Making the transition from an Intermediate to Advanced Surfer

April 04, 2022

Making the transition from an Intermediate to Advanced Surfer

Once you have mastered your longer boards you are ready to progress to a shorter, performance board.  Here's a few tips that will help you with your progression into riding a shorter board.

As your surfing skill improves, you will paddle better and will be able to make your pop up without major issues.  Getting into the wave requires the right paddle position on the board.  Too far forward you will pearl, too far back and you will not catch the wave so you want to be sure the nose of your board is just slightly up when you paddle so that when you push down to pop up the board stays above the water.   

Once you catch the wave, you need to have a rock solid pop up where your feet are in the right spot so you can prepare for the bottom turn and positioning yourself in the pocket of the wave.  You want to stay as close to the breaking part of the wave as possible without getting caught up in the white water.  Getting lower in the curve of the wave is always better so you can project from the bottom of the wave to the top of the wave for turns, off the lips and snap maneuvers.  Sounds hard right? That's because it is. 

The only thing that makes this easier is lots and lots of practice learning the flow of the wave, timing your movements and figuring out where you need to be on the wave.  Only practice can do this for you.  Don't get discouraged, it is this process that makes surfing so much fun!

It is important that you get the right board to progress on.  Height and weight will always play into your board selection but as you progress it becomes less of an issue.

There isn’t necessarily a rule of thumb guideline that I can plug in here and tell you the magic size. It will depend on the style of board you are selecting, where you will be surfing, the types of waves you will be on, and of course your height and weight.

If you’re looking to move down in size we would recommend you give us a call so that we can help you pick the right board for your circumstances. But for those of you that need some direction here are a couple of common choices.


Transition surfboards are typically going to have a little pointier nose and a pulled in tail. This will provide more maneuverability and a looser feel.

Here are our top 3 transition boards.


Purpose: The Bullet thrives on being the early bird, getting in before the rest of the lineup has a chance to react! We took advantage of a fishy outline, pulled the width in just a touch to streamline the rail curve, and changed the tail to rely solely on speed, keying off of a wide, winged diamond for rail to rail guidance. For speed, hold and control, go with the single to vee and 5-fin setup(quad + nub) for a more vertical, yet forgiving approach. For the bold and brash, go with the twin keel/ single channel out the tail to boost your speed and lengthen the arc of your blistering rail gouges! A more advanced "shortboardy" approach to shorter, fuller templates, the Bullet likes to bite off more than most can chew, holding its own in every kind of scenario.

Designed for: Intermediate to advanced surfer who values speed and paddle power in their high performance surfing. You're not afraid to go shorter, wider and faster.

Sweet Spot: Knee high to 2ft overhead, with its true character revealed in thigh to head high surf. All the speed of a fish with a flare for above-the-lip antics. 


Purpose: If you are unwilling to give up high performance, even in crumbly conditions, the Rocket Fish is the tool that will allow you to have just one board. With the versatility to surf it as a quad or thruster, it can flex into just about any role. Its medium to low entry and exit rocker allows you to scratch into waves when its small and mushy, however, when your local spot gets punchy and hollow, the Rocket Fish has enough rocker to stick the drop. Shorter sizes are ideal for experienced surfers looking to bring turns closer to the wave’s power source. Larger sizes are perfect for newer surfers looking to transition down from a longboard into more performance surfing.

Designed For: (6'0"-6'8"): The intermediate to advanced surfer aspiring to add a high performance game to their bag of tricks. (6'8"-7'6"): Beginner to advanced surfer looking to transition down to performance surfing characteristics. Advanced surfers will want to grab this when it's getting overhead and need maximum versatility.

Sweet Spot: Knee to well overhead, with its true identity revealed in waist to slightly overhead surf. Perfect for someone with the performance-oriented mindset.

Go here to see our full line of Rocket Fish Shortboards


Purpose: The All-Terrain Vehicle simplifies the concept of the everyday shortboard. You'll literally leave this go-to shortboard in your trunk while the rest of your quiver decorate the rafters. Moderate nose and tail rocker provide tons of planing speed while paddling and pumping down the line. Single to double concave slingshots you from a deep bottom turn to a layback cutback with a smooth transition from one rail extreme to the other. Medium-full rails hide ample volume throughout the outline. The All-terrain vehicle is our newest edition of a modern high performance shortboard.

Designed For: Intermediate to advanced surfer

Sweet Spot: From thigh to 3 ft overhead. The All-Terrain Vehicle is a confident choice. It's sweet spot is from chest to 1ft overhead on long walls, hollow sections, and big open faces.

Go here to see our full line of ATV Shortboards

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