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Stand Up Paddle => Gear Talk => Topic started by: ilmsup on February 28, 2021, 08:02:50 AM

Title: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on February 28, 2021, 08:02:50 AM
Do any of you switch boards according to conditions?  I paddle a locally shaped 8 footer with tapered rails.  It is very light and the volume is about 124.  I am 180lbs.  I love it in certain conditions but struggle in others.   I have a also found it to be a great board for the steep waves of NC as the rails are tapered, but find that in South Florida the backwash and the wind get to me. Moreover the waves are not as steep so I could probably give up some of the performance for a heavy board with more stability.  The weight of my board at 15 lbs which makes it lighter than the longboard I just sold.  When there is a lot of wind I have to be particularly careful as a gust of wind can send it flying high in the air.

I also wonder if any of you swap out fins based on conditions.  I use a quad set up of all small fins but I feel I should use a tri-fin with a large center fin when there is more wind. 

If you could comment on which boards are most suited for the types of conditions below it would be greatly appreciated.

1.  Clean steep light offshore, light cross off.  My board is perfect for these conditions.

2.  Clean hard offshore.  This is frustrating because the board is great once you get into the wave but the light weight makes it hard to paddle against the strong wind.  When I turn sideways a strong enough gust can knock me off.

3.  Cleaned up wind chop.  When the wind switches off shore after being onshore I find there is a lot of wobble in the water that frustrates my ability to catch waves.  Add a little cross-off wind and my wave count drops to very few. it is similar to paddling on a break with bad backwash. 

4.  Hard cross/off.  If the wind is too strong I wonít catch any waves and will finish with the walk of shame as it can be exhausting paddling on my knees against the wind and useless trying to paddle standing up against the wind for long periods.  If it is moderate wind I will still spend far more time paddling the surfing.  Some days it seems I catch as few as 3-6 waves in a session last and hour. 

5.  Light onshore.  My board is fine in these conditions for small to mid size waves provided the wind has not been blowing hard at any point during the day. 

6.  Hard onshore.  Doubt any board is good in these conditions.  I remember paddling a board with a ton of volume that felt like I was on a cruise ship when the waves were large and the onshore blowing hard.   I had no problem with stability but felt rather sea sick after awhile.  More recently I tried out someoneís Nash  mad dog in choppy conditions and found it far easier to catch waves than with my board but crappy conditions donít give you much of a ride.

I have already given this a lot of thought.  It seems I could use more length when the wind picks up but i am reluctant to go longer than 9 feet as I like to put my board in the car.  I am also not a fan of thick rails.  When I switched from a narrow ten foot board with thin rails to a wider 8.5 foot board with thick rails I found that if I wasnít careful the latter would slam into my shins on a steep waves if I tried to engage the rails.  That is what motived me to buy the board I have now.

Any thoughts?  Below is my current board:




Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: slsup on February 28, 2021, 08:37:12 AM
You don't mention wave size or shape thats the main factor for me to change boards, but it could be good to have a "stability" board or longboard for junk/small.

1. yes performance sup if waves head high or bigger whatever that means to an individual
2. Shortboard prone surfing, getting blown backwards on a sup isn't my idea of fun while watching great waves go by.
3. longboard sup
4. windsurfing
5. depends on size, maybe longboard sup
6. downwind sup/foil
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on February 28, 2021, 09:07:46 AM
Thanks.  Well most surfing in the east is knee  to shoulder high.  For head high and larger the wind has to cooperate and be light or I will be frustrated as hell.   A very calm large long period swell is great with my board but when the wind picks up I could use more drive.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: supthecreek on February 28, 2021, 09:31:10 AM
Hi ilmsup, welcome to the Zone!

Your board looks great... plus FCS Dimple pad is my favorite!

Quivers work.... I have had a quiver of at least 3 to 5 boards since the early 70's.

