Surf Ski vs K1 Kayak – A Decision Made

If you’ve read my recent post about kayaking at Llyn Geirionydd in Snowdonia you’ll know about my dilemma as far as  surf ski vs K1 kayak is concerned.

Surf Ski vs K1 Kayak

I couldn’t quite decide if I should get a K1 kayak for out and out speed or a surf ski for more versatility. The K1 kayak had the potential to be faster, but only if I had the skill to make the most of it. The surf ski would be easier to use, more versatile and safer on the coast, but not as fast in a quadrathlon race. None of this was helped by the price of such things and the fact that I already have a surf ski so how would another one fit into my ‘quiver’ of paddling craft.

Decision Made

I made a decision over the weekend though. No, it wasn’t to get both! Well, not quite anyway. In fact, I’ve decided to get a surf ski and there are a number of reasons behind this decision.

  1. The brand new price of £1100 for the ski that I’ve chosen it’s relatively good value (in comparison to other manufacturers) and the fact that I can get pair of split shaft adjustable paddles at cost price with it helps sweeten the blow somewhat.
  2. I should be able to get out on a surf ski more than I would a ‘proper’ K1. This should help with my progress in the sport.
  3. The extra stability of the surf ski over a K1 should mean that I can use it to develop and improve my paddling technique and fitness. Learning such techniques will be easier and more productive from a relatively stable base than it would a wobbly race machine.
  4. I’ll be able to use it in quadrathlon races for now. It may not be the fastest option for me here but hopefully it’ll be faster than my current ski.
  5. It may not be quite as stable as my current ski but I’ll soon get the hang of it and I don’t think there was actually that much difference in stability anyway, they just feel very different.
  6. I’ll be able to use it in the waves and on the sea as well as in flat water.
  7. It will be safer for lone-training in and around the coast. The fact that it is self-rescuable is the main factor here. Falling off which will happen a fair amount to start with won’t be an issue as I can just climb back on again. Not something that can be done in a K1 kayak.
  8. It may be a little less stable and more advanced than my current surf ski but I don’t think it will over-stretch my abilities too far either.

All in all I’m hoping it will be a good next step for me. Of course it doesn’t rule out getting a faster, less stable K1 kayak at some point in the future should I feel the need. Hopefully by the time I can afford one of those as well my paddling will have improved and I’ll be able to look at the faster end of the K1’s rather than the more stable end.

Even if I do end up progressing to a K1 in the future the surf ski will still be a very useful addition to my flotilla as it’s versatility and added safety will probably mean that I’ll continue to use it as much if not more than the K1 in training, especially in the winter months.

Knysna Genius BLU Surf Ski

So, what surf ski did I choose? Well the heading kind of gives it away but I’ve decided to go for the Knysna Genius BLU. Surf ski’s aren’t easy to come by in the UK. You can get a few models from the likes of manufacturers such as Epic, Nelo, Nordic Kayaks and Think but they don’t come cheap. I haven’t been able to find out the price of some of them but most seem to start at just under £2000 for the basic construction and then the sky’s the limit as you start looking at the more exotic and lighter constructions.

I was however put in touch with someone who imports Knysna surf skis from South Africa and runs the company Race Pace Ltd. that sells them. These ski’s currently start at £975 for the basic fibreglass construction and rise to £1690 for the lightest, top of the range carbon epoxy vacuum construction. I made some enquiries and checked stock of these boats. I had a quick go in a couple as well. Upon checking the weights, it seemed clear to me where the best value lay.

  • The fibreglass surf skis at £975 were around 16.5kg
  • The glass epoxy vacuum surf skis at £1100 were around 13.2kg
  • The carbon epoxy vacuum surf skis at £1690 were 12.8kg

It’s quite a big £590 price jump from the glass epoxy to carbon epoxy model and only a saving of 0.4kg. Obviously there would be improvements in stiffness and probably durability too but the middle of the range construction seemed good to me.

There was only one in stock though so I didn’t have any choice in colour – The Knysna ski’s don’t have the most exciting colour schemes and graphics anyway. I haven’t bought it quite yet or even seen it but I think it’s mainly white with some red/orange trim on it. Possibly something like this.

Knysna Genius BLU

Knysna Genius BLU

I guess the colour doesn’t matter too much! It comes with an adjustable foot rest system, handle, pull strap and 2L water bottle holder. I’m hopefully going to collect it later this week and can’t wait to give it a proper go – assuming of course that my chest is feeling a little better by then.

3 Responses

  1. Mum says:

    😀
    I’m sure you’ll have fun x

  2. Miki says:

    Hi Alan… I was just wondering if you still have the Genius Blu and if you had any sort of review of it? I’m currently considering purchasing one. Also wondered if you would be able to share who the importer of them is in the UK?
    Thanks!

    • Alan Cole says:

      Yep, I’ve still got it and have mentioned it a few times in various blog posts…. For the money it can’t be beaten and is serving me well. It was a little unstable to start with but I’m using it in some pretty rough conditions these days and feel quite comfortable in it. I’ve added a cargo net to the rear deck. It’s a fairly basic boat, but it is also half the price of most boats new so that’s what you’d expect really.

      Importer is Richard Elliot: http://www.racepaceltd.com/

      Hope that helps.
      Al.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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