Ocean Beach, San Francisco Fall to Winter Board


This is my first post on this site after lurking for awhile.  I am still a surfboard purchaser and not a builder having surfed only 3-4 years and generally being intimidated by the skill that goes into building a great board.  Anyhow ... so I am considering purchasing a fall to winter OB board that would also serve as my travel to good waves board.  I currently have a 6'6 Hanel Quad Egg (20.5 wide and 2 11/16 thick) that I love, but it starts having difficulty on the head high, head high + days at OB.   Have been intrigued in reading this site, and in thinking about what I would want, by boards like the Rusty Slayer that essentially cut off the tip, round out the nose, create more width under the chest for better paddling, and then taper to a tail designed to hold in the bigger and better (and potentially hollow) surf.  This shape would appear to give me the width that I prefer (e.g., about 20 wide) and permit me to paddle into and then surf the head high + waves. 

So -- my questions:

(1) I have seen people on this site talk about making these boards -- assume that it would be difficult and that I would probably screw up the first couple that I tried to make (if I tried to make it -- some places in SF allow you to rent out their shaping room but it would be pricey to experiment and completely screw up);

(2) how have people liked this shape for bigger waves -- bonus points for experience at OB which is a variable creature with some big sloping wave days and some hollow macking days.  To be clear, I am not talking about double overhead here.  I am not skilled enough to handle those conditions, and stop myself at the head high + to head and a half; and

(3) any experience with the Rusty Slayer or recommendations on someone making a better product?

Thanks for listening ....



height? age? fitness?

Sorry -- as I said new to this -- I am 6'0 / 170 / 35 years.  Fitness relatively good except that this spring and summer has sucked and I've probably only averaged about 2 sessions a week.  Hoping that will increase at least to 3 in fall.  I say "relatively" because OB has some freakish paddlers and that doesn't include me.

Get Randy Cone to make you something.   He's one of the best in California.  Last I heard he was in Pacifica/ So. SF.  He used to post on this site (Sways) occasionally.  You may be able to reach him thru a PM here.  Would rather have something custom shaped from Randy any day of the week than a CNC'ed Rusty.  Randy knows OB.

Watch yourself out there: OB is a kick-ass winter wave.  Power and strong currents when it’s big.  You want to be in top shape for that one, or you’ll regret it.

from someone who’s surfed OB for decades…consider a custom step-up that can ride HH to DOH…any day you’re out at OB and it’s overhead, you can bet a bigger set will show up sooner or later, so why not go?

Many surfers underboarded these days at OB, which is fine if you’re hanging at the north end, not if you’re 'hell paddling"  the middle.  So don’t be afraid to go up a few inches, you’re not a small guy.  Well overhead with strong offshores, outgoing tide pulling you south, perfect set coming in a hundred yards from where you’re posted up, time to have some paddle horsepower to sprint into position  and then get over the edge.

I’ve had some excellent custom Rusty boards over the years, shaped by Mike Russo, that were  designed for OB. Their current Injector model is a good reference point for a stepup that can rip overhead to DOH.

As mentioned, Randy Cone is an excellent shaper…if you can’t find him, ping Matt Ambrose at his surfboard blank operation in Pacifica, 650 464-7224, he should know how to get hold of him.  

Also Ward Coffey and Steve Colletta in Santa Cruz make great boards for OB as well, have ridden a dozen from each over the years.  Both great guys to work with as well.

Nothing like OB when it turns on in the fall…

Ditto on Ward Coffey and Steve Coletta.   I'm especially inclined towards Steves shapes.

Thanks all -- the recommendations are very welcome, and I will check out Randy Cone, Ward Coffey and Steve Coletta to learn more about each.  Had heard about Ward Coffey but not the others. 

I agree on the "underboarded" comment, and have worried about whether I was trying too much to straddle the line between a good board wave and a step-up.  I had been thinking that the extra width with the focus of foam under the chest would help (e.g., cut 4" off a 6'8 and you get a 6'4" that will paddle more like I am used to) without creating a board that was harder to turn / manage is hollower HH surf.  The counterveiling concern is that I drop down too much for those bigger OB days where getting in early is the name of the game.  And, to be clear, I am not even talking about the truly big days where I watch with amazement from the shore.

