First off, what a great forum; hats off to the regular contributors who are so generous with their time, answering (and following up with) all our queries.
I am 47 hrs, 5'11 170-175lbs and above average fitness, and have literally just started surfing about a couple of months ago. I have been swimming 30 mins of freestyle and/or running 10k 5 times a week as well as 50-70 daily pushups to improve paddling fitness. A 9'6" Robert August (used) was my initial board, borrowed a 9'2 Yater, then found a used AddVance 7'6" on Craigslist for $300. I have only thus far ridden the AddVance in small mushy 2-3 ft Waikiki surf but found I could paddle around and position myself as well as ( if not better) than on the longboards. I do not have the glide ( cruise?) as i did on the longboards but could reposition myself on the wave whilst up and riding, with greater ease on the 7'6. I also found that I could occasionally catch waves with less effort by sinking the tail of the board before the wave and using the buoyancy rebound to help launch myself forward. I realize this board would generally be considered too big for my weight but what an amazing learning aid it is. I actually feel much more confident in front of an oncoming wave with what feels like less board.
Of course all this has my mind spinning with new found bravado and has me reading all the Dominator
I see that some (other beginners or returning surfers) have gone the route of grabbing oversized Dominators; 6'6", 6'8 et al, to find their footing on their way down to an eventual better fit. With all this in mind; weight, age, fitness, newbness, access to surf, and level of zeal(lots!) What size Dominator for my next step down in size? I think I would rather go with the ability to feel a board performing ( drive, traction, etc) than end up on buoyancy alone. Maybe I am dreaming, if so be frank with me, I am eager to follow whichever route gets me to a beginner/intermediate level the soonest.
Thanks in advance for any and all input.