going shorter

hey guys. i’ve been riding longboards about 3 years now and i’m looking to go shorter. i’ve also ridden a 7’6 funboard a bit, and my friend’s 6’10 bump thruster. i’ve been able to get up on the 6’10 but haven’t really mastered going down the line yet. i went to my local shop this morning and checked out some boards and there’s a 6’8 WRV Big Boy (20" wide) for $365 which looks nice. i’ve had some suggestions to go with a big guy thruster to start out with because of the extra width for float and paddling that i’m used to on the logs. is this the best way to go? i’ve also looked at isle surfboards’ ‘retro fish’ shape in the 6’2 range which looks fairly wide as well and is also in the 300 range. any input guys?

Make sure that you are not only looking at width but make sure you look at thickness. I’ve seen a lot of wide boards that in my opinion were way too thin.

I got some advice from a team rider last week when talking about ordering a longboard from the shaper her rides for. Longer and thinner. It’s all a trade-off. Longer, wider, thicker will float the best but shorter, narrower, thinner will be more responsive. His point was if you have a board pretty dialed in with regard to what you want, but you think you want just a little more volume/float, go a couple inches longer because going thicker will reduce rail to rail response.

I’ve heard that various shapers handle the distribution of volume on their “big boy” shortboards differently. Some will crown the deck a little more to keep more volume toward centerline and keep the rails thinner maintaining responsiveness. If you’re not sure how the boards you’re looking at distribute the volume for the bigger guys, you might want to keep thickness more standard and add a couple inches in length. When in doubt ask the shaper how he deals with this.

I wasn’t really suggesting to go thick and wide. I would suggest that when switching from longboard to shortboard, find a shape that you like but make sure it is a little thicker than most other shortboards and make sure it has thin rails. The meat should run down the center. You’ll have no problem going rail to rail but you won’t loose quite as much paddling speed that you may be used to. Probably won’t find it off the shelve though. Find a local shaper.

i’m definetly going to be concious of thickness with whatever i pick. i’m aware of what thickness and length do to the ride, as well as rail shape. i guess what i’m looking for is anyone else’s experiences with going from longer to shorter boards. i’ve heard various responses as of yet and just looking for a bit more input…thanks so far guys

I have spent a lot of time and money “trying to go shorter”. I finally found a 7’2" Perfection big guy tri shaped by Kelly Richards that is excatly what I was looking for. The board gts up and planning very quickly! This is all the difference. At 215lbs. I can ride a 2 3/4 thick board in even the smallest mush. The board paddles better than my 8’0" egg and I can still duck dive it. I can’t say enough about Kelly as a shaper! As far as the board design it looks like he domed the deck to keep a lot of foam under my chest, the rails are low and thin, the nose is fuller than a normal shortboard, and the entry rocker is lower. All of which I think helps the board’s great planning ability. I’ve tried many 7’6" -7’8" boards, a WRV, CI M-13 both poly and ST, HIC, Hot Buttered, etc. and I always felt like I was dragging the board thru the water. It seems opposite that a thin shorter board paddles better that a longer thicker one, but for me this was the case. I really think it is all about a boards planning ability. Domed deck, low thin rails, a little wider than normal, and low entry rocker. Hope this helps. Good luck with your search.

I rode shortboards for a long time then went through a mini tank/longboard phase where, I only rode longboards for a few years. I then got influenced by what Joel Tudor was doing, riding a variety of surfcraft so I shaped a 6’6" modern fish. The biggest hurdle for me was mostly in my mind. It was so easy to get discouraged trying to ride a shortboard again and shine that and go back to riding my longboard. Its a lot more work for sure. I had to keep telling myself to stay with the shortboard till I got it wired again. I slowly started inching down in length to where my shortest board is a 6’0" keel fish. This didnt happen overnight as it took a few years to get to the point where I am now where I take a longboard and one of my fishes with me and pick which one will better fit whatever conditions I come across. I think you will have to do a little experimenting by just trying out different shorter boards. Thick and wide, Thin and wide, thick with tapered rails, thick with blocky rails, fishes, big boy thrusters, eggs, etc. Hopefully you might know someone you can borrow a board off instead of having to buy all these boards. You won’t really know what you’ll like till you try one. If you’ve never ridden shortboards before, it’ll probably be more of a challenge for you as it was for me. But I hope you won’t get discouraged and stay with it.

