Jackson Kayak Support American Whitewater!

[please login to make this ad block disappear]


Book Review: Kayak Surfing

bill mattos - kayak surfing

Independent Book Review: Kayak Surfing. By Bill Mattos. Published by Pesda Press.

bill mattos - kayak surfingIntroduction

Bill Mattos has written a book. Well, it was only a matter of time. It's probably the most important publication, in any medium, on the art of kayak surfing. Not hard really, when you think of the amount of publicity kayak surfing gets, in comparison to freestyle or creeking say.

Well, as this is a review, what you really want to know is, is it any good? Yes actually. I think it's brilliant! And I am betting anyone with even the slightest experience in ocean kayak surfing will agree.


Kayak surfing (the book), is a really lush publication, full to the brim with full colour photography and stylish graphics.

It's also full of well written information, presented in an eloquent and fun manner, covering a wide range of things you really should want to know. From technical stuff on what is really happening to your boat while you surf, to the (correct?) mental and social attitude to adopt while doing so, Bill's writing remains animated and entertaining. If you are familiar with any of his other writing, from Playboating Magazine, or anywhere else, you will know what I mean. Bill has quite a unique way of phrasing things.

Getting red on the wrong side? = getting cut and bust open….. I think.

What is covered in this book? Um… everything I could ever think of. So long as you have your basic boat handling skills, this book will give you all the specialist techniques and moves that are used in the surf. And that's a whole lot more moves than you probably think.

Most importantly, (for me anyway) it covers how to get off a wave. Nothing freaks me out more than being inside a big wall of heaving water, knowing it's going to land on top of you, and having no idea what to do besides have a quick religious conversion. Now I know what to do, in theory at least, so next time I get put on heavy rinse cycle, it will be because I am stupid, instead of ignorant.

It also covers equipment and physical training, how to "predict" surf, and how to survive a trashing, which in surf can be far more scary than anything your average play-boater gets given.

Down sides

Are there any down sides to this book? Only perhaps that it is, by its nature, a book, so if you are too lazy to read it's not much good to you, but then neither is this review... Also the fact that it's a minority group who may consider themselves in need of this book, and thus cause it to be overlooked in favour of yet another shiny DVD to add to the collection, which would be a shame.

That's about all I could think of.


If you live within reach of the ocean, you probably have some surf available, and if you are not making use of it, then you may not know what you are missing. If you are making use of it, to whatever skill level, then you can probably get a lot of help from this book. In fact, I would say that if you ever park your butt on an ocean wave, then this book is vital, but then I am noted for talking pure rubbish.

Seriously though, this is a good book. What more do you need to know?

More info and online ordering

For Playak,
Tim Fullwood

See full product details in the Playak Buyers Guide



See the AUP for our Acceptable Use Policy and a Privacy Statement. Verein Playak is responsible for all editorial content on this site (including all graphics). No part of this site may be duplicated in any way without explicit permission from Verein Playak. Verein Playak takes great care to only publish original content, but since part of the content is user generated, we cannot always guarantee this 100%. If you notice any copyright violations, please let the editors know through the contact form and they will take appropriate action immediately. As a news and information platform, we republish small text snippets and thumbnail images, but always link to original content on other sites, and thus aim to adhere to a 'Fair Use' policy. If you believe we violate this policy in any particular case, please contact us directly and we'll take appropriate action immediately.