Is it possible to rip on a mid-length?

ChaseTMP

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Apr 6, 2014
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Here's another one: Chilli Mid Strength.

The dark haired guy is Ronnie Blakey, and he rips on that thing - I reckon.

Yeah, Ronnie rips on a shortboard. He is well respected among the WCT's surfers and often gets some of the best waves during morning warm ups on tour. I personally don't equate ripping with mid-lengths. Have I seen really solid technically great surfing on them, sure, but I generally I reserve making the "ripping" statement for electric, dynamic, explosive maneuvers in and (not necessarily) above the lip. I thought James Cheal's performance in that video was not doing any marketing favors for that model and Ronnie, if I saw him at my local on that board, I'd just think that he's a good surfer, but not ripping. Do I enjoy watching Torren, Beau and many other great surfers on longer no-HPSB's, hell yes, but for me the slight lag it takes to move the larger boards around takes away some of the wow factor and brings it back into the attainable performance realm of most good surfers.
 

Duffy LaCoronilla

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Sure. But the same could be said about competent surfers.

Is a HPS the best choice on a day with 2 ft slop?
Exactly There is ‘better’.

I just used the example I did because it is so extreme. When you get down to the nitty gritty of board choices for good surfers the differences are more subtle for each type of wave.
 

flyinraptr

Michael Peterson status
Dec 18, 2008
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So, a philosophical question: at what length does a board become a midlength? The one above is a 6'8 double ender. But what if it was 6'8 JS thruster?
That is a great question .... i'm riding a 6'4" and a 6'10" right now depending on conditions. A longboarder would probably consider them shortboards .... a shortboarder would likely consider them mid-lengths. From a philosophical standpoint ... one could probably argue the difference is related to style .... i.e. surfing the wave instead of surfing the board. Mid-lengths, retro twins, single fins, etc - tend to require a surfing the wave approach taking what the wave is giving them .... obviously someone on a short thruster could choose that approach as well but most likely is doing turns or maneuvers regardless of what the wave is giving them.
 
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flyinraptr

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I personally have never really ridden a mid-length, but seem to have surfed around them the better half of my life. I've always been a shortboard, fish, or log type. Lately though, I've been intrigued. I'm thinking a 6'8 twinzer may be in my near future. Kinda like to torryn twin, but turned into a twinzer instead. Maybe with a single center FCS plug in case I wanna run a little trailer. I've surfed around Devon for many years and do believe he's got some great insight on when they actually work well. Head high and above waves. Bigger open faces to draw lines on. I'm looking forward to it.
I have a 6'10" that goes amazing in head high + conditions. Keep in mind ... there is some versatility with the setup - you can simply remove the front canards and go as a performance twin or throw in some large keel fins to get the traditional retro fish feel.
 
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Somewhere
I’m curious about single fin boards in the 6’3 to 6’8 zone

I think a lot of the Wilderness surfboards era boards were in that range

Probably died off for a reason but interesting nonetheless
Probably/maybe died off because the pro's are riding thrusters.
I have one single fin in that range....and a few more on order, 5'6, 6'6, and 7'6.
I feel like riding alternative shapes, especially the longer ones, force you to read the wave more, since it takes longer to make the board react, and may improve how you ride a short board, again since the longer boards take a bit more effort to do a proper turn.
 
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flyinraptr

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I’m curious about single fin boards in the 6’3 to 6’8 zone

I think a lot of the Wilderness surfboards era boards were in that range

Probably died off for a reason but interesting nonetheless
I rode a 6'8" single for most of last season - super versatile for different conditions. By changing the single fin and/or moving it up or back - you can really dial it in for any particular spot. Worked really well in barreling beach break conditions until it snapped in half! LOL

Single fins - Maldives
 

GDaddy

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Unless you have a lot of energy in the wave it takes more rail line to get going on a singlefin, like 6-8 and above. I've done a bunch of the shorter singlefins (6-0 to 6-8) but sooner or later I always got bored with their limitations and added side fins to increase their range of motion. Boards with fins or keels out at the rail can get going with a lot less length. I think this comment from above sums it up pretty well:

From a philosophical standpoint ... one could probably argue the difference is related to style .... i.e. surfing the wave instead of surfing the board. Mid-lengths, retro twins, single fins, etc - tend to require a surfing the wave approach taking what the wave is giving them

It's been many years since I owned a longboard, although now that I'm getting older I am going to have to transition to a retirement length longboard. But for the last 20 years, I've surfed a series of flat rockered singlefins, mostly in the low 7ft ranges. Semi-Hulls. I've got a 7-10 that I'm using to work my way into the longer lengths but I'm just not enjoying it as much as my 7-4. It's a little less work, but it's a PITA to duckdive.

l live in the North County SD area where the local conditions tend to be slower and mushier. In those conditions I want to go slow and stay with the wave. When there's more energy I switch up to a quad or 2+1 in a shorter and more nimble length because the singles can't keep up.
 
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Bman76

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That is a great question .... i'm riding a 6'4" and a 6'10" right now depending on conditions. A longboarder would probably consider them shortboards .... a shortboarder would likely consider them mid-lengths. From a philosophical standpoint ... one could probably argue the difference is related to style .... i.e. surfing the wave instead of surfing the board. Mid-lengths, retro twins, single fins, etc - tend to require a surfing the wave approach taking what the wave is giving them .... obviously someone on a short thruster could choose that approach as well but most likely is doing turns or maneuvers regardless of what the wave is giving them.
I'm with you. I think it depends on the style of board, length and the way you ride it. Thinking a mid-length (for me, anyway) starts at around 6'10 or so.
 

