What SHOULD I be riding ?

The other day as I grabbed my well used favorite board, one of the 18yr old “experts” at the shop informed me that I should be riding “something else”. He said I was a “better surfer than THAT board!” ? I guess there was a “compliment” in there somewhere. Thing is I LIKE MY BOARD it does everything I want it to do. I have been riding it for over a year and a half and still like it. I don’t usually don’t make a board for myself until I am ready for “the next one”.

I am not going to say what I am riding. Just what I expect from a board and my “profile”. Maybe I am missing something?

Started surfing in 1958, on a balsa 9’ Velzy. I am 6’3" tall, 220lbs. I surf mostly well formed point and reefbreak waves in the winter, don’t bother with “crap surf” when its cold. I am old and do not like the cold water as much as I used to. In the summer its the beaches… wave size range 2’ to 8’ faces starts closing out across the channels, not for me anymore.

I still get out pretty regular, one of the perks of my “job”. But, lost all the strength in my left side a couple years ago. While I am OK now I will never be 100%, But hey I am 59yrs old still out there.

I like a board that CATCHES waves easy. I know how to position myself, just do not like to paddle like a mad man even in the right spot. Few good strokes and know I got it. I like to take off behind the peak, make a good long set up turn and go. I like to ride em all the way to the beach. I like a board that turns smooth BUT allows me to use my size.

I want just ONE board what should it be? I wonder how far off MY board is?? Who knows I may be missing something I never thought of. What SHOULD I be riding?

Jeez mate, with that kind of experience under your belt you should be telling us what to ride.

But I assume you already know alot about your equipment so to just play the game and with all due respect I would say a 9’0" longboard with pulled in nose and tail ,22 wide, 3" thick with wave catching entry rocker. Fullish rail profile with a tucked edge from your front foot back. 2+1 fin setup or singlefin. Yellow with tiger stripes.

Well, consider the compliment that the kid’s only paid attention to your surfing, and not your paddling (minus one side).

I’d just say thanks and give him a wave every now & then. He’ll tell everyone how cool you are, then they’ll figure out you know what you’re doing behind a planer, and it’ll eventually lead to new customers :slight_smile:

Me and the “kid” are cool. It just got me thinking. I have my opinions based on MY experience he on his. It is just that sometimes my ideas are SO different from what the “media” is hyping. I have always let my experience dictate what I think someone should be riding. And lots of times that is REALLY different from what they read and heard “in the parking lot” .To the point where my being “honest” has hurt sales. Maybe I have not been open minded enough and am REALLY missing something. I know what I want a board to “feel” like. Maybe there are other ways to get there. Figure best place to start is looking at my own stuff. BUT, don’t want to go “backwards”.

Yellow boards=good

Re: [ACE] What SHOULD I be riding ?




three words that i don’t have in my vocabulary any more

ride whatever you like [to ] …and … have fun !!



anything but an sup

Ridicule your favorite board?!

With your good arm, grab that pip squeak by the neck, pin him against the wall, and glare deep into his eyes. With your best Clint Eastwood snarl, advise him that you were surfng since before he was born and that you sure as HELL know what works for you. Squeeze his throat and glare a little harder when you say “Hell” and I’ll bet he keeps his pie hole shut next time you go for a surf.

Sometimes punks like that just need to be put in their proper place.

“With your good arm, grab that pip squeak by the neck, pin him against the wall, and glare deep into his eyes. With your best Clint Eastwood snarl, advise him that you were surfng since before he was born and that you sure as HELL know what works for you. Squeeze his throat and glare a little harder when you say “Hell” and I’ll bet he keeps his pie hole shut next time you go for a surf.”

I have done that in the past…Now I usually tell em I have bars of wax under the seat of my car older than they are.

This really is not about that. I am really curious what people would recommend. I had a guy who owns a surf school a couple years ago tell me he would have me LEARNING on a 6’10 2 1/2" thick. Maybe, if I was still 25. But that would not have been my recommendation. I don’t think his surf school is in business anymore.

Just because you curious I’ll respond. I’m certainly not qualified to offer you any advice. But given that you ride good waves I would go the road of a big guy tri style probably around 7’10" with 4 3/4 nose rocker in a gradual curve and 2 1/8" tail about 21" wide and 3 " thick with plenty of foam coming off the rails. Mid point around the center.

I wont suggest fins or bottom contour as I assume there will be six and flat to belly will feature in the bottom of the board.

Much more important that any specific recommendations is the general fact that you’re willing to be honest enough with yourself to consider the possibility that there might be a better board somewhere out there in the big, blue world.

Maybe the cliches have some validity here?

No change == stagnation

Never too late to learn something new

Try it, you might like it

Heck, just because he’s only 18 doesn’t mean he wasn’t (accidentally, of course :wink: ) right!

Duhh ACE,

6’2" x 18 1/2 x 2 1/4 with a quad setup is what you should be riding. What were you thinking? -Carl

Take your current board and refine it a little bit. No doubt there’s at least one thing that you would like improved a little bit.

Hi Ace -

Surely I jest. I’m sure you don’t need any assault and battery charges filed against you.

Have you seen the “Superboards” being made by a guy down your way?

