Surfski.wiki 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.
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.
Camel Rental: “Have you ever ridden one of these?”
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!”