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Board Selection Help

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  • Board Selection Help

    Hey Riders,

    Hope you can help me figure out my next board. I'm really struggling on my own. It seems difficult to figure out a good transition board without having the knowledge to do so. Every board is so different the choices seem endless.

    I ride mostly a point break with waist to chest high waves. I'm 6'-2" (188cm) and 160lbs (73kgs) and somewhat agile. My primary sport is windsurfing and I took up surfing for non windy days to help improve my wave riding skills.

    After spending a year on an 8-0 softtop cheapo board to learn some basics, I've been riding for three years on an epoxy noserider shaped log 9-2 x 22.5 x 3.38. The board is heavy and stiff but very stable. It's been a good platform for learning and fun to ride. My take offs are pretty consistent and I want to start to get more movement in my riding beyond just going straight down the line. I can make very gradual turns if I need to make the next section or avoid another surfer but it's a slow maneuver at best. I'm sure my stance could use some improvement as well as my ability to move about the board.

    My biggest complaint is that the board is just plain slow. Also if I'm on a steeper wave and have a late takeoff it sometimes gets very challenging (scary), same for surfing a beach break. Plus I'd like a bit shorter board for easier transport. I like the epoxy for its durability. I want a board that will give me a good wave count for small size waves so ease of paddling is really important but also more flexibility to improve my riding skills. I mostly want one board to do it all. I know that's a tall order.

    Is it better to get a higher performance longboard in the 8-0 to 9-0 range or move to a more hybrid funboard shape like the ADDvance?

    If I were to get something like the ADDvance, there are two options in the bigger sizes. The 7-2 x 23 x 3 1/8 @ 61.9L and the 7-6 x 23 1/2 x 3 1/4" @ 69.6L. How do I know which board would be the better choice and provide enough floatation and ease of paddling? I'm guessing my longboard is around 76L, don't know for sure. Moving from a 9-2 to a 7-2 seems like a big jump although some of these funboards are wide and thick offering more float. I guess if I could spend some time on each board that might help answer my question. In checking the Firewire website, I just discovered there was a Firewire demo a few weeks ago at a beach I normally surf at. Bummed I didn't know about it. That would have been ideal for me to try before buying.

    Sorry for the long post.
    Thanks in advance for the help!

  • #2
    Personally I'd be looking at something like a Baked Potato or a Potatonator. Much smaller than what you're currently on, but will work a treat. If the waves are a bit fat and gutless look at the BP otherwise, if it's a bit more of an all-rounder look at the potatonator. Don't let the shortness of the board scare you, the way the volume is distributed makes them very easy to paddle and catch waves. The overall design of the boards will make them go FAST and help you to improve your turning and skill like you wouldn't believe.

    If you're really concerned by going down to such a small board, perhaps you could look at a Dominator in a 5'8" or maybe a 5'10". I don't think you'll have too much trouble on those.

    To give you an idea, I'm 6'3" and 100kg and would ride a 6'2" dominator. ABout 2 years ago I was 90kg and I had a 6' model, and it was the best board I've owned in my life. sooo easy to paddle, and made surfing small crap waves a pleasure...


    • #3
      also, just to add (scuse the pun). If you were dead set on an addvance, i'd go for the smallest model available... I think a 6'6".


      • #4

        Appreciate you taking to time to post some input.
        Moving from a 9-2 to a 7-6 seems like a big jump for me so even thinking about the 7-2 I thought was a bold step.
        Anything less than that would seem very radical for my skill level at this point.

        I want to have only one board for all conditions and most of the time the waves are small and gutless but I can have lots of fun with them. I see guys around me in the lineup on small boards and they have to pass on most waves cause they can't paddle into them. They do a lot of sitting around. I love that cause I can pick those off on my longboard and have a great time no matter. That's something I don't want to lose by going to a small board. I'm 53 so perhaps my stroke isn't as strong as some of the younger riders out there. But I still want to get a board that will give me a fun ride and help me improve.



        • #5
          fair call... at the end of the day you need to be comfortable with the change you are making.. keep in mind though, there is more to the way a board performs (paddling, wave catching, and wave riding) than just it's volume and overall length. The distribution of foam under the chest will make the board easier to paddle around, a flatter nose rocker also helps with this and makes catching the waves easier. A wide tail will help you keep going when the wave becomes fat and gutless, a narrower one will give you more pivot and more bite in bigger surf. Fin selection will also have an impact. Looking at addvance, I would still opt for the 6'6" maybe the 7'2" at most. The thing with your long board is it's very flat, so if you have a sucky small wave it makes it very easy for your board to pearl (nose dive), a smaller board will definitely help with this. Also, with a 9' long board, there is A LOT of swing weight in the nose. This is going to really draw out your turns, and make it difficult to balance if turning hard. Again, a smaller board is going to help you massivley. With 3 years experience, as well as windsurf experience you would be able to pick up a much smaller board quite easily. It's just getting the right blend of rocker and foam distribution. Also, keep in mind that if you get too much foam it will hinder your wave catching as well. Yes, you will paddle around all day. But you also need to be able to fall onto the face of the wave, and not always drift off the back of it. Look at the 6'6" addvance or the 6'8" dominator... they're going to be close to the 50L mark... if you really want the extra foam look at the 6'10 addvance at nearly 57L... good luck, and post up what you end up buying...


          • #6
            I learnt on a 6'4 oversized groveller a bit like a Dom. Already had skateboard skills and a goo swimmer, i don't think it ever held me back and I didn't find it difficult to learn. As justo said your wid surf skills are going to help you a lot with stability. My gf has a 6'6 advance, it's a beast of a board ! It's super stable and she is learning just fine on it without any previous board sport skills. My take is a 6'6 advance if you want to play it safe, any bigger I really feel would be a mistake at your weight. If you want more short board style fun a think you would pick up skills quick on. 6'0 Dom/spitfire. They pack tons of volume have still a bit of length and are relativly easy to surf for a wide range of abilitys and give you some scope for improvement. I can't really ride massive boards they have too much foam foam for me to move around, I think there is such thing as too big, it makes it much harder to control. The 6'6 advance will be a real balance of something u will have some control and something u can paddle super easy and be stable. I tend to think the same of a 6'0 Dom but just a different sort of ride to the advance, both will work.


            • #7
              Many thanks Justo & Matt-S. You both brought up some excellent points in steering me towards a sub 7-0 board.
              I'm sure my apprehensive in transitioning to a smaller board, less than 8ft, is pretty evident. It's mostly from lack of experience.

              Justo said "Also, keep in mind that if you get too much foam it will hinder your wave catching as well. Yes, you will paddle around all day. But you also need to be able to fall onto the face of the wave, and not always drift off the back of it."
              I find this sometimes on the 9-2. If I position myself too far back on the board in my take-off position, the board will plow rather than glide as I'm trying to catch the wave. A classic rookie move. I have to have my weight more towards the front so the board drops in easily. Mostly an issue if I try to quickly spin to catch a wave at the last minute.

              I'm going to contact Firewire and see if I can sync up with one of their upcoming board demos. I think it's worth the drive for the opportunity to try out a few sizes and/or shapes to take the mystery out of this new board selection. Will keep you guys posted. Thanks again for the help. Good waves to all!


              • #8
                pulled the trigger and purchased the Addvance 6'10" and I had only ridden 9-1 longboards. I could not believe it when I popped right up on my first try and carved down the line on a 4ft peeler off the point. The board will help open new doors for your ability, and my only problem is I dont know where to go from the 610 even considering the 606! cheers