Oceanski or Surfski is the art of riding waves out on the open sea on a long, narrow, paddle driven craft. Skis have an under-stern rudder controlled by foot-pedals, making them highly manoeuvrable when surfing, while a sit-on-top cockpit makes them watertight and simple to remount.
The sport was born and developed in the big winds and waves of Hawaii, South Africa and Australia, but is now attracting paddlers in new locations around the world. Many are attracted not just by the racing but the fact that skis provide a versatile fitness paddling platform. In the UK there is a friendly and growing oceanski community, holding a series of races, try-a-boat and coaching days.
While elite racing skis can be as little as 16 inches wide, and require a very high level of skill in large seas, there are a number of entry level boats. These are significantly more stable (often it is possible for novice paddlers to use them on protected waters) and easy to remount, but still retaining the ease of surfing and feeling of speed of the more challenging models.
Most site photos courtesy Gordon Dryburgh – www.devondigitalimaging.co.uk