How do you size your mini-guns and guns?

Mr Doof

Duke status
Jan 23, 2002
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If I could do it again, I'd probably go a little longer than 8'3, although that's purely speculative because I didn't surf a day this season when it was so big that I felt undergunned on the 8'3. I may have been conveniently occupied on a couple of the absolute biggest days. A lot of guys seem to have an 8'6 and a 9'6 in their quiver.

OB guys, what's your biggest board?
The 8'6" comes out when it starts doing this:
 

thekadvang

OTF status
Jan 29, 2013
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i think we're central
Cosigned. I got my 8'0" after my 9'0" for this exact reason. When you're trying to punch through big beachbreak, you need to be quicker and more nimble than a 9'0"+ board provides. At that size you're ditching and climbing back each time - you're not going to get it under the whitewater - and the bigger guns don't accelerate paddling as well as is necessary to avoid losing ground in that situation.
x2 maybe for the uber-rare ultra-clean long period huge day I would ride a bigger board than an 8'0"

there are definitely some of the old heads who ride huge boards but their approach is different

for me my board larger than that is for the reefs only
 
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Aruka

Tom Curren status
Feb 23, 2010
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8'0"+?? You guys are maniacs!
I've been made aware of my limitations in bigger surf the last couple years. My step-up for DOH around here in SD is a 6'8" Blackbird, and I'm happy to watch from the beach on any day that requires boards bigger than that. :eek:
Indeed. I got a 7'10" Padillac this winter. Kept it under 8'0" so I'd have an excuse on the biggest days ;) I rode it like 6-7 times and only once was in what I would consider appropriate conditions for the board. None of my friends have big wave boards so I mostly ended up paddling out alone which definitely adds another mental hurdle to overcome. The board works great though and I've had a lot of fun on it, even when it wasn't giant but rather just really spread out and tons of current to battle. I can go out and get some waves while everyone else is getting swept off the peak.
 
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doc_flavonoid

Gerry Lopez status
Dec 27, 2019
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x2 maybe for the uber-rare ultra-clean long period huge day I would ride a bigger board than an 8'0"

there are definitely some of the old heads who ride huge boards but their approach is different

for me my board larger than that is for the reefs only
count me with the older heads. mid 7's for a mini gun is a super versatile length, but... once you find its limit going up another 6-8 inches doesn't do it for me. take a look at the length of your hand and tell me adding something less than that is going to make the difference chasing them down when its 3-4xoh.

i like the paddle power of 8-6 to 9-0 and the trade off of a little more work navigating the inside is worth it too me. oh yeah, and they "fit" just fine on a 15+ face.

and to ka's point. i agree 7' semi-guns are not that practical. they make sense when your laying in bed devising your ultra quiver, but in reality... a solid , versatile 6-6/6-8 gets the job done better. like i said above, when you need more board take a look at your hand
 
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Sharkbiscuit

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Aug 6, 2003
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What is the OB program with respect to when you start ditching, size-wise?
Is there a whole chess game from the lot where you try to figure out what the rips, if they exist are doing, if they move depending on the last set or are fixed, and you try to wind up just upcurrent of where the rip starts when you reach the Zone of Death?
 

doc_flavonoid

Gerry Lopez status
Dec 27, 2019
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What is the OB program with respect to when you start ditching, size-wise?
Is there a whole chess game from the lot where you try to figure out what the rips, if they exist are doing, if they move depending on the last set or are fixed, and you try to wind up just upcurrent of where the rip starts when you reach the Zone of Death?
i work on my old scots while im paddling. usually starts like this-

"But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy! "
 

Maz

Michael Peterson status
May 18, 2004
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Yeah, I'm curious, too. How the hell do you get out at OB when it's big?

As for the original question, I got my 7'6 (x 19 1/2 x 2 7/8) sleek enough that I can duck dive it. Mostly surf it at a spot where you have to suddenly dodge waves and get under them too.
 

