Jaffa you are the man! I really appreciate the advice from a seasoned veteran, especially at these critical cross-roads of surfing life.
As a follow-up, I decided to go with a local shaper
Natures Shapes for my new board. Here's my new dilemmas given the amount of cash I'm going to throw down: Should I pick-up the stock board they had that suited me or should I slow down, take some time to figure out exactly what I want, and then have them make me one?
On the stock board side, they had two 9 footers that were in the range of my specs. The shop-owner talked me into the epoxy glassed vs. the poly (that's an argument I don't think I want to get into here). The board was everything, as of right now, that I know I want (an all-arounder performance LB that will also noseride, in the 9 to 9'2 range with a width between 22 1/2 to 23, and fairly flat through the middle). The problem, of course being that I don't know all the things I MIGHT want, having only experienced a handful of rental boards on two trips to Costa Rica.
It also has a 2+1 setup and I always rode my old board as a single (once I took out those sidebites, I never put them back in).
Is it better to have the option (even if I will probably never use it) or to have smooth hips with a single box?
Jaffa, you mentioned once that sidebites "open up the top of the wave" or something like that and I've always wanted to ask you what exactly you meant by that?
On the waiting side, I still have my 7'3 Superfish to get me by and maybe I'll fall in love with it again and change my trajectory towards more short boarding
but I HATE duck-diving it when the waves get bigger- that and the slower paddle wears me out. I know I'll miss the cruise, too, especially on smaller days.