Question about board length

skazat

New Member
Apr 1, 2021
5
4
Los Angeles
Hey everyone! Long time lurker, new member so this is my intro post. I did some searching on the topic on google and on this forum and couldn't find the answer I was looking for, but please delete this if its been asked before.

Ive mostly ridden shortboards through my surfing life but last year got more into riding 9'+ boards. I had a 9'6 for a while and really loved it and then found a great deal on a Bing Levitator 9'10 so I sold the 9'6 and picked up the Bing. Id heard from different people that a 9'10 would feel great and honestly I didnt think Id notice a huge difference from 9'6 to 9'10 but wow at first I felt lost on that much more board. Ive gotten a lot more comfortable on it, walking the nose, taking steeper drops. But I notice that I have a little more trouble pumping it for speed and also trying to work the tail for some juicy turns compared to the 9'6. Maybe its just technique that needs a little more work but after doing some research Bing actually recommends riding this board 2-4" shorter than your typical nose rider.

My long winded question comes down to, is this board too big for me and will it hinder me from getting better at long boarding by riding this board? For reference I am 5'7 around 155-160 and typically ride the points around LA/Malibu area with an occasional beach break in between.
 

Yosh

Active Member
Jan 31, 2019
110
121
El Segundo
No apples to apples. I think it depends. My Fineline High Cat is a super heavy 9'6" square tail NR that is relatively flat rocker, fairly pinched 50/50 rail with shallow blended concave on nose. Tried a 9'10" Gato (not sure of model) with a bit more rocker, similar rail profile, but lighter, and much more deeper concave, and it was apparently slower, less drive on certain part of the wave. Def slower paddler too, needed like 6 paddles for wave entry while I only needed 2 to 3 with my High Cat. Another local rides a 10' Tyler NR with deep concave and he mentioned it sometimes feels slower than his other shorter Tyler. So I'm learning it's not solely the length. Deeper the concave, more rocker sacrifice speed is one thing but also has to do with everything in balance of rocker, bottom contour, foil, rail line, etc, and certain boards are built and designed for its purpose.
 

Proper_Mode

Well-Known Member
Jan 8, 2016
929
514
USA California
It might be a little counterintuitive coming from shortboard thrusters/quads but if you need more speed try walking forward on your log instead of “pumping” for speed. Single fin surfing is a different technique than three fin.

That size for your weight probably feels really nice and stable for walking and noseriding, but Might be a bit large for throwing wet double juicy turns unless you’re Mick Rodgers. And laying into hard turns just takes a slower pace to come around with so much board out in front of you compared to the shorter. It just takes reps to get used to that rhythm.
 

jory

Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
561
356
United Kingdom
couple of points.

You don't pump a longboard...... ever -

Even surfer mag had it as one of their ten commandments of surfing. As noted above, you walk forward for speed and back to turn. If you aren't already proficient at cross stepping, developing the ability to move around a longboard quickly and smoothly really makes a difference in how "easy" it feels to surf one.

Juicy turns are possible but its not a shortboard so a juicy turn on a big single fin is different to one on a shortboard or even a midlength.

Might be worth telling us about your old 9'6 - template and rail shape/ fin design have a big bearing on how a board will surf. 9'10 of levitator will be quite a lot of board to manhandle for a smaller guy. You will get some insane noserides on it though!

For my .02. I'm similar size to you - 5'6 and 150ish ( plus thick neoprene ) I typically like 9'4s - they have a good balance of trim speed and noseriding but are small enough for me to manhandle through turns well. I've ridden bigger boards - i actually had a couple of great waves on a friends 10 footer last week but generally ive found that once i go over 9'6, i dont gain much nose riding and it feels like a lot of board to hold onto. I am pretty exclusively surfing beach breaks and you can get away with more weight and length on a predictable clean point wave.
 

skazat

New Member
Apr 1, 2021
5
4
Los Angeles
Thanks for the info. I guess what I meant in terms of pumping was just rolling it rail to rail to gain speed, I was able to get it done on rear end of the middle third on my old 9'6. I wish I had the template of it or any info but it was just a local shaped log I picked up used to be my first proper longboard.

Really my question was more so based on figuring out if this current board would be too big to hinder my development in logging skills. Looks like I should be fine but might have to work harder at cranking a turn. Walking up the board feels super solid and theres a spot where once Im weighted it feels like a speed boost, but stepping back on the tail makes this board feel huge! Its really fun figuring out the dynamics of board control when theres so much board and the characteristic changes depending on where you are standing on the board.
 

jory

Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
561
356
United Kingdom
Again, if you watch a classic traditional logger, they don’t really even roll from rail to rail for speed, it’s just about moving forward to trim sweet spot. The levitator is quite focused on noseriding so it’s going to be suited to a fairly pivoty turning style followed by a scamper forward as opposed to a driving rail engaged turn. See the Aussie style logs thread for some templates more focussed on jamming a radical(ish) cutback.

Really you’ve just got to get your back foot over/ near the fin and put your weight into it! More length just means extra steps

Learning to drop knee helps too, after all that’s how the guys in the 50’s / early 60’s worked out how they could redirect their big boards (& most small guys were on 10 foot beasts back then!) :)

Also you could put a different fin. The stock fin is an upright pivot shape if I recall correctly. A 4a style with less area in the tiP will loosen things up.

Bottom line, there might be different boards that will let you fully crank a turn but the board you have will make it easy to improve your cross stepping and give you a stable easy platform to progress at noseriding.

Once you have that down, you can move to a more “turny” shape that will let you jam turns and your skill will have developed enough to cope with those boards less forgiving tip riding characteristics
 

Yosh

Active Member
Jan 31, 2019
110
121
El Segundo
So spot on jory! This is my surf journey right now familiarizing myself with a heavy square tail beast before I can afford a pig hipped pulled in nose Sammy board, hoping by that time, I’ll be like Jacky Chen on it, achoooo
 




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