Sorry if this might be a repeat if its been asked before. For the past 10 years been riding an 8' Long style board. About a year or so ago picked up a 7' board looking to downsize to have some more speed and action. Have taken out the board several times but just cannot get use to it and end up back on my 8'. Is my assumption right that I want somewhat of a late takeoff to catch the wave instead of the early start paddling of a bump on the 8' board. I bought this board and have set my mind that I is gonna use it and like it, or atleaste give it more of a chance.
What do you struggle with exactly? Yes, it is true that you generally do need to take off a teeny bit later on a smaller board, but there are more than a few possible issues...
-Do you not catch the wave at all or do you catch it too late and pearl? The difference in taking off on a 7' and 8' is only slight. You can get away with paddling not-so-powerfully on a big board, so it may just be that you need to put some more 'ummph' into the final push. It also may be that you are positioned too far back on the board so that your center of gravity is behind the center of the board. This will cause you to miss the wave at the last moment before it starts to break. You should be arching your back as you paddle for the wave with the nose of the board just above the water. If you are positioned in the right spot, the nose will dip into the water if you rest your head and shoulders on the board. Try scooting forward a little bit and see if that helps.
-Do you have trouble actually riding the wave? A smaller board does not float as well as a longboard, and so it will lose momentum quickly if you get too far from the pocket of the wave. The advantage of a shortboard is that you can throw it around and do more maneuvers, but the disadvantage would be that you need to stay near the wave's energy. That is, you need to stay deep where the wave is steep and not get far out onto the shoulder (unless you are doing a roundhouse cutback or something like that).
-Does your board suck? I've crossed paths with a few boards that just plain DON'T WORK. Luckily for me, those ones happened to be free gifts from friends. It is possible that this new board just isn't any good. It may be worthwhile to trade it for something different and try again. New boards take some adjustment, but I personally believe it's great for your surfing and helps your skills stay fresh.
Thanks so much, that gives alot of insight. I think alot of it is that on the longer board I can sit way out and catch anything I want where on the shorter board I have to be closer in to the break. Makes competing with the long boarders alot more of a pain in the butt! The board is a Ricky Carol and I have had other boards of his and always have been very good. This board I wonder about though. I can be just a tinny bit back and I am dragging, the other direction and the nose dives. It is real finacky and does not take much at all to dip the nose. Will play with my position some more "positioned in the right spot, the nose will dip into the water if you rest your head and shoulders on the board" and see if that helps. Mushy waves prob. dont help that much either. Thanks so much!
7 foot board is a thruster setup i am assuming? so the style of surfing might need to change. pump your legs if you feel like your slowing down. First you need to find that sweet spot on the board. give it a few more sessions.
I hate funboards.... for a lot of reasons. I'm just not into the mid-length boards that are, IMO, good for nothing. The noses are not wide enough to give you a paddling advantage... and not thin enough for any kind of performance. The rails are too fat and unfoiled to give you hold and speed on a vertical face, and too thin to create the kind of suction needed for smooth trim. They're not thick enough to float like a longboard, but not thin enough to flex like a shortboard. The bottoms are simple... usually flat to double concave... and that in itself is not bad, but to make a big DOG like a 7'0 work properly, you need more lift through the middle... single concave would be better. In fact... just flat would be better... just about ANYTHING would be better. Rocker? ... maybe the only thing right with most funshapes.
Examine your board. Compare it to your 8'0. Break out the square and tape, make some crude calipers out of cardboard, and do some thinking. If you can actually surf (drop, turn, trim... top turn, bottom turn, trim...) and you've taken out both boards in the same waves, on the same day... it ain't you. If you can't link together the sequence above, even on an 8'0... maybe you just need more practice.
mid-lengths are usually throwaway shapes that look pop-out,but,if the right shaper makes you one they can be really 'fun'-ctional on certain small or weak or mushy waves. ricky carroll shapes are great,so,just remember,your board is not for a lot of waves, some swells are just terrible, and most of all, move way up and paddle harder