USK's "ABC'S of the Surf Zone"
Volume 4 in the USK "In Depth" Instructional Video Series
© 2004
Winner of Sea Kayaker Magazine Reader's Poll for Best Video of the Year 2005

Welcome to volume 4 in the USK "In Depth" instructional video series. I can honestly say that the surf zone is one of the areas that causes great anxiety to paddlers, especially if they have never been in the surf. The ones who have greater anxiety, are the ones who have tried to get through the surf zone and got trashed in the attempt. In either case, if you understand the surf zone and know the techniques and strategies of getting through the surf zone, it becomes a fun place to play. The goal of our "ABC"S of the Surf Zone" video is to review the skills that will get you through a surf zone.

As director of UCSB's Adventure Programs I had the opportunity to teach hundreds of paddlers how to negotiate the surf zone. In addition, I was team captain of the 1991 and 1993 US Surf Kayaking Team at the world championships. I was a medalist in the "hot dog" division of the 1991 world championships that were held in Thurso Scotland. As a sidenote, our team had a private meeting with Prince Charles when we had a break from the competition.

In 1995 we had the honor of being named "Best Video" by the readers of Sea Kayaker Magazine. Their Reader's Poll awards are not by committee. Instead, it is the voice of everyday paddlers, such as yourself. I cannot think of better praise.

During my symposium lectures, I have found that topic that has generated the greatest concern amongst sea kayakers is how to get through the surf zone. Living in Santa Barbara California for 29 years has given me a great opportunity to play in the surf and get a thorough understanding of the forces unleashed when waves break. Over the years I have developed a comprehensive training program for sea kayakers focusing on the skills necessary for successful launching and landing through the surf zone. I have also developed strategies for launching and landing groups through the surf zone with my number one goal of keeping all the paddlers upright.

USK's "ABC'S of the Surf Zone"
Running time: 180 min (3 hours)
Chapter Stops: 99
MSRP: $39.95A


Waves occur on just about every body of water. Getting through the waves while remaining upright can be challenging. The surf zone can be a place for excitement and fun or a location associated with terror, damaged equipment and injury. If it is a big surf day, all of your skills will be put to the test along with your level of conditioning. Nietzsche said, “From chaos comes order.” There is usually a rhythm to the surf zone. The forces in the surf zone can be explained and there are techniques and strategies you can learn that will allow you to work with or counteract these forces.

The focus of the video is to present the paddler with an understanding of the forces you will be dealing with along with recommended skills and drills to help you successfully negotiate your way through the service zone. Even though kayak surfing will be discussed, the meat of the video is how to launch and land through the surf zone and remain in control.

The video contains a number of skills and drills to practice on flat water so you will be prepared for the surf zone when you get there. I have even developed a calm water drill that simulates the feeling and dynamics of getting hit broadside by a wave. The key to staying upright will be your skill level, proper timing and using good judgment. Also included, is a detailed safety section to help you make better decisions before entering the surf zone. As you will see, in order to be successful you will need to practice, practice and practice. This video will give you more then enough to review and practice. Have fun getting wet.

If want to get through the surf zone upright and with a smile on your face this video will certainly help you do so. You can purchase this video at the USK Store. Once you go to the USK Store, select the DVD's Instructional link. Click here to go to the USK Store.

Video Resources

As with all of our instructional videos, we have included an insert in the DVD case with the list of all of our chapter stops to make it easier for you to reference where you would like to go on the DVD. If you loose the list or wish to see the details of what is included on the DVD, you can go to the Volume 4 Menu Link to access a copy to read and/or download.

In addition, this video contains a few practice lists. Visit the following links for those lists:

Beach & staging area discussion list

Flat water skills & drills

Surf zone safety considerations safety list

Whitewater wave practice list

See the rest of the USK "In-Depth" Instructional Videos in our series.

We tried our hand at producing a video guidebook called "Paddling Hawaii, Kaua'i Day Tours" in our new Places To Paddle Series. If you want to paddle on the Island of Kaua'i we highly recommend this video.

Sponsors and Advertisers

We wish to thank the following sponsors and advertisers for supporting our video and USK:

Current Design Kayaks
GAIA Sports
Snap Dragon Spray Skirts

We are selective in the companies we approach for sponsorship. We choose companies that produce quality products and work to take care of their customers. We hope you support our sponsors.

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