Surfboards for older Surfers

morg's picture
morg started the topic in Tuesday, 19 Jan 2016 at 3:25pm

We all want small fast surfboards. But how small is small enough, and how big is too big for an all-round shortboard? This normally comes down to ability, weight and wave quality. But what is an optimal short board size range for surfers over 50?

I’m lucky enough to live across the road from the beach and waste a lot of time analysing surfers styles, technique, and how different boards seem to go. It’s intriguing how in 2 to 4 foot waves you can have two guys over 50 of similar ability, one on the latest shortboard, and one on a mini-mal or higher volume fish-style board, and the guy on the mini-mal or fish will often seriously out surf the short boarder. I don’t just mean wave count, I mean the whole package. Radical old guys don’t surf like radical young ones! They tend to surf pretty much the same on most waves, and interestingly they don’t actually turn much more or less when riding different boards of similar sizes. I often find myself watching a surfer thinking “you would be better off on a bigger board”.

I’m 54, 80kgs and arguably my best surfing days are behind me. Age steals our paddling and explosive strength and I’ve noticed that by the time surfers are in there mid 50’s, those that had it, have pretty much lost that magic pop and explosive power that differentiates them from the rest. They still have great technique, but not the POW. More are starting to ride quads as they seem to plane quicker too.

I theorise that we only need a surfboard that performs well enough to allow us to push our limits, and anything more high performance is probably just making things harder. My quiver ranges from 5’3” to 9’5” and I like 32 litres or more to have fun in normal waves. My current go to board for fun waves is 5’10 x 20 1/8”, and 6’2” x19.5” for bigger waves but I often wonder if I might surf better or at least as well on a longer board.

So my question to the experienced shapers and surfers out there is at what size does a modern short board stop riding and feeling like a short board?

Morgs

Laurie McGinness's picture
Laurie McGinness's picture
Laurie McGinness commented Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019 at 4:43pm

Wow thirsty, that's a tough diagnosis. Hang in there. I am 67 also and just try to enjoy every wave, even the ones that don't turn out quite the way you wanted!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019 at 5:11pm

Christ 100mg Prednisone is a huge amount !

unclethirsy's picture
unclethirsy's picture
unclethirsy commented Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019 at 6:29pm

Sorry guys watching J bay & cant reply on Mob. Yeah its been interesting to say the least. TA, actually its called Giant cell Arteritus & autoimmune category. Cells in arteries swell up & block off blood flow to brain! Ha as if I needed that! Along with this come polymyalgia rhematica :- IE sore shoulders & hips, just what I need ! Anyway I'm now down to 7mg prednisone /day & still, shall I say Fked, but not as bad as before. But I'll be in the surf tomoz. Hopefully the 8'6" will turn up nxt week & i'll be back! Sorry about the rant but I'm fukin surf starved!

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Thursday, 18 Jul 2019 at 9:10am

Uncle , really sorry to hear about your illness , but love the passion you are showing into getting back into the water.....

I have a bit of a story about having to give up my 5 10's and 6 3 's , and go to bigger boards..am 65 ..and have very beat up body from a lot of injuries over 50+ years of surfing....

Had a couple of bouts with cancer the last one was treated with hormones and radio therapy , which devastated the old body put on 15 kgs , very lethargic for a few years , and getting to my feet became too hard , so I started making longer , wider surfboards ...disclaimer I surf Bells and Winki mostly which has longer walls........the biggest problem was getting to my feet , so I started making boards wider longer and thicker , as I wanted to retain the high performance aspect of my surfing .....I now have all my boards at 22" wide x 3" + thick......very foiled out rails / tail and nose so all the thickness is under the chest...at 95Kgs , am now riding a quiver of a 6 8 shortboard, 7 3 stepup , an 8 0 gun ( cam surf at head high if good waves) and a 9 6 gun x 21 1/2 x 4 1/2....it's all about the ease in getting into the wave then to your feet without stumbling , as soon as to my feet , it all comes back......

