I'm looking for a board to help me progress in learning to surf. During the past year, I've had just over 110 sessions on a 2014 Naish Mana 9'5" x 32, 163 liters. Previously, I spent 2 years learning to surf surfboards before tendonitis in my shoulders made me switch to paddle surfing. I thought I would do it just long enough for my shoulders to heal but, I'm hooked! My wave count has doubled, I don't have pain in my shoulders, and I'm having more fun on a SUP than I ever did on a surfboard. I'm 48 yo, 5'11", 165 lbs. I have a decent level of fitness but I have an old knee injury that acts up from time to time. 80% of my days are spent surfing at La Jolla Shores in San Diego. It's a mediocre beach break that is usually a foot or two smaller than other spots. Some days waves here are short, dumpy and there are only a few seconds to make a bottom turn and race the closeout. Other days will have slow, peeling waves where I can either pick a line or work up and down the wave for a decent distance. Most of the SUP surfers at the Shores use either longboard style boards (e.g. Infinity New Deal) or "small wave" shortboards with low rocker and parallel rails (e.g. Jimmy Lewis Super Frank or Infinity RNB). The other 20% of my time is spent at Tourmaline (AKA Old Man's) and Cardiff. Both are reef breaks with slow waves favored by longboarders. Most of the waves I surf are between knee and chest high. I usually surf before going to work, so I don't have the luxury of picking times and locations. I need a board that will work in a variety of conditions, not just when it is clean and glassy. I know that there is no one board that excels in all conditions. That is why, I tell my wife, people have quivers. She tells me I can choose to have a quiver or stay married. So, I need a recommendation for one board that does O.K in the various conditions I surf. Something that will challenge me to become a better surfer but not be so challenging that my bad knee is in pain all the time or my wave count is back to my pre-SUP days.
I'd consider these allrounders.
JL Destroyer 8" - 8'5"
Sunova Steeze 8'6" - 8'10"
Both initially will feel like a big step down, but once you've had some practice, it'll be worth it. Do lots of flat water practice initially.
The straighter rail lines should help with stability / paddling compared to a really pulled in nose/tail etc. They also have plenty of performance off the tail, can handle mush and the bigger stuff.
Keep the Mana until you are super comfortable on the new board, then move it on.
I would highly recommend either Infinity RNB or Infinity New Deal mid-length for these conditions. At your weight - and after 100 SUP sessions - I would go for 7'11 RNB or 8'0 New Deal. You are only an hour away from Infinity.
Good to hear you are hooked on the SUP surfing, its a game changer a lot of us have discovered just in time!
My only advice is to work your way down in size gradually, going too small too quick can be very frustrating, find your sweet spot.
If 2 boards is not an option and more often then not you are not able to pick the best conditions - RNB everyday.
I had one a while ago and it was amazing in mush and once you dial in the footwork lit up in good waves. I have ranted enough about them in the past.
If you get an ECS Slab ..I reckon their awesome . Shorter in size but enough volume . It's my current go to board . I'm 63kg and board is 7'5 long so i can get foot back but still 109L. Great for summer slop or less than perfect conditions . Maybe not a one quiver though .
Sounds like you could do with an infinity B-Line at your weight and the type of surf it would be ideal. I'd avoid long boards at a break that closes out quick.
I think you're in a tricky spot because you're looking for 'the one' but your on a giant board >2 L/kg. You may need multiple steps of downsizing to get to you're optimal volume. But you're lucky cause SD has best used SUP market in US
,outside HI, from what I can tell. I would get used SUPs and work your way down so you don't lose $500+ every time you sell a new board.
Thank you everyone for your great suggestions! A couple of you mentioned that it might be a good idea to choose a board that is not a huge change in size, before getting down to an ideal volume. In order to get a feel for a smaller board, I rented a Quattro Glide that was 8'6", 32", 130 L. I definitely had to work harder than with my Mana but, I still was able to paddle without falling and caught waves no problem (after I realized that I had to be further in and closer to the peak than with my Mana). I got a bit tired by the end of the session and sat on my board in the lineup to rest between waves. Is this about the size of board that I should be looking for or should I get closer to a guild factor of 1.5 (about 115 L for my weight)? Also, how does this volume compare to boards with different shapes? For example, there is an RNB with about the same volume (8'2", 30", 125 L) but it is 2" narrower . Would the RNB be a lot less stable than the Glide even though they are within 5 L?
Sounds like you could go smaller, like 120L, if you did well at 130L.