Sharkbiscuit

Duke status
Aug 6, 2003
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i work on my old scots while im paddling. usually starts like this-

"But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy! "
No paddle out plan survives first contact with the sandbar you have punch across?
 

bluengreen

Gerry Lopez status
Oct 22, 2018
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Here's my limited experience. Stand atop the dune at Noriega and look for "channels" on whichever side you want to paddle out so that once you're outside the current will carry you to the peak you have in mind. If it's massive (Surflie says 12-15+ feet), I'll try to end up somewhere north like Lawton, because I know Noriega to Quintara is going to be just that much bigger. Funny how the NW swell energy focuses on that stretch of beach. Forget trying to paddle out there when it's really bombing. You're better off getting out somewhere easier and riding the current into that zone if you are willing.

Once you think you can't go on anymore( you want to puke and you're not sure how your arms are still paddling), just keep going and you'll probably make it out as long as a set doesn't arrive just as you are sprinting from death zone to outside bar.
 

Chee-to

Michael Peterson status
Jan 11, 2002
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8'0"+?? You guys are maniacs!
I've been made aware of my limitations in bigger surf the last couple years. My step-up for DOH around here in SD is a 6'8" Blackbird, and I'm happy to watch from the beach on any day that requires boards bigger than that. :eek:
Like I said a couple pages ago, 6'8" works just fine for DOH SD. NorCal teaches you a couple things:

1. With open beachbreak and heavy currents, getting TO the wave you want to ride is often more difficult than getting IN to it. OB on max tide flow can sweep water north or south about as fast as you can paddle an 8'0". Sometimes the currents change directions out of rips - southbound on one side of Noriega, or Judah, or Lawton, northbound on the other side, and you simply can't get there from where you are without the foam. And OB isn't even the hardest paddleout up there.
2. There is an absolute world of difference between "double overhead" (10-12' with the occasional plus set) and "double overhead" (12-15' with "ugggh, goddammit" sets).

How do you get out at big OB? Luck, rips, and determination. Also, if it's single-energy long period swell, there are generally enough lulls that you can pass the "50-yard line" and cruise into deeper water. Once there, getting cleaned up isn't as big of a deal if you can stay in the trench between the inner and outer bars and can wait out the sets.
 
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kool-aid

Michael Peterson status
Aug 28, 2003
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What is the OB program with respect to when you start ditching, size-wise?
Is there a whole chess game from the lot where you try to figure out what the rips, if they exist are doing, if they move depending on the last set or are fixed, and you try to wind up just upcurrent of where the rip starts when you reach the Zone of Death?
Ditching is more a decision around whether or not you think you can make it under the wave and if you want to give it a shot so you don't have to climb back up on the board. You can't duck dive that much white water with an 8'0 so you end up ditching a lot. The playing field it very spread out on big days so it's not really an issue on paddle out.

You'll definitely spend some time on the dunes scoping the peaks and rips. Sometimes that's effective and worth it, especially if there are long lulls and/or minimal current (rare). Mostly it's better to just pick a zone you feel like you know well and go for it. Most often you'll get ripped multiple blocks North or South of where you paddled out so it's a moot point and you have to adjust mid paddle.

I'd say the better skill to have to be able to read the rips/currents between the inner bars and outer bars while you're paddling out. Sometimes you get yourself into a rip that you thinking hopefully it's going to suck you out between bars only to find out that it just pushes you back into the peak over and over again. The ideal scenario is that you're able to successfully zigzag your way through the whitewater/peaks using some combination of luck and skill.
 

rowjimmytour

Tom Curren status
Feb 7, 2009
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Stu Kenson makes a lot of guns and has spent a lot of time surfing Blacks.

When he made me my 7'3 with Blacks in mind he used the width as my standard shortboard.
No semi gun in quiver but recently had Stretch make me a 2x4 step up 6'3" x19" x2.5" and my hpsb (non stubby) buzzsaw is 5'7" x19" x 2.18" sk8. I think width is good for paddling and most waves need semi gun for you ride tube and not worried about busting out your fins on a turn.
 

