I just got back from a 3 week trip to Kauai and brought my 4fun out there. I had never really done much surf kayaking before and thought it would be fun to have out there.
Ultimately for the hassle, I probably wouldn't do it again. At least with that type of boat. You really need a "wave ski" or some sort of surf specific type of boat.
Another very important thing. The whole time I was there I met ONE guy that is apparently the ONLY guy on the island (at the time) that does surf kayaking. The climate is not very accepting of the idea yet. Kauai is a very locals type scene and you don't want to paddle out the wrong place. I was told that some folks will really give you a hard time, although to be honest, I personally never got too much crap, but then again, no one would even say a word to me... even if I just said hi.
In most of the good surf areas, you have to paddle pretty far to get out to them and if you have to swim for a myriad of reasons.. you are totally screwed if you don't have real good backup (ie another paddler!!).
Thanks for the tips. I'm primarily a board surfer but I started taking a kayak on my surf trips about 4 years ago and I love it. It is perfect for when the surf conditions are not prime for board surfing. I think I'll take it to Kauai and hope for the best.
I'll definitely stay away from the named surf spots. I don't think kayaks need the wave quality that surfboards need in order to get good rides anyways.
If any of you other folks out there are ever going to try ocean surf kayaking I would recommend:
wax your cockpit rim with surf wax or paddle wax because it reduces popped skirts
use paddle wax and when you get worked really hard keep a death grip with your key hand and be prepared to let go with your off-key hand if you feel like you are losing it. The paddle will flop around in your death grip hand and have a lot less pressure on it and you might save yourself from losing it or snapping it.
take extra back straps for your seat rigging. I broke one during an epic session and that was that. I think the extreme pressure mixed with lots of sandy water kills back straps fast.
get some waterproof flexible foamy tape (Johnson & Johnson) to wrap your thumbs and grip area of your hand because the sandy water and paddle wax is guaranteed to take all the skin off your thumbs and leave you bleeding unless you wrap before you paddle.
don't forget your bail sponge or you will be screwed
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