when is small to small ?

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when is small to small ?

Postby zboy » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:33 pm

jus had ab3 shape a mini sims a 4.11@22@2.3/4 thick just wanted to try push my boat out surfing wise, are these size boards pointless,hes riding a 5.2 so i will ride a 5.0 or do they have a place,dont get me wrong i lookin forward to tryin it,have i been sucked into t.w and the like nonsense. :oops: :-)
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby browncurtains » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:16 am

yes and no.
The heard herd mentality means lots of people are now wanting to ride sub 6' boards. A no nose shape will take inches off that again.

I know the time when i struggle on these kind of smaller boards is when the waves get more critical. You see plenty peoples wave count drop in these conditions too, many of them on their 'luxury popout'' root vegetable based boards....that said some rip hard too.
These small wide boards get surfed too flat and people forget, never learn that they have rails....which doesn't appeal to me style wise

None of this is aimed directly at you mR z..... and i have committed all the crimes listed above myself at one stage or another...
(although never owned a 'luxury popout')

lots of us have dicked around with board sizes. Going to and beyond the extremes of smallness in relation to my skill level and weight was enlightening, did a similar thing with narrow , thin needle nose thrusters ..

yes they can all work, and be frickin off the scale when its comes together but plenty of f ups in between

Your 4'11" looks minty :wink:
await review?
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby tamsk1 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:48 am

I reckon youll have a hell of a lot of fun finding out. And it sounds cool too surfing a sub 5ft board. I'm on a 5'6 and I reckon its at least 4 inches too big, they're just so thick and have so much nose. I hope you enjoy.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby ATTMFKH » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:32 am

might as well go the full hog & go drop knee :lol: :lol: :lol: 5'10" smallest I've been ..........

interested to hear how you get on ...............

any pics of the owner of the stillettos :P :lol: :lol:
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby buttholesurfer » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:51 pm

I find the smaller you go , the more you've got to have your feet bang on the buck of the sweet spot of the board as you pop up. Smallest I've gone is 5'6 trunkboard..I've tried a 5'4 Sweet potato but found it bogged down when I tried to turn it hard.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby gavtheoldskater » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:50 pm

I've tried a 5'4 Sweet potato


what size sp did you have again steve?

they are a board that interests me and i keep toying with tracking one down to have a go on in the summer, if only to see if i can surf a board under 5ft10!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby hedgemonkey » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:42 pm

ATTMFKH wrote:any pics of the owner of the stillettos :P :lol: :lol:



Ha...! excellent... :lol:
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby zboy » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:25 pm

dame i forgot they were there,the secrets out :lol: :lol: honestly they are the wives :-) :shock:
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby Kirk3 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:03 pm

2nd mini Sim made was a 5'5" (down from 6') and that was followed within a few weeks by Larry Mabile doing the 4'11" White Pony, which rode really well, so yes, you can take them small. Mines 5'5" (a copy of Casper Jnr.) and is still one of the funnest boards I've ever owned, and the width/thickness on ZBoys seem bang on for that size so it'll work for sure. I've surfed a couple under 5'4" and they were fun, but I think you've lost planing area that you were better off having- the boards just didn't feel as greasy fast at that size. For most people it's just getting your head around a board that small under the feet!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby JoeSchmoe » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:56 pm

I was lucky enough to pick up a Royal 5'3" sim a couple of years back. Considering I'm now definitely the wrong side of 35 I've not really got any right to be riding a board this short but it's great fun - fast, glidey, skatey - all the good stuff.

I think it's pretty fair to say that there isn't a huge margin of error when it comes to foot placement, but overall I think the sim is a bit more forgiving in this regard than my 5'8" incut fish (which you definitely have to get right or you're screwed!).

I have had the sim out in 4-6 foot Gennith and 4 foot low tide Croyde and it definitely takes a bit of getting used to having such a small board under you when you're paddling into bigger and/or steeper stuff. That being said, when it's clean as a whistle and overhead the sim is a blast.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby zboy » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:49 am

thanks for the comments, i rode a 4.10 simms last summer great fun, this ones totaly different for a start i didnt shape it :-D
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby buttholesurfer » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:00 am

gavtheoldskater wrote:
I've tried a 5'4 Sweet potato


what size sp did you have again steve?

they are a board that interests me and i keep toying with tracking one down to have a go on in the summer, if only to see if i can surf a board under 5ft10!


