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Another newb wanting to step down

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  • Another newb wanting to step down

    First off, what a great forum; hats off to the regular contributors who are so generous with their time, answering (and following up with) all our queries.
    I am 47 hrs, 5'11 170-175lbs and above average fitness, and have literally just started surfing about a couple of months ago. I have been swimming 30 mins of freestyle and/or running 10k 5 times a week as well as 50-70 daily pushups to improve paddling fitness. A 9'6" Robert August (used) was my initial board, borrowed a 9'2 Yater, then found a used AddVance 7'6" on Craigslist for $300. I have only thus far ridden the AddVance in small mushy 2-3 ft Waikiki surf but found I could paddle around and position myself as well as ( if not better) than on the longboards. I do not have the glide ( cruise?) as i did on the longboards but could reposition myself on the wave whilst up and riding, with greater ease on the 7'6. I also found that I could occasionally catch waves with less effort by sinking the tail of the board before the wave and using the buoyancy rebound to help launch myself forward. I realize this board would generally be considered too big for my weight but what an amazing learning aid it is. I actually feel much more confident in front of an oncoming wave with what feels like less board.
    Of course all this has my mind spinning with new found bravado and has me reading all the Dominator

    I see that some (other beginners or returning surfers) have gone the route of grabbing oversized Dominators; 6'6", 6'8 et al, to find their footing on their way down to an eventual better fit. With all this in mind; weight, age, fitness, newbness, access to surf, and level of zeal(lots!) What size Dominator for my next step down in size? I think I would rather go with the ability to feel a board performing ( drive, traction, etc) than end up on buoyancy alone. Maybe I am dreaming, if so be frank with me, I am eager to follow whichever route gets me to a beginner/intermediate level the soonest.
    Thanks in advance for any and all input.

  • #2
    It's a tricky one because your goal would probably something like a 510 or 600 Dominator but at this stage that will be too big a jump and will no doubt leave you frustrated.
    At the same time I wouldn't go any larger than a 6'6 because it will lack the response you're looking for and you'll out grow it quickly.

    Where you settle on the size will probably depend on your ambition and confidence and how happy you are to have to resize in the near future.


    • #3
      Looks like you are on Oahu? Check out Surf Garage by University. They have a 6'6" Spitfire demo board which is basically a Dom. Give it a whirl at $20 a day and see how you like it. You're losing almost 25 liters of volume which is pretty huge, but it'll really give you an idea of your actual fitness and skill. I've tried a bunch of boards from Surf Garage and essentially went from an 8'0 longboard to a 5'8" Potatonator but I've been surfing a little longer than you, but first time on a shortboard. As much as people can provide recommendations, you really have to go out there and try as many boards as possible to know where your true limit is.


      • #4
        I'd second the Spit option. However do not be afraid of volume as it can be your buddy. I think for now you just need more wave time in getting the hip/thigh/knee thing goin.

        I've a few buddies who do not like there Doms. But the Spit seems a magic board by many accounts.

        And I've said it before, most over estimate them selves and have a very unrealistic perspective. This one guy I surf with on occasion thinks he rips. In reality his Inka shit stance together a very stiff upper body is just horrid.

        Learn from the many bad surfers out there as its as important to realize what you don't like as it is finding what you do like.


        • #5
          The 6'6" Spitfire sounds like good compromise of float and performance. I have already met both Daniel and Kenta at the Surf Garage, as a matter of fact Daniel sold me my used Robert August. At $20/day it would be a cheap and easy way of getting at the very least a sobering reality check, plus I imagine any rental fees might be credited towards a possible purchase? Sounds dangerous.


          • #6
            LateBloomer, 2-3ft mushy Waikiki? Is that HI scale or standard scale? hehe. I ride the spitfire and I love it. If you are a beginner, go with the Dom. if you plan to buy a brand new Firewire...Rip Curl Ala Moana has the best prices on the island!! Most FST boards are under $700!!! And if they don't have it, just ask them to order it and the local rep will pull it from competing shops.


            • #7
              Hawaii_Boy, I am quoting Surfline's measurements when referring to Waikiki. I was just in RipCurl Ala Moana the other day, they had a good number of Firewires and their prices seem to be in line with Surf Garage's as well as the Local Motion stores. I might go look at Tropical Blends' new store when they re-open.


              • #8
                Update: I went ahead and rented the 6'6" Spitfire from the Surf Garage and promptly took it out to the mushy 2-3ft (Surfline) Waikiki waves. As a total newb, this was by far the smallest board I have ever paddled and was worried if I would even be able to keep my prone position on it much less make any headway. To my surprise, I managed to stay on it quite comfortably and even though the fulcrum (trimmed) point was much narrower than the longer boards, it definitely had a nice efficient sweet spot which paddled great. I can't really say what my paddling speed was like but I managed to paddle around quite relentlessly for (2) 2 hour sessions the same day. Plenty of float for my 170lbs, however I found it difficult to sit on while waiting for the next wave. My greatest surprise was that I able to catch about 30-40% of the wave I went for and managed to pop up and stand up on 80% of those. I would, however run out of 'go' real fast when riding, maybe 5-30 yards and then slowly flounder as the whitewater caught up and engulfed me. I didn't manage to keep enough steam to be able to turn back up onto to curl. Lack of skill (no doubt) and perhaps not enough energy from the mushy little waves...?
                Another interesting discovery for this beginner was how much easier it was to front load the board whilst paddling into a wave. On the longer boards I've been learning on, if I was just a smidge too far back on the board while paddling, I would often just have to watch the wave steadily pass me by, despite my best paddling efforts. With the Spitfire, I found it so much easier to be able to shift my weight to the front of the board and stay in front of the hump (push?).
                This thread is slowly morphing into a learner's diary and to all you more seasoned surfers I hope it does not cause you any unnecessary flatlining, but my hope is that these notes might be of some interest to other genuine beginners trying to navigate their way up this very steep initial learning curve.
                Well did I finally decide on a board? I did, as a matter of fact. A very sweet deal on a new 6'4" Spitfire RF FU. w/ Simon Andersen quads.
                I am hoping this size will still offer acceptable levels of stability for me to find my footing, enough paddling ease, still be an easy wave catcher and yet still be small enough to be somewhat responsive (to my 170Lbs) went up and running. I will keep you posted.


                • #9
                  Keep the progress reports coming!