Most older guys I know have gained new appreciation for functional big boards. By “big boards” I don’t mean a slightly oversized shortboard like the “big guy tri” or whatever it is they call them. I’m talking about big longboards with semi-gun rocker, curvy templates and fins set up for carving. “Noserider” models need not apply.

You say you save yourself for the good winter days with size. Some of the Delray semi-guns in the “Superboard Series” look like they’d be the ticket. An 11 foot Cross Country or Ultimate Glider might be worth a try.


Hi Ace,

For your size, waves, etc., I think you probably should be riding a 9’4" single fin “speed shape” pintail longboard with pinched 50/50 rails going to hard rails in the tail. But that’s just my opinion… Maybe you’re into the thruster feel?


“But that’s just my opinion…”

Thats what I want honest “opinions”

After I get enough info I will try and come up with a “average” and well see what we have. Then compare it to what I am using.

Out of all of the boards I’ve made and currently own…if I could only have one of them…it would have to be the 7’10" singlefin that Bill Thrailkill kindly sent me…its a pleasure to ride big or small and never fails to put a smile on my face…failing that it would be my 7’2" x 21 1/2 five fin bonzer. I’ve posted pics of both in resources…both easy to pick up waves on hold in well in steeper sucky reef breaks and glide across sections on slacker beach breaks…I’ve just realised how happy I am!



I take it that you want just one board. I would go with 9’-0" to 9’-4", 22 to 22 1/2" width. 16 to 18" nose and 14" tail 60/40 rails turning to hard about 18" from the tail.

Single to double concave with a tri fin set up. 4 1/2" to 5" of nose rocker. 3 to 4" tail rocker. I like square tails in this range. I have a board simular to this and it rides great. The only thing that it dosen’t do well is nose ride, but you could change the fin set up to accomidate that.

i’ll play along although really I think you should ride whatever you feel like… but i digress…

just thinking about your description and how much that matches quite a few of the gents out around SB points, i came up with three ideas about what you… (ahem) “should” be riding…

  1. the 9'0"- 9'6" longboard speed shape. something with a more pulled-in nose and tail. probably a 2+1 set-up. some of skip frye's designs come to mind.
  2. the "big guy shortboard." say 7'6"-ish maybe a little longer, 21 1/2" to 22" wide point, rounded pin. thruster set-up.
  3. the "big guy quad fish." again around 7'6", quad fish template. i don't have dimensions handy but a buddy of mine (52 y.o.) who pretty much only rides boards in one of these 3 categories has for the last two winters now been more or less riding his 7'7" quad fish exclusively. from watching him, it seems like it's a bridge between the two other boards i noted. paddles well, generates its own speed but you can squek more out of it as needed, turns well and it works great in anything from waist high to overhead.

Ok now were getting going. REMEMBER this is not about YOUR favorite board for YOU, its for a guy my size, ability age and waves surfed. So to say such and such works great for you unless we are in the same “category” it might not work as well for me. Concepts are GOOD, got to weigh in all the other factors to really start to nail it down. This is how i approach a “custom” board. What the heck, LETS BUILD THE THING. I will shape it, any glassing fin contributions etc greatly appreciated. I have a lot of stuff in the ready to use department.

After we decide WHAT to build. Than build it. I will do a surf comparison. Who knows could open up a whole new direction.

I am semi serious about this thing, semi serious=fun. So bring on numbers, rockers, rail shapes etc. If all you have  is "flattish" nose  or tail rockers or soft to tucked rails thats OK. But widths thickness etc gonna need some guidelines.  

So major things…


Width center




nose shape

tail shape


Bottom contours

rail shape

outline “look” wings etc.


anything else


I’ve always been of the mindset that I have to stay as short as possible with my boards because if surfing was going to be the only exercise I wanted to do then it needed to keep me in shape. So I suffer the pain of paddling and catching waves with boards way to small for a desk jockey grey hair nearing his mid fifties. I do know that when I do give way to the darkside of the longer and easier to paddle craft for my weight and age I only suffer more when I need to ride a shorter board when the waves get better. I know I’m way too old and way to fat but I still prefer the feeling of a high performance short board in the pocket or coming around the bend heading to the clean water.

It’s been a lifetime perhaps hopeless search trying to find an ultra small stand up craft that will float, duckdive or paddle an aging fat and slowing 60’s-70’s type surfer that maintains control like a potato chip in those tough situations.

GG’s gotten me closest to this nirvana with his multifins on conventional craft and my JA Gemini on unconventional craft.

But then Buffalo always puts idiots like us in our place cause no matter what he will always harrass you by yelling at you infront everyone in the lineup as he paddles into another one from way outside with his 4" thick 10 footer and web gloves…

"Eh bozo!

What’s a matter with you?

You like look cool or you like catch waves?

not surfing if you no can catch da wave…

you jus one buoy den…"

so you’re right

catching waves is priority one

paddling out through the breakers without getting slammed back is probably number two

this is what I see

10 footer

pulled in nose so it slices through open water while paddling

not too thick or too wide to catch the white water on your rail as you are coming around the corner from behind

and a little wider hip pulled further back so you can bring it around from the tail after you come around the corner.

something like what Paul Strauch or Mark Martinson might ride… Maybe something like RA’s Wingnut-2 model.