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Want to get back in the water need advice...

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  • Want to get back in the water need advice...

    First off hello to all !
    My name is Mike , I grew up surfing on the east coast of Florida ( until my mid 40's ) . Decided to try living in the mountains ( been here 7yrs )... not what I expected so now I'm moving back and want to get back in the water.
    I'm 51 years old and in resonable shape, 6'1" 200 lbs. ( usually 185 pounds in the summer )
    So now I have some questions ....
    1). I grew up surfing the standard surfboard materials , foam and fiberglass . how much different is the feel in the water of polystyrene and epoxy ?
    2). I ran the volume calculator and depending on the weight I enter ( 200 or 185 ) I get different volume suggestions which is understandable but, I don't want to over volume myself as I progressively get in better shape. I have been looking real hard at the Dominator in the 6'2" or 6'4" . just not sure which one. Leaning toward the 6'2" so as I get in better shape and drop some weight the fit will be better.
    3). How is the durability of the new materials ?

    Thanks gang ,can't wait to get back,

  • #2
    Hey mkg,
    so here is my feedback.

    1: The feeling of Firewire is different than PU in that the flex pattern of our boards is engineered to be very constructive. We use material such as balsa wood, carbon rods and specific foams so that when our boards can load up with potential energy and then give it back to you. So when you go into a turn, the board loads up, when you come out of it, it springs back and gives you a bit of a boost. Its subtle but it makes your board feel really alive, and because we don't build our boards with center stringers, it will never feel stiff. They float comparably, perhaps a touch more, but keep in mind, my comparisons are with sanded finish, high performance PU boards.

    2: volume, in my opinion, should equally reflect your weight and your ability. Essentially, volume is a critical component to flotation and flotation is what gets you into waves. You have to choose what you want to go after. Do you want to catch waves easily and get to your feet? This is an integral part of getting better, or do you want a board that fits you better when you weight 185lbs.... That is your call. I think the 604 would make adjusting back into the sport a bit more forgiving but if you wanted to be aggressive with your sizing, i think you'd be ok on the 602. Keep in mind you have the flexibility to go smaller if you think you are going to be surfing frequently....

    3: The durability is good. It is greater than sanded finish PU for sure. Our FST tech is more durable than our Rapidfire tech, but with proper care, such as repairing dings etc, you'll have a lively, well performing board for years. Obviously, in the sport of surfing, any board can break in a wrong place at the wrong time scenario..

    Cheers and hope this helps.


    • #3
      Hey Chris thanks for the input !

      Along time ago I used fishtail fins ( I case you're too young to remeber those they were a urethane sheath over a fiberglass spine ) they gave you that little extra energy comming out of a turn so maybe that's a similar feel.

      My normal weight should be around 185. So I would like to target that for the volume weight.

      The local dealer has a 6'4" Koa Dominator and 6'2" Dominator non Koa. don't know if there is a durability difference . My favorite board of the many I had was a 6'2" so I like that lenght fo rthe smallish FL surf.



      • #4
        I'd recommend getting two boards. First up an Addvance or a PU mid length. That'd be for really small days and for providing a stable platform as you get back in the water. And then a 6'2" Dom. I reckon after 7 years out of the water going straight to the Dom at that length might be a recipe for frustration.


        • #5
          Buzzy the guy at the local shop was recommending a 6'4" Dom.



          • #6
            I reckon the 6'4" would be a great size. I surf it at around your weight in more powerful surf than I understand you guys typically get in Florida. I'd be more surf fit than you but that might be counterbalanced by you being super fit. You mountain folk have a habit of being in ruddy health! One thing to bear in mind with me is I have an arthritic big toe on my left (lead) foot. That means I have to be much more careful on takeoff than most people of a similar fitness because if I bash it it hurts...a lot. I probably go a couple of inches longer than someone of similar ability etc for that reason above all. So at the same weight you may ultimately prefer to ride a shorter board than me. But the 6'4" would probably go much better straight off in the sense of being forgiving, but still work for you in pretty much all waves you'll be surfing.


            • #7
              Agreed the 6'4" looks like the board for you at this point in time, specially coming off a 7 years hiatus. Good flotation,stable platform, very polyvalent and lots of fun
              As far as durability goes the FST is very strong, but I do't know how many koa boards are left laying around in the market... they are sooo dam good looking. Everybody has their own preferences, but mine is FST. Rapidfire tech in lighter, but FST I find stronger.
              Whatever tech you decide to go for, I think the Dominator is a board that is going to bring back lots of good memories and will create new ones!!!


              • #8
                Sounds like I'll go with the 6'4" with the Koa deck ....

                Now , Fins and setup.

                As buzzy said Florida is not known for big surf. So chest to head high is a good day. It gets bigger but that is usually storm ( hurricane or big noreaster ) surf. So most days are just small and fun.
                Any suggestions on fin type / set up?

                Thanks guys,


                • #9
                  are you thinking you want a quad or a thruster? Also I assume you have Futures finboxes?

                  I would suggest both. go quad for smaller conditions where you want to generate speed, then get a thruster for when there is a bit more size. I always want a thruster when I am riding my dominator in bigger surf.

                  For fins, you know, at your weight, I would push you after the AM2s and MB1s for your thruster set, perhaps the Simon Andersons as a quad. depends how much hold you want though in your quad....



                  • #10
                    Hey Chris , What i think I want is a quad and then as you say a thruster for bigger surf, but a quad would be fine for now. Quad should work up to head high maybe a little over head correct ? Hurricane swells or big choppy nor-easter swell I would want more bite and stability.

                    Yes it has futures boxes.

                    I want to have some looseness , but primarily snap out of the turns . When I first get back in the water I imagine I'll be trying to generate speed first and get myself set up for some mild turns just to get the muscles , reflexes and coordination working right again.

                    Thanks ,


                    • #11
                      If choosing between two Rapidfires, go for the Koa deck, it's just beautiful. I got one and the top deck still looks to be in somewhat pristine condition (some footwells and pressure dings sure but nowhere near as much nor deep as on my last PU of similar size), whereas the RF bottom does seem softer and less durable than the top deck.

                      And as iggy said, the Koa was a special edition and therefore it could be in higher demand if you decide to sell it later.

                      I'm your weight, a lot shorter as evident from my sig and low intermediate. 604 floats me fine, but if there had been a 606 in Koa, I would've probably bought that one. I have Rusty R1 Futures thruster setup and I think they work great.


                      • #12
                        OK guys I just put a deposit on a 6'4" Koa dominator. I will discuss fins and set-up when I finally get there ....7 weeks . So keep the set-up info comming.



                        • #13
                          Hey Mike, not sure what fins you'll be getting with the Dom, but I got the SF4 quad set up when i bought mine. You can use this as a thruster set up too. Just use one of the rear trailer fins as the centre. Its double foiled so fits perfect and saves you a bit of cash. More importantly it rides great too!! Such a good board. Great choice.


                          • #14
                            mrees , Thanks great info.

                            As far as the dominator ... I can't wait to get it in the water.



                            • #15
                              yeah so think of a quad with perhaps AM2 leaders and standard trailers, maybe SF4 trailers as being a good versatile blend of performance and maneuverability. i think there are a lot of options out there, but that is one.

                              Also worth considering would be the Rusty 5 fin set so you could jump between a quad and thruster...

                              But to your point on size, yeah I hardly rider the dominator or a quad in waves approaching the 1.5 x OH....

                              hope this helps.