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Board Addvice Needed

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  • Board Addvice Needed

    Hi All

    I am looking to get my first surfboard, have previously rented/borrowed from friends (a variety of boards from foamies/longboards to fish type boards) and would class myself as improving beginner currently I can stand up and turn along the wave. I am a competent windsurfer/snowboarder.

    My stats are 6ft 1, weigh 76kg (170ish lbs) and am reasonably fit.

    My local beach is Witterings on south coast of England, (UK) where the waves are not very consistent generally wind blown mush with the odd good day,
    but will also travel to cornwall where have the option of surfing proper waves.

    So would like a board which will enable me to progress my skills and also use in both situations. Reading through other posts seems like Addvance or Dominator would possibly suit but which board and what sizeís would people recommend as my knowledge is limited.


  • #2
    What length boards are you comfortable surfing - when you say 'fish type boards' are we talking around 7ft or longer or shorter? Do you struggle on those boards, particularly when compared to the longboards?

    The reason I ask is that, in general, someone of your level and height/weight would normally be directed to a longboard or mini mal style board - particularly in mushy conditions. The Addvance seems more suited than the Dom, but you may benefit from 6 months with a bigger (and, if its of concern - cheaper) board before making the move.

    Of course, what board to start on is the subject of much debate. If you feel comfortable with something around 7ft then go for it.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.

      The shortest boards I have used were around the 7 foot mark and yes they were more challenging to use but I could see that they would be more fun in the long run. If I were to go down the route of a mini mal or similar would it then be another steep learning curve dropping down to a shorter more manuverable board in 6 mths or so?


      • #4
        6'6" or 6'10" Addvance will be my take


        • #5
          As mentioned, the 'first surfboard' is a contentious issue. Longboards (say 8ft+) have the following advantages over shortboards (say under 6ft6):

          - greater volume (due to length and width and thickness) meaning easier paddling into a wave and therefore its easier to catch a wave. In addition, you can catch a wave earlier, meaning you have a greater margin of error (ie if you are in the wrong place, you might still get the wave). This means you are more likely to catch a wave in the first place

          - greater stability, because the length and width and the shape of the nose simply provides a more stable surface than a narrower shorter board. This means after catching the wave you are more likely to be able to stand up.

          Longboards also work much better on smaller or weaker waves, which happen to be the waves that beginners like to surf until they get more confident. And pop ups can be easier because you can push off your toes (although this is a bad habit if you want to eventually go shorter, so it may not be an advantage).

          Disadvantages are that longboards are harder to turn, harder to get out through difficult surf (because you cannot duck dive them), harder to transport. And may not have the cool factor.

          When you are learning, the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages. If you arenít catching waves or standing up, you just are not learning anything. I agree with comments floating around that you probably need about 150 surf sessions before you can call yourself anything other than a beginner; if you start with the wrong board you may well be doubling that figure.

          On the other hand, some (many) people think short boards are 'real surfing' and using a longboard for more than the first few sessions is pointless as there are some differences in technique and the feel of the boards - why start on something you dont intend to stay with.

          The benefit of the Addvantage (and to the lesser extent the Dom) is that they are high volume boards for their length. A 9ft longboard is probably around 70 litres volume (look at the flexlight, for example). The 702 Addvance is 62 litres. Not much difference, although it is still a 10% difference. So arguably the Addvance overcomes the paddling problems to a large extent because it has almost as much volume as a longboard anyway. It has much more volume than you 'need' to surf (probably at your weight you could get away with something around 30 litres), but to use lower volume board you need to really know what you are doing.

          The shape of the Addvance is less stable (narrower nose) and it is shorter than a mal. But it is a wide board. So it is going to be less stable than a longboard, but probably not by a great deal.

          In my view, you will learn faster on a longboard but you may want to move down to a shorter board in about 150 sessions (obviously, give or take). There isnít a steep learning curve moving down, if you donít make too big a jump at once (eg longboard to 6ft chip) - you have learnt how to catch and pop up and read waves and so forth; all you have to learn is the difference between boards (there are some differences eg turning works differently; but its not a big difference - having learnt to read and catch waves and stand you are 80% there). Or you can start on a shorter board and probably it will take longer to get better, you will miss more waves and you might not have as much fun in small surf. But you won't need a new board and you will learn short board techniques.

          The Addvance is probably the ideal board if you want to start shorter - whether 702 or 610 is really a judgement call. The 702 will be 'easier' but is reported to have drawbacks - which you might find out after surfing for another year or two - relating to the volume in big surf and it will be harder to do fancy turns and cut backs (in comparison to a shorter board). With no disrespect to Iggy, I am not sure about the 606 - people who have been surfing for a long time think a 610 board is huge; people learning or coming off longboards think 702 boards are getting a bit small for comfort. Its just a matter of perspective. As a beginner, bigger is very frequently better.

          Mmm. that turned into a bit of an essay