Using the Surfskis

The club has two surfskis, an Epic V7 and a V8. These can be used on the Thames, for surfing trips and for racing training.

They are suitable for members from 150cm to 200cm and must be booked using the racing group email or by contacting David Fenelly directly. You must have received instruction on its use before taking it out. It’s more fragile than our normal Club boats and should be treated similarly to the race boats. ie it should be floating in at least 25cm of water before climbing onboard.

Rudder precautions

You need to be very careful of the rudder; despite it being an over-stern version for the V7, There is no string to pull it up or down, just elastic keeping it in position; so if you hit something while paddling it should move up and return back.
The stern will kick up if it hits something, however it won’t do so if you sit in the boat with the rudder touching the ground.

The V8 surfski needs more care for its understern rudder. Never sit in the boat with the rudder touching the ground.
First adjust the ski’s pedals to approximately your size before you get in. Make use of the grassy area by the river and place the surfski so that the rudder is out in mid air, while you sit back in and fine-tune the pedals. Or put the surfski in 25-30cm of water before sitting in and fine tuning the pedals.

For details on adjusting the pedals, see this video.


It’s a stable boat running straight across the top of the waves with hardly a movement. Even sitting near the shore with wash doesn’t effect it much. It has similar stability to the equivalent fast sea kayak. In bumpy conditions it’s faster than a race boat but on flat water it slower.
The weight (24kg) means you need 2 people to carry it, especially as you will need to put it down gently with the rudder in the water.

Make sure the bung is closed!


Surfskis come fitted with a ‘bailer’. This is a small 5cm x 2cm flap that allows water to be sucked out of the boat once you are up to speed. On flat conditions this can be kept closed, but on choppy water where there is a chance a waves washing into the surfski it should be open. If you have the bailer open (pulled towards you) and you are not moving the cockpit will partially fill up with lovely Thames water. Only open it when you are moving. It won’t start draining the boat until you get up to speed – probably around 5km/h. In lively water it is advised to keep the bailer open. More information here >> Epic bailer


For lights on Thames paddling there is a strong bit of elastic over the rear hatch cover which can be used for a rear light but no where obvious to fix a front light, so you will need a head torch. We’ve put some red reflective material front and back.


In case of capsize paddlers must be attached to the surfski via a leash, attached to the mid boat handles. The boat is so buoyant that should you fall out, it will float off at high speed with the slightest wind, never to be seen again. We suggest attaching the leash to your buoyancy aid. You also need to keep a firm grip on you paddle of course.

Further Information