First board, mini mal????

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First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:05 pm

Hi,

I am looking for my first board.

I am based in the north west so can only surf on weekends, realistically twice a month and on holidays in Cornwall, 4-5 weeks a year.

I started learning to surf last year on holiday at Gwithian and have been over to north wales a couple of times since; I am standing up in the white water on every wave I try, but have only just started to try to go for green waves.

I am 33, 6' and weight 13-14 stone depending on the time of year.

I have so far only been riding the 8' swell then soft tops.

My choices and thoughts are;

A second hand traditional mini mal, cheap, might wreck it anyway.

A more expensive mini-mal, Mctavish, Walden etc, If I do progress on it will be nice to have in my collection.

A different high volume board like a superfish or one of the other 7-8ft shortboards, might be better to progress to if I can ride it.

Then maybe epoxy in one of the more expensive boards, so it stands up to abuse better.

Does anyone have any advice, or has anyone learned on one of the big shortboards.

Cheers in advance.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby skimmer2 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:27 pm

second hand 9ft 2 longboard or a 8ft mini mal - first one gives more options.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:28 pm

I like the idea of a longboard, but think I have been put off after battling against 5ft surf with a very bouyant swell board, guess Its just technique though.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby Black » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:22 am

Some useful info here maybe http://magicseaweed.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20987 on a similar recent thread.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:39 am

Thanks Black, after reading that, it seems to be down to personal preference.

I take it the diferences are;

Mal;
Easier to paddle and catch waves,
Can nose ride it.

Mini mal;
Easier to handle,
Easier to transition to a longer or shorter board?

How about the bigger short boards, reading about boards like the 7s Superfish xl or the McCoy Nugget in 7-8ft, they claim to paddle like a longboard, would they be suitable?
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby Captain Crap » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:24 am

The phrase 'paddles like a long board' is often used nowadays to sell shorter hybrid, fatboy flyer type boards but in most if not all cases it's a complete myth, a marketing ploy. The length and sheer volume of a longboard will always make it plane earlier than a shorter, lower volume board.

But I would argue that the advantages of a genuine longboard are not really relevant to beginners anyway - longboards aren't necessarily easier to paddle as is implied: due to their size they're heavy, so it takes effort to get them moving through the water initially. They're basically designed to get into waves early, further out than shorter boards, and I certainly wouldn't advise or want a learner to paddle outback and try ploughing through the line up on his new log.

The disadvantages of the shape are worth considering too: their size makes it harder to go late as they will tend to pearl, particularly when you're inexperienced. Plus, as you say, they can be awkward to handle in the white water and when paddling out, which is where you'll be spending most of your time initially.

Basically, there's no perfect board shape that will tick every box. Judging by your height / weight and assuming you're reasonably fit you should have no problem catching all the waves you need on a minimal / fatboy flyer type shape.
Between these two general types of shape the minimal will usually have more volume and stability, which is just what you need. So if I were you I would go for a 7'6" minimal, or 8' if you want the board slightly more forgiving initially but with less 'life' in terms of when you'll be wanting to move on from it.

Whatever shape you go for, if you can afford it and you are committed to learning to surf then splash out on a new hand shaped board - it'll generally handle better than a pop out and provide more scope for improvement. There's plenty of good British shapers / companies who will do a custom job for a reasonable price - try Fluid Juice, Black & White or Escape.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby Bearded Gimp » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:57 am

It's funny you should mention the large size nugget because I was wondering the other day if they'd make a good learner board. Certainly the 6'6 surftech nugget is ridiculously easy to catch waves on so I'm guessing the longer ones must be as well. (I used to own 6'6 and gave a total learner friend a quick go and she almost caught some waves on it, and she's 6' plus so not small.) There's a barely used 7'11 surftech nugget on ebay with a start price of £300 that might be worth a punt. Assuming it's OK to learn on, the main benefit would be that you wouldn't quickly outgrow it - you'd probably keep it in your quiver forever if you could afford it.

The minimal seems to be the accepted learner route these days but I can pretty much guarantee you that everyone on here who has been surfing for longer than 15 years didn't learn on one. If you want to end up riding a short board, then learning on a high-volumed shorter board like the 6'6 surftech nugget , mctavish micro or a big fish might be a better bet. Yes it will be more unstable to start with than a minimal but you should be able to overcome that fairly quickly if you're reasonably athletic. Zuma Jays are selling off their ex-demo Surftechs (including a mctavish) so it might be worth checking out their site http://www.zumajay.co.uk/index.cfm?cont ... egoryid=67. Plenty of people aren't keen on the surftech 'feel' but for extra volume they are hard to beat.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:45 pm

Thanks, some good advice.

Captain Crap wrote:, and I certainly wouldn't advise or want a learner to paddle outback and try ploughing through the line up on his new log.

Not really had to deal with a busy line up yet, so that does put me off a bit.

