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Rental & Surfski Availability

Intro tries to encourage folks to include information about surfski availability (and we do have rental listings on various location pages where they have been found). But as you will discover during your travels, finding a surfski to paddle can be more difficult than finding good paddling conditions, or downwind runs to paddle.

Given the relative expense and fragility of surfskis along with the risks and liabilities that may surround downwinding in many locations, surfski rental so far has been a very small part of the surfski world. As of 2023 it is almost non-existent. And the few folks who do provide rental surfskis are not entirely unreasonable if they require significant vetting of your paddling abilities and/or significant rental fees along with steep security deposits for all but flatwater paddling of their boats. Surfski retail prices are high and transporting them to out of the way places can cost as much or more than those purchase prices. (For durability it is not uncommon for rental services that we are aware of to employ plastic surfskis. But even though they are not much fun to lift and carry given how heavy they are, many plastic surfskis can provide plenty of downwinding fun in the hands of a reasonably capable paddler.)

If you do rent or borrow a surfski, its condition and the safety it does or doesn't provide directly determines your well being if you paddle anywhere involving risk. Carefully check out the condition of rental/borrowed surfskis and their steering assembly function.

No Local Rental Business? - Finding or Increasing Surfski Availability

  • Availability of Surfskis - this is going to be a problem in many places, acutely where there are few surfskiers, but often even where there are significant numbers of surfskiers and surfskis.
    • Where there are few or no surfskis
      • (this advice is more for locals trying to get their own surfskis than for potential renters) Shipping individual skis is very expensive. In the past some Caribbean islands have gotten their surfski communities off the ground by getting a large enough group of folks to order a shipping container of surfskis, knocking down shipping costs per individual surfski to much more reasonable levels. (this has been more practical in the past, but given the supply/container constraints of Covid times container costs may just be prohibitive in most circumstances) It's also worth seeing if you can get a bulk discount for skis (new or used) from a dealer or manufacturer who may have an interest in growing surfski participation in your community.
    • Where there are surfskis
      • Unless you are buddies with someone in the locale you are visiting who is willing to loan you a boat, you may still have problems finding one to use. - to that end, check out the references/resources for locales here on the wiki - contact information and social media links may be provided that are not explicitly for rental sources, but getting in touch with local folks can sometimes lead to relationships that will offer the opportunity to use surfskis during your travels. Loaning your own boats to visitors you connect with can also often lead to reciprocal offers to use their boats if you visit their home waters.
      • Some of the best opportunities to paddle when you travel will be available from places that offer lessons and guiding services. It is not entirely unheard of to be allowed to rent a surfski somewhere after you have taken lessons or guided trips and have convinced your hosts of your skills and responsible judgement.
      • Clubs - local paddling clubs may have some loaners available. As in most other cases, you may need to make a personal connection with someone in such a club and/or through direct contact and paddling with club members demonstrate your skill and reliability.
    • Important International Races - for some popular races, surfski companies and representatives will bring a number of surfskis. Sometimes they are available for rent during the race and surrounding days with the intention of selling these boats at a discount after the races are over. Sometimes there are only enough of these boats to supply the top international paddlers who will attend these races. Other times there could be additional surfskis available for more participants. In general you should reach out to reps long before the scheduled event - that is generally going to be the best chance for you to get in on such a rental. If many boats are being transported, your share of the transport cost will be lower.

No Surfskis to be Found - Parting Thought

DON'T BE A SURFSKI SNOB - some places, in particular Hawaii, may traditionally have far higher concentrations and availability of outrigger canoes than surfskis. If you just want to get out on incredible waters and experience wonderful downwind runs, open your horizons to paddling outrigger canoes, SUPs, Foils, etc. - you likely will not regret it.

Rental Humor?

Camel Rental: “Have you ever ridden one of these?”

Renter: “No.”

Camel Rental: “It’s simple. If you say Woah, it will walk. If you say Woah Woah, it will run. If you say Woah Woah Woah, it will run so fast you have to use one of your 3 magic wishes to stop.”

Renter: Hops on the camel and says “Woah.” Camel starts walking.

Renter: says “Woah Woah.” Camel runs.

Renter: says “Woah Woah Woah.” The camel runs so fast the renter has to use one of the wishes to stop.

It’s a good thing the renter did that because the camel stopped right at the edge of a cliff. The renter looks down the ravine with wide eyes and says “Woah!”

rental.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/12 15:21 by preavley