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  • Transitioning to smaller boards

    Posted by Eamon on November 7, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    I have been surfing a 9′ longboard for about 2.5 years. I’m able to consistently angle my take off, ride the shoulder and do frontside bottom turns. I can also take off well on the backside and straight line angle along the face, but need work on my backside bottom turn. My paddle is strong and I *think* I’m ready and would like to try a fish or funboard. I’m 49 years old and in very good shape … not looking to do lots of tricks but my home surf spot is Playa Grande in Costa Rica, and the waves in some spots often get too steep for a 9′ longboard.

    Any skills I should try to master before trying a fish or funboard?

    Any recommendations on how to go about transitioning to a fish or funboard?

    Eamon replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 6 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Randall

    November 10, 2021 at 12:56 am

    I am in a similar position as Eamon. I have a 9′ board. I am working on my long board turn which is taking some time and patience. I am thinking strongly about getting a second board that is smaller, so I can do a turn by leaning without having to step back. I am not able to lean turn my 9′. I am 6’0″, about 185 lbs with my wetsuit.

    – I do not want a board that is too small where my rides significantly drop off. What is the size and characteristics of a board that I can lean turn (without going too small).

    – More volume is a good thing,

    – mid rocker,

    I realize that surf board dimension and shape is not standardizeable across boards and people. Please send your opinions, dimensions, thickness, characteristics…tail, fins, etc..

    I am looking for some basic dimensions where I can start my search in the used board market.

    Thanks, Randall

  • Dale

    November 16, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    I hope we get some good input on this question. I’m in about the same place except skills not quite as advanced as yours. But I’m able to surf now a few times a week and at 60 I’m not getting any younger. At 215 lbs, and 6’2″ I’m not the lightest person on the wave either. Decent shape but the 60 years old part doesn’t go away. I’m having a conversation with a shaper day after tomorrow…

  • brian

    November 18, 2021 at 3:15 am

    I am in a similar situation in the tI am 63 y/0 and mostly beginner-intermediate level. I am on a 9 foot performance longboard but when the waves are over 4 foot I feel the board is too long and hard to control. I am thinking of getting an 8 foot. It would be interesting to hear what you guys have done.

  • Dale

    November 19, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    So just following up the post I made on 11/16. I did speak to a very well-respected shaper who has been making board for over 40 years. He wound up designing an 8’6″ x 24″ x 3.5″ hybrid-ish outline with mild rocker, a very mild single concave to mild double concave bottom contour, and a thruster fin set-up. I’m going to go for it and it should be ready in about 3 months. If I remember I can report back.

  • Randall

    November 19, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks for the update Dale. That’s a great data point. I am thinking a bit shorter, not sure about volume. But, I need do to get off my butt and start looking and talking.

  • Eamon

    November 22, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    I wanted to share back what I’m doing and thank others for chiming in …

    I liked the explanation of how to calculate volume here – https://nulltuul.com/surfboard-volume-calculator

    And I created a spreadsheet to calculate the volume of my current board, and another one I rode recently – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bF6LV9uKfDi2vSFOulNrr4j5AVELOJYcj6Mt_ODycK8/edit#gid=0

    I liked this volume calculator recommendation tool ( https://www.firewiresurfboards.com/pages/surfboard-volume-calculator ) because they give you a range of recommendations, although I feel like the recommendations are on the low side. The calculator recommends 31-38L for me, but I’m going to be conservative and start in the 39-49 range for two reasons
    1. That is close to what I recently tried (49)
    2. Another experienced surfer who has seen me surf recommended I try something close to what he has – a 6’10” x 22” x 2.8” with a wide tail, which is actually a 49L board.

    I decided to do a monthly rental at a local surf shop with a great inventory of boards for rent, I’ll try out quite a few shapes and sizes, take notes and talk with others about what worked and what didn’t.

    Pura Vida!

    • Dale

      November 23, 2021 at 12:44 am

      thanks for the update and I look forward hearing about your rentals

  • Randall

    December 2, 2021 at 3:30 am


    Here’s what I found out and my thoughts.