Also I have just realised that a full 9'+ longboard wouldnt fit in only place I have to store a board.

The nugget on ebay looks interesting, might be worth a go, I could always sell it if I cant get to grips with it. So does the Surftech 7'6 Takayama Egg on the zumajay site, I guess the extra bouyancy of the Surftech would make up for a bit less length?

Are egg's and minimal's, similar to ride?

Like the idea of a custom board too.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby Bearded Gimp » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:57 pm

A 13 stone plus person barely sinks the 6'6 surftech nugget when sitting on it, to give you some idea of the extra volume

I've never ridden an egg or a minimal so can't help you there I'm afraid
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:57 pm

Bearded Gimp wrote:A 13 stone plus person barely sinks the 6'6 surftech nugget when sitting on it, to give you some idea of the extra volume


I wonder if the 7'11 will have too much then, is that possible?
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby flacky » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:35 pm

If you fancy having a custom shaped for you, give Dave Major a call. (Jetson Surfboards). He's in Northwich and will talk you thru everything. He may have old boards in he'll sell. I know he's got a couple of Longboards he's keen to shift on.

His number is 07947734406
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Cheers flacky, I will keep him in mind.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby skimmer2 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:23 pm

[quote="pierce"]Thanks Black, after reading that, it seems to be down to personal preference.

I take it the diferences are;

Mal;
Easier to paddle and catch waves,
Can nose ride it.

Mini mal;
Easier to handle,
Easier to transition to a longer or shorter board?

I've used both and it is down to preference - if you get a good longboard design they can feel light and responsive and a lot of fun. And very importantly they get you more waves which is VERY important when you are learning and progressing. Mini mals are are still fun etc but you just can't beat the glide and speed and early entry of a longboard....way different feeling. Try both. Can't go wrong with either but if you go a 8ft mini mal then I'd just go a big longer to a 9ft log and get more of the benefits. My opinion but you need to try yourself.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:40 pm

cheers skimmer,

I was almost sold on a longboard yesterday, dont know if they are any good, but spent some time drooling over the tints on the boards on the loose-fit site.

Had to discount a longboard though, as it won't physically fit into the only place I have to store it.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby skimmer2 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:07 am

pierce wrote:cheers skimmer,

I was almost sold on a longboard yesterday, dont know if they are any good, but spent some time drooling over the tints on the boards on the loose-fit site.

Had to discount a longboard though, as it won't physically fit into the only place I have to store it.



Can't go wrong with a good mini mal then. You can also get mini longboards too...but then that's complicating things :? :? If you are starting out then a board with plenty float, stability with ability to turn fine will do you. If you are buying a brand new one then speak to a shaper as they'll sort you out better than off the shelf stuff. If you are way down south then can recommend Paul at Black and White...nice chap and very helpful..and I'm very pleased with the board he made me...a reasonable price too.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby coxie » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:36 am

How about the walden mini magic or compat disc they have heaps of volume and are just shortened longboards and look fun. Something that will give you the best of both worlds and will still be fun as you progress.
http://www.tikisurf.co.uk/Surfboards/Walden%20Surfboards/Walden%20-%20Mini%20Magic%20Surfboard/13880
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:58 pm

Like the idea of a board that will last me a bit longer.

What would be the difference for me between a mini mal and a short longboard, is it just the nose ridability?
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby Goat » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:18 pm

Theres really not that much to consider, try not to overcomplicate it with wanting the perfect board or one that will last you forever. When youre in the first few stages of learning, youre going to be mainly riding white water and then eventually taking off on green waves (probably below 4ft in size) and trimming in a straight line.

Until you can do that and beyond, it pretty much doesn’t matter if youre on some unresponsive barge. You wont notice much difference between boards of a certain type until you get to a certain standard…which is when you’ll probably upgrade anyway!

Anything between 7ft and 8ft, with plenty of volume, in the minimal vein will do just fine.

As a first board I rode a 7'6" 'takeoff' surfboard for a year or two, complete peice of crap in terms of build quality, but it served its purpose fine. then i 'upgraded' at great expense to a nineplus magic carpet 7'2", which was quite different in rocker, fin setup and planshape etc, yet it took me a good while to notice any difference at all!
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:16 pm

Yeah, you are right. I am sure I will enjoy equally anything I get..
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby skimmer2 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:40 pm

pierce wrote:Yeah, you are right. I am sure I will enjoy equally anything I get..


Well...I started on a 9 2 plastic longboard and hated it...even though I was a starter. Weighed a tonne, never turned and was so much like a cork it was horrible. I thought....okay..I'm crap and don't know my arse from my elbow when it comes to surfing but this doesn't feel right at all. I'm still hopeless but the difference to my newish longboard is night and day.

A second hand custom will last you a good while or if you are rich you can buy a new one. You will always sell them on easy. The old advice of trying a few demos is the best way forward if you are not sure...sae you lots of heartache and lost cash too.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:16 pm

Thanks everyone for your advice, you have definately cleared things up for me :-) .

