Young guys get old

I used to surf with a bunch of guys older than me who rode single fins, who came up on long boards, then went to tri’s, then went back to longboards as they got older - 'cuz that’s what they knew. My question is what will happen when all the guys who came up on little twins/tri’s get older? They won’t have the easy paddle-wave catching-etc. of the longboard to fall back on, but they may not want to get into the longboard thing. And, I don’t see the “hybrid/funshape” as an answer sense they were neither fun, nor very good hybrids. There is a lot written here about cheap Asian boards flooding the market and the surf, but what will keep people going as they get older. Money doesn’t seem to be an issue, as I see many guys in spendy new SUV;s w/spendy new long boards, so where will salvation come from?

the magic carpet…



So, Bert… Is that what you are selling your boards under?! Ha! Kind of sound like a “Neumatic” craft to me, but I keep getting discouraged to try 'em. “Some day my prince will come.”


Taylor, I’m 44, I learned on a shortboard, and I like the sensation of how shortboards ride. I like the feel of performance, the sensitivity. I haven’t surfed for a while, but in a month or so I’ll be in a spot with small on-shore junk. My board of choice will be an old converted 5’8" to 6’2".

It floats, paddles, catches waves, hangs in and turns easily.

As I get older I think that’s what I’ll always be looking for.


I’m somewhat between your two examples.

At 55, starting the last real year of longboards, in 1965, I’m in exactly the position you are hypothesising.

Sold my two longboards like 4 years ago, too boring, too slow, I’m not quite old enough YET. One 18lbs. single, one 14 lbs. tri, with tri plane concaves and V tail.

May I suggest… McCoy Nugget !

Funboards don’t have to be necessarily slow, sluggish, and boring. Given the right shape, with the right fin combinations, they can snap turn, ride vert, crank laybacks and aerial OTLips with anything, with a tuned pilot, of course.

I wider, flatter rockered, well foiled shape can paddle like it’s 18" longer, still turn with the kids, and good enough for pics.

I ride 'em with two fins, both 6"x6", no tail fin and the snap is still there, equal to a tri fin of much shorter lengths.

Well let’s see, if the current crop of folks who have earned the $$$ they did not have when they were young are now buying the 60’s longboards they could’nt afford back then, the next crop of buyers would logically be looking for the “transition” boards of the late '60s to early '70’s.

So start firing up those Spherical Revolver and Fain Fomula 2 knockoffs, and then start getting a hold of some Lightning Bolt lams, "cause they’re next!


I’ll be 46 next month. I found getting older was an adjustment. In general, I ride short boards. The boards I ride today are similar to the boards I rode in the early-mid seventies. Full railed fishes and rounded pins. I would have a difficult tiime riding the boards that I rode in my prime. I could probably ride it,but the fun-factor would decrease. It’s all about the fun-factor,right. The important thing is maintaining your stoke through the years. I’m just as stoked today as when I was 14. When you loose your stoke, then you join the “I used to surf gang.” Mike

Lee - Are you riding the “nugget” as a twin fin, am I reading correctly? Either way, sounds good.

Good for all you guys, who are sticking w/it.

Keep paddling -

My own confession - The greatest board I had, about the 4th one, was an eight foot lightening bolt gun, shaped by Bill Barnfield. Paddle and catch waves, fade, set up the tube, layback out of the pocket. So, after many different boards, I am still partial to the mid length “gun,” although I have to admit, not the best board for smaller mush.

Hey - I’ll be 48 in a few months and my solution is to ride everything, from fishes to tandems, and all in between too. Just match the board to the wave; different boards for Hawaii than SoCal than Costa Rica… longboards for summer, guns for winter, pintails for hollow surf, etc, etc, etc. 1 fin, 2 fins, 3 fins, 5 fins, leashes, no leashes, wide board, narrow board, wood, foam, flat, rockered out, ITS ALL GOOD SOMEWHERE & SOMETIME…


Actually…no. There are endless #'s of “funboards” from 5’10" to mid 7’s, that would get a boost in snap, quickness, and life if ever given just two relatively big fins placed on the rails.

What’s the most common complaint of funboards…they’re lifeless, don’t do anything well, sluggish, don’t fit small waves.

Common complaint about twins …too snappy, can spin out sometimes, can’t handle big waves, too loose and not directional enough.

That’s why FISH’s have become so prevelant in the twin fin world…they have widpoints more forwards, bigger fins, swallow tail to stiffen the ride and give them direction.

So…combine a Funboard with a twin fin, and you get all the good qualities, but mainly, you get a decent paddling mid sized board that snap turns, pivots, is loose and as skatey as you want, depending on size of fins.

Of course, fin boxes have to be stronger than anything except Chinooks, tied thru to the deck, and extra layers (up to 4) on the deck and minimum of 2 on the bottom at the fin boxes.

On my twin fins, I’ve used fin sizing from 4.75 (too small in real surf) to 8" (hold in fine in 10’ Ocean Beach SF.