Anyhow, I find this all fascinating include thinking about what shapes would work best.  You all have helped point me to people who can help me figure more of this out.  So thanks (and of course, welcome more thoughts on boards that people have loved in this range).  And I will keep lurking and one of these days hopefully make my own board.





http://www.vernorsurfboards.com/surfboards.html Give Dave Vernor a call in Santa Cruz. 831-234-4410

Don’t be afraid to go bigger.

When I moved to OB I had a 6’4" and had a 6’8" step up, now If there is a paddle I start with a 7’-7’8".

If you don’t make it out and can’t paddle in to a wave you are not surfing anyways.

In the small and thick boards off the used rack I like the 7’2"&7’6" AI (M13) or the 7’ AI (Flyer& Flyer 2). The boards that are 20-21" wide and +3 1/4 work well.



I still like my first board----a 7’8" made long before Sway’s — I shaped it in the garage with a hand plane, some sandingpaper, and a surform.

Double ditto on ward coffey. he grew up at ocean beach for a while and is the exact opposite end of the spectrum from the ‘beer in one hand, bong in the other’ shaper. im all for beer and weed except when im paying 700 bucks for a board. he’s organized, meticioulous, and delivers on time to specs. had some great boards from him over the years. 

i have found that increased width is more helpful than going beyond normal thicknesses. when you get into 3" of foam you can’t stay under the wave long enough for the wave to pass over you, especially on the longer interval swells. you almost need a board designed for duckdiving moreso than surfing. usually you’re surfing one swell but duckdiving 3 other windswells. 

Just as a contrast, over at Surfermag.com design forum there is a thread about what board to ride in double overhead and they’re talking 5-10s, 6-2s or maybe, maybe 6-4…

The most ideally suited OB gun I have ever had was a Dave Parmenter widowmaker

size: 8’0" x 3" very highly foiled with very low rails

template: 10 1/2" x 19" x 10 3/4" wide point forward

bottom: 6 3/4" x 2 1/2" flat

fins: 7" center @ 6 1/2" and 2 1/2" sides at 13 1/4"

This would be a little big for what you have in mind, on the other hand, you can’t have too much paddle out there… those fools who scoff in the lot will be eating choda while you glide by on the set waves even on a less than DOH day… The flatter/narrow tailed single fin feels very positive when you are making a ‘commitment’ - I think the nose rocker might be excessive (out of date?) but I can’t honestly remember the board every feeling plowy - its a missle and that includes paddling.

I don’t know if Dave is active or what his backlog is etc (fall will be here very soon) but the foil and rocker and template and EVERYTHING just makes this board a really good choice for bigger OB. What I have learned from this board and what applies to all my OB boards is this:

You need plenty of thickness but it absolutely MUST be in the center of the board with an agressive foil and low low rails - Why? because you need enough foam to paddle and enough penetration to duckdive - this goes for the template too. narrow nose and tail and wider middle. I have been working with Bob Pearson for years on OB winter boards and these are the things we have been working with. He might be a good choice - I like the way he has very little ‘agenda’ about what is right other than making it work for your SPECIFIC need. Telling him you need an OB winter board will produce a lot of good ideas from him since he and I have talked about it a lot and we have iterated a lot. My current board (shaped by Bob) that is in the area you are talking about looks like this:

size: 7’0" x 3" - highly foiled and low rails

template: 11" x 19" x 13"

bottom: low entry rocker 5" (?)  lots of tail rocker 3" (?) and flat

fins: standard thruster ~3" and ~12" more or less

If I were to redo this board I think I would enlarge the template all the way around by about 3/4"


Hope this helps

Now that I live in San Diego my stepup is a 6-0.  When I lived in Santa Cruz my stepup was a 6-8.  If I surfed OBSF as a home break my DD would be 7-0 and my stepup would be 8-0…

5-9 x 170

Randy Cone here. 415-948-4605. Currently living in Santa Cruz mountains. Built a room on the property. 

@ SF413…

Never hurts to go heave on the glass for OB…

course sometimes it really doesn’t matter how well they’re built. they WILL snap.

Congrats on the new board! you’re stoked!


Learn to surf a very long board…Someday you will…It’s about getting into the waves early…Big waves are easy to surf if you are not dropping out of the sky when you get one…Paddle power trumps all on big days…That’s the end game, no…???..

OBSF is the ultimate playground for that stuff…Go for it…

Just ordered a 6’5" Slayer custom from Rusty thru Wise. Stoked!  Will keep you posted on how it works out. Anyone know about glass thickness?  I got 6/4 top and 4 bottom.  I thought about going 6 bottom.