RE: Recommendation on Carve 162 or 144
Interesting that you would find the Carve 162 faster, smoother and easier to plane on, when compared with your GO 180 (What year GO 180 do you have....? How wide is it?
Which of your sails (what brand model and size) did you use on the Carve 162?
If you aren't yet in the footstraps, I'm wondering if you have really gotten the max. potential from your GO 180?
The GO 180 (older ones that were 100 cm wide) were probably as fast as the Carve 162, but you have to be hooked in, in the outboard and back footstraps, and have a well powered rig.
If you sail mostly in big chop, I can understand the smoother ride (sort of) on the Carve 162, but I don't understand it planing earlier at all.
If you found the Madd 136 ( 258 cm / 72 cm/ 138 L to be a little small and light on volume, the Carve 144 (252 78.0 cm wide and 144 liters isn't going to give you a whole lot more "float", but the added width may help with uphauling.
If you simply "must" get a new board, I'd suggest the Carve 162 at your current skills level.
With a bit more time on the water, and being in the footstraps, I'd then recommend the Carve 144 as you'll be ready for something smaller and there's alot of overlap between your GO 180 and the Carve 162.
Hope this helps,