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  1. #1
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    Surf board advise

    An unexpected employment opportunity has come up and I will be working near Victoria BC and I plan on doing some surfing. I would love some advice on picking a board.

    My surf experience consists of an 8 week stay in Kauai 4 years ago where I went every day and started actually catching waves. It was October and November mostly Hanalai bay.
    And some random trips to Washington coast when I lived in Bellingham. Mostly in shitty conditions. Rented in Hawaii and borrowed from friends in Wa.

    So Iím still mostly a beginner but I am a good athlete and tend to learn most sports quickly when I put my mind to it.

    Interested in one board to start not a quiver. Mostly will be spring summer fall conditions not sure how much Iíll go in winter or would get a second board for that if I did. For average conditions, I wonít be able to watch swells and bail, Iíll just go on weekends.

    Iím 5í9ĒĒ 175 pounds. Iím more of a short board type of person but would like to lessen the learning curve and have fun actually catching waves with the advantages of a long board.

    Any advice on shapes , size , brand etc. appreciated. Will purchase in Victoria area.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    If you want to be up riding right away, buy a 9' thruster style board. Once you have that down you can go shorter.

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    I am curious, can you surf close to Victoria or do you need to drive up by the Wickaninnish Inn?
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks.
    What makes a thruster a thruster? Shape of the nose? Or the tail?

  4. #4
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    3 fins, often the 2 outside ones can be removed if you want that old school single fin feel. I prefer 3 fins.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  5. #5
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    It all just happened so just really starting research now but it looks like when swell direction is right you can go from Victoria up towards Port Renfrew and Jordan River without driving all the way around to Tofino

  6. #6
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    When there is a NW swell (mostly during the winter) the Strait of Juan de Fuca is like a cold water Santa Barbara, with point break after point break. The Canada side is probably better than the Washington side when there is swell, But the advantage of the Washington side is, if there is no swell making its way into the Strait (which is often), you can always drive out to the open ocean and find waves. NW swell normally correlates with NW flow storms, which produce good ski conditions (tough to choose).

  7. #7
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    If you want a more shortboardish ride, get something fun boardish in the 7' range reasonably thick and wide with enough volume to paddle easily. Depends where you want to go with your surfing. If you start with a longboard / Malibu shape it can be frustrating to go shorter.

    Hell I'd say even my 5'10 with 47 l small wave board would be OK to begin with comparing to what I tried to ride as a beginner. Board shape has gone a long way.

    Edit: to clarify.. I'm still a kook because not living near the coast and starting as an adult will keep you kinda bad. But I'm a spoiled kook with a thirst for good waves. Strangely longboarding never appealed to me. I like waves with a punch.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  8. #8
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    ^^^^ But honestly, a short, full volume board is still harder to learn on. And the biggest waves of my life were ridden on a 9' to 10' foot boards. Smaller boards are saved for more like head high, fast pitching out waves (not easy to learn on).
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by subtle plague View Post
    If you want a more shortboardish ride, get something fun boardish in the 7' range reasonably thick and wide with enough volume to paddle easily. Depends where you want to go with your surfing. If you start with a longboard / Malibu shape it can be frustrating to go shorter.

    Hell I'd say even my 5'10 with 47 l small wave board would be OK to begin with comparing to what I tried to ride as a beginner. Board shape has gone a long way.

    Edit: to clarify.. I'm still a kook because not living near the coast and starting as an adult will keep you kinda bad. But I'm a spoiled kook with a thirst for good waves. Strangely longboarding never appealed to me. I like waves with a punch.
    First option here sounds like a good choice. Be ultra careful at the south island breaks, they dont play nicely with kooks floundering around when the waves are good. Tofino is kook central so youll have more fun there, with much more consistent waves. I can't see anything hitting the south island from April til Oct tbh.

  10. #10
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    Yeah
    I have no problem not going to the good breaks as a beginner. To me itís like a beginner snowboarder side slipping a chute. Or a ď backcountryĒ skier traversing the shit out of the fall line. I would never do that. Iíll learn at the beginner spots and progress. I would like to progress to shorter boards over time. I would rather duck dive than do the roll maneuver.

    I was mostly wondering if the newer shapes of wider shortish boards worked as well for flotation as a 9 foot. Seems like for learning in summer surf I might as well get the 9 footer so I can progress and actually have some fun.

