Any better boards for the chronically unbalanced?

i’ve been riding waveskis for the past few years, largely because i have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and essentially have lost all feeling in my toes and so can barely stand up on dry land (just kidding, more or less, haha), never mind on a moving board in the ocean. that said, i’m tired of sitting on my ass all day in the water. I’m 190 lbs, living in the NE, and last year figured a 10’ surftech infinity rad noserider would just about do it and be stable enuf for me to learn on. Sadly, and surprisingly, I just don’t find it stable enough. At the same time, being a beginner, it’s hard for me to honestly judge stability: ie, is it unstable because i’m a beginner or unstable because it is actually unstable beneath my particular numb-toed feet.

perhaps wrongly, i’m guessing the latter, and am now wondering if there’s something out there better suited to someone in my situation. the whole thing is very weird, unsettling and frustrating to me. as a kid i used to be extremely coordinated; as a 52-year-old coot, i’m a total wobbler. and yet i’m fairly determined to get out of my waveski and stand up.

any thoughts? maybe an 11’ softop? or the 12’-er? and, would it really make a significant, as opposed to incrimental, difference?

thanks for any suggestions you can make.

Howzit carlito, Is your foot nombness caused from diabetes? I have diabetes but don't have any foot numbness as of yet. If it is from diabetes that's anot a good sign and need attention.Aloha,Kokua

unfortunately, i can’t make any recommendations as far as stability…but i do have a friend that may be interested in the 10’ Infinity that didn’t work out for ya. if you’ve still got it, and don’t want it…lemme know.

i’m going to hold on to the infinity until i find something better, if indeed i do find something better

as to diabetes – i’ve been tested for it and the results have been negative. so far. i’ve also been tested for about a zillion other things, from various weirdo proteinsto exposure to heavy metals, with no answers forthcoming. that’s no surprise to my neurologist, however, who says they can’t find causes in about 30% of these cases. and even if you could find a cause, there’s nothing that can be done about it. so, the numb toes are here to stay.

my biggest fear, of course, is that the numbness is going to crawl from my toes, into my ankles, into my calves and up into my willy. oh lord i’m a gonner then!

I don’t think that length is as much your friend as width is. Go wide and go heavy (inertia is your friend). Blocky soft rails and a multitude of fins, flat to maybe slightly concave deck. I can feel my feet fine but I’m still chronically unbalanced!

Make yourself, or find someone to make you, something with a concave deck. I’ve put a very slight concave in a couple so far and the foot-feel is very positive. Makes big domed decks (like most Infinities) feel like standing on a telephone pole, and even makes flat decks feel less sensitive.

A week ago, I got to surf a few (incredibly marginal) waves on a board DanB made. It was about 1.5" thick in the middle to 2.25" thick about 3" in from the rails. Extreme concave. And the board is too small for me - a 9’ that floated me rib-deep while sitting on it. And the waves were literally ankle-slappers. But the board managed to help me into a few and was extremely responsive. The deck with the deep concave felt as positive as if I’d been strapped. I didn’t use a leash and didn’t have the slightest concern about losing the board, even bashing (can you call it that on a 2’ wave?) into sections which made me redirect from a right back into a reform left…

I would say that a severe deck concave is your best bet…

Edit: nice concave trim/nose deck on a Da Cat:

Good luck.

try moving to a big, slabby (lots of area) center fin, too.


I volunteer to do the R and D, but you have to supply the beer. Mike

If ya gotta stand ya gotta stand but if you are really just looking for fun variety not sitting there’s always kneelos and Solomonson mats! Bit advantage to the mat is one mat will ride the worst waves you can make yourself go out in and also the biggest and best. A one tool quiver

The Rad usually comes with the Cluster-V set up, which is two 5" twinnies and a 3" O’Fshl center fin. Is your Rad a “Convertible” Cluster-V (10" center fin box) or a regular Cluster V (3" O"Fishl)? If it’s Convertible, switch to an 8.5" center fin (non-cutaway) and switch to 3" side-bites. This should give you a little more stability, while maintainig some of the “looseness” of the CV. With the convertible, you could even go 9.5" single-fin. Without the 10.5" box you’re stuck with the 3" center fin.

benny: i love the idea of a concave decked board and maybe that’d do it for me but at this point i can’t afford the experiment of ordering such a board and the odds of me seeing one on the beach to borrow are faily slim, i think. any production models fit the bill, that you know of?

drstrange: if tried mats but sadly i’ve got a problem there too: the neuropathy has caused permanent damage to my leg muscles in such a way that fins and i judge don’t agree.

nomastomas: happily, i’ve got the larger fin box. what size fin do you tlhink would offer the most stability? and, could you offer up a make/model of fin for me to try?

thanks much all!

