I'd say anyone can ride one. Go with your normal firewire volume. I weigh 170 so I a 5'4" was on the small side of volume and the 5'6 was a touch on the full side of my volume norm. I went with the 5'6 and I am stoked.
I feel like I catch waves just as easy as on any hybrid shortboard... I have had 5'8" hellfire, 5'6" spitfire, 5'8" dominator (this is a little easier to catch waves on but its 31 Litres too)
with the width of the VG in the nose it is visually different at first but it paddles great and really goes down the line fast...turns amazing.
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I'm 5'9 170 lbs and have the 5'6" VANGUARD.
I have ridden it twice in chest to shoulder high waves at a point break type wave. Hands down the fastest board I have ever had.
I have been riding it with a set of Stretch Quad fins on it. It s crazy how fast the thing goes and it will get on rail and turn really tight in the pocket.
It took about 3-4 waves to figure things out but then I was able to make it go wherever I wanted. Surfing this board is a real free feeling and did I say FAST???
I highly recommend... I was torn between the 5'4 and the 5'6". My normal volume is 26-28 ish for a board with some hi performance characteristics. I am glad I settled on the 5'6 at 28.8 L... I thin the 5'4" at 25.9 would have been tough paddle in unless I was in the perfect spot. (but then I think...I bet i could really crank some turns on the 5'4" haha)
Get one, ride one, have some more fun people