  11. #11
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    I've been surfing Oregon and Washington since 97 and I still suck. I surf a longboard because I need all the help I can get. I'd get the biggest board you can still fit your arm around to carry. When I go to the local kook spot here (Westport) I see so many shortboarders who don't catch shit. Learn the breaks and what conditions will produce waves you want to surf, and waves you can still paddle out on a longboard. Turtle rolling is basically worthless. The paddle speed of the longboard offesets the fact any whitewater wave will push you 20 feet back towards the beach. Learn the rips and how to use them to get outside. Because the water is cold, you will be wearing a thick wetsuit (heavy) so you need more volume in your board than in warmer locations to keep the same float. I've met Canadians along the Washington side of the Strait (it is probably closer to get to the open ocean from Victoria taking the ferry to Port Angeles than Tofino). I see a shit ton of Canadians in Westport as it is the closest surf break to Vancouver, much closer than Tofino.

  12. #12
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    I live in Victoria and have a surf cabin in JR. Moved to Victoria full time a couple of years ago but have been surfing the south island for close to a decade. Have switched mountain life for ocean and family life.

    If you are a beginner get a long board. No question. You will catch more waves and learn way, way faster. You can then progress to a mid length or high volumed short board after you get all the basics solidly down. You can keep the long board as part of your quiver or sell at that point.

    In the winter you will want a 5/4+ hooded wetsuit with 7mm+ booties and 5mm+ gloves. Fall and spring you can get away with 4/3 and thinner booties and gloves. Buy all wetsuit stuff brand new. Coastline surf is the shop in town. Surfboards you could go new or search for used online. UsedVictoria and facebook marketplace are where people sell used stuff, but longboards always seem to be in short supply.

    The waves on the south island are truly, truly world class. Many are as good as surfing gets anywhere on the planet when the swell, wind, tides all line up. There are 20+ waves on a small stretch of coast between Sooke and Port Renfrew. It takes years to figure out the conditions that work best for each wave. PM me and I'll give you the basics for the popular spots to help your journey. For everything else you have to put the time in like everyone.
    October to March is the magic time. But there are waves the rest of the year more frequently than people think. I had a great solo session yesterday in steep, bowly, and shallow waist to chest high waves.

  13. #13
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    Nice. Iíll look you up after I get settled.
    I lived near Bellingham for 10 years so I have a 5 4 suit. I went to La Push 3 or 4 weekends a year. But I always just borrowed boards from friends who were good surfers and not long borders. And I went in summer fall when I had free time and not because of the swell so it was mostly poor conditions. My 8 weeks in Hawaii gave me a bit of a break through.

    I will have a pretty nice boat too.

  14. #14
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    As someone who learned in college I will confirm what most here are saying. Volume is your friend.

    I don't think you necessarily have to go full longboard, although it certainly would not be a bad idea, but I would say an 8-9 foot funshape with lots of volume might be right up your alley. That is also a board you will always be able to use, those boards are great on smaller days. I have a 6'8" funshape and a 7'4" funshape that I take out on smaller, or softer, days. Those are the boards that keep you in the water.

    I will also say that I made a mistake in the way I learned. I tried to transition to a shortboard too quickly. I ended up developing more slowly than I might have because of it. In college I eventually discovered that I was making more progress in the summer, even thought Santa Barbara gets very little summer surf, because I was surfing a funshape in the waist-high summer windswell and getting lots of waves. Learning to surf is about getting in early and popping up easily. If you do that you will eventually feel comfortable. If you don't ever get comfortable it is very hard to progress. I wish I had spent more of my early surfing time on funboards or fishy shortboards. I went to a 6'4"/19wide/2.5 thick board too quickly, when I should have been on a 21wide/2.75 thick board at that stage, if I was going to be on a shortboard at all.

    I would also advise working on flexibility and popup technique. For many years I was surfing mostly in the summer, living in Newport. At least half of my winter weekends were spent going to Mammoth, and I was typically in the office from 7-5 at that point, so I could only surf the occasional winter weekend. I tended to simply stop surfing as much during the winter.

    One year I simply never got back into surfing. That would have been in 2015. I just never got back in the flow of going. The next year was the same. I was just out of the habit of going. Then things changed. I was able to convert to a remote schedule, and I decided to get back in the water. I also decided to really look at surfing technique. I had always looked at popping up as something you just did. I actually got a program of stretching and popup exercises. I'm really glad I did. For one thing, the stretching and popping up is a great way to start the day. The 5-10 minute routine loosens your spine up, it's great whether you will surf that day or not. I really wish I had done this back when I started surfing.

