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  1. #1

    Difference in riding a regular shortboard and a step up in chest- head high waves

    So today we had a nice swell in sj and I ended up only having a 6' 3" x 19 1/2 x 2 5/8 step up and it was fun but I felt like the board wasnt giving me any power.

    What difference would I get out of riding a regular shortboard in these conditions instead of riding the step up?

    What kind of feel would it have in comparison?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    I guess I don't exactly know what you mean By regular, but there's a lot of days you need to bring more than one arrow from your quiver.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    If your 6'3 is your step up, I know what you mean. I used a 6'3 as a step up, but never in chest high conditions. The 6'3 was reserved for OH-DOH stuff, but I usually surfed reefs and points when it was that big in San Diego... But the reason the 6'3 felt like it had no power is because of the rail volume and the way those boards work. There is a little hesitation on the takeoff with a bigger step-up, and the term step-up is relative to the surfer. Some bigger guys step-ups are 6'10s. I usually ride 5'10-6'0 shortboards, while my fish is a 5'6 and my sharpeye disco is a 5'9... Riding the regular shortboards gives you a quick take off, and simple ankle tweaks while you are pumping etc, give the right size shortboard speed and power. It doesn't take much on my 5'10s on a chest high day to take a high line on the take off, get a few pumps in and then I have enough speed, torque and power to throw a nice, powerful turn... While you are riding a step-up, it will require you to have more distance on the wave face to get your pumps and speed up, and the hesitated take off and the late turning radius on your top turns will make the board feel sluggish and powerless.

    In a nut shell, for you body type, it was the wrong combination of surfer/board/wave.

    A lot of people would argue that you should have no problem surfing a 6'3 normally, but if its a stepup with more volume then you are used to, yes it will give you problems... I had a nice 6'2 that I would sometimes take out in waist to chest, but it was a relatively thin board and it was nowhere near 19+ inches wide, so it was a lighter plus one board that didnt have much volume, but the added inches on some small days would allow for a quick takeoff and I could get a lot of speed. But a thin 6'2 was no really my stepup, just my longest normal shortboard... if that makes sense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    ^ hit the nail on the head. If your board were in the 18" wide range and around 2-3/8" to 2-1/2" thickness I think you would have had a better time. Save that thing for the OH days and go get a solid shortboard for the stomach to head days.

    To put things into perspective...I am 6'2 170lbs and I ride a 5'11x18.2"x2.2" in anything from stomach to head.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    i thought step ups were for bigger waves.a normal shortboard should work great in chest high waves.maybe your board is a little thick so it doesn't have the drive a regular shortboard offers.my everyday board(for when theres quality waves) is a 6'2 and its lighter than a feather.im 6'0 190lbs and the board goes up to about my neck,dont know if that's normal or if the dims are wrong,or if its the rocker,but the board works great and when you take off your flying.iv always wanted to try one of those smaller boards but Im tall and fat so I don't think It will work unless I get some superthick fish.thicker boards are great for takeoffs but limit the mobility for drawin lines.when the waves reach 7-8ft which happened twice this winter,i use my 7'0.im sure you can get away with riding a 5'10 in those conditions if your like john Florence who paddles out at 15ft pipe on a 6'0

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Do you guys ride the same boards in the winter as you do in the summer? I have been tight on money and haven't had the cash to buy another board, but I usually surf the same board all year round. It's a 5'8 x 20 x 2 3/8. It works, but I have a feeling that a "step up" or board with more rocker and volume would be better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    New England
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    I don't really buy into the "winter board" philosophy, with more volume to account for the extra weight/rubber. I select my board for the day based on conditions, and the scale is the same year round. My step-up isn't for the winter, it's for when it pumps more than a couple feet overhead, and that's regardless of season.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Well what about the difference in wave. I feel like a summer wave and a winter wave are 100% different. Winter waves you usually have like 15 20 mph offshore winds and barreling head high steam rollers. Summer you could get lucky and score a head high wave, but it'd be nowhere near as meaty, without the barrels and light winds.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    New England
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    304
    That's conditions, man. I'm more speaking to the mentality of people who get "winter boards". If it's head high and barreling in the summer, I'm riding my HPSB. If it's head high and mushy in the summer, I'm riding my small wave board. If it's head high and barreling in the winter, I'm riding my HPSB. If it's head high and mushy in the winter, I'm riding my small wave board.

    If your question is more about only having one board, well yes, there are obvious advantages to having a bit of a quiver. Save up and get it done. But the whole "I'm wearing more rubber and thus heavier so I got a thicker/wider/longer board" mentality, is not something I find to hold that much water.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by 34thStreetSurfing View Post
    Well what about the difference in wave. I feel like a summer wave and a winter wave are 100% different. Winter waves you usually have like 15 20 mph offshore winds and barreling head high steam rollers. Summer you could get lucky and score a head high wave, but it'd be nowhere near as meaty, without the barrels and light winds.
    I could see maybe up in the mid-atlantic or Jersey getting a fall/winter stick, but unfortunately from what I have seen down here in the SE, the summer/winter waves are not much different at all.... Out West, yes, absolutely, I would have 2-3 boards that I would ride for the majority of the winter. But that is because there is surf pretty much 7 days per week, and where in the summer it ranges usually from 2-4 and 3-5 foot, in the winter, you averages skyrocket, where 2-4 foot days get few and far between and most swell events, that last upwards of 3 days at a time, back to back to back offer more in the 6-8 foot range and all the way up to 15-18 some weeks. There were actually entire months back in 07, 08 and 2010 that offered nothing under 5-6 feet for an entire month... So that is a different story.
    in SC, I surfed EVERY swell event all winter and it maxed out at maybe 4 feet one day... But like I said, my boys back home in OC MD have showed me dozens of days in the fall/winter that were well OH and into the almost DOH range... So if you are going to charge it in the cold when it comes, yes you will need more board. Especially if the winds are offshore etc. Your little 6'0-6'2 wont work unless you are taking late drops all day and the winds arent howling... In my opinion anyway...

    So, in a nutshell, if you cant afford it, dont worry about it. Just charge the couple bigger days with your normal stick and wait for the tides and winds to shift so you can have a little easier time. Down here in low county, as the tides drop out, the wave heights just drop and drop and drop, so just wait until the waves are right for the board you have and hit it then...