I recently picked up an 8'4" v.Bowls and finally got a chance to take it out this morning. I had originally planned on going with a shorter v.Bowls, but I had a good opportunity to pick this one up (thanks Croweater, and double thanks to ShadyDave and Makawaosurfer93 for the board train) and thought it would be a good chance to try out a v.Bowls to see what all the hype is about. Seems that most are more in the 7' range. I found all the reasons to not paddle out today -- too windy, too chilly, too small, should have brought a bigger board, parking meters are now being enforced, I could go get donuts back on the mainland instead, etc. I finally decided that it was a Saturday morning and I might as well suit up and surf, and I'm so glad I did. My local spot was doing its best impression of a small righthanded pointbreak with solid knee to waist peelers wrapping around a shallow sandbar. A few slightly bigger/juicier sets, but it was a waiting game. Strong offshores and no one else out. As someone who usually surfs boards at least a foot longer, I thought I might struggle to catch waves on the v.Bowls. I was surprised at how easily it caught even the smallest waves, with the waves picking up that wide tail on takeoff. It seemed very sensitive to trim -- it lets you know right away when you're surfing even slightly too far back by bogging down, but eeching up just a hair is all it takes to completely change the game from dropping anchor to a rocket ride. I've heard Ryan Lovelace refer to the feeling as "riding on ball bearings", which was a good frame of reference for helping me find the sweet spot and a pretty accurate way to describe the playful squirt of speed that took me by surprise the first time it happened. I had a couple bigger sets with long walls where I had a chance to open 'er up a bit, and just a little pump of a turn up and down the face was all it took to blast past some sections that I really didn't expect to make. Nice bite and confidence on steeper sections. It could also surprisingly do the glide routine, letting me connect sections and milk some barely-there waves that were ankle high at best by the end (making me laugh out loud at one point - I didn't know you could surf a wave that small). The turns felt great, although I admittedly will have to work with it a bit more to find the finesse to cutback and not run out of speed on the second half of the cutback. Part of that might be technique, but part might also be those small waves. All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised. It exceeded my expectations and had enough similarity to a longboard to make the learning curve very palatable, but it was a lot more like a longboard's youthful, energetic little brother. PS: Don't judge me by my awful, awful lawn.