Ninja 6’8″ was the basis and inspiration of our design concepts. This kayak is essentially an evolution of a design that Ray Cotton and I began back in 2002. Our original intent with this design has morphed into the current shape. We set out to make a short, fast kayak that would truly surf the wave and allow us to emulate whitewater-play moves, aerials and radical surfing moves. From the start the boat did this, but we improved the ease and efficiency at which it performed through each modification.
This is a kayak in which we were able to catch aerials in as early as 2003 and have learned and improved in over the past five years. We have envisioned the changes we made to the boat for a couple years, and this shaping project finally allowed our design team to bring those to life. We kept the 24″ hull width witch we feel is perfect for a wide variety of paddler weights, making a slightly more squirrely feel on flat water for heavier paddlers but super fast for all paddlers once the boat starts planning. The narrower than usual width makes for quicker, easier edge transitions on and off the wave, but it’s so critical when you’re on a steep face and need that extra leverage to keep your down-wave edge from dropping. The hull is dead flat from stern to bow with an edge bevel, otherwise known as an anti-trip chine. The bevel starts at the back of the side fin boxes, grows as wide as 3″ and 1/4″ deep, and fades away a few inches from the bow. This makes for a fast, no-gimmick, no-nonsense planning surface that does what it intends when the paddler is in control. The stern footprint is square which gives more surface area and stability on flat water or while paddling out, as opposed to a pointed stern. This also allows a straighter, faster rail from the center of the boat back to the tail. The bow is wide and very rockered giving a great surface area to land on when doing steep drop-ins, and also allowing more volume on the deck-side for foot room, making it accommodating for various sized surfers despite its short length.
On the deck, the stern has a large bubble of volume sloping up from the back of the cockpit rim that fades back down to a slicey tip. This volume hump floats the paddler high and gives a “watermelon seed effect” when you get swallowed by the foam pile, shooting you back out onto the green face of the wave. The slicey end of the stern allows stern pivots that come in handy for quick-decision drop-ins where you have to turn and burn at a moment’s notice. From the hip area forward to the bow, the deck volume drops down in height in comparison to the stern and carries a more angled slope from the center-line down to the edge. The slightly dished shape of the boat’s sides take volume away where you don’t need it and leave a sharp “surf board” edge to grip into the wave’s face. This shape continues all the way up to the bow. The bow deck peaks in the middle and slopes off without convex down to the edge, leaving no deck obstructions from knee to toe to catch on the wave during a deep or very aggressive bottom turn.
These features, with a super-light, carbon-kevlar, foam core construction, tri-fin setup and and light composite seat make this an aerial catching, steep wave loving, tight pocket riding surf kayak. This boat should fit a weight range of 120-185 lbs, performing best for a 145-150 lb surfer. Fins tend to run further back in this kayak to give the very quick turning kayak the proper forward drive.