    Here is a link to the guy's website.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=..._5A4-sImAg3NTb

    There are other people who do similar things.

    I would definitely work on stretching and popping up. The more popup practice you get the more natural it will feel. You really can't get enough practice.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

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  15. #15
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    Looking on line at the shops on the island most all boards in the 9í range are currently sold out.
    What makes a fun shape? As opposed to a traditional looking long board?

  16. #16
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    To me a fun shape is an egg shape. My shorter boards are all modified eggs. (Google it) The photo above is the classic 9' board you want to start.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  17. #17
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    There is a new surf shop in sooke opening up in a week or so. Seek n surf. Their instagram shows they have boards coming in. So that could be a good place to pounce. Also I'd give coastline a call and see what they have in stock. In the past their online inventory was not at all indicative of what they had in store. They are normally very stocked with boards.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    There is a new surf shop in sooke opening up in a week or so. Seek n surf. Their instagram shows they have boards coming in. So that could be a good place to pounce. Also I'd give coastline a call and see what they have in stock. In the past their online inventory was not at all indicative of what they had in store. They are normally very stocked with boards.
    It's kind of depressing to see that ski pros are also better surfers than me. If you and Alka also boulder double digits I might get really depressed 🤪


    And to all the others who suggest longboard only: I think you can get away with Norton's and my suggestion. A 7.x foot fun plank has mighty floatation these days and is fairly stable. I started on a crap 7.4 Bic plastic board and could handle it after a few days.

    Edit: and by fun I don't necessarily mean an egg shape. Just a wide nose. Pretty wide and thick, easy to get into the wave and a stable ride. I have absolutely no clue what real life shape to get in that range.

    The thing with not going down in volume and length too early is very true though. But no one is going to tell you if you're ready.... you have to figure that out by yourself and maybe check a rental from time to time.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  19. #19
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    I would consider a funshape something that has a rounded nose, lots of volume and is 6'6" to 9 feet in length. They will also have three, four or five fins in general. That is not a scientific definition by any means.

    Funshapes are typically meant to be surfed more like a shortboard than a longboard. They are not for noseriding. Over 9 feet is more longboard territory to me.

    That's just my take on it though. My definition is very subjective, so don't take it too seriously.

    A typical funshape might be 8 feet, 23 inches wide and 3 inches thick, with three or four fins. I like the freedom to choose how many fins I want. I don't really see a need for exactly three fins, or that middle fin, because if I'm going to surf a funshape than the waves are probably pretty soft.

    Funshapes are great because they are versatile. They can turn a thigh high day into something fun. When it is a bit bigger, but maybe quite soft, you can get in early and have a blast. They make everything easier, except steep waves!

    The nice thing about funshapes is that they are not only great to learn on, but also useful once you have progressed a bit. Funshapes keep you in the water on weak days. I can't tell you how many fun days I have had when it is waist high and I almost didn't bother with a quick morning session before sitting down at my desk. Usually a funshape will make me glad that I went.


    Part of my affinity for them comes from learning to surf in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has some incredible point setups, but it has a tiny swell window, so you are often surfing small waves. Campus Point (and the other SB pointbreaks) can be a blast at thigh high if you have an 8 foot funboard. On a typical shortboard, even one with lots of volume, it is not all that great.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Long duc dong View Post
    I would consider a funshape something that has a rounded nose, lots of volume and is 6'6" to 9 feet in length. They will also have three, four or five fins in general. That is not a scientific definition by any means.

    Funshapes are typically meant to be surfed more like a shortboard than a longboard. They are not for noseriding. Over 9 feet is more longboard territory to me.

    That's just my take on it though. My definition is very subjective, so don't take it too seriously.

    A typical funshape might be 8 feet, 23 inches wide and 3 inches thick, with three or four fins. I like the freedom to choose how many fins I want. I don't really see a need for exactly three fins, or that middle fin, because if I'm going to surf a funshape than the waves are probably pretty soft.

    Funshapes are great because they are versatile. They can turn a thigh high day into something fun. When it is a bit bigger, but maybe quite soft, you can get in early and have a blast. They make everything easier, except steep waves!

    The nice thing about funshapes is that they are not only great to learn on, but also useful once you have progressed a bit. Funshapes keep you in the water on weak days. I can't tell you how many fun days I have had when it is waist high and I almost didn't bother with a quick morning session before sitting down at my desk. Usually a funshape will make me glad that I went.


