I'm 30, and I have only surfed for 4 years since moving to LA.
I am 5'9", 170 lbs, athletic build
I have one board (custom 7'10" Becker purchased on Craigslist) which I learned on and still continue to ride.
Mostly surfing at El Porto or Sunset Point at least twice a week.
Many have been telling me that I seem more than ready to transition into a shortboard.
And I have been wanting a shortboard for a long time. Just didn't want to be that foolish newbie purchasing a shortboard too soon and not even be able to get up on it. I think 4 years was a good wait time.
So after much research and calling/emailing around, I have been told a 6'2" CI Flyer would be the best all-around board. Some mentioned Fred Rubble and Pod.
At the same time, people have suggested I go to a local shaper.
I have contacted Guy Okazaki, and I'm waiting for his reply.
Can I get some helpful suggestions from wise surfers?
I would really appreciate it.
I would try to keep a similar shape to what you're used to and reduce it by 6-8". You're talking about dropping nearly 20" of board which makes up a significant amount of volume. Not saying you can't do it but you're going to have to relearn how to surf the new board.
I'm about the same size / build, I have an 8' 1" McTavish 8 ball for smaller days, for the larger days I go with my 6' 10" WRV Fish. It's a good step down IMO, maybe consider something in the 6'8" range but with some volume like ClemsonSurf suggests.
4 years! That seems like plenty of time if you are surfing 2x a week year round. I have been surfing 2.5 yrs, 2-3x / week, 28 y/o, 6'0" 175lbs and my board progression went like this:
7'10" funshape - 1yr.
6'10" x 20.5 x 2.75 hybrid / big guy shortboard - 6 mos.
6'2" x 19.5 x 2.44 lost SD2 - current shortboard
Since stepping down to the 6'2" I also bought a 5'10" fish and a 9'0" hp longboard... you will want other boards as a properly fitted short board will not be as versatile (in varying conditions) as your 7'10".
You have been surfing longer than me so I'm not the best person to give you advice on exactly what board to ride, but would definitively take the leap if your goal is to surf shorter boards.
And thank you, Turtle, for telling me about Wayne Okamoto.
I google'd him.
His blog displayed his awesome work.
And the interviews just did it for me. Wayne is the local shaper.
I'll try contacting him.
I'd appreciate all advice/comments.
Maybe some of your first experience transitioning to a shortboard... (regrets, difficulty, etc)
The "If I had known then, what I know now"...
Just didn't want to be that foolish newbie purchasing a shortboard too soon and not even be able to get up on it.
I was worried about this too when I went from the funshape to the 6'10", but honestly it wasn't nearly as bad of a transition as I made it out in my head to be. Was definitely catching waves first session out. Main differences are more difficult / slower to paddle, you will need to take off a little later / on a steeper section so timing is more crucial, and... you can duck dive! Sure, there were days when I was second guessing my decision to switch board, but after a few months you'll wish you made the transition sooner.
If you decide to go to a 6'8' or 6'10" hybrid, buying used is a smart option because I think after 6 mos. or so you'll want to change again to something shorter. Spend your money on that next board because it will be a useful board in your quiver for a longer amount of time, IMO. Of course, if you have the $ and don't mind buying a couple customs in a year, by all means, go for it. I'm sure the shaper will give you much better advice than anyone on this forum.
I'll second Turtle's recommendation of Wayne Okamoto @ Oakfoils. I have gotten 4 boards from him over the last 3 years. He is a great shaper, stand up guy and a solid businessman - no flaky shaper BS from him. He will take the time to talk to you and listen to what you want to do and will be able to translate that to the foam.
If you are local to him DEFINITELY go talk to him (bring the boards you are currently riding) you will be doing your surfing a great service. I think something along the lines of his bryd-fish or winged skate might be more what you are looking for.
I would have to say that you should defiantly not go out and buy a 6'2" board before you ride one - maybe see is someplace will rent you a board for a day and go and try it out. While we appreciate the "buy local" attitude I would be lying if I said it was totally necessary for you in order to find the right board. A CI Flyer while it may be shaped locally and glassed locally is certainly not a "Local" company and you will save a great amount of money if you buy a used board or you go with a more local shaper. Our boards are as good as CI boards and cost 30% - 40% less. Honestly do some searching around and see if you can get your hands on a 6'2" and take it our for a surf, maybe try to surf it 5 times before you decide if you want to drop the dough on a new 6'2", otherwise don't try such a drastic reduction in board volume, I think you will probably end up being disappointed if you spend a bunch of $$$ and then cant paddle or balance on the board, you end up not getting waves and that's no fun then you end up riding your old board which you don't enjoy much anymore and you have to deal with trying to sell the other board. Like the other guy said either drop down maybe 6" - 12" inches at most or just get a used board for now.