Hi everybody. Iíve been lurking on this board for a while and getting a lot of good information, so I thought Iíd ask your advice about getting a new board.

Some background. I started surfing about 6 months ago. I surf in Rhode Island at beach breaks exclusively so far (donít see this changing soon). Iím 6í0Ē, 170 lbs, 34 years old, in good physical condition. I have a job and kids so I only get to surf once a week. Because I donít really get to pick when I go, Iíve been surfing a lot of days that are knee high at best.

Iíve been riding an 8í0Ē Walden Magic Model (poly) that I picked up used. I do pretty well once Iím up and riding it (can turn and ride the face of the wave), but Iím missing a lot of waves. Iím sure thereís a lack of rider skill element, but I feel like I could get a board the same size or even smaller that might be shaped better for catching the waves I surf.

The boardís other dims are 22 inches wide at the wide point and 2 ĺ thick, so I donít think itís a flotation issue. The board does have a lot of nose and tail rocker, which Iíve read might reduce the ability to plane early. The result is that I canít sit way outside with longboarders and when I sit inside and make later drops, the overall length of the board seems cumbersome.

I donít really want to go to a full longboard because Iíve already sort of started to get the hang of a somewhat shorter board. Ideally, Iíd find a better shaped board of similar or shorter size that would help me catch waves better. Iím willing to put in some time for a transition if it would pay off in the long run, but Iím wary of taking too big of a leap and stalling in my progression. I feel like eventually I'd like to ride a mini simmons since they seem designed as a longboard alternative for crap surf, but it seems like a huge leap to that. Also, Iíve got a board budget and am committed to surfing for the long term, so I donít really need to mess around with whatever random board comes up on craigslist.

What do you think?