Surfboard design has left me behind

Discussion in 'Surfboards and Surfboard Design' started by Toonces, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Toonces

    Toonces Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2016
    I've been looking around for a new surfboard for the first time in a long time. I can't believe how short shortboards have become.

    I'm 5'4, 175 pounds. My everyday boards are 6'0 - 6'6 and around 33L. Looking at the Merrick website, I'd be riding something about 5'0 and 28L. The idea of paddling something sub-6'0 through any kind of whitewater in December in a 5 mil is just ludicrous.

    I'm finding it impossible to have any realistic expectation of what size board to get looking at the new models and recommended sizes. It's like I'm stuck in 1984 or something with board design.
  2. bubs

    bubs Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Just open your mind. Find a shape and size you like and surf it. You know what will work. People who get too involved with dimensions and shapes and "pro"models are kooks.

    Find it and surf it.

  3. bubs

    bubs Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Look in used board rooms. Look on craigs. Look in rooms. Eventually it will find you. And don't listen to ANYONE else.
  4. Barry Cuda

    Barry Cuda Guest

    Welcome to Barry World!!!!
    But there is a solution--ignore the "recommendation". And here is why--they are full of sh1t. That's why. The "liter" thing is very sheik, trendy, and kind catchy. They almost sound as if they know what they are talking about!! "Oh, you should be on a 32L, not a 33 Liter. That is just way too big for you!!" Assholes. Then you get, "We are so cool we don't make boards longer than 6ft; there is no need for them". More assholeness.

    Find a shaper that will make you what you want and like!! There are many of them. You are in RI? Find Roger Beal on Cape Cod. Or David Levy near you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2016
  5. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    First - NONE of those websites are accounting for surfing in 5 mil rubber in frigid east coast type conditions. They are geared towards surfers who surf nearly daily in 2-3 mil rubber at most in clean west coast conditions.
    You're at an advantage actually knowing what volume come of your current boards are. Use that as a starting point. How do they work for you in 5 mil winter conditions?

    By the way, boards have gotten shorter in the past 15 years because they are packing a whole lot more foam in various places (under the chest, in the rails, in tail width) than in the 1990s. So don't let board length distract you from considering the overall package.
  6. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    You can go shorter than what your current boards are if the new shapes you're looking at have a wider planshape overall, and a thicker, beefier foil. But I highly doubt you'll be happy with anything shorter than you are tall... 5'0 sounds absurd to me.

    If you know how your board feels under your arm, and how the rails feel in your hands, and what the foil looks like when you hold it at arms length in one hand at your side...and you should... then you can do the same thing in the shop and calibrate what you're looking at when compared to what you currently ride. Everyone should spend some time examining their boards, and thinking hard about design. It sort of logs information in your head you can refer to when you look at boards on the rack.

    Then... once you have all that information in your head, and that feel in your hands, all of it logged and filed away for reference, do what Barry said and go talk to a reputable local shaper.
  7. Zeroevol

    Zeroevol Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2009
    I am 5'11, 190 ish and I ride a 5'10", 33L even through the winter in full rubber, just my preference. Do you have any friends with smaller boards that you could maybe try?
  8. Barry Cuda

    Barry Cuda Guest

    None of the short fat boards are a "foil" anymore. That is a marketing term for suckers. Call them a "tubby" instead and you are right on. Maybe "lardo" is even better, but foil is an insult to intelligence. Oh, wait....surfers are wonder!!
  9. Manik

    Manik Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2015
    Check out Levy, he knows the waters
  10. BassMon2

    BassMon2 Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2015
    Knowing your volume is a good starting point, but it's not the magical answer. How the volume is distributed through out a board is important. Like others have said, this is why boards have gotten shorter.

    I'm only about 5'8 so for me a 5'8 sb works...but i do think boards under that are petty absurd unless your talking somthing like a mini simmons or odd ball shape like that.

