Look at the Boneyard boards. They make a great retro fish. Mine will get me into anything and with the quad controller fins on it I can paddle into any size wave. Great boards, hand shaped and for a 5'10' you will pay around $500. A couple of shops on LBI sell them (Wave Hog and Brighton Beach) and Wavejammer in Lavallette. Wavejammer has some boards, with dimensions and pics, posted on their website.
if u just beginning and want a cheap board get a caynon i had a 5 11 retro fish it was great and cheap used it up to +2 over head and all the way under paddles super fast and for a first board it is great. after this board then maybe get a custom or something a bit better
Two of my friends love their Wynn fishes - they are a cross between retro and modern. Talk to B. Wynn about your experience and where you intend to ride the board and go from there. His prices seem very reasonable esp. for USA built board. And, you would be developing a relationship with a good shaper from your area (NJ).
as much as i loved my retro fish/flat rockered.. i would not take it in head high surf since 90% of the time its throwing in sand... its hard to stick landings with them. fun as hell in the mellow stuff. what you want is a lost rnf... more refined twin ,2+1, quad whatever it may be. that board will handle a lot of different conditions. addiciting board i've had 2, ill prob have another shaped this winter..at 155lbs id go 5'6 19 1/8 or 191/4 by 2 1/4...thats all you need to know. have brian wynn shape you one in resin-x lokbox'd and you'll love it that much more. end of discussion pm me if you have any questions.
I often read comments like the above from East Coast-based folks about retro fish being more suitable for mellow waves, not hollow, ass kicking waves. This always makes me wonder... because the retro fish, before they became retro, were making the chops in places like Big Rock in La Jolla -- not many people will call that a mellow wave especially at 6 to 8 feet.
I understand where your coming from as I learned to skim before actually surfing. Not that I think a retro fish is a bad idea but the boards out there that feel like your skimboard are not the surfboards you want to learn on. Even a custom made board for you will be worthless if you aren't at the level to use it.
Be wise with your decision nothing sucks more then buying a cool looking shorty and missing every wave.
only if you want to forever be marked as a kook & a "summer only" surfer....
nj- Skimmers (good ones) push the edge and take the hardest poundings. That doesnt sound like your typical kook to me (nor your typical retro rider). Dude should just get a hp shortboard, maybe in a fish tail...
everyone else- 7s superfish isnt a retro fish, its a super fish.