I had some questions for folks here on the list that have had more experience with this type of decision, and can hopefully give me some insight on what will be better for my surfing progression.
Basically, I have the cash for either getting a skateboard like a 31" Carver (that's what I'm specifically looking at since I've been reading on the net it's the closest thing to surfing), or a longboard/funboard surfboard (something close to or over 8'). Right now I own a 6'2x19x2 3/4" WRV shortboard, as well as a Rusty 6'8x20 1/2"x2 3/4" thruster that is still technically a shortboard, but since I'm only around 155lbs and 6ft tall, it floats me really well, and allows me to catch more waves on the knee-to-thigh high days, or on high tides when my 6'2 just doesn't cut it.
My goal at this point is to ultimately improve my shortboard wave-riding skills. This would include really working on pumping down the line on both my front and backside, turning and carving a wave, and with time progress into round-abouts, cutbacks, etc. At this point I can paddle into and catch most waves pretty well, get a decent bottom-turn on my front-side, and then ride the line. The upper-body/lower-body sync is escaping me though for nicely coordinated pumping down the line to generate additional speed and power once I've made the initial drop. Also trying to turn on my backside lands me on my butt. Slaloming around people in a crowded line-up has also been out-of-the-question at the moment because I don't feel I have the control I need of my turns. Finally, going left on my backside (I'm regular footed) leads to a pretty crappy ride that ends in the flats because again, I don't have control of the bottom turn on my backside to make a good drop and then ride down the line to the left like I can do on my frontside to the right.
Some of my friends say get the skateboard ... others say the fact that I don't have a longboard is really bad, and that riding a longboard will progress me far more in all of the shortboard skills I want to learn than riding any skateboard (especially a gimmicky Carver).
At this point I've been leaning towards the Carver skateboard because I feel that repetitively doing something that feels very close to surfing a controlled environment will allow me to fine-tune the muscle memory I need to hone my riding skills, and I can do so irrespective of the wind/wave conditions. But again, others are telling me the skill-sets aren't that close, and what I really need is the greater wave count and ride time that a longer board will get me. Decisions, decisions ... Any thoughts from the rest of you that have experience with both?