I finally got to ride my 7'1'' Zot (see viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6429&start=1110#p387151
) in some decently sized waves on the NSW North Coast during the large swell a couple of days ago.
The waves were around 6ft but unfortunately quite messy.
The Zot performed very well, as usual, better than me!
It made every drop that I dared too go for and it went where I tried to go on the waves.
The fast paddling seemed to compensate more than enough for the difficult duckdiving. I only got hammered and held down a bit once, and generally I had no problems getting out the back.
Catching the waves was easy, either waiting with the other surfers or a bit further out to get the bigger ones early.
In the small waves that I have surfed since I got the Zot about 2 months ago, I found that I preferred the fin placement much more forward than the starting position that Geoff recommends. Therefore I put the fin in the recommended starting position for these larger waves, and found that the board was too loose. I only fell off unexpectedly once, just after dropping down a wave, I think the tail might have slipped out of the wave, but I am not sure. After that, I set the fin back a bit further and it did not happen again. With the fin half-way between Geoff's recommended starting position and the extreme backwards position it seemed to work well. So there is still a bit room for adjustment for bigger waves
I love the removable single fin and particularly the snap-in feature. I can imagine a bit better now why some more experienced and capable surfers than myself would like McCoy's with some fin box system. It's fun to experiment and it is very educational!
Assuming Mark Atkinson reads this thread every now and then: I'd really like a Gullwing fin to be available with snap-in system not only for the poriginal, but also for the extended tip and the straight tip versions. http://www.mccoysurfboards.com/v1/fins
While waiting for the predicted swell to arrive, I tried the Zot with a 3 inch fin, the smallest centre box fin I could find in the shops. That's obviously too small and will not work. It was in choppy, chaotic 2-3 ft waves and it was very educational. With practically no fin, the board behaves very differently and it becomes clearer what the fin does. I never tried finless surfing before and it was an eye-opener. I imagined the board would surf differently, but it actually paddles very differently, too.
I think it is worth for me to try another finless session in the future, but in clean small conditions. When it's choppy and chaotic, finless surfing is near impossible (for me any-ways). In clean conditions it might work better, and teach me to surf better.