Surf progression and displacement hulls questions

Budthedog

Active Member
Dec 22, 2020
174
216
California
Big ramble ahead so here’s the TLDR: 1. Is the front foot surfing on hulls similar to the mechanics of snowboarding? 2. Does progressing with your average board make transitioning to a hull more challenging (specifically regarding weight placement and fin use)?

The ramble
I’ve been surfing for almost a decade now but not very seriously. I just got a surfskate to improve my bottom turns and lackluster cutbacks (plus keep me busy when I can’t get to the ocean). After snowboarding for years, one of the challenges, maybe roadblocks, is that it’s ingrained in me to steer from my front foot.

Cue displacement hull curiosity. I’ve read a ton/watched what I can, and they sound amazing and like the surfing I’d like to do. Real flowy, graceful high lines, speedy, not about pumping and smacking the lip. I ordered a Vaquero a couple months ago (know they’re not “true” hulls) and am on the lookout for a more beatery hull I can play around on. But while I wait, I have some questions...

Are turns initiated from the front foot in a similar was as on a snowboard? If so, are my efforts to progress with the fishy groveler I’m mostly riding now counterproductive? Ie making it a habit to use those fins more when the surfing that sounds fun to me looks like it comes from the front/middle?

Any thoughts are much appreciated.
 

michael

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2017
1,813
2,185
NJ
Are turns initiated from the front foot in a similar was as on a snowboard? If so, are my efforts to progress with the fishy groveler I’m mostly riding now counterproductive? Ie making it a habit to use those fins more when the surfing that sounds fun to me looks like it comes from the front/middle?
Not a snowboarder, but the vaquero doesn’t turn from the front / middle. You can definitely influence it to climb and drop on the wave face from there, but turns are from the back. That being said, gas peddle is definitely at the middle stance / front stretch.

Fish on the other hand is the forward foot driven board you may be looking for. I know my snow friends lean toward the fish.
 

Budthedog

Active Member
Dec 22, 2020
174
216
California
Not a snowboarder, but the vaquero doesn’t turn from the front / middle. You can definitely influence it to climb and drop on the wave face from there, but turns are from the back. That being said, gas peddle is definitely at the middle stance / front stretch.

Fish on the other hand is the forward foot driven board you may be looking for. I know my snow friends lean toward the fish.
Thanks Michael, that’s a totally unexpected answer. Never heard that about fish!
Re: vaquero - is that what differentiates the vaquero from more hully hulls, making it more “user friendly”? Or are you saying that’s the case with all hulls?
 

Stan Vinokur

Member
Oct 15, 2020
63
67
San Francisco
Agree turns are def rear footed on the vaq.
In terms of surfs are be careful not to turn from front foot. The more doofy looking carveboard are actually great for teaching the rear footedness and awesome for improving bottom turns
 

Budthedog

Active Member
Dec 22, 2020
174
216
California
Agree turns are def rear footed on the vaq.
In terms of surfs are be careful not to turn from front foot. The more doofy looking carveboard are actually great for teaching the rear footedness and awesome for improving bottom turns
Good to know, yeah it’s been pretty fun working on it so far. I can already see some improvement as well.
 

michael

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2017
1,813
2,185
NJ
Thanks Michael, that’s a totally unexpected answer. Never heard that about fish!
Re: vaquero - is that what differentiates the vaquero from more hully hulls, making it more “user friendly”? Or are you saying that’s the case with all hulls?
Less bladey, less pronounced hull, flat and hard edge with a little v out the back all make it easier to ride in various conditions
/ direction changes. Easier to get the hang of. It makes you look like you surf better than you actually do. And I find it doesn’t push water as much on the paddle.

My old liddle was just a dog in texture but my vaquero powers through.
 
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jory

Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
675
579
United Kingdom
I actually think proper hulls are one of the least user friendly designs. They are “idiosyncratic” to turn to say the least and whilst they feel amazing, they need to be surfed in a particular way that doesn’t really translate to other designs.

Personally I would suggest a more neutral style board is easier to progress on. Some kind of egg would be a sound choice. Graceful flowing style is a lot about the lines you choose and not just the board.

Case in point

Trevor Gordon, 7’10 gliderey midlength


Trevor Gordon, tiny twin Simmons thing and glider fish


The turns vary in tightness but the general lateral smooth flow exists across all three boards.

The cj nelson outlier boards are a good compromise and maybe even more neutral to surf than a vaquero. They have some buttery hull feel but turn much more like a normal single fin egg without the hull weirdness.

Just my opinion but, snowboarding and surfing are different things ( I’m a pretty reasonable level at both). You are better off just trying to learn how to make a surfboard work. The surf skate is a good call to help.

When people talk about “front footed boards” (of which the fish is most definitely one) they really mean that you are imitating the drive in a cutback with more weight forward so you are engaging rail instead of just pivoting around the fins.

If you can carve a snowboard properly you will be used to initiating the carve with your front foot but as the carve progresses you are then weighting both feet and might even finish the carve using your back foot to dig the rear edge of the board into the snow and spring you into the opposite side carve.

Any type of surfboard can be driven through a turn in a similar way although with a lot more upper body English but all boards need some action from the foot that’s over the fins no matter how many of those there are.
 
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