I have compared the 7'1 Astron Zot to my 7'2'' thruster Nugget in the same surf conditions, swapping over repeatedly, on three occasions.
They were all small wave conditions, 1'-2' twice and 2'-3' once.
A) The grom prefers the Zot, because it's easier to catch waves and it does not wobble at all. I prefer the Zot, too.
B) I never knew how easy it is to duckdive that Nugget
It still feels not too difficult to duckdive the Zot, but going back to the Nugget it becomes clear that this is a clear case of "New board enthusiasm"..the Zot is definitively harder to duckdive than the Nugget.
C) The Nugget feels like a potato-chip board after surfing the Zot for a while. It feels much thinner, but that's probably due to the thickness spreading out towards the rails much further. A similar trend is already visible between the 1998 7'2'' Nugget and my 2006 6'10'' Nugget: More thickness and volume despite shorter length.
D) I did not find any lack of performance in the Zot, not any situation when I thought "...wish I was on the Nugget".
E) I can almost keep up with the grom when I'm on the Zot in a paddling race. On anything else (except a longboard) I have no chance. That seems pretty good evidence to me that the Zot does indeed paddle faster than the Nugget.
Seems to me that Geoff McCoy is learning to pack more and more volume into surfboards, while avoiding that the volume get's in the way of performance, at least at the intermediate level that I can comment on from personal experience.
In my experience the Zot definitively outperforms a similar length Nugget in small waves, particularly wrt. wave count.
In all three sessions practically everybody else was on either a longboard or on a SUB. The Zot will not outpaddle a longboard, but I managed to snatch a few waves from the hungry longboard pack..