    Part of my affinity for them comes from learning to surf in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has some incredible point setups, but it has a tiny swell window, so you are often surfing small waves. Campus Point (and the other SB pointbreaks) can be a blast at thigh high if you have an 8 foot funboard. On a typical shortboard, even one with lots of volume, it is not all that great.
    I would set the border at 8 foot. Everything longer tends to be Malibu / longboard like in shape and surfing character.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  21. #21
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    As much as I want to get the shorter fun shapes I think I will go with the 9 foot. Just more practical in the end for learning and actually having fun while learning instead of just suffering.
    Seems like if I stick with it a quiver is inevitable in this sport.

    Driving there tomorrow for final interview. Donít want to jinx it but this is a really interesting and exciting opportunity. Will fill in after it is finalized. But it looks good. Made it through the head hunter and the executive business manager on multiple zoom calls and would not have been invited to meet the owner if they did not plan on the offer if they like me in person.

  22. #22
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    I'm looking at 8 foot CJ Nelson Outlier as a do everything fun board that fits inside my camper. It's single fin with a boat like hull in the front. I'd still keep my 9'6". Sure looks fun watching pro CJ Nelson surfing it in the wave pool:



    https://cjnelsondesigns.com/surfboards/outlier/

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Kanone View Post
    As much as I want to get the shorter fun shapes I think I will go with the 9 foot. Just more practical in the end for learning and actually having fun while learning instead of just suffering.
    Seems like if I stick with it a quiver is inevitable in this sport.

    Driving there tomorrow for final interview. Donít want to jinx it but this is a really interesting and exciting opportunity. Will fill in after it is finalized. But it looks good. Made it through the head hunter and the executive business manager on multiple zoom calls and would not have been invited to meet the owner if they did not plan on the offer if they like me in person.
    Good luck dude! Exciting opportunity. I think you're on the right track. I'm 6' 155lbs nekkid and my 8-6 mini longboard (thruster) is a great length/shape for me in the PNW (mostly Westport). I now live 4hrs from the coast so I can't justify a surfboard quiver, and I can't chase the swell like when I lived close. That size works for just about any day.

    I started with a 4/3 suit, got cold a few times and moved to a 5/4. I don't have a lot of natural insulation. I can get a lot of milage out of a 4/3 with hood, gloves, and booties, but in the winter months I need the 5/4.

    Sent from my BND-L24 using Tapatalk

  24. #24
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    Surf board advise

    I disagree with some of the advice here, so will type up this breakdown.

    Things to consider are your weight, age, athleticism, type of wave you will use it in and how you want to progress.

    For sure, the easiest thing to learn the basics on is a longboard. But there are several disadvantages to this, especially if you think of yourself as a "shortboard". I've been surfing since I was 13 (now 48) and have worked with an older person learning to surf. He is now 47 and started 3 years ago.

    Longboard vs Shortboard: These are extremes and there is a ton of stuff in between. A longboard is designed to easily glide and paddle and ease into small weak surf and act like a platform. You can get 'high performance' longboards, but generally they are Cadillacs. Shortboard are sport cars and require a lot of skill and more powerful surf to get going, but will turn and accelerate more quickly. The many many boards that do not fall into these archaic categories are amazing and worth looking into: Fish, Big Boy Fish, Egg, Hybrids, Big Boy Shortboard, etc.

    Length: More length means more glide and ease of paddle. They are also a lot harder to turn, and a lot harder to adjust. They are more stable fore/aft and allow you to stumble around a bit more with out nose diving or stalling. Longer boards increase volume. I would never surf a longboard in big waves. It just plain sucks. Once you have a little bit of skill, you can see this. They track. They are stable. They can be super fun. If you plan to only surf in small, easy, weak surf, for sure go full longboard, and any thing else will not be as fun. If you might get into bigger (like even 4') or more powerful surf (like beach break, most reefs, and some points) then consider something else.

    Width: Wider boards are more stable side to side. A short wide board can still be really easy to turn, but a bit harder to wobble side to side. A wider board adds volume. It also creates a curvier template. I like short wide boards and thing they are very versatile.

    Thickness: The secret of good shapers. Thickness adds volume. You can dome the deck, which keeps the rails narrow or have fat rails.

    Volume: Get the right amount. There are calculators online that can help you get an idea of what you want. Not enough volume and you will not plane. Too much volume and you will be like a cork and have no "grip" on the wave. Here is one.. The older you get, the more volume you will want. The weaker your paddling, the more volume you will want. The weaker the waves, the more volume you will want. Volume is likely one of the more important components when deciding on boards.