I am going to go for either a custom mini mal or short longboard from Black and White (I will see what they think I should get), looking on the net others have mentioned their quality and service too.

I will let you know how I get on.

Thanks again.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby onefinleary » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:46 pm

Why a custom? You're learning. I don't get the thing with people buying new boards to learn on. It's going to get knocked [however careful you are] more than once you have a few years experience behind you. There must be plenty of mini-mals on Ebay. Pick up a cheap mini-mal and then use the money you've saved from not getting the custom to go to South of France, Spain or Morocco for a week after you've got about six months under your belt. You will have grasped the basics and then you'll have a week where you're not in a suit and the waves peel for a little bit longer so you have more time to try adjusting your stance et al. Your surfing will really come on in that week and then you'll come home and, even though you'll have to get back in your full suit, your timing will be better and you will continue to progress.

You're making the right choice going with a minimal though. They are what they are - perfect boards to learn on. Not too much effort to carry down to the beach so you're not tired before you even paddle out. Great for catching the white water and then being able to paddle out onto a green face.

Good luck whatever you decide on and just enjoy your time in the water. :-)
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:18 pm

Hi onefinleary,

I have already started the buying process now, so your advice is a bit late I am afraid; but I have been looking on ebay for mini mals for a couple of months now and been out bid everytime, the last nearly new one I bid on went for £260 in the end, it seems that surfboards aimed at beginners, hold their value quite well, there is even old dinged up ones going for 150+.

Something brand new and made exactly for me isnt really that much more, and after a lengthy chat on the phone with Paul at Black and White, I feel that that bit of consultation and having all my daft questions answered well justifies the extra cost.

I was actually recommended a 6'8 calafornian quad fish in the end, he is building in a little more volume than usual for me.
My choices suggested were;
His Tanker model board, which is a shortened longboard - it would be a bit easier to surf and a cruisier ride, good if I want to move to a longboard.
And the Fish, which was his preferred choice - It will be a bit harder to get the hang of but better for turning into a wave and more fun in the long run especially if I want to move to a shortboard.

I guess only time will tell if it was the right choice, but I am happy now, and can't wait to find out :P .
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby flacky » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:53 pm

I bought a fish after not surfing for very long and within 3 months had worked out it was years ahead of my ability. Couldn't handle the speed out of the bottom and as such was struggling to do anything other than drop, bottom turn and hang on. On their site it says it's very much a performance board... Good luck man!
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:38 pm

Alright Flacky, its a non performance version of the quad fish, the pic is below the quad fish on the site.

Gotta trust his advice for now, if the worst comes to the worst and I have to buy another board, at least I will be able to say I have a quiver :P (although I would have one hell of a job hiding an second surfboard from the missus)
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby skimmer2 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:41 am

pierce wrote:Alright Flacky, its a non performance version of the quad fish, the pic is below the quad fish on the site.

Gotta trust his advice for now, if the worst comes to the worst and I have to buy another board, at least I will be able to say I have a quiver :P (although I would have one hell of a job hiding an second surfboard from the missus)


Keep us posted on how well you get on....your choice of board is the sort of thing I might like to go for later down the line.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby pierce » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:57 pm

definately, will keep you posted on how I get on with it.

It should be ready some time mid February so might try and get down to cornwall for the weekend to pick it up and test it out.
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby O1wilson » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:32 am

Hi Pierce!
How did you get on with your big fish in the end?
What did you like or dislike about it? Was it the right decision for you at the time?
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby ArabeeB » Tue May 14, 2013 4:48 am

Have read that with avid interest. I spent yesterday in
Braunton asking tonnes of stupid questions, looking for my first board. I caught my first green wave2 weeks ago on a 7'2 Takayama Egg, so inevitably I want one. But who knows - might well end up with a Walden Mini Magic. home for me is East Anglia though, so surfing infrequent, or travel miles.

would love to hear how you got on with the new board. Hope it is good!
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Re: First board, mini mal????

Postby Leven » Tue May 14, 2013 8:42 pm

ArabeeB wrote:Have read that with avid interest. I spent yesterday in
Braunton asking tonnes of stupid questions, looking for my first board. I caught my first green wave2 weeks ago on a 7'2 Takayama Egg, so inevitably I want one. But who knows - might well end up with a Walden Mini Magic. home for me is East Anglia though, so surfing infrequent, or travel miles.

would love to hear how you got on with the new board. Hope it is good!



They're both pricey boards....for that money, go to a local shaper (assuming you go down to N.Devon sometimes), and have a chat. They'll be able to custom make you a board to suit your ability currently. I'd also get it glassed pretty heavily if I was you (think 6+6 on the deck, talk to the shaper who'll know what that means), as a new surfer you'll probably be a bit heavy on your feet and knees etc.
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