When I went back shorter after riding mostly longboards…I rediscovered that I loved shortboarding so much more and that as long as the board floats you properly it’s mostly a timing thing catching waves vs a longboard. Longboards allow you to get lazy. I still love longboards for short surfs…but mostly I ride shorter arcing boards now. It’s still nice to fade into a nice little wall with an over 9’6’’ piece of foam though.

i personaly think that big guy try shapes are awesome

im 6 3 tall 86 kg and i ride a 6 2

i think the limit in width to be about 19 3/4 and they start to feel a bit stiff on turns in the pocket and cutacks

there ideal for begginers as well

what i like the best is they seem to work better then a mini gun pintail when the surf is up to 6 ft

yeah just swap the fins around

cant comment if its bigger than d oh

“my shortest board is a 6’0” keel fish"

my shortest boards a keel fish too… but mine 4’10" (its the lossest board ive ever riden

i know this may not sound like much…but i took a 7’0" shape (semi-gun) and went a bit smaller than what i was use to. it turned into a 6’10" and i made it narrower (19"), as well as thinner (2 3/8"). all of this was an accident, but the results were magical. the board performs perfect in thicker big waves. my turns allow me to throw out the fins more than the original shape i’ve been riding for years. also, it pushes effortlessly through any lumpy warble.

i am 6’5" and 190 pounds…the board was a challenge to paddle at first, but after a few days i learned to move swiftly on it. the board also breaks clean through any big duck dive.

the whole shaping accident made me take a look at playing with reducing some of the dimensions i am normally accustomed to.

i shaped a 6’3" for my standard shortboard (a departure from the 6’7") -i love the tighter turning radius and snappy feel it gives.

revisiting this a bit if you guys don’t mind bringing up an old thread. i’m still looking to go a bit shorter in my quiver. a session last week left me desperately wishing i had a shorter board. my 9’4 and 9’8 just aren’t cutting it anymore when it starts getting a bit more sizeable and punchier. so here’s my question. is it better to go shorter with big guy tri’s and progress into thrusters, or would it be just as easy to transition using some sort of egg or hull and then also be able to pick up a thruster when needed. i love longboarding and walking so i guess my ideal transition board would be something i could still walk a bit on, maybe throw a cheater five even, but also be able to turn and make some long carves. then once i’ve gotten the hang of riding shorter boards, pick up a thruster as well later on…

what do you guys suggest? i’ve thought of shapes such as: Walden CD, Cooperfish comet, etc. but most likely trying to get a local shaper to crank something out for me instead of paying twice as much for a west coast board (i’m over in new england).

any input is very warmly welcomed! thanks :slight_smile:

i’ve also looked into this fish that a local has for sale. it’s shaped by dave levy (RI) so it obviously has new england waves in mind. dims are:L 6 N 15 7/8, W 21 1/2, T 16 3/4, Thick 2 1/2. (see pictures). question is, is it a good bet for me to try out something smaller? i’m about 5’10, 160lbs. and it’ll be mostly beachbreaks and some points.

there’s also this other Levy board that the same guy who’s selling the fish has. i don’t have the dimensions but it looks more like a mini-LB or something of the like. said it noserides pretty decently as well.

unless youre a really good surfer with consistent surf nearby, going from a short fish to a longboard and back isnt easy. I tried is one year and your timing gets all messed up. but if you surf the same way with any board it would be easier. that fish would work really good for you if youre up to the challenge. I have a longboard friend (big BIG guy) who bought an 8 foot stinger quad type board and is really enjoying it. he’s not much of a noserider so it fits his back foot style better. if your funds support it, i’d try many different things. HTH

all your suggestions of boards are great. The boards will work, it’s you that will need work. I went from many years of longboarding only. Traditional and hi perf boards. I went to a 6’2" x 22" x 2 1/2" fish. It’s not really easy and takes a lot of dedication. But I surf a lot and live in a very consistent swell area. You’ll need to get fit and surf a lot. But it will happen if you want it to. Maybe I did it the hard way by going so short but it was so worth it! At the time I was about 45. 5’11 and 175lbs. I love my fish, it’s so fun and I catch a lot of waves.

thanks for the responses, guys. i definetly don’t live in a very consistent area since new england, but i’m out there even when it’s knee-thigh crap just to get in the water. very good point about it being all about the surfer. i guess i get caught up in equipment and design that i forget that a lot. i’ve surfed 7’ boards so i can definetly go smaller, i’m just looking for the best board for my conditions that won’t be absolutely unbearable of a switch from the longboards i guess. we’ll see…

207, i’ve been surfing for just over 12 months now. I started on a 7’6’’ old minimal. About 2 months ago i finished a 6’2’’ x 16n x 22 x 16t x 3’’ thick fish. It doesnt have super flat nose rocker ( its about 4- 4 1/2’’ ). I found the first few surfs tricky, but now after 10 or so, im much more used to it, and i bloody love it !!!. It paddles really well for such a short board, floats me great ( im about 80 -85 kg ), catches waves easy, but, is super fast, and turns whenever you want, as hard as you want. With my limited experience, i thought i would struggle to ride, and although i wont ever be confused for kelly slater, i feel i can surf past my limits on it.

