Length and width has been major train of thought for all of us shaping or ordering a kneeboard. Why go long? Times have changed so has our concept of volume. Thickness, where will I put it? Kneeboarding has an ageing population and unless you surf everyday, have a really good diet, stretching and exercising regime you will put on weight…
So when you order a new KB or shape one yourself – whatever is the case – volume has to be considered to suit your physicality . If you are 6ft 2 and a 110 kg you will struggle paddling a 5’7 x 23 2¼ KB. So it is weight ratio, height, etc and the ability to still make a KB that will be lively and not a log.
In the early 70s we mostly rode 5’6 which was the normal length for a KB on average. I personally had a 5’6 and a 5’9, both 21″ wide which was fine for powerful, sucky waves. However I realised over time that going wider and longer helped to carry the KB through turns and great for long punishing paddles. I made my first 6′ for myself in ’77 and I put a single wing Rounded Pin on it. Soon felt I had a distinct advantage to get into waves early, down the face, further behind the peak, so I started making my boards longer. Short little disc-type boards were great fun, that’s for sure, if they had good thickness and width. We all rode short boards, but a balance was needed, so we had a ‘hot-dogger’ (short board) and a ‘gun’ (long board), one for small waves, one for big waves in the quiver. But, as things progressed, nowadays we can move and change fins up to 3, 4, 5 setups and make long KBs very loose.
As you get older you need more comfort. You surf for fun, want to catch waves, not struggle and be at peace in the water. You want to come out from a surf satisfied, not agitated. So get the volume to suit your needs. Thickness in your torso area, foil through the tail, what waves do you realistically surf most of the time? A KB should suit your needs and it takes time to get to know your KB, give it a chance. It’s always good to have a bit more volume than lack of it. Remember, you are getting older. Volume = your volume = KB volume. And may your voluminous volume bring you extra vroom-vroom in the water!