Take that Infinity of yours.

Draw a line 3" inside the outline, all the way around the deck.

Cut the shell off, on that line, with a Dremel or some other small, easy-to-control, spinning tool.

Glue sheetrock sanding screens on a Nerf football and go to town on the foam exposed by your cutout.

Rough up the 3" of deck leftover with 150 grit sandpaper.

Reglass with 2 layers 6 oz S cloth & epoxy.

Concave deck…check!

oh benny benny benny i couldn’t do that to my infinity; it’d never forgive me, turning it into some kind of potato chip. if only it’d cost me 100 clams, not ten times that amount, maybe then. but as it stands, cannot do it. what i need to do, of course, is find some beater and go to town on it.

meanwhile, anyone got any fin ideas?

Its only a Surftech Infinity…it might like being a little different from its brothers :slight_smile:

Nah, I get you. I probably wouldn’t to it, either.

Unfortunately, the Infinity boards are designed to be highly turnable for their size, which means vee in the bottom and a sharp edge on the rails. The ‘stable table’ you’re looking for would have a flat bottom and soft rails to go with the thick & wide size.

You could try using it as a single fin to calm it down a little. Try a 9.75" Yater Spoon or a 10.5" Heritage, both from True Ames.

You could also do a “$14 Blank” special, just as proof-of-concept. Make it wide, flat, thick, and quite concave in the deck. It should take you 8 hours or so and cost, oh, somewhere around $143. If it works, you’ll know its worth it to pursue the design in better materials & construction. If it doesn’t work, you’re only down by the cost of a couple dinners out.

well, let’s see, two fins a buddy has i might try are a 9.5" hobie true ames and a dewey weber hatchet fin. you think either of those might work or would even then i be better of with say a heritage?

No, neither of those is much better. Well, the Hobie isn’t bad, but its not an anchor like the Heritage. The Hatchet is just a squared-off cutaway - cutaways create looseness at the loss of stability & drive…

Try the Hobie, I guess, it couldn’t hurt. :slight_smile: At least you’ll know if you’re going in the right direction.

All the way back in the box.

Carlito…So many choices, but I’d go with the 8.5" Skip Frye Flex( ) and 3"-4" side bites. If you can borrow an 8.5" cut-away from someone, you might want to try it just so you have something to compare with. (Almost every LB’r with a 2+1 set-up has a cut-away that they use or tried to use). Choice for side bites depends upon the type of fin box, LokBox? O’Fshl? FCS? Futures? On my 9-6 Infinity CV I use the LokBox Joel Tudor 3.5" side-bites and a 8.5" Fins Unlimited cut-away I had laying around. It’s more stable than the CV set-up but less stable than the big sinle-fin set-up I use on my noserider. Just another one of those trade-offs you find so often in surfboard design; more stable=harder to turn, less stable=easier to turn. As you find your sea legs, you can progress to an easier turning, “looser” fin set-up. And that’s part of the ingenuity of the CV Convertible set-up, it allows for several different fin configurations. Want to make those nice drawn-out turns, trim and nose ride? Stick in a Miss Lucy or Nuuhiwa. Want to make those quick top-to-bottom turns, and throw a little spray? Stick with the CV. Want something in between? Go 2+1. IMHO I think the Rad Noserider is one of the most versatile longboards out there.

hey all – just wanted to thank you for the input on my questions. benny – i went ahead and ordered a heritage, so hopefully that’ll help. at least, it’ll teach me something about fins. thanks again!

I occasionally get numb toes from the water temp, I get some idea of your situation. Perhaps you could do some excercises on land, a physical therapist could suggest some, standing on toes, standing on one foot etc. Also, are you on the wave face or in the white water? Nearly every board is unstable in white water. It’s a bucking bronco. Perhaps you just need some epic waves. Good luck.

If your problem is instability in white water I highly recommend one of these STARFINS:

Unless you surf where there is a lot of kelp, in which case, it will not work very well.