Video: Waveski Surfing off Maui

Fletcher Burton and Tyler Lausten blur the lines in the waves

Dig this sweet new video featuring Fletcher Burton and Tyler Lausten riding waveskis off Maui recently, then standing up and surfing … well, you’ve gotta see it to appreciate it.

Lausten is the reigning national waveski champion following the October nationals in Ventura, Calif., while Burton is coming off a solid fifth-place finish at the recent Santa Cruz PaddleFest, where Lausten took third.

A little backstory on Burton’s unique waveski talent, from the May 2010 edition of C&K, “Standup before standup“:

Fletcher Burton

Fletcher Burton grew up surfing and kayaking in Pismo Beach, California. This remote enclave two hours north of Los Angeles is hardly considered a paddling hotbed, but Burton, 31, has developed arguably the most dynamic technique in the fusion of paddling and surfing.

When he paddles into a wave he’s seated on a waveski-a high-performance, sit-on-top surfboard. After planing on the wave, he pops to his feet using a quick paddle brace-inserting his front foot into a custom strap-to shred the face like a surfer, smacking the lip and tucking into the occasional barrel, riding the figurative seam between his two great loves: kayaking and surfing (Unfortunately, international waveski officials have made it illegal to stand in competition).

“You [always] had to make a decision before you went out: surfboard or kayak,” Burton says. “And I didn’t want to.” The waveski was natural for him. Then he saw Jeff Snyder in a Scott Lindgren whitewater film, whose striding inspired Burton to stand on his waveski.

When asked what he calls his technique, Burton likes to pay homage to Snyder. “I call it stride-surfing,” he says. — Kurt Mullen

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