mitchells photos are "fun sized". there's nothing big about those waves...yea, the 20mph wind would suck, but i think people need to work on their paddling skills rather than jump onto a crutch at the first sign of adversity. a higher volumed, wide point forward board of some sort would be perfect for those conditions...get in early & haul ass.
dave, if those are the sort of conditions you're talking about, i still don't see how big long period calls for a log. (mitchell's board also doesn't sound like a log. more of an hplb, but i guess that's splitting hairs).
I agree...wide point forward...solid paddler...paddle your ass off and get the board hauling ass down the line from the minute you start the angled takeoff.
I've tried shaping three 7-0s for those conditions and I think the one I've got now is the best...basically a speed egg.
But I also agree with Dave that under certain long period conditions its just so racy, and requires getting so early to set up the first long fast section, that a 9 footer just feels like the perfect tool for the conditions, at least to me, and yeah in 5 mm rubber, 20 MPH offshores, 40 degree water, and middle age;) maybe a crutch isn't off the mark. And yeah thats a relatively thin and rockered out long board. Im a small guy and really do only ride it in hollow conditions..
There's a great quote from Joel Tudor in the copy of Surfer I got in the mail today, "I believe that long boarding should never be held in waves over head-high and if they are, certain specific requirements of equipment can be adapted. But as far as the real beauty of the art is concerned, it's an under head-high thing." He makes a valid point. When you watch old surf videos of guys surfing OH+ at Sunset or Waimea, you see a lot of good surfers take a lot of punishment just because their boards won't get down the face of a wave quickly enough. Watch a video from the 70's, completely different story, because they're all on big single fins or guns of all of a sudden. Long boards are great for slow, fat slabs. Shortboards are great when the wave looks like a quarter pipe. I've never regretted having too short a board on a small day as much as I've dreaded hauling out a long board on a big day. I know I'm gonna get pounded. I don't golf, or at least not if I'm even remotely sober, but it kind of seems like driving the fairway with a putter or maybe putting with a driver, see this is why I don't golf. Never ridden' a Bonzer, but I've always wanted to. Aussies sure do make a fun looking surfboard.
All longboards are not created equal.
I've ridden longboards in big surf... in fact broken several. Some work and some just don't. Mitchell is right about rocker... rocker is key. A good hplb will handle big surf quite well under the feet of a competent surfer. An old school noserider? Good luck.
My current board for the heaviest surf we get is a 7'0 rounded pin built specifically for making those fast, barely makeable East Coast bombs that come with 10'+ @ 10sec+. Natural rocker, wide point at center, vee in the entry, to flat, to deep double concaved vee pushed forward, to vee out the back. Slightly domed deck with medium modern rails. Thruster.
The bonzer concept is valid as well. In fact, even quads work great in big, fast, down-the-line surf, too. Prior to the 7'0 I just mentioned, I did a quad version of the same board, but with subtler concaves. Worked really good until it got destroyed.
one more thing about longboards in big (ish) waves. I went to el Salvador last month and for the entire 8 days the set waves ranged from head high to well overhead/approaching DOH.
I brought two 6'2"s expecting mostly shoulder high based on the forecasts before we left which undercalled. The 6'2" was all i rode. The points were so perfect and pristine that padding a 6'2" into well overhead waves was way easier than our local beachbreaks woudl have been even a couple feet smaller.
One day after surfing all morning we noticed it was pretty empty out front mid afternoon and paddled out on some longboards that the place we stayed had sitting around. The one i used a big thick 9'4" Yater. What a RUSH paddling a big log down a nice long steep drop and out onto 200 yards of 8 foot+ face. Crazy Fun! Everyone should try it before they decide logs are only for ankle-waist high waves. They are mad fun in the right overhead conditions. At least i think so.
I don't agree that longboards are a crutch but I understand your argument. If someone is riding one in order to prolong their surfing career are you really gonna be upset with them?
Since golf has been the accepted comparison... are you upset with someone when they switch from steel shafts to graphite?