Getting hung up in the lip.

I’ve built myself a board that I love in waves under head high.  Best board I’ve ever ridden so long as it not breaking top to bottom.  Basically a Dumpster Diver clone supersized for a 205# 43 year old.  The only problem with the board is on waves that are overhead and hollow the board will get hung up in the lip and not let me in and will sometimes start to track while I’m paddling into the wave.  Problem is particularly when its offshore, hollow and there is a lot of water coming up the face.   I’m thinking its a problem caused by the extra foam under my chest and the concave that begins under my chest.

I’m about to embark on building another very similar board but I want this one to get into head high + with ease.  Any suggestions to make the next one more user friendly in bigger waves?  Eliminate Concave under chest?  Less foam under chest???  (Still want it to paddle good though).  Softer rails toward the nose?  A little bit of forward V???

The board in question is the one in the center on these photos.  It’s 6’6" and I’ve hidden a ton of volume in it.  2 and 7/8" thick.


Hey Mako,

I posted almost identically a while back. It’s a similar board, but mine is 5’11’'. Lots of hidden volume. Goes great most days, but when it’s on and fast, then it’s the most frustrating experience: like someone is holding on to the tail of my board.

I think it’s two things. First, rocker. These dumpster diver type boards tend to have “nose” rocker that begins pretty far back, as sort of a slight angle, rather than a curve, before flipping a little in the nose. 

Second, I think that too much volume in the nose prevents penetration of the wave. That’s the rub of hidden volume. It tends to distribute itself throughout and combined with the rocker it makes for a board that goes great and surfs great a lot of the time. But when it’s fast and peaky, then it’s no fun. 

I’ve been rethinking where my volume goes. Typical is to maximize it under the chest where the rocker apex is. But I think it was LeeD who talked about how he would increase it where his hips lay. I think I’ll experiment with that for my next board and foil out the nose so that it drops more easily.

Good luck,


(1)  YES !


(2)  NO.


The concave is the culpret.

flat to a slight sprial vee off tail for user friendliness in bigger stuff. 

flatten the entry rocker with an accentuated nose flip for improved paddling

for late drops and curvy faces you’ll need allot of tail rocker and a continuous curved outline

its all about rail and rocker release in the super hollow stuff

dome it to keep the thickness where you need it.

interestingcomments about the concave argument as probably the fastest paddling boards today are these 11’ Chris Christiansen hyper guns that they are using at Jaws, Mavs and other paddle in spots. I think he may have some concave in those thngs but they are god awfully narrow too. 


When I used to ride my twin nose alexander gemini all the time with over 1" of concave in the nose between the twin tips and a reverse outline (narrow tail/wide nose) I found you can’t just paddle those things into a wave like you could with a potato chip. So take off’s always involved spinning around at the last minute jamming the tail into the wave face and launching to your feet immediately. Lots of air drops but those boards always stuck the landing and always made it around the hook no matter how far behind you took off.

I’ve noticed this same problem with allot of “funboards”, full nosed boards and especially lightweight EPS Epoxy boards which carry no momentum during take off.


Hi Mako,

Why don’t you try to soften up the rails in the nose rocker, almost belly-like. This should help the nose sit lower in the water when you are paddling into the wave and help get you over the ledge easier. Start your concave further back and keep it subtle. Concave gives you lift and with a wider board, you’ve got plenty of lift without deep concaves.  I’ve just started doing this with a soft-railed flat entry to a subtle single to an inset double/vee through the fins and out the tail. It has worked great for me in the last few Jersey swells with the stiff offshores and ledging barrels. Good stuff yesterday, by the way.



Thank you for the reply.  Much respect.

Bill's right.  Belly under the chest would make more sense.

I’ve recently been making performance quad fish - with wide deep swallow tails and plenty of volume packed in but I use a slight roll in the nose and Vee that that starts under the chest runnning right out the tail with a double cut through the last third of the boards vee. They work very well in steep sucky wave - been tested in double overhead barreling waves and yet to find the top end range of what they can handle. Cheers Rich

What is the amount of fin toe? the usual 1/4" or more?


I agree with Bill.  The added surface area of the concave bottom makes the board fun in small gutless waves but you don’t need as much " lift" in faster waves with more juice.  I would suggest adding a slight belly or hull through the front of the board and and then a bit of vee through the tail.  Your board looks sweet though,  as a bonus you will have another board very similar to the first which is more suited to hollow more powerful waves.  It will be easy to transition between the two depending on conditions.  In my opinion when you try to design something which is good at everything compromises are made one way or the other.  Because of this most all rounders are fun most of the time but tend to fall in the middle of the demand curve.  Designs which are focused tend to perform best in the conditions for which they are designed.  How many pros go on tour with only 1 board?  As a final idea glass the next one heavier than the last.  6-6-6 layup. Full laps top and bottom.  Heavier is better when it’s offshore and hollow.