I am not ordinary in my number of SUPs because I am the mascot for Sunova.
Exactly what you said... conditions change, so different boards are necessary if you want to maximize the potential from any given session.

You gave the length and volume of your board but not the width or your height/age.... all of these are part of the equation.
Judging from your paddle length, you are fairly tall... and that is a big factor when it gets wonky.
Your weight to volume ratio is 1.5
volume divided by your weight in kg
124 liters divided by 82 kg = 1.51 (Guild factor)

Usually that is a fairly comfortable Guild factor, so I would add another board that opens up options.
Sometimes I wonder if a lighter board is slightly less stable, but shouldn't affect the other concerns.
Light is always preferable IMO...
Your board looks like slight "S" rail?
I find my "S" rail boards are a bit more work than standard low rails.
You are right... Fat rails are corky and hard to surf

for reference:
I am 72 yo, 235 lbs
Most of my boards Guild Factor falls between 1.3 to 1.56
All have low volume rails that sit underwater and help with stability.
The boards I surf on a regular basis range from 8'10 to 9'6 with an occasional session on my 12'er.
Each board has a different capacity for slop and chop.
What this means is that it's not always size alone that facilitates comfort in sloppy conditions... it is specific to each shape.

I don't equate size with performance... it's all about shape IMO
The board I use most is 9'6 x 33.5 at 167 liters (1.56)
Why?
Because the performance is amazing and the comfort is great in any conditions.
I have smaller boards that are snappier, but the right bigger board can make the others less attractive in anything but clean perfection... and even then I will still grab the 9'6  ;D

My smallest board is probably the second most comfortable in wonky conditions.
8'10 x 32.25 at 136 liters has a Guild factor of 1.27
However, it is more comfortable in junk surf than my other small board

Shape, surface area and rocker have a lot to do with comfort... not just length and volume.

My best advice is trade boards with other SUPster during a session.... all sizes and shapes!
This will help understand more about all the options out there.

I am in Ft Pierce for the winter, so contact me if you are around so we can meet for a session
There are always at least 6 different boards in my van at all times, that you may try if you like.

Please check out my YouTube channel:
I have close to 200 SUP videos, riding all kinds of boards in lots of conditions... just to give you an idea about what I have said above.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHRI23a8H21jASPdVCQUpog/videos

Here is a video of 7 days last summer on Cape Cod, surfing 4 different sizes and shapes in 7 sessions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6_7PqydHtM&t=10s
 

My van is ready for all conditions.... including when the surf sucks, then I ride my bike  :)
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: slsup on February 28, 2021, 10:37:27 AM
You should try NVS c-drive quad fins probably med., to get more drive and a little more stability on that board. Worked great for me. I usually don't change fins for the day unless I'm experimenting, changing boards instead. For e. coast waves you describe having a performance oriented long board (not too high volume or wide) would be what I would want to ride many days. Some swear by super short wide also for small waves for quicker turning. Creek is right about trying diff. boards if you can that is best way to figure it out.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: Beasho on March 01, 2021, 07:27:52 AM
My advice comes from the West Coast, Northern California, where the wave size changes dramatically.

Average waves are 5 to 7 feet.  Then in the winter it goes 7 to 10 feet and then 10 to 12 and then 12 to Infinity.

I see guys trying to ride their 8' 6" SUP boards when the waves get to be 9 or 10 feet and get destroyed.  You need a longer faster board in these conditions.  I taught my 15 year old daughter to catch double overhead waves but she is a fast paddler riding a 10' 6" SUP.