Woke AF

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for me the slight lag it takes to move the larger boards around takes away some of the wow factor and brings it back into the attainable performance realm of most good surfers.
apples and oranges.
if rippage is, high energy, thrashing around and at or above the lip most of the time-

a midlength is not going to do that well and when it is surfed the way it looks stupid.

effortless- drive, flow trimming, and on rail is 'surfing well' on a midlength. a hpsb can do that but not as well.

what is the % of midlengths surfed well compared to hpsb's surfed with rippage? Seems to me I rarely see a midlength surfed well.
 
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mundus

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I remember a clip of Martyn surfing big J bay on one his boards, to me the wave could not be surfed better and much more pleasing to the eye than the typical pro level ripping approach.
 
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Billy Ocean

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Probably/maybe died off because the pro's are riding thrusters.
I have one single fin in that range....and a few more on order, 5'6, 6'6, and 7'6.
I feel like riding alternative shapes, especially the longer ones, force you to read the wave more, since it takes longer to make the board react, and may improve how you ride a short board, again since the longer boards take a bit more effort to do a proper turn.
I have a 7’2 mandala single fin pintail stubbie and a 5’9 CI MSF. The mandala is way more versatile, despite being a pintail- it works from knee high to well overhead as long as it’s not too dumpy. It totally replaces a longboard for me- if it’s too small to ride the 7’2 it’s not really worth surfing IMO

the MSF is super fun on a point from the chest to overhead range

l sometimes wish I could combine the low end of the mandala pintail stubby with the (relative) maneuverability of the MSF

this is why next year I’m thinking about getting a stubbie from manny in the 6’5 range

my only concern is will it be below the limit in terms of being able to trim in waist high waves
 
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oeste858

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I bet you might like one of his Stubbie quads in the 6' range. To me, you just described Manny's Superchunk or ASQ. Ever tried one? My 5'9" ASQ was too big for me but basically was my midlength for a while: it caught anything. I find the SC tail turns better than ASQ.

this is such a classic erBB thread. Everybody trying to apply their own rules onto what is subjectively "good" or even acceptable. Love it.
Personally, those clips of mids or LBs being ridden "like a shortboard" just don't do it for me. Of course it's completely eye of the beholder criteria, but there's few things more unsightly to me than seeing 2 ft of extra board length flapping around as a good surfer tries to muscle it around in tight turns. I think the same thing every time I see a Hawaiian (there's a lot of "HPLB-ing" over there) or pot-bellied local around here (way better surfers than me) surfing those big boards that way. The guy on a big board in GG's video (who is clearly a great surfer and I'm sure can surf anything) is straight-up doing the Huntington hop at one point! If you think a floater on a big board and then scurrying to the nose looks good, more power to you. But for me personally, if that's ripping, I don't want it. It's not how I want to surf a Midlength or watch one be ridden. IMHO, the aspirational surfing gold standard will always be Curren in the late 80's-Search era- no wasted movements, smooth as silk... speed+power+flow. How would Curren surf a Mid?? And I don't see why that changes whether there are other people around, like GWS_2 said, but to each his own. Maybe in a few years, a mid will be my daily driver and I'll need to tell myself I'm "ripping" on it... but not yet! It's what I pull out when I want to cruise and carve. If you need to rip on your midlength, then you do you! :shaka:
 
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Billy Ocean

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I bet you might like one of his Stubbie quads in the 6' range. To me, you just described Manny's Superchunk or ASQ. Ever tried one? My 5'9" ASQ was too big for me but basically was my midlength for a while: it caught anything. I find the SC tail turns better than ASQ.

this is such a classic erBB thread. Everybody trying to apply their own rules onto a type of board/surfing and what is subjectively "good" or even acceptable. Love it.
Personally, those clips of mids or LBs being ridden "like a shortboard" just don't do it for me. Of course it's completely eye of the beholder criteria, but there's few things more unsightly to me than seeing 2 ft of extra board length flapping around as a good surfer tries to muscle it around in tight turns. I think the same thing every time I see a Hawaiian (there's a lot of "HPLB-ing" over there) or pot-bellied local around here (way better surfers than me) surfing those big boards that way. The guy on a big board in GG's video (who is clearly a great surfer and I'm sure surf anything) is straight-up doing the Huntington hop at one point! If you think a floater on a big board and then scurrying to the nose looks good, more power to you. But for me personally, if that's ripping, I don't want it. It's not how I want to surf a Midlength or watch one be ridden. IMHO, the aspirational surfing gold standard will always be Curren in the late 80's-Search era- no wasted movements, smooth as silk... speed+power+flow. How would Curren surf a Mid?? And I don't see why that changes whether there are other people around, like GWS_2 said, but to each his own. Maybe in a few years, a mid will be my daily driver and I'll need to tell myself I'm "ripping" on it... but not yet! It's what I pull out when I want to cruise and carve. If you need to rip on your midlength, then you do you! :shaka:
Haven’t tried the ASQ or superchunk although I could probably be sold in that direction

I do think there’s an issue of going too short on single fins limiting their versatility
 

GDaddy

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Jan 17, 2006
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My biggest failure in probably the last 10 years was when I put a downrailed shortboard bottom on a midlength. It was fast when there's juice but was abrupt and skittish due to all the surface area. Not smooth at all.
 

Muscles

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Jun 1, 2013
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I realize I'm an average surfer but I like riding performance boards. Not that I can do an air reverse or blow tails. But, nothing beats laying into the rail and doing my best Taylor Knox impression. There is no better feeling (to me) than a big gouge on the open face. Sometimes I'll get one solid turn in a session and it'll make my week.

If riding mids or longboards are your thing then it doesn't bother me. Just don't be a wave hog.