Re: what size CI Pod to get?
I bought a 6'1 x 20 ½" x 2 5/8 " pod (not CI, but from my local shaper - it is a quad instead of a thruster but that's about the only design difference) 6 months ago. (single into double concave, with a fair bit of tail kick)
I'm 6'1 tall, and weigh 75kg (165lbs) and I find it fairly corky to sit on. On the other hand, I can still duckdive it easily, although not as deep as my 6'3 shortboard, and it paddles ridiculously fast onto waves. I find it still to be fairly responsive for turning, although still more gentle than a shorty. I personally was thinking about going sub 6ft, but in retrospect I'm glad I've got the extra length, as it makes it easier for weight distribution when paddling and riding since I'm tall-ish. If I were to get another, I would get it a little thinner than 2 5/8" but that shouldn't be an issue for you at 180lbs.
I have had mine out on plenty of small days where it is unbeatable, and also caught a few waves in the shoulder to head high range, where I find it is very very very fast. Especially on the drop. It's all too easy to just outrun the face, and suddenly be looking around to see where the wave has disappeared to behind you (at a point break at least). I guess this is where I should be practicing cutbacks.
Hope that helps.