Maz

Michael Peterson status
May 18, 2004
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Ben Coffey pushing the limits on a 7'10. He said guys were out on 9'0 an 10' boards this day.

And here's Michael Taras' Wave of the 2019-20 Winter on ... wait for it ...a 7'0 Padillac.


http://instagr.am/p/B8eUoIyBJud/

That Ben Coffey wave is an absolute screamer. And the board looks bigger than 7'10, somehow. Must be a magic whip.

The second wave - while a beauty - looks about normal size for our reefs when they're good. I'd be on my 6'10 Desert Storm.
 

kool-aid

Michael Peterson status
Aug 28, 2003
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That Ben Coffey wave is an absolute screamer. And the board looks bigger than 7'10, somehow. Must be a magic whip.

The second wave - while a beauty - looks about normal size for our reefs when they're good. I'd be on my 6'10 Desert Storm.
That's a sick wave for sure but it's a chip shot off the corner. You can definitely get away with a 7'10 in scenarios like that. Catching something at the peak south of noriega and pulling in is a completely different beast. Not going to happen on a 7'10. Same thing goes for Perry's wave. I see those guys out there and they catch good waves but not a lot of then.
 

kool-aid

Michael Peterson status
Aug 28, 2003
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2 years since this post started, I'll admit that my strategy has changed a decent amount.

First, I'll walk back a comment I made earlier which is that semi-gun shapes have no place at OB. Not totally sure about that after last year's winter when we had repeatedly perfect, hollow DOH days. I ordered a 7'0 x 19.5 x 3 happy traveler with 43L of volume for those conditions.

All the guns I ordered for this year fell into two categories. Long and narrow, meant to be surfed backside in barrelling conditions, or wider and thicker for more versatility.

The boards on the narrow end of the spectrum are a 8'2 x 20 1/8 x 3 1/8 CI pink gun, 8'4 x 20 x 3 Christenson Sciario, and a 9'0 x 20 1/4 x 3 1/8 Christenson Sicario. I'm most excited about the 9'0 and think it has a lot of potential for those epic DOH - TOH+ days that are truly clean and barrelling. The CI I think is going to be the work horse because it has a little bit more volume and a little bit less rocker than the 8'4. The 8'4 Christenson I rode yesterday for the first time and it paddles surprisingly well and feels very performant. It will be the board I choose when I want to sit right on the ledge and push the limits. The tail is so narrow that I think I need to find smaller fins than my normal gun setups.

I have a 8'0 x 20 3/4 x 3 1/4 CI Mavs Gun which is a pretty fun board that I'll use on mellow, more crowded days and anything in the HH+ - DOH+ range when it's not hucking too hard. I also have a Lyle Calson on order that's supposed to be 9'0 x 20 3/4 x 3 1/2 I think. I'll take this out on the biggest paddle days at OB when you're purely in survival mode.

There are a few other boards that fill that OH - DOH gap which is a 7'6 x 20 x 3 CI Pink Gun that I absolutely love... it's a machine in 10' to DOH+ surf even when it's super heavy, think tsunami day from last year. Then I have an old Lost Retro Gun at 7'2 x 20 x 2 3/4 that goes great in that HH - DOH range. I'm bringing it out to replace a 6'9 ledge which is a fun board but I think the Retro Gun performs better. Laslty there's a 7'2 album moonstone round pin in the mix that I plan on using on those weird 8'ish out bar days and may push up to DOH just for fun... who knows.

Feeling pretty set for this winter. Now all we need are some consistent waves.
 

Maz

Michael Peterson status
May 18, 2004
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Can I come and visit, and you show me the perfect way to paddle out? :)

Also, may I recommend these? All fins are 4 1/8, and all are flat foiled. They go so so well on bigger quads. I sand the little tip a bit rounder for safety.