Surf Boats in SoCal? : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I'm a competitive rower and outrigger canoe paddler in LA who's looking for a surf boat club in Southern California. I don't even know if there are any but if anyone happens to know of any or has any information I would really appreciate it.

-- Steve Watkins (, January 09, 2001


I'm no expert on the topic, but here are my observations as a southern Cal rower and avid reader on rowing topics: East coast "surf boats" are round-bottomed, more or less adaptations on a "Whitehall" shape. The west coast analog is a 2-seat "surf dory", with typical dory shape, adapted for launching and landing thru heavy surf, i.e. deep and wide, with a false bottom for floatation and scuppers in the stern to let the water out. The east coast boat is actually a pretty good all-purpose boat. It's been used for some long-distance tours and I read of people using them for recreation. The west coast boat is pretty specialized. I seldom see it used outside of lifeguard competitions, of which we have a good one each summer in San Clemente where I live. Neither the east nor west coast boats are a single, uniform class, but are produced by several builders, with variations on a theme.

-- Kim Apel (, January 09, 2001.

Looking for single surf boat any info about east coast builders? Or used life guard boats in the FL. part of the wourld would help. Mahalo Joseph

-- Joseph Pettigrew (, July 09, 2001.

regarding the two types of surf is true there is the west coast and east coasts types. I recently purchased the west coast type and disagree strongly with the statement that it is more specialized and less suitable for recreational rowing.It is true that it is a rarer boat though. The east coast surfboat is a decendant of the Seabright Skiff. Strangely I grew up in the next town from Sea Bright NJ. NJ has a reputation for rough surf. The Seabright skiff was a beach based fishing craft that was designed to be launched through the surf. Of the 5 manufactures of current surfboats.........4 are based in NJ and all build a similar style boat. Surfboats and racing them are an institution in South Jersey and the boats used are informally kept similar. Thats whats keeping the builders going. Several South Jersey Towns order new boats each years solely for the purpose of racing in an annual events.Otherwise the Surfboats are extinct for practical purposes.......currently jetskis and surf rescue board are used. Van Dynne is the largest builder of the NJ boats with their 17. Asay in Asbury builds a more specialize craft that is prized by racers as well as more convetional models. It is similar to the Van Dynne.but generally 19 feet...........lower...........narrower keel.........a raised floor for self bailing.....and by far the fastest. A thoroughbred racer. Patroni and Swift, both of South Jersey have built a handful of boats each and are putting out some beatiful craft. Now the west coast. The west coast boat is a decendant of the Banks dory. generally the banks dory of old were ship launched fishing craft.with a flat bottom. The main builder of the west cost boat was WD shock. From 65-90 they built only 188 boats. Now Al Pearson is building a similar boat. The boat is 20 feet long. Same weight as the east coats boat...300 pounds........but generally has the raised floor to enable self bailing.See The sole advantage to the east coast boats is that they are better in the breakers. Otherwise the Surf Dory (West Coast) is better overall. The boat is more boyant and there is less boat in the water. Especially faster when rowed solo.It took me alot of research before I convinced myself that I could move a 300 pound, 20 foot boat, as the concept goes against alot of the thoughts on this forum. The bottom line have to have the physique to enjoy the boat and they are not for everyone solo. For rough water and double rowing...........they are the best thing out there.

-- Harris (, June 20, 2002.

I want to clarify. In competitive flatwater mixed events the west coast and the generic east coast style boats average similar speeds. The west coacst boat is more on top of the water and slightly more easily driven..although it doesnt track as well in rough water and wind. The Asay built boats average 10-15% fster times in general as they have less windage and a nrrower keel line.

-- harris (, September 07, 2002.

Gig Harbor boats is now building a fiberglass version of the Jersey Skiff. That's the Northern version of the Sea Bright. It's not the modern competative version of a surf boat but a glass version of the classic wood boat. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, June 22, 2004.

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