I have been surfing for a while. Like most people, I started surfing mini-mals around the 7’8″ to 8’4″ range and got really comfortable with the ability of these boards to catch waves early. Although these boards were great on small and/or mushy days, they were hard to turn, and hard to paddle out back on bigger days. Through the years I bought a couple short boards (6’1″ and 6’6″ with very low volume), which were great fun in perfect waves, but horrible if the conditions weren’t perfect or large enough. On a good day I would have the most fun, carving up and down many waves, doing cut backs etc. On a bad day I would struggle for 2 hours and maybe catch one wave.
Over winter, my friend Sam and I started to get back into longboarding, because of how enjoyable they were on smaller days, and the usual big and messy days. Only down side to these things is that they are huge (~9′), and storage space in my house doesn’t really exist. The other option could be a fish; my friend Tony’s Al Merrick 6’4″ fish board was a beast, being super wide and thick, it caught small mushy waves like a longboard. But like a longboard, it had so much volume that it was almost impossible to duck-dive, and paddling out in bigger surf might be a bit scary.
I think an ideal design will add to my current quiver of two short boards. A longboard would be great, but not something I can make with the materials I have. Perhaps a hybrid fish design, to allow for small to medium wave fun.