realistically, how good of a surfer are you?...thats the first question you need to ask yourself. If your average at best, I always tell people, stay away from super rockered boards, and add more foam then someone who is above average. If your above average, the sky is the limit in design, with less foam then the average surfer. Its true, like you, all my boards in the late 80's were over 6' but since the change in design, I dont own one board over 6'...in fact my daily board is 5'6", super small wave board is 5'4" and my standard shortboard is 5'9" and my bigger wave board is 6', which is rarely surfed. Honestly, I come from a skate background and wish I used these tiny boards back in the day. For me, I find it easier to throw around. Try it, dont think you will be disappointed. You can pack alot of foam in a shortboard...5'4" fishcuit is 34L which is my knee/thigh board, but all other boards are around 31L. Works for me, winter or summer.