By Rob Casey
Whether you’re paddling solo or with friends, outfitting your surf ski for safety and carrying these basic items will give you more confidence knowing you’ll be better prepared for rough water or a swim.
Attach Leash Between the Back Deck and your PFD Side Straps
Most surf skiers use a short leash that connects to an attachment point near their foot pedals, then onto their calf. After capsizing in surf and high winds, the leash could wrap around boat making for a difficult process of untangling the leash, then climbing back on. Instead, attach a 11’-6” coiled SUP leash to a secure attachment point on the back deck, then to your waist PFD side straps. Products from NSI, SurfCo and others have bomber stick-on attachment loop products.
If you’re handy with fiberglass or carbon, a surf or SUP style leash plug is the most secure option. Add a strong string to attach the leash to. This method will tangle less around the boat and keep your feet free while climbing back in. If you need to detach yourself from the leash, it’ll be easier to do so from your waist vs leaning forward towards your legs. Some PFD’s have quick release straps designed for releasing a towing system. And there’s a few SUP leashes that have quick release option as well from Bad Fish and NRS.
Add Grab Handles to the Sides of your Ski
Many skis don’t have a way to pick up the boat at the cockpit. The exterior surface can be slippery thus can lead to dropping the ski or accidently grabbing the rudder cables. Instead, add grab handles to the cockpit rim make it easier to picking up, carrying and grabbing while in the water after a capsize. There are a few grab handle products that will work well for surf skis. Check SUP products for ideas.
Got One of those 4” Forward Cockpit Hatch? Attach the Cover.
Add a string to keep the hatch cover from floating off or disappearing during transit. Attach the cover to an inside attachment or exterior attachment loop using the above stick-on loop products from NSI, SurfCo and Seattle Sports.