I actually bought a 5'8 first but it was like a barge, 5'6 had loads of float still. You've got to surf them with your rear foot nearly hanging of the tail. You'd get away with a 5'8 easily, then you'd wish you'd bought a 5'6!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby mister-griffster » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:14 pm

^^ I've ridden JoeSchmoe's 5'3 (not with any grace or style) and I'm 6'1" - and found it fun. I sold my 6'0" on as I wasn't getting the use out of it that i should - surf guilt is a terrible thing. A great board but felt it a bit wide - definitely woulda liked a 5-10 or 5'8

ALL that said - for the average surfer, at your average break, i personally didn't find the simmons design all that engaging. Fun at times, but when the surf got head high then that tail counted against it. Used to nosedive pretty badly with the tail being 'boosted' bu the lip of the wave - but I am of average ability. One thing to be said for Royals shapes is that Rob know's all about foam distribution, and Joe's has a decent wedge right under the front foot / chest - it kinda felt a bit more 'natural' than the 6'0.

Paul is a class shaper - nno bones about it - but my concern would be that at 2 3/4 at 4'11 it may not have enough foam through the thickness?? Depends on if you're riding decent, shapely waves or not i guess - and your weight!

It's weird these conversations about length - it's like some reverse macho bragging going on - Mine's 5''8- yeah well I got a 5'0.... next we'll be seeing who can piss furthest up the wall! - Surely it depends on your ability / size / weight as to whether the board will work? Size is all relative.

They're fun boards for sure, but for my money, if it was a kinda one board deal, I'd be looking at some of the Hydrodynamica shapes as some seem more versatile - the simzer for one. For my money (tho i've not ridden one so could be talking complete turd - again) the Empire Lumus looks one of the best, updated, modern take of a Simmons style board - super versatile and you won't go heading for the beach (or face first to the reef) should the waves jack up a bit. Would love to try a 5'8 or 5'10 Lumus if someone wants to part with one one day.

But, all that said - Paul will shape you a cracker - of that there's no doubt!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby poodleparlourpam » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:07 am

ALL that said - for the average surfer, at your average break, i personally didn't find the simmons design all that engaging. Fun at times, but when the surf got head high then that tail counted against it. Used to nosedive pretty badly with the tail being 'boosted' bu the lip of the wave - but I am of average ability.


i think you are right Griff. i personally find the ideal wave height about waist to shoulder high. Although My blimp, can handle slightly bigger stuff, due to the pulled in tail,and a little more tail rocker than the traditional design...they are very much a hybrid.... and i tend to build them 'big' 6'0 - 6'2

smallest i've gone is 5'6...with less of a pulled in tail and less tail rocker, this doesnt like it over head high, if its a steeper take off i can control the tail!! (prob just my shite surfing abilities :lol: )....when i built it i was convinced id never even get up on the thing...but its desperately easy to ride, and i'd defo consider making myself something under 5 ft...just for the sheer hell of it (not for saunton tho :? ) :-)
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby poodleparlourpam » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:33 am

BTW Griff the 6'0 in the for sale section, has a wider tail than the outline i have now settled on! :-)
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby gavtheoldskater » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:53 pm

when the surf got head high then that tail counted against it.


think it depends on the wave, i've surfed mine (5ft10 bing) in overhead rolling surf and it was amazing, super easy entry and just did what i wanted. but yes if it was wailing through then i would have reached for something else.

only time i struggle with mine is when its choppy, this thing is so flat it just does'nt work 'for me', crashing into bumps or the tail getting a bit lifty on takeoff... but then i had exactly this same issue with a linden quad i used to have in chop.

on size, my 5ft10 feels super comfortable, i often liken it to a 7ft minimal. i would try a 5ft8 happily, smaller maybe. no ego or one upmanship, just curious.... especially hitting 47 this month, heading into 4th decade of surfing, riding smaller by far than i ever have.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby Kirk3 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:44 pm

Gav & Pam, I have exact same experiences- the boards are good in decent sized waves, hate the chop and that tail width becomes a liability when it's punchy or too big. Of course it all has to do with that mini Sim shape/width/thickness- even on a fish which is a board you tend to ride in smaller sizes I wouldn't go down to a 5'5"! The Sims can get a bit interesting in bigger waves too, I rode the 5'5" in head high plus surf in Santa Cruz, (not a sketchy wave at all, it was nice enough to make me want to move there!) and found I was doing big drawn out bottom turns, not out of some 'Morning Of The Earth' style attempt but because I could barely hold the board in and felt like I was going as fast as the board could go. Obviously better surfers handle them in bigger waves (I've seen Joe Curren in solidly overhead Rincon looking like he was pacing the cars on the Freeway) but chest to head high is as big as I want to take one out in. Of course the true beauty of the design is as fun as they are in head high stuff, they're just as fun if not more so in thigh high waves!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby mister-griffster » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:52 pm

^^ Think you've both hit the nail on the head there - the slightly pulled tail / hard edge is certainly needed for confidence in the bigger stuff - and the Bing / Pam's modernised template does the trick (Pam - your first one was based on a Bing if memory serves?)