Big waves don't show up everywhere but when they do the SUP is a big wave catching machine.  As the wave size grows they get faster.  This means that the normal takeoff will pitch up and throw.  What used to take 2 seconds will take 0.5 seconds.  BUT further down the line there is a slopey section to that now shifted bigger wave.  Go to that softer section and take your time to catch the red dragon of avatar.    But you need a longer board. 
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: surlygringo on March 01, 2021, 10:27:38 AM
I agree with Creek, your board looks great. Since you seem to like it in good conditions I would contact the shaper and ask him what tweaks he would recommend to improve performance in the conditions you are having trouble with. Just be really specific about paddling/balance problems vs. actual performance on the wave. I am guessing you will have to choose whether you want to prioritize smaller flat Florida waves or big windy conditions at home, but a slightly wider version of your board with a few mods might be the answer for at least some of the conditions you describe.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on March 02, 2021, 07:28:24 PM
Thanks for the helpful feedback.  That was a great video of some awesome conditions supthecreek. 

It is really when winds hit above 10kt and gust go even higher that it feels hard as hell to paddle and my wave count dies.  I think you are both right that a longer board would be better in those conditions.  And youíre right that I love the lightness of the board but that may also be why it is more challenging when the wind starts blowing hard.

Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: OkiWild on March 03, 2021, 11:45:45 PM
My quiver is nine boards deep. But I get so frustrated at trying to choose the right board for the right conditions, most of the time, I just grab the 10' performance longboard and ride that in anything  ;D


However, it's been my experience that the one absolute where board size is concerned is that I can have a lot of fun on a too-big board, but a too small board is miserable.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on March 10, 2021, 01:30:46 PM
There are so many things I love about having a small light easy to transport board but youíre right that one the conditions head south a fun day can turn miserable.  Based on what youíre saying I should probably get a second board with significantly more volume.  Not sure what that sweet point will be and what shape it should have. 
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: Badger on March 11, 2021, 07:23:53 AM
I weigh 175 and my 115 liter 7'6 JL Super Frank has plenty of volume for me. Whenever it gets too choppy for that board, I switch up to my 8'10 Sunova Flow and the stability is rock-solid.

Don't mistake volume for stability. Keep the volume at a minimum and let width and length determine how stable the board will be.

.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: sflinux on March 11, 2021, 07:59:44 AM
How wide is your current board?  I think your guild factor of 1.5 is good.
I can fit a 9'6" in a Honda Element.  For longer boards I use Kanulock straps for some piece of mind, and try to park near friends.
I definitely swap out fins, and agree with your observations.  In addition to quads, you should try keel fins in weaker waves.   In addition to a 2+1, you could try a single fin for more speed.
For me personally, I don't like to use a longer board if it is windy, the portage is too much of a pain in the arse.  At my break, when the tide is low, the waves tend to get steeper and pitch more.  I find that I don't like using a longer board in these conditions, and prefer a board in the range 7'4"-9'6".  If the tide is high and the wind is offshore (sub 15 mph), I agree with Beasho a longer board will help.  The other option is using a board with a wider tail, to accelerate into the wave.
 For cleaned up wind chop, you could go wider.  I also prefer going to a narrower tail.  I find narrower tail more important than width at the board's wide point. Something like a pintail is easier to submerge and will not be susceptible to the same leverage forces as a wider tail, which makes balancing easier imo.
For Hard onshore, I prefer to prone paddle (7'4"-11'6") or kitesurf (<7'6" twinfin in normal conditions, or quad when powered).
My boards rotate in winter versus summer.  I prefer more volume and a bit more length in winter because I weigh more (thicker suit) (gf=1.4+).  I also prefer pintails in the winter as the winds and waves have juice.  In the summer, I can use lower volume boards (less rubber).  In the summer, the winds mellow out and the seas are calmer, making lower volume boards more fun (gf=1.2+).  The waves are softer in the summer, so I prefer using wide tail boards with high performance rails.  I choose the optimal fin setup for each board for the particular conditions.   
For choppy conditions, I found using a shorter paddle helps.  It forces you to have a lower center of gravity.  The stroke reach is more compact and with higher cadence, which helps with balance.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on March 22, 2021, 07:11:47 AM
How wide is your current board?  I think your guild factor of 1.5 is good.
I can fit a 9'6" in a Honda Element.  For longer boards I use Kanulock straps for some piece of mind, and try to park near friends.
I definitely swap out fins, and agree with your observations.  In addition to quads, you should try keel fins in weaker waves.   In addition to a 2+1, you could try a single fin for more speed.
For me personally, I don't like to use a longer board if it is windy, the portage is too much of a pain in the arse.  At my break, when the tide is low, the waves tend to get steeper and pitch more.  I find that I don't like using a longer board in these conditions, and prefer a board in the range 7'4"-9'6".  If the tide is high and the wind is offshore (sub 15 mph), I agree with Beasho a longer board will help.  The other option is using a board with a wider tail, to accelerate into the wave.
 For cleaned up wind chop, you could go wider.  I also prefer going to a narrower tail.  I find narrower tail more important than width at the board's wide point. Something like a pintail is easier to submerge and will not be susceptible to the same leverage forces as a wider tail, which makes balancing easier imo.
For Hard onshore, I prefer to prone paddle (7'4"-11'6") or kitesurf (<7'6" twinfin in normal conditions, or quad when powered).
My boards rotate in winter versus summer.  I prefer more volume and a bit more length in winter because I weigh more (thicker suit) (gf=1.4+).  I also prefer pintails in the winter as the winds and waves have juice.  In the summer, I can use lower volume boards (less rubber).  In the summer, the winds mellow out and the seas are calmer, making lower volume boards more fun (gf=1.2+).  The waves are softer in the summer, so I prefer using wide tail boards with high performance rails.  I choose the optimal fin setup for each board for the particular conditions.   
For choppy conditions, I found using a shorter paddle helps.  It forces you to have a lower center of gravity.  The stroke reach is more compact and with higher cadence, which helps with balance.

