Agree with everyone so far. More foam is better for sure. My bigger wave step up board on the west coast was a 6'6 which could handle big blacks and most anything else with a 7'2 mini gun that I broke out maybe 3-4 times per year. As far as beach break, commitment is key. Larger boards tend to hesitate and drop in a little later, but on the bigger waves, a 6'6 to me would turn and burn like any of my 5'11 standard shortboards... You will have to initiate turns a little sooner and plan you attack, but if you have nice shoulders and conditions, it actually becomes easier to turn and navagate the waves...

But unfortunately, as mentioned in other threads, there are no reefs and points to go to when the bacj breaks max out... So on many occasions, it could just be too big, or too choppy. So dont feel like you have to climb the mountain every time... Some days just arent meant to be... You can get an A for effort, but on big days, you may g out for an hour and get two waves. Dont beat yourself up... It happens.

Know you limits. Know your spots. Be safe and don't over do it. A lot of those epic east coast photos of guys being shacked in DOH conditions end with them getting swallowed up in a closeout. So if you arent going for broke trying to get cover shots, just know your limits.... But the only way to get comfortable is repetition. You have to just go... Your instincts will take over. You may sit out on the shoulder and dodge sets for 30 minutes, but once you calm down and see what going on out there, your wave will come and you will know its time to go.