I’ve been riding a fairly close approximation of a Tomo Vanguard. It’s very fast of the top and never gets hung up.

I think the straight rails and the no toe fins make these things plane early and offer no fall-line resistance. The wide tail is very stable in take off. My take off kook rate has dropped from 20 % to pretty much 0% in all kinds of waves except maybe for grovel conditions.



Would an extra bit of kick in the tail rocker help it from getting hung up in the lip while doing turns- although obviously wouldnt help with catching waves in offshore conditions.

No problems at all doing turns on this board.  It is perfect in this regard.

One idea I am considering is doing the next one with a rounded pin tail since this next board will be geared towards bigger days.

Also consider holding a rounder shape in your rail well toward the tail.  This will give you extra hold when it gets steep.  Round rails hold while hard sharp edges shear water.  With a round rail all the way past the trailing edge of your lead fins the board will hold the wall and not want to shear off of the face of a walling wave .

I did a few boards with concave running 2/3 the length of the bottom.  I found out real quickly that they generate lots of lift in weak conditions but required a couple more strokes to get in.  They greatly reduced my margin for error in fast breaking wave conditions.  

I don’t think your wide tail gets hung up or held on to at all.  I think what you are experincing is 1:  a whole lotta lift and float in the tail which drops the nose of the board straight down in a hollower takeoff.  you think you are held back but the reality is the tail is lurching up on plane real fast giving you very little time to get on your feet before your board goes nearly vertical and is hard to stay with.  Watch some people or videos of take offs with smaller pipe boards, you’ll notice the thin and narrow tails actually stay a bit submerged in the steepening wall of water.  This gives you a bit more time to get to your feet and the angle of attack of the board doesn’t fall away matching the steep wall of the wave so closely so you have more time to get to your feet before the plunge.

2: if you try to angle in to a steep takeoff on a real low rocker board to keep from pearling, the concave up front keeps the board from slipping sideways down into the right takeoff line.  It tends to stick and track up high instead of release and slip into the right lower line. v or dome in the front part of the board or throughout really makes a big difference here in barrels.  Probably more fun to keep you 6’6" design for low energy days and use a dedicated board for hollow days, or just realize with a low rocker flaoty board you have to paddle real fast at get in really early every time to make the drops easier.  It’s really tough to spin, paddle a couple of times and handle how fast a flat board accelerates and goes near vert or at a pearling angle on the takeoff. Even more so on smaller hollow waves because the board just wont fit such a tight curve. 


Everyone knows I love mccoys!  So here is the shameless Geoff McCoy promotion.  Mccoys all have wide tails, wide point back and are generally thicker than the so called modern short board.  I would argue that Geoff invented the modern short board.  Thick wide tails soft rails and the loaded dome on these boards make them some of the best barrel boards you will ever try.  My lazor zap is bar none the best hollow day board I own.  My boat nose cheyne horan is much the same.  Many times when I feel I’m getting hung up in the lip it is because I’m just not in the right spot.  I may be too far outside waiting for bombers or not close enough to the peak.  I’m not trying to diss you bro,  I’m sayin that’s me. Simetimes it’s more a matter of commitment also.  Lately I just say what the heck and scoot a bit farther toward the nose.  On offshore days this is often the differance I need to get in sooner.  Sure I pearl it once in a while but most of the time I’m on it.

     Recipes for a good hollow day bottom contour.  Belly in nose through entry rocker becoming a very light vee throught the center of the board maybe 1/16 " to vee out the tail 1/8".  Soft rails from front to back of leading fin then becoming hard gradually as the tail is reached.  Do not sacrifice volume.  Paddle power catches waves.  Heavy glass layups help maintain momentum.  3 stage rocker.  These are all generalitys but good places to start.

I agree that McCoy  has the recipe perfected for getting a short wide low rockered board down a steep face, dome, well tucked rails that release a lot up front 

I think a lot of it has to do with the change in the waves, not so much the board(s) myself… 

Not to big, but sucking-doubling waves are generally much faster from the point you could slide in to the point you’ll get pitched.  Much less time and much more critical. 

My disconnect comes from the fact I don’t ride much shorter than 8’, so the different bottom features mentioned, I’ve tried most, don’t strike me as problematic, as much as getting in at the right time.  Granted - I love nothing more than a narrow vee/belly nose with lots of flip…  I hated to see my nose as it dug in on steep/late drops when it’s hollow, but not to big…  Takes a certain approach to work the 8’er on a 4’ wave…  Ha!

I’ve got a 8’ mini mal/ fun board too.  It’s a blast on lots of different waves. Bit when it’s dumping it’s a whole different beast.  When I’m in the zone and the planets are aligned just so I get bottom turns on it so sweet I can’t believe it’s me surfing.  Then the speed and controll from the pin tail are a religious experience.  The thing I miss most about it when on my shortys is the trim. Trim is a beautiful thing. Lol.  One of the things I love about shaping is the freedom to experiment and own a lot of different boards.