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Waveskis (also known as "Sit on top surf kayaks, or SOTs) are a type of surf kayak that allows the rider to 'sit on top' instead of having to sit in it. Waveski surfing is a dynamic sport combining the paddle power of a sit on top kayak with the manoeuvrability and performance of a surfboard. A Waveski resembles a larger surfboard, with the addition of a seat, fins, foot straps, and seat belt, enabling the rider to 'eskimo roll' if overturned. The waveski rider or waveski surfer uses a double ended kayak paddle for motion while seated in the waveski.
The origins are obscure, but waveskis have been around for over forty years. Danny Broadhurst, a Long Island, New York, surfer created some early waveskis in the 1970s, although these were heavy, bulky and not particularly manoeuvrable. The sport experienced its major growth in the 1980s with manufactures like Macski being a dominant force in the market exporting worldwide to countries such as Australia, USA as well as into Europe. Original boards had wooden frames covered in glass fibre then became foam injected and soon custom hand made boards were being shaped and glassed out of polystyrene foam and epoxy resins. Contemporary boards are shaped in precision CNC machines and weigh around 6 kilograms (13 lb) when completed.
Many of the manoeuvres waveskiers have been performing since the 1980s are only now becoming mainstream moves in surfing, where they were mocked in days gone by surfers, maneuvers such as aerials, flip aerials and various other radical moves one can do on a wave. The sport is experiencing a resurgence in countries such as Brazil and France tying in with the river and sea kayak sports and holding joint competitions as they share a common functionality. More junior riders and sponsors are needed to see larger coverage of this sport[according to whom?]. Competitions are similar to stand up surfing ones and are judged on the performance of the rider on the waves within a 20-minute heat.
There are several kinds of waveskis, including the shorter and "fatter" Australian style ski, used for high performance "slash and burn" surfing, and American style waveskis perhaps epitomized by Steve Boehne's Infinity Surf Shop skis. There are also skegless skis for performing tricks, and even tandem skis. The "Jbay" wave ski shape has become the predominant shape of a ski nowadays with riders positioned further back on the ski for better maneuverability. High performance skis weigh 6–8 kilograms (13–18 lb) and are custom made, using epoxy resin and EPS foam, which makes the waveski light and strong. The sport provides fun and exercise for beginners through to advanced riders. A waveski is not to be confused with a surf ski. Waveskis are designed for surfing ocean waves and surf skis are designed for racing in open water, as seen in Magnum P.I., the Tom Selleck TV series.