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Wave Range: 2 ft. - Overhead
Wave Type: Beach Break, Points, Hollow Reefs
Fin Setup: Twin Fin/Quad/Thruster
Best in Class: Lost, Channel Islands, Mitsven, Ryan Burch, Rusty
"I rode it and was completely amazed at the capabilities of the 'twin fin.' These things could do incredible turns and still maintain speed. This was the first board that I was able to carve a 360 degree turn on.”
While the keel and twin fin have been around for some time, the earliest version being documented in a 1943 photograph of Tom Blake, the classic fish shape we know and love today didn’t actually appear until the late 1960s when La Jolla-based shaper Steve Lis debuted his classic twin fin.
The fish briefly caught on as a popular surfboard design in competition surfing, but was quickly dismissed as the shortboard revolution was in full swing. The twin fin would find another brief period of fame as a young Australian surfer named Mark Richards found glory in the late 70s on his self-shaped fish inspired twin fin models. Richards’ design would quickly be surpassed by Simon Anderson’s 1981 tri-fin surfboard dubbed “The Thruster”, which become the norm for modern performance surfing.
The fish would fade into obscurity throughout the late 80s and into the 90s, only to find a resurgence of sorts when Tom Curren rode a fish, which he had purchased secondhand from a New Jersey surf shop, in an ASP contest in France in 1993. Curren not only beat number eight in the world Matt Hoy, but also sparked an interest in the design once again. During the winter of 1996-1997, Lost Surfboards team rider Chris Ward saw Curren riding a fish and was immediately inspired. Ward’s inspiration would lead to the now classic surf film 5’5 x 19 ¼, which featured Ward and company destroying everything in their paths on the timeless shape.
The fish is still a popular board today and many of the most sought after shapers have some sort of fishy variation in their lineup. Almost every shortboard manufacturer on the planet has a number of boards with fish elements or influence.
The fish is also a great board for Southern California, as it can handle a number of wave styles and conditions and is a favorite for knee to head high waves in the area. More recently, professional surfers like Ryan Burch and Asher Pacey have been doing their part to keep the bright light of the fish burning through their inspiring videos. The fish is an important part of the past, present and future of surfing and will always have a special place in San Diego surfboard history.