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Class 3 Of 4 - Kayak Surfing for Beginner and Early Intermediate Surf Paddlers

Saturday, August 5, 2017, 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM
Beach Access 3, Surfside Beach. NOTE: THIS USED TO BE BEACH ACCESS 4 - IT WAS CHANGED EARLY 2017
Nacal Drive
Freeport, TX  77541
Rob Plenderleith
HASK Training
Registration is closed - Event is full
This is an ACA sanctioned event. All participants must wear a PFD. Non-HASK participants must sign a waiver. See all rules at the bottom of this page.
Available Slots:
Registrants & Fees
No Fee
Photos of past events:  go to Members / Photo Albums and look at the surf kayaking photo album 

Capacity and Slots Available -- at least 3 instructors and no more than 9 students.   Walk-on students are not welcome - sorry - we need to manage the risks of surf paddling and this event is limited to people whose registrations have been accepted for this class. 

The instructors – HASK members will provide instruction.  We will have no less than one instructor for every 3 students in the class.  The instructors’ first mission is the students’ safety at all times.


The target student  -- HASK beginner surf classes are limited to inexperienced and early intermediate surf paddlers aged 18 and over.  For clarity, this means people who have attended at most a few surf classes and / or can only stay upright some of the time in small / medium waves.    Some people will move through the skill set quite rapidly, others take longer to consolidate new skills.   Past experience has been that most beginners gain more from attending as many classes as they can.  There are 4 Beginner Surf classes scheduled in July and August.  Last year's beginners are most welcome to come back and further develop their skills. 

The surf classes are always popular, and need a lot of instructor input.  If you must cancel, you are expected to do so as early as possible so we can offer the spot to another student.  A no-show without very good reason will result in your registration for other surf classes being cancelled.

The objective - to learn new skills, have fun, do it safely, and at all times "Challenge by Choice"


These classes will teach surf kayaking beginners how to safely launch and land in moderate surf (2 foot surf or less), using the skills listed below:


(1)  Unassisted launching techniques;


(2)  An effective low brace to remain upright in breaking waves (this is “the” essential surfing skill);


(3)  Paddling out through the break;


(4)  Paddling in to the beach under control.



 Necessary skills to participate – You must be able to do the following on flat water:


(1) paddle forward confidently,

(2) paddle backwards, even though you might be a bit tentative,

(3) maintain a straight course and confidently change directions using bow and stern sweeps and stern rudders,

(4) confidently do a wet exit. 


These skills are necessary for your safety and the safety of others.  If you have not paddled before with either Rob Plenderleith,  Bruce Asher, Bob Scaldino, Paul Penning, or Karl Brauer, you must  email Rob the name of a trip leader who is familiar with your paddling skills.


Necessary equipment to participate:

Clothing and personal gear:


(1) a PFD that can be cinched tight at the waist and does not ride up over your head - you WILL be in the water

(2) a kayak-specific helmet - essential protection from runaway kayaks and head-stands on a sandbar

(3) footwear which won't come off in the surf, and has no loose laces or anything that can get snagged during a wet exit

(4) sunscreen
(5) if you are going to wear glasses of any type, a very secure glasses strap

(6) dry clothes / towel

Kayak and paddle

(1) a kayak with watertight compartments in the bow and stern, perimeter deck lines on front and back decks, single strand toggles at bow and stern,

(2) a spray skirt which snugly fits you and the kayak

(3) a strong paddle


If your kayak doesn't sound like the one described above, talk to Rob Plenderleith.  There may be an instructor's boat that you can borrow, as the instructors will mostly be wading as opposed to paddling.




(1) Surf  --  the Galveston-Surfside coast typically has a swell from two directions, east and southeast.  We will only run beginner classes on days with swell of less than 2' close to shore.  The swell is additive, so 2' swells from two directions will sometimes combine to produce a larger wave.  Beginners will be in kayaks close to instructors who will be standing in the water.


(2)  Strong wind – winds from the west and northwest blow offshore, and strong wind adds extra complications to teaching surf skills.  If the wind is forecast to be above 15 mph we will postpone or cancel the event.


(3)  Your kayak -- Your kayak empty is a 60 pound missile.  Flooded it is a 250 pound missile.  if you do a wet exit, you MUST  get to the Gulf side of your kayak and stay there.  Your helmet is a necessary part of your defense from your kayak, and other kayaks, but it's only covering your head.  We will teach you techniques you can use to control your kayak in the surf after a wet exit.


(4)  Other kayaks – the surf zone pushes kayaks around and even excellent paddlers are not always in precise control of their boats.  Maintain spatial awareness, and at all times watch for people in the water.


(5)  Entanglement in paddle leashes.   We do not allow paddle leashes in surf training.   They present a serious entanglement risk.


(6)  The hard sand bottom.  We teach in shallow water, usually less than waist deep.  Your helmet is necessary protection while learning in the surf.  This is a real hazard - look at the scratches and chips on the Instructors' helmets.


(7)  Pre-existing injuries - there are strong forces in surf.  We will be teaching techniques which minimize risk.  If you have pre-existing health issues which might affect your paddling,  please bring them to the attention of the Trip Leader when you register.


(8)  Dehydration and hunger – Take water and drink frequently. You will be burning energy, so beach snacks are good.


(9) UV exposure - you will need high SPF water-resistant sunscreen, and most people find sunglasses to be helpful.  There is a lot of reflected light, which can cause serious sunburn and sore eyes.  The instructors are likely to be in long sleeves and sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.


(10) Fatigue – two hours of training in the surf will wear you out.  That is why we will end the beginners class at 12:00 noon.  During the training, take a break after a capsize and have a drink and a stretch.  These opportunities will occur !


Restrooms / change rooms: There are none at our surfing locations.  Dilution is the solution to pollution.
Apres-paddle:  You will be tired, and it is a long drive home.  We often stop somewhere local for a bite and a cold drink after paddling.   You will enjoy the drive home much more after recharging your batteries.  It's also a good opportunity to debrief on the class.


Trip Leader

Rob Plenderleith


Bob Scaldino, Karl Brauer, Bruce Asher, Paul Penning, Wendel Bordelon

Trip Rating*

4 (don’t be frightened away by the rating. See the necessary skills listed above, which is all you need for this event.)

Ready to Launch at

9:00 We will be starting on time !

Duration (hours)

3 hr class including instruction on the beach

Emergency Phone #s

Brazoria County Sheriff --979-388-2392

US Coast Guard Search and Rescue --409-766-5633

Latest Expected Departure from beach

1 pm

Auto Description/Lic #

Distance from Houston

80 miles


* Trip ratings are only a guide. Actual conditions will vary with wind and other weather.


This is an ACA sanctioned event. Every participant must wear a PFD.


Waivers - Please complete our easy to use online waiver if you are a HASK member who has not signed a waiver within the last 12 months.  Read the waiver carefully.  You give up substantial rights when you sign it.

  • Add Smartwaiver with email address “” to your address book to ensure emails do not go to junk/spam.
  • Select a link below to complete the online waiver. 

   ACA-HASK Adult Waiver

  • Respond to the “Confirm your E-Signature” email from ACA / HASK to confirm your email address.  Wavier is now complete and valid.
  • You will receive a confirmation email. Please download and print a copy of the waiver and bring it to the trip put-in.