Also handy to note, that Simmons built his boards wide due to his disability (he had a history of problems with his leg) and needed a wide planing surface - the more successful shapes these days seem to be slightly narrower, more friendly tail etc So originally the width of the thing had little to do with any kind of performance aspect - Simmons used his engineering knowledge to make the hull and the rails the vital ingredients. It's rumoured that he had a sub 5'0 styrofoam version back in the 50's

Interesting your comment on the 'chop' Gav - I picked up mine specifically to ride in chop (and one of our breaks, builds,back's off, doubles up - all sorts - found I had to paddle with my head practically over the nose of the board so it 'digging' in didn't really affect me.

I guess all of these small boards come down to one thing - Rob Lions point of proper foam / volume distribution - usually what you lack in length you make up for in thickness - foam is your friend ;)

BTW, for what it's worth - one of the reasons I found the Simmons not as engaging as i probably would've liked (which no doubt would've been rectified by better waves / more perseverance) is that coming from LB's I do love a single fin - for that reason I'd love to give one of these a go

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mb2kj0HMn51qbfil8o1_1280.jpg

Marc Andreni's stand-up Velo circa '71 - surely that can't be much over 5'6" ?
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby dogtowatch » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:10 pm

This a question that has haunted me for many a year.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby zboy » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:15 pm

ive a 5.9, 23 wide 3 inches thick , step decked, the tail corner to corner 10 inches wide last autum/winter / spring it was my go to board, i had it out on low tide beachie charts where 14ft@15secs had the best session every, overhead barrels im 5.7 and they were lippin over me not couchin,last wave closed out tryed to punch through got caught fractured my jaw, gashed my new physco wettie and smashed three fin plugs.these boards are the real deal, ive got rid of my step up.ive had more tail slides on my one for all another great boartd from paul stoked :-) :-D
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby defever » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:08 am

Good thread, thanks all for your views on shorter boards.

I'm right at that stage of surfing journey where I'm in a quest of reverse masculinity in "how short I can go". There is definitely a common misconception that the shorter your board is the better in surfing you must be... well in a way that makes all drop knee bodyboarders better than 10x champion Mr. Slater...

I'm interested in how much foam I can reserve in relation to the shortness of the board. My usual mush waves on a gale onshore wind isn't ideal to carry or even surf on a longboard but I still want the floatation of it. Coming from a skateboarding background, I definitely like to hit the lip (if any is shaped by the mush...) and power slide/turn aggressively (well, learning...) whenever possible. And I want to be able to duck dive those white wall of China. So, as short as I can go without getting bogged down on turns and preserve as much the foam as possible.

I think Rob Machado once said something like "don't be afraid to keep bit of foam, foam is your friend." I agree. And Griff's point on "size is relevant" is equally agreeable.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby superyuoyuo » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:34 am

more successful shapes these days seem to be slightly narrower, more friendly tail etc


I defo agree with that, having ridden a few sims now, I prefer them slightly longer and thinned/foiled out (hybrids) like 21" max. as opposed to going wide to reduce the length. The narrower/longer ones (like 5'6") have more range (for me:) fit better in tiny waves, have more paddle power when it gets bigger and you don't get that pitching of the tail in the hollow stuff:)

. . .also asymmetrical designs are a good solution to make a short/wide board turn better/more easily, without having to go super short:) My 5'6" quad asym sim, does everything the wider 5'2" (I had) did, but better!!! yay

*edit i'm 6ft 12.5st for ref.
Last edited by superyuoyuo on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:48 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby mister-griffster » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:47 pm

^^ Defever - those kneeboarders being 10x better? - think you're right there - watching Greenough in 67 drawing the same lines as Slater while Yanks were straight-lining and the ozzies hip wiggling - he set the standard on his velo that all others now try to emulate - faster, harder, more fluid...

As for boards - check out Empires Spectro and Lumus models - similar concepts, different foam distribution (and lengths) - i've not ridden either but both look a lot of fun...

