Thanks for the various suggestions guys, as I expected there are many different opinions and schools of thought. Here's what I'm looking to do and where I think I'm at. By no means do I think I have maxed out the possibilities with my 7'4", it's a versatile shape, but my biggest frustration is the difficulty I have duckdiving it and I don't think its as quick and snappy as I'd like. It's dimensions are 7'4" x 21" x 2 7/8". Anything over chest high I get worn out so much quicker because I mostly suck at duckdiving it (especially as the session goes on) and its too light to turtle roll. I'm at the point where I'm trying to maintain speed down the line/pumping, actually make sections, surf a wave much more top-bottom rather than mostly at the bottom, and so forth. I don't what I'm doing, or probably not doing, but I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall. So I am kinda looking for a shorter board that's versatile and more user friendly because in no way do I rip. Something to ride in thigh-overhead surf and that could progress with me to a certain level. Am I making sense?
I'm about your weight, and a little shorter, and ride a 6'2" x 18 5/8 x 2 3/8". I am probably more advanced than you though. I would recommend something in that length, but with a little more bulk.
I bought a CI Pod, 6'2", a few years back as a "transition" board. Was great, and despite it being way too big for me, I could still have fun with it, as it turned very easily, especially for a quad. Sold it to my brother who is 6'7" 230, and it floats him fine. So you could probably even ride a smaller one.
At your weight, and skill level, you should probably look for a board with a volume around 35 liters.
this is a problem that i have been wrangling my way through... Im roughly your size. 6'2", 195 to 210lbs depending on the time of the year. when I was younger (185lbs) my 6'6" was my go to board. I could paddle it no problems and I could duck dive the h3ll out of it. But.... as I got older and heavier it got harder and harder to paddle and stay competitive in the lineup... so I had no choice, had to go bigger. my go to board right now is a Desert Island Rusty. 8ft and really thick. Its very manuverable, can paddle all over the place with it and I wish I went to it or something like it earlier and its great for bigger guys and pretty much for every type of surf we get on the east coast.
the problem is that I can only get about a 60% of my usual duck dive out it.
Now Im looking to solve that duckdive problem and keep the benefits of the larger board... so instead of dumping big money on trial and error I picked up a 7'6, 2.5 inches thick used board thats in great condition off craigslist. If it works out as I think it will I'll probably get a custom to those specs, maybe drop the size to 7'4" or so.
The days of the usual "short board" are completely over for me. but at my size, the desert island is completely manueverable and aside from the duckdive, has not held me back at all. my point is a short board for you is not the same short board for a sub 6foot guy.
whatever you go with, make sure there is ample room for a rear-facing go pro cam. They're all the rage. Nothing, and I mean nothing, thrills me like the site of a strange mans calves riding a surfboard.
what's up Grant... i don't know if your intentions are just finding one that looks good off the rack, or working with a local shaper but i wouldn't stray too far from what you're currently riding. what i'm trying to say is to probably keep your current width and thickness, just drop the actual length. something along the lines of 20 and a half inches x 2 and 5/8" or there abouts. but if you're working with a local guy, you can see if he'd recommend keeping some of that volume in the upper third of the board to help with your paddling/catching more waves than you miss. now the length, that might be the trickiest issue. in the modern times of surfing, so many people are riding boards that are exactly their same height, or actually quite shorter. that used to be unheard of 10 to 15 years ago. but as long as the overall "volume" of the board hasn't been compromised, you'd be surprised with how short you can actually go. if you stand at 6'3", you may be able to get away with riding a 6'2" to a 6'5". especially if you don't go too thin and narrow with it. but a 6'8" funboard style or a 6'0" little beefstick could make you happy as well, it just depends on the amount of volume that you go with.
i'm average height/weight at 5'8" 155lbs and my standard shortboard is a 5'10" (although when i stand next to it, it's my exact height). i've also got a little 5'4" traditional twin fin fish that i enjoy. both boards are heavy in the volume department, they're very filled-out while still being very different boards.
it sounds like you will be dropping at least a foot of length from the old board to the new one, so that in itself is going to be kind of "shocking" when you take it out that first session. i'm willing to bet that you will be performing legit duck dives for the first time in your life. for those of us that won't be turning pro, i just fully believe that the single most important aspect of a board is that upper third towards the nose. i'm a proponent of volume. show me two almost identical boards, one being a potato chip the other thick and curvy... and i'll be choosing the one with the most volume.
good luck with everything. if your finances allow, definitely hang onto your 7'4". you never know when you might need it, or if you've got a friend coming into town that you want to introduce to surfing.
OK.......... Forget the I have to have anything over 7'. You don't. Get a board made for you by a local shaper. 6'8 to 6'10 is fine and you can have plenty of performance on small waves not just big if you make sure the tail is drastically narrowed. I ride a 6'10x21x2.75 shortboard ( custom ) shape. Works great in large and small surf with the reduced tail. Not bad on ducking but you have to hold a bigger board further up the nose when diving it. Single to a deeper double out the back with your foam under the chest and waist but thinner rails, not the boxier rails most bigger boards have. I'm 6'1 210 and 50yrs old. You also might want to try a quad set up. Some of my friends who are big guys also like it much better than their thrusters. Just a thought. If you want to see some pics on what i'm talking about let me know and I'll send them to you.
I put my stats in this volume formula and it works out precisely to the shortboard I ride now. Sure you can go smaller but if you fine tune a board this size you'll catch more waves and still have performance. Only way you can do that is with a custom board.
Last edited by wave1rider65; Mar 18, 2013 at 01:06 AM.
made that transition a 2 years ago, yes im only 98 pounds and 5'1 so natrually my dems are a little different because im so tiny,im on a 5'8 fish. Check them out they are a fun option.
Last thought, fins.. Tighter feel -quad Looser-twin.
just my 2 cents.
If at all possible, try one out first before buying. Borrow a board that looks good to see how it feels. You'll be amazed at the differences in how they handle. You may change your mind... or fall in love.