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Ability and fitness definitions needed.

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  • Ability and fitness definitions needed.

    In one of the other volume calculator threads STC67 suggested some definitions might come in handy for different levels of ability. I totally agree, and have made the same comment in a couple of other posts.

    With all of the differing opinions that are no doubt out there regarding what constitutes intermediate, at what point are you advanced, etc, a standard set of definitions that Firewire works to is the key ingredient missing from what is otherwise an awesomely informative site. This is fairly common practice for most decent ski/snowboarding schools, who use a short paragraph or set of bullet points describing where your skiing or boarding is at (you can consistently link S turns, yada, yada, yada) to stream skiers and boarders into the appropriate group classes. I would apply the same thinking to define fitness level.

    This would be very handy when using the volume calculator, which unless I talk my ability and fitness above what I would define them to be, steers me towards bigger boards than I'm currently riding and am more than happy with. In fact for two of them (Dom and Hellfire) if I had to change them I'd go down a size rather than up.

    Cheers, CH
    Last edited by CaptainH; 05-10-2012, 08:53 PM. Reason: A couple of slight word changes for clarity's sake

  • #2
    Yep, totally agree Captain. Cracking idea.


    • #3
      I reckon the volume calculator is a cracking idea, and tip my hat to the folk who created it. Having said that, I just think there are too many variables for it to work well. I have toi confess I thought the simple table with recommended sizes based on weight and ability was fine. I reckon that was perfect but just adding a few tweaks such as;

      * You can go + or - 2 inches within these lengths quite easily.
      **Our experience suggests that older surfers tend to like a little more volume in their boards for a given ability level. If you are 40+ you might consider adding 2 or more inches to any recommended length for a given ability level. If you are 55+ you might consider going a touch longer again.
      *** Some younger surfers are riding boards 2 inches or more less than these recommended lengths. If you are young, flexible, like wafer boards and surf a lot then you might be able to go a little under the recommended lengths.


      • #4
        Agree with Buzzy. You can go either 2 inches shorter or longer. I opted to go 2 inches longer on my boards or keep the volume in the high 30's or low 40's and that seems to work for my weight,age and paddling ability.


        • #5
          Yeah I don't think volume is closely enough tied to what manuveures you can do on a board. More about confidence, preference and fitness.


          • #6
            I don't think there is any way for the volume calculator to address every single concern about what size board to ride. You'll still have to buy a board unfortunately and take a chance that you need a bit more or less volume. Or that the rails are too pinched or there is too much or too little rocker, etc.

            Everyone buys boards that they wish they could change or tweak slightly. Pros go through 100s of boards a year for this very reason. It shouldn't be assumed that with all the info the FW sight has provided that you are going to get the absolutely perfectly sized board, at the end of the day you'll just have to try one and see. I think FW raised the bar already on just providing volume, now you see Channel Islands, JS and Mayhem doing it too on their sites.


            • #7
              Yeah crew all valid points.

              The problem with just a board buyers guide is that length is a single dimension that doesn't take into account the profile of the board. Sure we can say ride 2 inches shorter than your shortboard, but the people that need the volume calculators the most are the beginners graduating to intermediate who started on an oversized shortboard for example. I have seen a lot of 150lb teenagers on 606 shortboards with 38L or so of volume. Then they go 2 inches or 4 or 6 even shorter with a potato and its WAY TOO BIG!!!

              I will agree there is no glass slipper because we are talking about humanity as a whole, not a single demographic of surfer. I think if you already know what you like, then you don't need the volume and I would add, in many cases, experience eliminates the need for the volume calculator. But for those looking to really hone their craft and are in the position to think critically about shape for the first time, the volume calculator serves its purpose.

              Finally do keep in mind that its only meant to be PART of the equation. Not the final word. So use it to help make an informed decision.

              Hope this helps


              • #8
                I buy all that, and completely agree that FW has raised the bar on this front. I know it's only a guide to help people make an informed decision, that everyone's different, and that surfing is way too organic and subjective for it to be purely about numbers and all that. My point was and is that without a standard set of definitions (both of ability and fitness) people are going to be entering information that will make those decisions less informed than if those definitions had been in place. Actually, it would be an interesting topic of discussion to see where people out there think the different levels of ability kick in.


                • #9
                  yeah the fitness one may be hard to define...

                  how would you define fitness?


                  • #10
                    I don't know. Does excellent kick in at Laird Hamilton's or Mick Fanning's levels of fitness, or are they superhuman/off the scale? Even with average fitness, what is that? If you measured it in laps of a 50m pool without a break, how many would it be? Then again, lots of people do lots of different exercises. I don't know the answer to any of this stuff, and agree that it's hard to define. But I suspect lots of different people would have differing opinions on what is what. And therein lies the problem.


                    • #11
                      Hmmm...I reckon 'Advanced' level does not refer to the Michel Bourez's, Felipe Toledo's or the Sally Fitzgibbon's, they are the 'Professional' level.
                      'Advance' level could mean non-professional surfers abilities, who can perform most of the manoeuvres that are performed by the Pro surfers but at a lower degree of execution?
                      'Intermediate' level could mean a mid-week/weekend surfer's abilities, who can perform a limited amount of manoeuvres that are performed by the Pro surfers but with a reasonable degree of execution?
                      'Beginner' level could mean the abilities of a person, who is relatively new to the sport of surfing, who has minimum hours of water time to begin with & is not necessarily doing manoeuvres performed by the Pro surfers of any kind...yet?


                      • #12
                        Maybe it would help if percentages were included ie "Advanced" equals, "In the top 15% of surfers at your local break". But then if your local break is Sunset and not Waikiki, then it all falls apart!