The fartknocker is real fun, and my friend has rode his in head high surf without any problems. It would definitly be my choice between the two, tuflite boards are annoying to fix and i heard from my local board repairer that they take water in fast.
zman go to your local surf shop and ask if they know any reputable shapers or if you know one go to him and ask him to build one for you, it would be cheaper and he will build to suit your style and the wave condition where you are surfing...trust me
I had a couple Tufflites and I liked them. I have ridden many boards over the years. Obviously the shape means a lot. I got a never ending rash of sh*t for riding the Tufflites though. Everyone would sit there on their poly boards and tell me all the problems with my Tufflite (problems I never experienced). That part was entertaining. The life span of a Tufflite is probably 4x that of a poly. So money comes into play right there. Repairs on them are very similar to poly boards, less the paint job. F the paint job as long as the board is water tight. I did "hear" they suck water fast but if you get a ding get right out and deal with it. You should always get any board out of the water ASAP if its dung. Merricks are magic, not because Kelly said so.
I am not into the whole China board thing though; all my boards are poly at the moment. I can't honestly say I'll never get another Merrick Tufflite, I just hope they can make it in USA.
Dont get me wrong Doug, im not downing the Tufflites or any other brand for that matter, what i am trying to say is he can get a board built to his size and weight and wave conditions which at his age (13) he is still learning so to speak. So having a board built to his specs would be to his advantage...thats all. I myself have both, poly custom hybrid for those chest high and bigger days and an epoxy funshape for those 3ft. mush days that im going to use today...have fun ya'll
At age 13 you have a lot of surfing ahead of you. You will have a few boards. I have a quiver of 7 boards. I have one tuflite. Its great on busy days because you don't have to worry about somone hitting them. And if you find one you really like you can buy the exact same board if something happens to it. I have a Xandu Rocky model great small to mid wave board. Search craigslist to see if you can find boards used much cheaper. Most of the boardI've s bought over the years have been used. Then when you really know what you like buy them new