Hey Chris I can definitely relate! I went down this exact path and ended up not pulling the trigger on the fixed top (yet), or the Earth Roamer/Earth Cruiser
. I think one last thing to consider is if you ever do want to sell the van, the penthouse top will usually fetch a higher price (I think the general consensus as about $5-10k more). That being said, I am in your camp and definitely my dream setup is the same as the guy named Claus on here (https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...hitt-5678.html
). I think that setup is the absolute dream!
As a band-aid ($1500) I went with an aluminess surf pole and ladder with (4) hooks. It will allow you to carry (2) boards securely (80mph) on the side of the van. Just had to thin the quiver and I was happy to be able to use the penthouse without the surfboard on/off the roof chore (which is the absolute worst van chore possible). I bet you could get more than 2 boards on there too.
I usually carry a Chris Christenson C-Bucket that is 7'0 for the juice and then a CJ Nelson Music for groveling and good waves that do no fall into the juice category.