beach sprint.
- Snowboating — a winter sport in which athletes use a kayak to descend down a slope covered with snow (also called Snowkayaking)
- Canoe Slalom — is a kayaking and canoeing sport in which athletes use a kayak or canoe to navigate through a course that consists of hanging gates on river rapids.