    I have the 9′ board. Originally, I was thinking 8’4″ board. I came across a Culture Surf Board at a shop in Oregon – 8’4″ at a good price. I was stoked. After looking at the Culture SurfBoard web site and talking to the Support/Sales guy, I was more interested in the Fun Ride board and the Egg Ride board. These were shorter boards, 8′ and less. But, they appeared to have a good shape and volume that allowed one to easily catch waves. The Fun board supposedly turns a little easier than the Egg, because the tip is less rounded. The Egg has slightly more volume, which is why I am leaning towards the Egg. The Sales guy feels that I could go down to a 7’6″. I don’t know, that seems like a big jump down. People giving reviews seem to back up the “big step down” claim. Only a few reviews though. The Sales guy stresses volume over looking at pure dimensions.

    Right now, I am leaning towards an epoxy, 8′ Egg. It changes frequently though.

    There is a local shaper, but he is more expensive with a 3 month backlog. We only talked briefly though about design.

    Here’s the specs for the boards I am looking at. You can also go to their web site, so see specs for all their boards.

    Egg: 8′ x 23″ x 3.2″, 64.18 Liters

    Fun: 8′ x 22.8″ x 3.2″, 62.27 Liters

    Mini Mal, 8’4″ x 23″ x 3.2″ 68.97 L

    My current 9′ Torq, 9′ x 22 3/4” 3 1/8” 72 L

    Who knows, doesn’t a quiver need 3 boards? Maybe a small Fun Ride board, 7′ 2″ – here’s to dreaming.

  • Randall

    December 7, 2021 at 6:06 am

    I pulled the trigger on the 8′ Fun Ride board. I talked a little bit with a local shaper, but I decided to go with Culture Surfboards. Seems to me like Culture has their dimensions and shape dialed in. The local shaper has some experience with the egg shape, but I felt that his shape, dimensions and volume may not be as dialed in as Culture.

  • James

    December 17, 2021 at 2:17 am

    I’m also in a similar position. I have a 9 ft 3 and for a few years and recently I picked up a 7ft foamie and a 5 ft 8 fish. I’ve been out on the fish a few times now- it’s f*cking pretty hard when you’ve been riding a mal for so long, but you really do just have to bite the bullet and take it out. It might suck the first few times compared to what your used to- but I’m getting better each time I go out.

    My advice would be not to overthink it too much, just get a second hand fish and force yourself to go out on it as much as you can. Then when the bigger surf comes you’ll be ready. Got my first duck dive the other day, which has already made things a shit load easier!

  • Terry

    December 28, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    I learned short, prefer short but have guided many friends through the long to short transition. I’m going to echo James, be prepared to suck. I have a 5’10” FireWire Almond Butter that is about 35 L that I lend out to friends (mostly women) to try. I highly recommend trying a number of boards before buying, many can skip the cost of a mid sized board and go straight to short. Many prefer mid over short. Even though you will suck at first, if you have learned the basics of reading and catching waves, you’ll be fine. Focus on volume, not length so you can go shorter.

  • Eamon

    December 29, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    I wanted to circle back and share the outcome. I got a one month rental at a place for that allowed me to switch boards as many times as I wanted. I also went to a shaper who had some samples I could try out. Here are my notes (comments welcome, or see image below)


    In the end I decided to go with a Papaya from Cheboards. I selected an option which is 7’0 x 22.5 x 2.75 and 52L (doesn’t seem to be listed on the site)

    https://cheboards.com/collections/funboards/products/papaya (or see image below)

    Why did I decide on a Papaya?

    * I found wider boards very helpful, I noticed a big difference in my ability to take off and stay on the top 1/3 of the wave. I was way more stable when turning. I literally had the best day of my life the first time on the board, completing my first ever backside bottom, top turn down the line multiple times.

    * The price of the custom board at Che was about the same as a brand new Scorpion II, which I couldn’t find anywhere in stock, and even if I could I would have paid another $150 at least to get it down here on a plane

    * At age 49, life is a bit too short and I don’t want to suck for a while, I just want to catch as many waves as possible, have fun and continue to progress. I’m confident that this path will be a faster path to a performance board, if I ever even decide I want to go shorter

    I don’t get the new board for another 6 weeks, but I’ve got some more time to practice my longboarding in the meantime : )

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