Curtis (~200 lbs) is surfing my 7'8 Design in Oahu. Below are some of his comments to me (spanning 9 days) as he makes the courageous drop in board size from 9'3 to 7'8 all at once.
I used the board on Wed and Thurs and I got such a great work out, I was spent the whole day and thirsty as hell. I had to use all of my resources to work this board, it reminds me of when I first got on a SUBoard, Kooking out!
.....it is stable too. It rides like a short board, you got to pump it down the line. When I hit certain sections of the wave the board just takes off. I want to try it on a nice head high wave.
I had all weekend to think about how I was going to adjust to make my life easier in the break since I didnt get wet at all on Sat or Sun. This morning was nice, paddled out in the line up as the morning sky started to rid of its darkness, my friend and I were met with a empty line up with shoulder to head high glassy sets rolling in. the board works great, a real short board feel. I was using a SF4 quad set that came with the board, my friend let me borrow his K2.1 quad set, I will try it tomorrow. I didnt want to use the K2's until I figured out the wave catching part. I pretty much got it down now, I really get a good work out and am all sore now but, it is a good kind of sore.
One problem I had was my nose going under water while standing, now I understand why, also my nose digging in while I am catching the wave.
I used the board Mon - Thurs, each day wave catching got easier. The biggest problem is still front to back rocking instead of side to side tippyness, I guess I am leaning forward, that's why. I will prep my new longer paddle and use it next week.
........my whole body is sore from using the shorter SUB, I lost 2 lbs too.
I love the board, everybody is eyeing it up. Nobody has anything close to this. I already had a offer to buy it. My friend thought there is no way in hell that I would be able to ride that, to be honest, I had my doubts too. Everybody wants to try it, but they are afraid to ask. Once I get it dialed in, I will share the fun. Jay Richardson did a great job building this board, it is light weight and solid. I really like the xTrak pads too.
Curtis is now trying to make the transition away from a short (6" over) paddle for surf. We all thought super short paddles were the hot shit for wave ripping back in the day. With the progression of paddle technique through racing, we know better today. An efficient paddle length, closer to what we race with, will get you into more waves. Ditch digging is so yesterday. As a bonus, standing more upright, improves balance when standing outside waiting on waves. It also keeps your board trimmed properly. On short SUPs, there is no margin for error in trim lengthwise. Just bending at the waist, like a ditch digger, throws your C.G. forward several inches and instantly screws your board trim. 8" over is the new 6". Some are even doing 10" over on these 7'8s and catching anything and everything. Curtis's experience is pretty typical. Once you adjust to the board length, it becomes so easy and fun. The stability is already there via the width.