To be fair, I do sail on a lake (Chelmarsh Reservoir) so my technique may be biased. Once the wind drops, any direction can be considered “into wind” or “down wind” for that matter, so I can;t see any harm in pointing in the direction you want to go. Anyway, pinching in the lulls seems to work for me. I tend to sheet in a little as the gust passes and begins to die and the apparent wind moves more forwards, before pinching up as it dies completely and using the remaining boats speed to best effect.
In a good stiff breeze, I would use full board, as you say, why carry extra leeway? In a light wind? the prupose of the board, as I understand it is to counteract the sideways force of the sail, in lighter airs, surely you need progressively less board until, whilst moving through still air, you need none? I figured I cuold reduce the board as the wind dropped and maintain leeway .. but, I could be wrong.