This is very helpful.  Here in SoFla, the surf goes from well overhead to flat in a day and is less consistent overall than in NC.  There is always a backwash but when it gets overhead the backwash feels like a lot of boat wake.  You can see it in the waves wobbling as they are getting ready to break.  Iíve decided I need a longer board with more glide that can gain enough momentum to plow through these conditions.  My short board is great for late takeoffs and steep waves but it comes up short chasing down a slow breaker.  Backwash or a hard offshore kills late takeoffs.  I use to surf a 10 footer 29 in wide 140 liter board here and never encountered these problems because that tank had tremendous glide that could plow through anything.  It had relatively narrow rails too so it could engage in a steep wave.  It was far more difficult to turn and required the paddle along with putting weight on the back to make a sharp turn.  My current board just requires me to turn my head and it follows.  I donít think I need 10 feet  though or even much more volume.  I paddled a board in Mexico in glassy conditions that was only 110 in volume and I am able to paddle my current 125 board in somewhat choppy conditions and through boat wake.  The problem is if you have to use your paddle strokes as braces than you canít get any speed which is what you need to plow through backwash.  So I understand now the need for different boards for different conditions.  Glide for slow breakers and shorter boards for late takeoffs and steeper waves. 
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on March 29, 2021, 06:44:45 AM
Well I came upon and interesting discovery while looking at various boards online.  I kept finding boards that were longer, winder, and thicker than mine and yet the volume was less than what I thought the shaper had told me mine was.  So I did the measurements and I found that my board is 7ft 11in long, 29.5 wide, and the rails are an inch thick at the tail increasing to 3 inches in the center and then decreasing again to a half inch at the nose.  He added some volume where you stand that tappers to the front of the board.  That platform of sorts adds roughly an inch of thickness and is about 24 inches wide.  I found some information on line that helped me calculate the volume given the specs.  I now think the volume is between 90 and 100 liters.  That explains a lot about the struggle I have in windy and choppy conditions.  I am 80 kilos or around 175 libs.  It also explains why I havenít found many people who can paddle it in the ocean.  They are either too heavy or dońt have enough SUP experience.  Before this board I was paddling an 8ft 5 board that was 32 inches wide and a volume of 135.  It was heavier with much thicker rails.  When I asked him to shape a new one for me I told him the thickness was a problem because I couldńt engage the rails in a steep wave which on a couple of occasion cause it to slam into my shins. I think the rails on that one were about 4.75 inches. I donít know why I thought it was 124 liters.  You cańt give up 5 inches in length 2.5 in width and an inch or more in thickness and only drop 10 liters in volume.

