This is a soft top. The bottom is not "soft"
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
OK Sammy, you got me on that one. I don't know what the new boards are like, but the older one is a big boogey board. Those newer Doyles look like over priced Wavestorms.
In my opinion, the older "soft top" boards I've used are too heavy. Haven't tried the newer versions I've seen. The Surflight boards we have are also heavier.
funny you mention the 'softtop' conundrum... a buddy of mine just got both a beastly doyle board that looks like a sup and one of those boards you posted that say "soft top" (surftech?) in 9'6. the skin of the doyle is peeling off and last time he took it out it in some terrible surf..it probably left a bunch of foam in the ocean. the fins are so flexy and dinky i imagine the board would probably ride better finless.. the surftech actually surfs really well though. has a real box for a single fin. has a solid hard bottom. the doyle is like sharkcountry says..just a giant boogie board..he got both boards and a portable AC unit for 70$ at a garage sale. to be honest i have been calling wavestorms and odysseas softtops..i now know better..
Sometimes paddling is not affected by volume, but by the bottom rocker. A lower entry rocker will paddle better than a board with a bad nose rocker.
I really like the mid length speed egg or traditional egg, something between 7' and 8' and about 21" to 22" wide. The single fin with sidebites allows for several fin setups that should cover a wide range of waves. Keep the rails thin for better performance.
Here's a few shapes I like. The Harbour would be more of a cruising, fun board, and the Takayama boards would make a great board for performance waves. I added the Downing board because I've had these in the 8' range and they are a great "old guys" thruster.