It does take some higher-than-average surfing skill to ride alaias, and I think that most people with that skill level prefer to have a hp shortboard because of the ability to perform certain maneuvers easily with power.
But people who aren't very fluent on a shortboard, I doubt will be able to handle an alaia - at least the shorter ones, even catching a wave on them would be a challenge.
I've ridden one before and it was a knee-thigh glassy day but breaking hard on the sandbar. No doubt, it was the most fun possible in those conditions but the next time I took it out and it was choppy and sectiony, didn't have too great of a time...
Your a unique rider because most people, including me, want their shortboard for when the surf allows it.
So, peole just like the way their thrusters ride? I can understand that. That's just too much waiting around for me. I know some guys can destroy some small surf on a thruster, but I don't think that's the case for most. I think they want to really bad, but hardly ever get to push that board to it's limits. No disrespect to anyone, but I still see a ton of shortboarders with disgruntled looks on their faces out there. They don't look like they're having fun, it looks more like their in pain or something. It's like having an indy car out on normal roads, you just can't make it perform like it is designed to. It needs more room, it just needs more speed to really work right.
I guess if you're having fun out there, that's all that matters. If you're not, why not? Maybe you need to choose a different vehicle.
I like the feel of a thruster. However I understand that I cant ride what pros ride at wrightsville beach.... So I got a board that can still be ridden in smaller crappier surf, but I also like to ride other things like my self-shaped minisimmons on small glassy days and that thing is fun as heck. Personally, I try to ride what best suits the conditions and I honestly don't yet own a true high performance shortboard, because my "all arounder" never leaves me undergunned around here. I'm about to shape myself a thumbtail shortboard, but I'd only use it for perfect mase or hatteras.
I totally get you when you talk about people frustrated on shorties. If you look around though some of best of the surfers are using alternative shapes that are have a fuller outline than a hpsb. Only the kids can get away with potato chips.
Thanks for the comments! It always helps to get a different perspective about stuff. It's good to hear some positive stuff and the other stuff is helpful for me too. If any one has any questions for me just ask, I'm glad to (hopefully) answer whatever you got! If you see me in the water and wanna try my board just ask! I'm glad to share the stoke!