This is a breakdown to help differentiate the inherent strengths of our two most popular midlengths:
I. The Joy is a more natural step down for a longboarder looking for more maneuverability
II. The Pleasant Pheasant is a bit more natural as a step up into the realm of mid-lengths, for surfers who are more accustomed to fishes, shortboards, and the like.
The first reason the Joy is a natural step down for longboarders, is because it glides—which is a familiar feeling for surfers who are accustomed to longboards. The board harnesses enough of the wave's power, without the need to "pump" to generate speed.
The Joy is also designed to be surfed from the middle of the board, hence the very elliptical outline. You can slide forward a little bit to speed up, and you can slide back a little bit to put some extra power into a turn, but overall, our intent is that you can do much of of the speeding up, slowing down, maneuvering and basic turning from a more central position on the board.
For the reasons listed above, the Joy is a great board for beginner to intermediate surfers, because the middle of the board is the most familiar and comfortable place to stand for surfers who are gaining confidence in the water.
Important to note: I wouldn't write off the Joy as a "beginner board" entirely, because that would be discrediting the ability this board has to serve you well in a variety of conditions.
Think of it as the absolute middle of the road, where it possesses elements of many of our surfboard theories, and serves the widest scope of needs. To use an over-used and technically mis-quoted phrase, the Joy is a Jack of All Trades, and Master of None. It's not the board you are going to blow the tail out of the water on top-turns, and it's not the board that will get you long noserides all the way to the beach, but it will hang with you in all sorts of wave conditions, and it will keep you exploring the face of the wave, without diminishing your wave-count.
If the Joy fills so many needs, what's the need for the Pleasant Pheasant?
The reason we introduced the "Plez Phez" was to answer a need presented by surfers who were more accustomed to fishes and shorter boards. The biggest difference for surfers stepping up from smaller boards, is they are accustomed to pumping and generating necessary speed. Shorter boards, even ones that are wide, don't have the inherent "glide" that longer boards do, so they require more of a proactive approach to generating and sustaining speed. Because the Joy was designed with more of a gliding approach it does not "pump" exceptionally well.
In order to make the Pleasant Pheasant respond and pump the way smaller boards do, we had to eliminate some of the long-sweeping curve in the outline. The basic principle here is: in order to pump a surfboard, you must have plenty of resistance to push against. We accomplished this by narrowing the board slightly, and straightening out the outline.
If you compare the outlines side-by-side, you will notice that the Plez Phez is much straighter, whereas the Joy is much more elliptical.
The tail on the Pheasant is round, to tighten the turning radius. Think: full-wrapping, lateral turns. This is made possible by the assistance of the side-bit, the narrower template, and the round tail.
If you are looking for a board that will allow you to explore all parts of a wave face, without sacrificing wave-count, the Pheasant may very well be the board you've been looking for.