Keith - I am with you, but I find myself falling into the rut that my “old bros” did, not enough time to surf, too crowded, to crappy, to… Then paddling goes down hill, then the longer board looks better… That seems to be the key to avoid.

Lee - Are you ging to SA2004? I would love to try one of those fish.


I’m probably the worst conditioned surfer who still thinks he can surf.

Not only do I not lift weights, stretch, jog, nor ride a bike… I actually surf between 7-20 days a YEAR, for the last 20 years!

I couldn’t stand how crippled I looked riding a longboard, so I sold both of them.

Currently have a 6’8"er that floats me tits level with the water (nose and tail 2’ underwater), a 7’3"x 21 tri fun, and a 7’9"x22 twin fun.

At my age, I find the biggest board to be too floaty, but real easy.

The middle board is close to “right”, but as a tri fin, too stiff and lacks snap. Can’t to anything about it, the boxes are too weak for 6" twins. I ride it only at head to overhead OB, and it’s fine up to around 7’.

The smallest is a duck diving wonder, as I can scrap my knuckles DD’ing under most 4’ whitewater…anything smaller, I can DRIVE it onto the sandy bottom. Great. Also means my mobility is nil, my wave catching limited to no stroke to two stroke takeoffs, IF the wave comes right to me, I can’t fight any rips or drifts, not to mention position myself around hungry crowds, and I get tired in less than 1.5 hours.

Maybe another board in my quiver is in order.

Unfortunately, $$ is short, and I probably need a 8’ x 19" gun more than anything else, as the small wave set sorta works.


Keith - I am with you, but I find myself falling into the rut that my “old bros” did, not enough time to surf, too crowded, to crappy, to… Then paddling goes down hill, then the longer board looks better… That seems to be the key to avoid.

Lee - Are you ging to SA2004? I would love to try one of those fish.

Similar story- More responsibilites,less time to surf, means paddling conditioning goes down hill but I refuse to longboard. I hate longboarding. That’s why in the the late 60’s- early 70’s I went to kneeboarding to get away from the tanks. So, to keep riding a shortboard now I swim 2-3 times a week for couple thousands yards. I’m 54.

Me, I’ll be 50 this summer, a number I approach with some trepidation and considerable disbelief. I didn’t expect to make 25, let alone 50.

I don’t get to surf as much as I’d like and I got all the longboarding I will ever do back in the '60s. To stay in shape, I work construction, commercial fishing and that sort of thing, what you might call heavy lifting. And my secret is…never surf lousy days.

Small, blown out, cheezy…give it a miss, go surf casting or something. Crowds too, unless it’s so good that I’m forced to go out there. Some say that small waves, lousy days and that will keep you in shape for the good days. I disagree, I’ve found that surfing bad days gets you in shape and keeps your reflexes tuned for… bad days.

And when a good day comes along, this happens: , your reflexes and your reactions and your timing are all wrong and you blow it. Fortunately, that wasn’t me.

And on a wave like that, you can ride whatever you like, providing it’ll make the drop.


Ooo -yeah, swimming is great. What about the use of ones legs to catch waves? that is supposed to be the way to get in early, or not worry about “getting up”

Lee - Great to hear you are still keeping at it. I read an add once that had a harsh - yet understandable - one liner. “If you surf, don’t stop, If you don’t surf, don’t start.” eventually the last young one would get all the waves. Hmm. Don’t see it happening. Bert’s magic carpet sounded interesting - talked about really wide boards in the past. I once had a 5’2" “egg” that was about 4+" thick and so wide all the way. I turned it into a channled twin and it went well in smaller surf.

I for one surf whenever I can, windy, crappy, cold, snowy, rainy, choppy, muddy, crowded. Does not matter, if there’s enough surf to move a board I want to be out there. Otherwise I can feel my paddling muscles atrophy by the day. If I’m heading off for a surf trip I try to double the amount I go out for a couple weeks before so as to really be ready… I try to run to stay in shape, but it doesn’t help the paddling muscles any (good for the cardio-vascular, tho).

Age is more in your head and your attitude than anywhere else. I surfed big Sunset with a buddy of mine who is 65 not too long ago…oh yea, he has a 28 yr old girlfriend. When I’m feeling old I just think about that. Hope I’m still out there 20 years from now.

What stokes me up about the way this thread is going - It seems to be that staying in shape is far more important, to the individuals choosing to write, than type of board ridden. Staying in shape…Hmm. That’s a whole other thing. The ultimate in surf design - the human body/mind combo. Thanks for thinking everybody! Taylor


I’ll be 54 this summer and have been surfing (on boards) since 1964 and couldn’t disagree with you more re: hybrids/funshapes. When we went from long to short in the 60’s, “short” was 7 to 8 feet - then it went down towards 6 ft - then more fins were added - then the whole game changed. Now you are seeing a new appreciation of some of the design aspects of the transition era boards getting some well deserved attention. And look who’s giving the attention…“A” list surfers from the recent past who are getting a bit older, not competing so much, surfing more for fun than glory. And a “hybrid” is now becoming a board that incorporates some of the design aspects of the old transition era boards with what has been learned in the more recent past - including, but not limited to: single fins and options for 1 - 2 or 3 fins, bottom contours, rails and foil. It’s like a damn smorgasborg out there for anyone interested in designing and building boards. The old addage that “You’ll never know until you try.” has never been more appropriate.