I have never had that problem with this board.  As you can imagine it is te best board to have in glassy conditions with little to no wind.  It also explains the exceptionally light weight which is under 15 lbs.  I owned a BIC 9 foot 22 inch wide longboard and this paddle board weighs less than that board.  The high performance may be a bit overkill for my surfing ability so I feel I could give up some of that.  I still want to count on the board to allow me to drop in on super steep waves or easily abort if the wave closes out.  That has been great with this board.  But I do need more volume for less than ideal conditions.  The question is how much? I want to add length for sure but not go above 9 feet.  I will be in San Diego where I hope to rent an Infinity that has 135 litters. 
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: PonoBill on March 29, 2021, 07:04:46 AM
I like the looks of that board a LOT. It might be the camera angle, but the nose looks like it's got a lot of volume in it. It also looks from the picture like the dropped rail in the nose decreases the rocker at the nose. That's exactly the opposite of the Foote boards I have with dropped rails--Bill uses the drop in the middle third to tighten up the rocker at the edge of the nose by bringing the rail step up to meet the top of the deck--hard to describe and even harder to figure out what he did by looking at the board. I wouldn't expect your board to work well in offshore wind. I think the better you get, the more important your equipment is. My SUP surfing has suffered greatly from my foil addiction and now I'm a one-size-fits-all surfer. The fact that you're asking these questions means you've progressed to where you're feeling something and adding some additional tools to the belt with be worthwhile.

At the Kai level, his quiver looks like a good-sized surf shop except every board is the same color.
Title: Re: Different board for different conditions?
Post by: ilmsup on March 29, 2021, 08:10:09 AM
I like the looks of that board a LOT. It might be the camera angle, but the nose looks like it's got a lot of volume in it. It also looks from the picture like the dropped rail in the nose decreases the rocker at the nose. That's exactly the opposite of the Foote boards I have with dropped rails--Bill uses the drop in the middle third to tighten up the rocker at the edge of the nose by bringing the rail step up to meet the top of the deck--hard to describe and even harder to figure out what he did by looking at the board. I wouldn't expect your board to work well in offshore wind. I think the better you get, the more important your equipment is. My SUP surfing has suffered greatly from my foil addiction and now I'm a one-size-fits-all surfer. The fact that you're asking these questions means you've progressed to where you're feeling something and adding some additional tools to the belt with be worthwhile.

At the Kai level, his quiver looks like a good-sized surf shop except every board is the same color.

It is really brilliant how he gave me thin rails and added stability in the middle.  There is a lot of rocker in the front. I remember going straight down the face of a wave that I thought for sure would pitch me it was so steep.  I also remember a riding wave that started barreling and when I finished a young female paddler said,Ē Ō saw that!,  Iíve never seen that on a SUP.Ē   That being said I am not that great a surfer.  I would say I am kind of stuck in that intermediate and on a good day advanced intermediate level.  I learned late in life and dońt use nearly the performance this board offers.  I do feel I have advanced paddling skills that help me maintain my balance.  I started out SUP surfing on a 10 foot volume board with good rocker in the nose and never had any problem with wind or chop.  It was like turning a cruise ship but if I used the paddle and put all my weight on the back I could do the switchbacks needed to work a wave.  In fact I took the barge out in victory at sea conditions and actually felt a little sea sick from all the rock and roll in the ocean.   I discovered then that there comes a point where the conditions are so disorganized that you will be spending a lot of time paddling for a very short ride.

I plan on moving to Europe and donít know if I should try and bring this board with me or not. 
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