    Rocker: This is the curve on the base of the board, just like rocketed skis. Flatter rocker glides more and paddles easier. It is easier to catch waves with a flatter rocker. You want to increase rocker as you rider steeper waves. This allows you to drop in and have the nose curved up enough to not pearl (nose dive). Flatter rocker is harder to turn and get the board up on edge.

    Template. This is the outline of the board edge nose to tail. The curvier the template, the more turns the board. And less stable. The straighter the template, the harder it is to get the board to turn and the more stable it is. Longer boards naturally have a straighter template. Wider boards have a curvier template.

    Nose Shape: Wide, blunt noses offer more float up front, and more resistance. A wide nose allows you to glide more easily, but makes it harder to drop down the face of the wave. Not an issue in small, weak surf, but as the surf becomes more dynamic, it a wide nose will get pushed up by the water and make it harder to drop into a wave. Narrow, pointier noses are the opposite. They offer little float or glide assistance, but will slip right into a wave. There is also a lot less swing weight, so they are are easier to turn.

    Rails: Soft rails are rounded, Hard rails have an edge to them. Most boards blend rails from softer up front to harder around the tail. Shortboards tend to have harder rails than longboards. Soft rails are more forgiving, but offer less 'grip'. Harder rails require more precision, but give you a lot more control.

    Truster vs Single Fin. Singles are more stable in a lot of conditions and tend to pivot from the rear. Like a rudder. Thrusters are more dynamic. They do have more drag, but are designed to create trust when you drive a board through turn. Likely fin set up won't need be a big deciding factor in a first board, but more boards out there are thrusters. Almost all short boards are thrusters or quads.

    Construction and weight: Consider these things. Heavy boards are stable boards and harder to turn. Lighter boards the opposite. Poly Fiberglass boards are quite fragile. They ding easy, so need to be cared for. Epoxy foam core boards are stronger, but can still ding. Composite boards are almost indestructible. I like Poly and epoxy for different reasons. Epoxy boards are lighter and more durable but suffer flex. Just stuff to consider.

    Based on what I read, I'd suggest something in the 7'6" to 8'6" range for length, with a wider template to give you the volume you want. Blunt nose if you want to learn more longboard style basic, or a rounded blunt nose (like a skinny blunt) if you want to process into more shortboard style basics. Moderately soft rails, with a little harder near the fins. I'm guessing you are young 20s. If older, maybe consider the longer size.

    Of course, I've no idea what the surf in Vancouver is like. If it is mostly mellow points, go full longboard.

    FWIW. I learned on a plastic 6'6" Aiken (like a BIC) in Maine when I was 13. By the end of summer I was getting tons of waves on weak beach break. The board had a ton of volume.

    My regular summer board for around here is 5'9" long, 20.8" wide and 2.5" thick. Almost flat on the bottom with a bit if rocker in tip and tail. It is super short, but offers a good amount of volume and I use it in waist to overhead summer surf. It glides and paddles great. I change out my fins sometimes depending on the surf. (did not discuss fins as that is level 2).

    I also ride a '63 Rick 9'3" narrow nosed 20" wide longboard. It has a huge square single fin and deep concave in the fin area. Things is like a rocket in small surf. It rides bigger surf fine as long as the wave shape is soft (not steep). It was designed as a big wave board, but the last time I tried it in legit surf I was in my twenties. It weights 32# and I had it hoping out of the water across surface chop on a 20' face. Scary.

    A few more things. Get out and swim as much as possible until you get a board. Work your paddling muscles. Once you get a board, surf as much as possible, even if the surf is shit. Get your body in shape, used to donning the wetsuit and managing the gear. Paddle, paddle, paddle.

    Finally, I would look for a used board in decent shape. Like cars, boards lose value the moment you walk out of the shop. Save some money, as you will like want to start building that quiver.

    My 47 yr old buddy is now on his third board. He started on a 9'6" longboard and now typically is taking out his 7'2" wide fun board. He also has an 8'4" egg. The other day he took his longboard out in chest high surf for the first time in a while and commented on how much harder it is to surf his 9'6" in chest high surf as opposed to his 7'2". He is old (like me) a newb and not super athletic and he has come this far in 3 years. Not a brag about him, but to illustrate the dangers of too much length.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-06-2021 at 02:25 PM.

  25. #25
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    Sick break down Ott. Thanks.

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