So when is someone going to ride a sub 4ft board then? what about 2 2ft boards at the same time? surf slippers anyone?! :lol:
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby Black » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:31 pm

I reckon a board is too small when you can clearly see the surfer having to compensate and nurse it through turns etc. I think you can see that in a few videos on the net these days, I watch them and actually think "that board is too small"!!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby Philchapman » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:13 am

/\ Exactly. It's like, does that board allow you to surf/do anything differently than the same shape 6"-1' longer?
Probably not, except to brag about how short it is to your peers/on surf forums.
Maybe some people like that sketchy feeling of surfing something too short for them? That could be it. People are of course free to ride whatever they want.
There's probably a "magic formula" somewhere that takes into account rider style/height/weight/waves/ability/board shape/number of fins/colour/etc.,etc...
I use the time tested "does it feel good under the arm?" method. That and "how trendy is this shape right now?" :lol:
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby mister-griffster » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:32 pm

Great point there chaps - sliding is fun in any form, sometimes particularly so when sketchy - its the fineline between success and epic failure that can make this kind of surfing so addictive. But if you have to lower your center of gravity to the same dimensions of a peanut then either the wave is too small, or the board is.

You could be right there Phil - there's some confirmed physicists on this forum - there has to be some sort of equation that can specify an ideal volume (if not length and width) of a surfcraft - but I wouldn't leave this kind of analysis to me[ - my investigations would lead to;

√(l2 + w2 + h2) = Go with the volan one :lol:
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby Jory » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:51 pm

So bearing in mind I am 5'6 and a shade over 10 stone........

I've ridden a lot of sub 6 foot boards - keel fish 5'10 down to 5'6 below that I think they get too small but some of the GS boys ride 5'4 ones.

More relevantly I've ridden. A 5'2 bing mini sim for a few months and I own a genuine Tyler warren bar of soap thats 5'2.

For me with these shapes anything bigger would be too much foam for comfort with that foil and width. I honestly think if I surfed fast croyde style waves a lot instead of saunton, I could easily ride a 4'11 version of the soap. They are so flat and wide they need to be short to balance this and this also makes them more manageable in waves head high and bigger. If they are too long they feel pedestrian or a handful instead of responsive speed machines.

Both the bing and the soap have a thin foiled rail and hard edge in the tail, the soap has a deep vee'd double concave. I think all you lose with the length is a bit of paddling speed on the way back out.

As a final point, the 5'2 sim things go better in shit waves than the 5'6 keel fish and probably have more foam too so length isn't the only variable!
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby buttholesurfer » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:48 am

I had a 5'10 Bing and have now got the 5'8 , I did try a 5'6 but at 13 1/2 stone felt to squirrely for my liking. As has been said if you surf a wave with punch then yep I would go smaller , but most of the average surf I ride dribbles in. Plus I'm thinking of a Sri Lanka trip so it's the Bing and Von Sol ill be taking.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby Archy_is_God » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:13 pm

Sometimes you need a long rail line and other times you don't....

Sometimes you need a straight rail, other times not....

And other times you need a bit of rocker on the rail line, some times not....

Actually, some times, you need a boxy rail that releases well and other times.... Oh yeah - fins too.. sometimes you.... well, you get the picture!

All of these variables work to offset one another in different and subtle ways, I think the magic is in the recipe.

A super short board with a very curvy rail outline will only have a cat's chance of working if there is minimal rocker and the right rail shape/bottom contour/fin setup, but even then it will be a pretty niche board. Likewise, a super-flat, straight-railed 10-footer will have it's own little niche, but may not be the best in sucky, onshore, bendy beachbreak waves.

One thing I would say though - in general, a longer rail line will help smooth your style out, I think; you need to place your turns correctly and let the rail run. Watch Curren surf a semigun in a chesthigh wave and you will see what I mean. The flipside to this is the amount of people rudely flicking stubby little boards around anytime they can, like some kind of redbull-fuelled delinquent... Less is more, sometimes.

I still think there is a place for a long rail line with a bit of curve in it, particularly in big, shifty, open-water kind of waves where you need paddle power and projection.
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Re: when is small to small ?

Postby zboy » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:43 pm

jus a little up date got the board (4.11) totaly wired its fast , lose, loves the pocket ...so long as ive good foot postion and body position the 4.11 i have has glassed on keels, rather than 10 inch base ive 8 inch, sameish height, less area than tws bar of soap and the cant is more than standard so you have to be much more involved with getting the speed you want which i like (shortboardish) but not so much lagg that its lost the glide that is a simms,and because the fin postion is more shortboardish orientated is great to break lose and smack the lip and get great cutbacks and the long arcing cut backs we love. i reckon that the same shape could work shorter 4.5-6ish or shorter 4.2-3 thinking for the summer.But the waves ive used it in have been realy good points and beachies, offshore long periods 4-5 ft clean and hollow. Saturday was soft offshore clean and head and half high,but equaly it went well in chest high jus as good. :-D :-) thanks to paul at glide who shaped it. :-)
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