Don't go too wide as you will never turn the bloody things off the top.......hope ya get some great waves , remember its all about smiles on dials / the biggest winner is the biggest grinner.......fuck I am just happy these days to just surf on the really good days , and pick the best waves...

H2O's picture
H2O's picture
H2O commented Thursday, 18 Jul 2019 at 11:43am

Uncle Thirsty,
Suggestion for you.
http://grantmillersurfboards.com.au/boards/powerglide
Grant lives on South Coast NSW, Not sure if he has started taking orders again due to finishing a house he is building but def worth a call.

spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack commented Thursday, 18 Jul 2019 at 5:14pm

Agree with H20,
Grant knows his stuff. I'm late fifties and riding a 7/6" Powerglide thruster and love the board more and more - nice sweet spots and surprisingly responsive in two to five foot waves. Also fine for just grovelling about. My son, who is young, fit and normally rides well under 6' foot boards, took it out for a session and loved it.

Stay salty

Laurie McGinness's picture
Laurie McGinness's picture
Laurie McGinness commented Thursday, 18 Jul 2019 at 5:34pm

I was at Grant's place a couple of weeks ago and he didn't have his shaping bay up but you should get in touch anyway, he might be able to put you onto a suitable second hander.

unclethirsy's picture
unclethirsy's picture
unclethirsy commented Thursday, 18 Jul 2019 at 6:15pm

Thanks guys, I'll keep this short, going out now. Yes, Grant makes great boards I've had about 10 over the years, from F-skate,powerglides, etc, all customs & fukin great boards. But he's working on his property ATM & then going state side & his shaping list will be long when he gets back. Currently got Pieters boards, 9'1 & 8'6' sbb's, again great boards. My prob, apart from age & medical is surfing Sydney Northside closeouts, I'm slow their fast!....LOL.... Brutus, Laurie & H2O, thanks for the comments & I'll get back on here tomz. UT (out).

unclethirsy's picture
unclethirsy's picture
unclethirsy commented Friday, 19 Jul 2019 at 9:49am

Laurie, are you admin on here? Can I PM guys on here somehow? Also do you think that a specific page for surfers with medical issues could be of benefit? Those of us who have been thru "the wars" with some issues could offer support.Eg:- I
'm a memeber of "surfing after hip replacement" site & folks on there find the support really good. Just an idea.

Laurie McGinness's picture
Laurie McGinness's picture
Laurie McGinness commented Friday, 19 Jul 2019 at 12:14pm

No Thirsty, I am just a contributor. Stu is the editor and Ben is the owner. They have talked about PMs but it needs a bit of work to set it up ......... and they are pretty much flat out on the surf reports. If you want your email sent to someone Stu will usually do that if you post a request here.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 19 Jul 2019 at 2:18pm

Old site used to have PMs

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 19 Jul 2019 at 2:26pm

And no-one used them!

These days I'm like an old-style telegraph operator relaying trunk calls.

Uncle, if you wanna send an email to Laurie, then shoot one to me: [email protected]

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 19 Jul 2019 at 11:25pm

I used to a lot.

Until the restraining order...

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 19 Aug 2019 at 6:48am

Have a look at the work in this ......got it all going on but a work of art none the less.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2768980166464375&set=pcb.2402438...

simba

P'tai's picture
P'tai's picture
P'tai commented Monday, 19 Aug 2019 at 7:54am

My goodness that is a work of art!!! Imagine the amount of work that went into that, glassing and polishing alone, would have been a nightmare. Hats of to the artisans involved in that project.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 19 Aug 2019 at 9:08am

Levi Jones is a wizard when it comes to restoring boards, but he's also pretty adept at making his own pieces of functional art - though that last one swings more towards 'art' than 'function'.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 19 Aug 2019 at 1:33pm

That one is 70's in the extreme. I think I can hear Dark Side of the Moon playing in the background.