Another point, in my opinion, is that many younger surfers (the majority?) have little knowledge or interest in what the history of surfing is and when they get too old or busy or out of shape to ride their chips, they’re gone…not that there aren’t more groms following them - where the core surfers will remain and want to ride waves on whatever they need to to keep their stoke alive. I know mine is and I’m riding everything from a 6-6 fish to a 9-0 with a couple of favorites in the 7-4 to 8-4 range.

Sure, I wish I was 19 or 20 again, in prime shape etc, etc… but, it’s always a great time to be a surfer if you’re a surfer.


P.S. Re: The Chinese have no clue about fins/flow/foil as referred to above as far as I see. They’re just pop-outs and seem destined to remain that and the people who ride them, or try to, don’t seem to surf much or for long. My hope is that it’s another “Beach Boys” syndrome like the 60’s and will pass with a little time. I, for one , just won’t support a shop that sells them and let them know it.

Interesting. How ones approach to surfing changes with maturity.

When I was age 6-13, it was all fun and stoke. Sponging, learning standup on a crappy 8-6 mini log.

Then at 14-on it started being “did you see that!!”. Girls, high school, surfing in a group, social status, identity, proving yourself to others, proving to yourself what you can do; all the way up to 19 for me, when most friends gave up surfing completely for girls/drugs.

By 21 I started to really think about my place in the world as a person and a surfer, the same time frame (19-21) that I started always going alone for surfs. Other people around, but being quiet and there for the surf, not to socialize. Then the first time I surfed decent waves completely alone (miles from the nearest person) it really opened something up in my mind. Probably have only done that half a dozen times in my life so far. The levels of fear, stoke, and accomplishment are pretty insane feelings to let balance themselves through trying to ride a wave well. To find the rhythm and actually start enjoying it personally requires a bit of prayer and meditation before and throughout.

I started reading more (here and everywhere), and started getting really intrigued by guys like Dave Rastovich and George Greenough…

Now I’m 23 and my quiver is filling out. Hell I just ordered both a mat and resin research modern thruster with carbon fins all in the last two weeks. Been bodysurfing, kneeboarding, just enjoying. The alienation felt in the lineup sometimes is incredible, but pure.

Really starting to enjoy even blown-out days, diving under waves with my eyes open. Trying to learn to meditate and enjoy those days just as much as bigger clean days up n.

More stoked than ever on surfing. I have so much travelling and learning to do still.

As I grow older I see myself probably getting more into kneeboarding and mat surfing.

Personally longboarding has not yet ever appealed to me. It seems too disconnected, too much about aesthetics and poses on top of a board, not enough about feeling subtleties in the wave, not about the personal feeling but more about a dance for others to see…i dunno just my opinion.

But as the crowd you speak of matures, I reckon they have to start asking themselves: why do I surf?

“Getting better as you get older has nothing to do with desire, and everything to do about joy”- derek hynd

I think understanding this and being wary of traps (like most women, drugs, and debt) will allow one to enjoy a simple life of surfing to the very end, and through it, relative peace.

Heres my story Im now 48 started surfing when i was 10 on a foamie my first f/g board was a 6’6’ minicordo sort of like a fat tailed mini mal

Thru my teens I surfed Knee board (the old crystal voyager influence) for a little while then went to the standard 70s shortboards

In my twentys I found Hanggliding and that became my main fun designing building and flying them right thru to my eary thirtys with lots of sailing and a little surfing as well

After that I went off sailing round australia didnt do any surfing I ended up in Darwin

flying sailplanes and building a self designed open sixty style crusing boat

During a wet season in Darwin I rediscoverd surfing first on a friends mal then quickly moved to 6’ short boards with quads

Once I finished the boat now with a wife and child intow we set off round the world

surfed the shortboard quads thru indo sri-lanka maldives england france spain canerys galapagos and french poly

Now we have ended up in New Zealand north island west coast I now surf 4-5 times a week ive started riding a slightly longer board 6’4" in the more bumpy waves

Its still fun its still cheap and you still make good friends

I have found as I get older that riding waves is still much the same thu my alility to pull off late take offs is now not that good and getting caught inside in big set is tough on the lungs and arms

I have a mal for tiny days and taking the kids out on but I really wonder how people ride them all the time as getting caught inside attached to a boat is a mission

The bottom line is keep your brain young and the rest will follow