Thanks for the feedback. I have considered the same thing re the 148. I know Bill in ME (o2bnme here) uses a 70 cm fin on his with I think a NP V8 9.8.
My opinion seems to differ from others' on the differences between the F-Type 148 and 158. I made the switch from a 158 to a 148 last year. I was suprised at what I lost in early planing with my 9.5 Retro (for me at least). I also was surprised that my 9.5 felt a little big for the 148, while it was just fine on the 158. Quite frankly I wouldn't think of putting an 11.0 or so on the 148.
That is what I experienced between the 2 boards, I am sure other people experience things differently. I am still fairly intermediate in skills, so that might be an influence here.
I am also thinking of a Phantom or Kona for less "I must plane or it sucks" pressure, but I am having a hard time buying into that thus far. With the F-Type 158, I loved the feeling of planing around while virtually everyone else was on the beach!
I would buy a Serenity, but I would have to spend $2K to get my garage door opening raised, as it wouldn't fit in my trailer and thus would have to go on top. That makes it a $4K board for me!
Thanks for the additional input. I am tempted to go with the FE160 for the durability and value, add an 11.0 or so to the sail quiver, and see how that works for me for lowering the planing threshold. But for less than the price of an FE160 + an 11.0 rig, I could get an Apollo and stick with the 9.5, and maybe that would be just as good if not better. Decisions, decisions...