Hope this helps

First off like others have said it is a lot of work. You do not realize how easy it is surf a longboard as opposed to a potato chip thruster. I learned on a longboard but went to a shortboard as a ripper friend told me to shortboard since I was young and use the longboard for style.

One of the things is wave selection. Thrusters generally work where the wave is walled up, at the peak. Also sitting on the inside more (and dealing with monster sets on the outside). I found it that everyday thrusters best works in 4ft - OH+ (haven’t tried DOH).

But the best blessing of going shorter isn’t wave maneuverability (on my 7’6 funboard I could put that almost anywhere on the wave I wanted), but duck diving. Duckdiving IMHO is the best way of getting outside the breakers.

Also a typical off the rack thruster is designed for backfooted surfers. If you look at the foil, the thickness, widepoint all point to that. The sweet spot is smaller and these board are very fickle, so you have to ride them carefully (I’m still learning how).

There are some thrusters designed to be surfed if your stance is 50-50 (Greg L has a great article regarding this) and these I find them to be more forgiving, with a wider sweet spot, but they lack the quickness (or unstability) of backfooted ones.

I think Solo mentioned he likes second generation thrusters (before Kelly slater & new school) and I’m starting to believe that.

The most important (and time saving) thing I found out about a thruster (and any shortboard) in general was the proper rocker, fin placement, and dims for your weight / height. I had a 6’2 boards I absolutedly found it to be bad dog boards but at 5’10 to 6, those boards I could ride much easier and get better turns. The key was footing in relation to the tailpad / fin cluster and sweet spots. In the shorter boards, my feet stood in the right area. In the 6’2" 's i would be forward, and have to scoot my foot back, but that would throw me off and by the time I recovered with good foot placement, the bottom turn I needed was too late to make the section (I surf beach break 90%).

I rode a 6 ft fish, finding it to be floaty and difficult to turn, but I rode a 5’6 one and found it to be just a keeper (too bad it’s my friends) . . .

But what sucks if you get the proper dims to your weight / height, the transition to a thruster or shortboard is difficult, since you lose paddling . . .

I’m not a much of a fan for mid lengths / fun sizes (for me that is 6’4-8) not counting guns because I’m NRFAGY (not ready for a gun yet) because you lose the paddle ability of a longboard (so you could time the sets and sprint out to the line up) but you can’t duck dive it efficiently either, so with those lengths in my experience I spend more time in the impact zone getting thrashed than if I had a short board or longboard.

Also remember that in your area a thruster can be tailored to fit the waves. I’ve seen guys boost airs in nice 2 footers at Trestles on fat little thrusters . . .

My friends tell me fish is an easier transition. And fishes can go in knee high mush . …

THats a great explaination Hiroprotagonist, its so on the mark. I think Berts theory that if you learn on a longboard you become front foot heavy is bang on. In a previous posts LeeDD suggested a board shape to ‘cure’ front foot surfers. I struggle with this my self and have found going shorter the answer.

I just want to add a couple of points.

Going shorter means you have to get fitter. Practice popups on the floor every night.

On a shortboard you knees should always bent, as you have to continually generate power, practice plenty of squats and keeping low during the day will loosen up your knees and back. Think about the way lpeople in ess developed nations can crouch but keep their whole foot on the floor.

I found a Carve Surf Stik great, find a gentle slope and continually pump sideways across it. EVery time you initiate a turn on a shortboard you should easily be able to stick a hand in the wave face. (Generalisation)

Your pop-up may need to change so you back foot ends up on the tail pad, an aid to doing this is to twist your shoulder and head as you pop up, if your regular foot twist to your right.

Now that you are totally confused…

I surf 2-4 times a week. Mostly the mushy reef break San Diego style. I change boards often. I don’t charge big hollow waves. I did surf overhead waves on a ten footer Monday but it’s a popular long board spot.

Fitness, age, weight, style, attitude, ability, type of wave, water temp, wind…

I love eggs and mini logs when I’m not long boarding. I go from a 6’5" to a 10’0" but I’m a cruizer not a shredder.

Are you agro out there??? Go short board

Not everyone can ride a fish well. I love working on them but I don’t ride them.

People seem to frown on “fun boards”. I always seem to have fun on them.

Where do you want go on the wave???

somewhat confused, yes. haha. no i guess what i am looking for is some assurance that i’m not looking at wrong boards to help me with this. i think as long as i put my longboard away for a while and only work on shorter boards i’ll be able to do this with some hard work. i’ve been up on a friend’s 6’10 thruster this summer so it can be done i suppose, just have to get more proficient at it over time. i originally wanted to go from longboard, funboard, then work into a shorter more performance board but i’d rather skip the funboard if possible that’s what i learned on (a 7’10) and while it was a blast to ride, i’d rather try something a bit different. hmm. i guess it comes down to trying what i can afford and just working like hell to make it work! :slight_smile: