How to get a surfski for freediving or scuba.

There are only a few places in the U.S. where you can really find surfskis. My understanding from most kayak shops, is that the market for kayaks is either whitewater boats, or touring boats. The touring boats are the faster of the two types, and are made as long as 20 feet or more. But these boats are used mostly by families and older people who are not interested in pure speed or a workout---they want to see nature, and they want some stability added to their boat as well. This has led to today's popular Sea Kayaks.

The whitewater boats are much shorter, often less than 10 feet. They will turn on a dime, and paddle easily up to a speed of about 4 m.p.h., which is about full speed.

With the idea of extending these two markets to divers, the "Kayak Industry" began developing a hybrid between the whitewater boat and the touring boats. It would have to be a "sit-on-top" design to facilitate re-entry from the water after diving, and it should hold a straight course much better than the whitewater boats (which often seem to have a mind of their own). They needed a very stable boat which could pack a scuba tank and gear, would paddle easily, and could handle seas which were "reasonable". They would be used mostly by divers who would paddle out a few hundred yards maximum, in relatively still, current free water, and would be easy to climb back into and to repack the gear as well. Boats such as the Scupper Pro and the Scrambler designs emerged as leaders in this type of sit on top kayak. And most importantly, these boats were to be created for the "masses" --- you know, the non-athletic, non-coordinated, untrainable, and fearful of tipping, who make up the majority of potential buyers.

But, IF YOU ARE COORDINATED, IF YOU ARE ATHLETIC, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PADDLE OUT ONE TO THREE MILES TO GO DIVING, INSTEAD OF 200 YARDS....THE SURF SKI WAS MADE FOR YOU!!! As we've said earlier, it will take you one to three months to get good enough on one of these for it to become a spectacular dive platform for you. Once you learn how to paddle properly, you will now longer be tipping easily (except when you get back on and begin packing gear back on----this is best done in the water), and as a good paddler you can travel between 6 and 8 m.p.h., maintaining stability in 10 foot seas, and enjoying the huge wakes of close passing mega yachts. Until then, it can also be a great deal of fun. If you want one, you can have it custom made for you for less than $1600, and perhaps even under $1400. You can have a hatch for gear installed in the boat, just like the gear hatches you sea on the Sea Kayaks, and if you want to use one for scuba, you could have a special scuba hatch made to hold a standard 80 cubic foot tank, or smaller. With the recessed deck going down to the bottom of the hull, the weight of the tank will not adversely effect the balance of the boat. I'd be inclined to do this with the Dolphin design, the high volume boat, and place the tank cut out in the front between the bow and the foot rests. When not using the scuba tank, the hatch can be covered and the boat just as fast as the original design. Divers with the typical Scupper Pro or Scrambler designs can paddle with you if you dawdle, but if you decide you want to reach your comfortable cruising speed, you will leave them behind as if they are anchored to the bottom. If you happen to be non-athletic and with poor dynamic balance, and if the paddling techniqe escapes you, and still you purchase the surfski----most likely you will soon hate me for getting you interested in this high speed kayak. Hopefully I have scared away anyone who fits this description.

The man to speak to about getting your own surfski is Bruce Gibson, a manufacturer of Surfskis, and Surfski racer himself. His website is, he does have a telephone number...+1 (561) 395-1376, but no e-mail at this time. We will be happy to put new designs by him or other people up on a website, to help more divers to find their ideal boat, but for now may need to begin with the phone call to Bruce's company, Venture Sports.