    Find a local shaper. Or if you really want to go with merrick....I'm pretty sure you can customize your own dimensions. Pick a shape and elongate it and take some width out. Not the best option but it is an option if you know what you like.
  11. nalu222

    nalu222 Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Exactly.. volume means nothing if its not functional... I am 175 and my go to is a 5'2" 30L..It works for mush we get around here. But when waves get steep, more length with equal volume and more rocker factor into the equation. good tread.
  12. stinkbug

    stinkbug Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2010
    dont know your ability but at 174 lbs a 28L board is pretty low volume. You better be a above average surfer. Plus winter rubber wet adds about 10 lbs of weight so you are now at 185 lbs in the water. I don't care what anyone says more length and volume is better in bigger winter waves for most surfers unless you are pro level and slipping into barrels below the lip.
  13. stinkbug

    stinkbug Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2010
    the advent of the "hybrid" has really confused a lot of people, as much shorter, thicker and wider board that still performs real well. These board can be ridden quite small and work in both good waves and as grovelors. For the average surfer they are great but for heavy winter east coast conditions a standard modern HP shortboard (at your height or slightly bigger) or step up 2-4 inches bigger than your standard shortboard) is what you need.
    As popular as hybrids are you are going to have problems paddling and catching fast moving waves of consequence as we have in winter here.
    So look at what you need for winter- a rounded tail, decent tail rocker, added volume and length for paddling in current and winter rubber- a stubby hybrid design won't cut it.
  14. CJsurf

    CJsurf Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    Coming of age in the 80s and 90s I've never been able to like the shorter shortboards. Never could get used to not seeing the nose of the board out in front of me. I've always ridden boards 4 to 6" taller than my height and I always will. Or till I'm 50.
  15. Toonces

    Toonces Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2016
    I appreciate all the thoughtful replies.

    I've been surfing about 25 years. I consider myself a solidly intermediate surfer. It's been a long time, about 10 years, since I've surfed regularly on the east coast, though. When I lived in central California, my shortboard was a 6'6 CI MBB, which has a bit more foam in it, and seemed to work well with 3-4 mil of wetsuit on.

    When that got stolen I picked up the 6'6 Byrne and a 6'10 Rawson, but then I was in Hawaii and the wave does half the work for you.

    Now here on the east coast I'm finding I want something that has a bit more go because under head high those boards really struggle to move. So I go online to start shopping around it everybody is riding a 5'9. It's like the surf world moved on while I wasn't looking.

    Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that in taking a look at some of the more popular board websites it seems like a guy like me has been left behind. Maybe I'm just getting old.

    Well, while I could probably surf something under 6' long, I just know that I'd be pearling that thing all day long at this point. I've always been a fan of Merricks, but that ...Lost Quiver Killer looks like it might fit the bill for what I find myself surfing most days. I just can't imagine going shorter than 6'3 regardless of what the website says. And damn but those boards are expensive. I guess that's a whole other topic.
  16. sisurfdogg

    sisurfdogg Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2013
    I'm 57 years old and tired of getting worked in good waves. I'm ordering a 7'1" blank, having it shaped by a local shaper down to 6'10" x 2.75" thick so it has beef. Round tail instead of my standard 6'6" swallow tail (2.66" thick) that is too lose under foot in bouncy drops. With a nice foiled rail, maybe around 20" wide?, no epoxy, old skool. Can't wait to drop it in the parking lot.

    My point is don't be unda gunned in challenging conditions. It sucks having to struggle when if you had the right step up you can cut through it like buttah. Save the potato chips for summah.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  17. BassMon2

    BassMon2 Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2015
    Are you holding on to your older boards? Just looking for somthing for under HH? Get a egg shape or somthing in the mid 6' range shaped by a local
  18. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Talk to your shaper about how he's going to get the desired length. Is he taking it off the nose, tail, or both? I like to take it off the tail, then re-rocker the tail. This will naturally shift the wide point/thick point of the blank behind center. But your shaper may have other ideas. Still... this is something to talk about, and something you can learn from.
  19. sigmund

    sigmund Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2015
    This^. I always go with a little more length and beef in my boards especially as I get older. Boards are so light now, you can add a few inches in length and still shred with the same fervor but have a much easier time catching a wave and paddling. Every time I try and drop below about 6'4" I regret it. My current board is 6'6" a bit wide a bit fat, and I ride it in a lot of conditions from chest to well OH days. There is *nothing* worse than having a ****ty session on a solid day because your board is too short, trying to catch those growler sets late is no fun unless you're a pro or love getting pitched.
  20. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    ^^^When I made the switch over from riding all PU/PE to EPS/Epoxy I found this to be especially true. It took me a few "generations" of boards to dial it in, but in the end I ended up going thinner and longer in general, without compromising the ability to whip the board around. It wasn't my goal to increase volume, but to keep it the same, while maintaining the kind of flex I was after AND increasing the durability and life of the board. The added side benefit was the ability to elongate the rocker slightly, and improve wave catching ability.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016