I am looking into getting a new board soon and need some help. To give you an idea, I am 5'9 140lbs. I have been riding an old (10+years - has glassed in fins!) Rusty 6'4 shortboard. I can't read the dimensions anymore but it is very narrow, lots of nose rocker, and extremely thin rails. I got this when I was much younger and didn't know what I was purchasing. I am pretty sure it is not the right size for me and I am definitely sure it is not the right board for my typical surf conditions.
I surf mainly new hampshire beach breaks. I rarely get days with anything above overhead. Typically it is ankle to head high with varying wind so it can either be mushy and slow or steep and fast/closeout. I am not always available to surf when it gets good so I really want a board that can handle smaller (knee to thigh) since its smaller most of the time. However, I do want to be able to hit head-overhead without too much difficulty.
I am probably beginner to intermediate, depending on whos reading. Given how difficult it can be to ride these conditions with my board, I can make it work on most days, am able to pump and generate speed as long as it doesn't close out too fast (also, I usually drop late cause of lots of rocker). I can't really do many snaps but i think its foot placement - again, due to size of board I have to shift forward and have front foot pressure to get the drive and speed in my turns but can't always get back on my tail to set the rail. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.
Getting to the point, I am broke but want a board that will handle these conditions and allow for progression of my skills. I want to catch waves that are small but want to be able to snap/cut in better surf. I can't really do great cuts and snaps now but want something that will take me there. So...Spitfire or dominator?
Also, opinions on sizing are GREATLY NEEDED! Like i said, my board is ancient and seems to be designed for much better and bigger surf than what I get. I often can't get my back foot on the tail because when i do i just loose too much speed and the wave (fast beach break) just disappears on me - board is a thruster btw. I'm 5'9 140 and am looking at the 5'8 (roughly 31L volume). Any thoughts on 5'8 or the 5'6 for me? Obviously less vol = quicker tighter turns. However, how much will i sacrifice in catchability with that downsize? More importantly, how much would it affect my ability to surf thigh high days?
In sum, what size and board should i get for fast beach breaks ankle to overhead, with added preference to thigh high days - since they come more often - but without sacrificing head to overhead ability?
Appreciate any/all help. Really want/need a new board