heretical idea - can length ever be a disad for catching waves?

Hello, so I was trying to catch a wave on my 9’0 “hp” longboard and I got that “hung up” feeling and missed the wave … what made this time different from the myriad other waves I have missed was the realization that the same physics that enable noseriding might actually be a hindrance in catching a wave. Is that possible? CW says longer catches better . . .

But I am thinking, sure you bring more speed into the wave, but then you have more drag on the tail, and if there are offshores you have a lot of wind resistance up front.

So what if you compared a thinned out longboard (Wilma Flinstone) with a short, thick, wide “fun fish” (Betty Rubble) of EQUAL VOLUME… Wilma def wins the race from a to b, but when it comes to actually catching the wave and making that transition to a planing speed, might the Betty be better at the critical time of actually catching the wave?

(Just talking the mellow waves typically associated with longboarding, in my case a crumbly beach break.)

thank you

Supposed to be helpful:

Try catching the wave from further BACK on the board. Let your board get out ahead of you a bit when you spin around to sink it and frog-kick forward–right before the wave reaches you. Push down on the forward board a bit. Your weight gets you sliding quicker if the wave picks YOU up and YOU start sliding, but you have to keep the nose down–if you stay very far forward, your weight, which should work for you, doesn’t become a positive for a bit longer until the peak finally picks you up and lets your mass slide down.

Did I mention press down on the board forward of your face?

Try it. I don’t actually paddle for waves much anymore at all, even the worst most sub-marginal TX dribble. On a 6 footer. And I’m a 6 footer. 215#.

Wind resistance on a big fat nose is real. Again, let theboard get out ahead a bit when you turn to frog-kick and go (at the last second), and press down on the forward board with your hands.

I consider this a helpful tip for people riding basically pure junk–and it does increase my wave count by 10-fold, and I do have that much more fun.

Length can generally be used to your advantage but in certain wave types it will make negotiating a drop more difficult.

On the other hand, you betcha… a wide concave can definitely hold you up on take off. Offshore winds complicate further.

I’ve ridden nearly identical boards by the same shaper, one with belly and one with concave. The board with belly up front was like a wave magnet in comparison when trying to “bicycle” into waves early.

I don’t really get the Betty/Wilma comparison… Betty? Short, thick, and wide??? Don’t get me started on Ginger and Mary Ann.

Yeah sometimes it drags in the water and slows me down something awful.

"heretical idea - can length ever be a disad for catching waves? "

Spell check?

Surf more …Work smarter not harder…location?..

A long thin board…good for a good surfer ,not your common “longboard”, will not be a “catch all” for most people.

My answer to your question is …I’m working on it…

Showed my new “longboard” to my best friend…He said, “it’s not a longboard because it’s only eight feet long”…

Showed him my new 6-3 egg and he just nodded his head…

…Longboards are a love /hate thing for me…Not sure how Betty fits into all this.

What’s important is to have fun and challenge yourself…


heretical idea - can length ever be a disad for catching waves?

Absolutely, the faster hollower n smaller it gets but maybe you can make a home depot Betty and tell us.

ride your best board on the worst days…

Phil edwards said that.

missed a wave?

bogged down?

nose catchin’ air?

yep all dat .

surf the board enough so’s ya can feel trim

get there while paddling for a wave.If that hump of primordial plasma gets by…


the board could catch the wave much easier by itself.

try it,Get off and push,the board will be gone all the way to the beach.

all the way to the cove,shot the peir

rode the nose and tail simultaenously

when you can feel you are in the wrong spot and can correct it

you can move on to study the next board,until then…keep surfing it.

changing boards cause the tail-rail-nose- aint contemporary

ees bovine fecum.

poor trim is the primary dis advertizement.

to learn trim is a quiet study.

listen for the slap on the bottom or lack thereof.


ignoring symtomatic details is a disadvantage

to drawing a clean 80’radius turn with a 3’radius cutback

free your mind

walk…the board.

ees bovine fecum.

to learn trim is a quiet study.

paddle two miles a day for cure

thank you - I had long suspected but don’t have a full belly board (Fred?) to compare to.

it’s an interesting one

and something i was thinking about the other day and today whilst watching big hollow sucky low tide grinders , and noting the younger guys on short thrusters taking off late , deep , getting tubed and making it ,while a few guys my age [47] , on 9’ or so mals were having a hard time of it

it sure got me to thinking …about timing , paddling skills , the right rocker to fit into the curve of the wave , positioning , and numerous other skills required to catch [different types of?] waves .

especially since , for the last three months or so , i have pretty much just been surfing 9’ and 9’4 mals , and a couple of times , a flattish 7’ single fin .

getting back on a 5’11 and a 5’8 fish will be interesting after that .

i definately struggled on the 6’ tudor single i rode recently …i think in part because riding the mals [‘longboards’] has made me a bit of a lazy paddler , when it

came to catching waves …

not sure if this specifically answers your question , but these are my thoughts recently , as i contemplate [hopefully , soon !] switching to six foot and under boards again

cheers !


Any thinned out board will penetrate the wave deeper, and tap into the energy inside the wave moreso than thicker, more volumnous/boyant boards, which rely more (relatively speaking) on the energy of the surface or face of the wave. There was a thread on this subject a while back dealing specifically with hollow, powerful surf and thickness/length of board.

One thing’s for sure… the guys who say to get out and paddle are right. But even better, do lots of pullups and pushups. And even better than that (as distasteful as it is) go to the gym and build some muscle in your lats and triceps. That will boost your wave count considerably more than just paddling alone, because you’ll eventually build muscle memory and hit a power plateau. You will continue to build endurance, but not power. Only adding muscle will build strength. Balance it out with long paddles to keep our endurance up, and it won’t matter what you’re riding.

But maybe this is a different thread…

not so heretical, here’s a post based upon some testing of various boards…;search_string=paddle%20waterline;#260439

I still stand by it!