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  • Writer's pictureEpic Kayaks

What is a Surfski?

Updated: Feb 27

The wonderfully versatile surfski.

Possibly the most versatile paddlecraft on the water, the sleek, simple and lightweight design of a surfski allows you to grab it and get on the water. A surfski is essentially a kayak in basic form, as the paddler sits facing forward and uses a double-bladed paddle, steering with a foot-controlled rudder. Paddling a surfski, you can get fit while experiencing outdoor adventures on your favorite waterways – lakes, rivers, or open ocean. Utilizing a self-bailing sit-on-top cockpit – a time-tested and sea-worthy feature known for ease of launching, remounting, safety and comfort - surfskis can be paddled virtually anywhere there is water: from the Great Lakes of North America to the wave-lashed shores of the Southern Hemisphere. The surfski name has its origins in the exciting sport of surf lifesaving, and surfskis can deftly handle surf zone and ocean swells, although many enthusiasts paddle their boats exclusively in protected waters because it’s simply the best paddle craft for the occasion.  Expert paddlers love to take their surfskis on thrilling downwind runs, chasing waves and surfing for miles across white capping seas. The surfski is great for all conditions!


Epic surfskis are fast, fun, and light. Every model is a modern, efficient, computer-aided design made from aerospace-grade materials using the highest quality laminating methods. Our founder and chief designer, Greg Barton, is renowned for his mechanical engineering prowess and innovative designs, as well as his legendary success as an Olympic sprint kayaker and surfski champion. By bringing a racing pedigree to recreational paddling, Epic has introduced user-friendly, stable surfskis that anyone can enjoy, along with high-performance racing boats for experienced athletes. We also take pride in the elite men and women athletes on our team that compete at the highest levels of the sport around the world. Try an Epic surfski and you’ll love it, whether you paddle for fun, fitness, or adventure!

Ocean downwind paddling in Hawaii  

Check out the unique Epic number system for our surfski models, explained here:

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