Mid length for beginner progression + wave count


New Member
Apr 18, 2021
North Carolina
Hey all,

I've gotten a lot out of reading this forum the past few months, very cool place on the interwebs. I was hoping to tap into the wisdom of this community for my next board decision. Probably somewhere in 6.5-8 range?

I started surfing about 2 years ago - the first year I lived at the beach and was surfing more days than not. I progressed fast from a 8' foamie to a 6'8 Firewire Greedy Beaver a friend lent me, but now that I'm surfing just a few times a month I'm in a plateau/regression phase and am often disappointed with the amount of waves I'm getting, especially with that 2hr drive home.

I have 3 boards: an old 9'6 log, a 8' wavestorm that my wife mostly uses, and a 6'0 Trimcraft TRev I picked up from m8r last year (thanks man!). Lately I'm feeling like I could be getting more waves and having more fun on something in between. Whether it's a small day or it's bigger and just really crowded, I usually feel like I'm missing out. I want something that ups my wave count but also performs enough for me to work on my fundamental turning and speed flow. Hoping to get some shape rec's or even off-the-rack boards I can get shape ideas from. Thanks!


Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
United Kingdom
How big / tall are you? What sort of waves are you generally getting to surf?

My suggestion is something that’s easy to paddle - this will help with lack of fitness and more waves Caught = more progression. Also you want something that isn’t too idiosyncratic to surf.

Not very trendy but One option would be an “all around” 2+1 longboard - something on the more progressive side rather than a heavy log and around 9’2.

Alternatively, a fairly neutral shaped 2+1 ( or maybe twin / quad ) egg in the 7’6 - 8’ range. Mitsven magic, CI mid sort of template. Maybe 21.5 to 22 wide and 2.6- 2.8 thick ( depending on your weight) Wide point at or ahead of centre a little, rounded pin but not super narrow tail, fairly flat rocker, a bit of edge by the fins. Again, easy to paddle to up your wave count, won’t feel a million miles away to surf from the shorter boards you already use.

Personally at your stage I would stay away from really hully mid lengths like the vaquero and v bowls. They are cool but quite idiosyncratic to surf and will require a different approach to the t Rev/ beaver thing you’re used to.

If you do want a cruisey single fin, The Cj Nelson outlier is pretty much a detuned vaquero and is designed to be very neutral and easy to surf in a cruisey way. Check the outlier thread for some reviews.


Active Member
Mar 24, 2005
I’ve had good luck with boards from Wayne Okamoto at Oak Foils , particularly his DynaGlyde model- scales up and down well
He is very good at listening to you and being able to translate that into foam
I’ve gotten 6 or 7 boards from him through the years all but 1 were exceptional (and that 1 while it didn’t excite me, sold to me younger buddy who loved it) don’t know where in NC you surf , I surf OBX and the DGs work well for me ( older surfer, many years of experience, 200 lbs)
Not knowing your so/weight I’d suggest talking to him (honestly) about what you are looking for in the board, what the waves are like you want to ride etc
Maybe a mid 7 foot DG
Tell him Jim Norton suggested you talk to him
Good luck
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Chilly Willy

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2004
USA New Jersey
You sound exactly like a buddy of mine who was in a similar situation. He suffered for a long time trying to ride shorter boards in smaller/weaker conditions and always looked sour by the end of the session over his low wave count. I always told him he should get one decent longboard or mid for smaller stuff. Anytime I'd let him try my midlengths or longboards, he'd glide off into the distance and eventually paddle back rejuvenated and inspired by how great of a ride he had. (He eventually toughed it out and went more the shortboard route, but to his credit, he really paid his dues to make that happen.) He finally lucked into a 7'6", which to shortboarders is a longboard. Even at that, he still looks a bit sour on weaker days since he still needs a decent wave to ride it.

My point in this story is don't be afraid to go with the longer end of that spectrum, like in the 8's. Not knowing anything about your size, it will increase your wave count and make you a better surfer by way of giving you more on-wave experience. It sucks being undergunned and struggling to catch waves. I don't really have any specific recommendations but that CI mid looks really fun.


Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
United Kingdom
Just a quick extra point. The CI mid itself has amazing marketing going for it and no doubt it works as a shape but all the rider feedback ive heard ( at least in the below 7'6 sizes) are that it needs a bit of size or shape in the wave to "go". Its more shortboardy than you think and its not designed as a small wave groveller but for waves shoulder and above


Nov 10, 2020
oceanside ca
i have gone through quite a few midlengths... some need some wave power and are ultra maneuverable, others are high float mushy mini wave machines that dont turn so great, but catch everything.

As far as an off the rack easy to find board that i can suggest is the Stewart 949. I have owned the 7'6" and now own 7'. I am 5'10" 170lb. Medium skilled surfer.

If you are my size i would go 7'6" or even 8'. In my experience it is length that equals paddle power, paddle glide, and bigger wave count.

On a side note the 949 suggests this weird 5 fin setup. Once you get comfortable with it, try it without he center stablizer fin.

To me the 949 is in the center.. it is very stable and a good wave catcher, but can still turn ok.

Dont fall for any of the advertising that mid lengths "paddle and catch waves like a longboard" they dont, nor can you out paddle any decent surfer on a 9'6" longboard.

Personally i ride an 8' single fin, rounded pin tail. 80% of the time. I personally find 8' is a perfect balance of serious paddle power and getting in early / nice glide and nice wide turns.