The Fish: Is it retro? Is it modern? Or is it simply timeless?
Some surfboard design elements stand the test of time – whether that’s due to stubbornness, naivety, or hype is one thing. When design elements stick around because they work, that’s another. That’s the category in which the fish falls into.
What is a Fish Surfboard?
The fish is another super recognizable surfboard design: short, wide, thick, flat rocker, with a swallowtail.
Today, the lines between true fish and hybrid become more blurry. But the fact that many modern surfboard incorporate design elements from the original fish is a testament to its performance.
The fish is a surfboard that’s fast and maneuverable with excellent paddle power. You’ll find it worthy of everything from knee-high mush to heavier, hollow waves.
The volume, width, and thickness of a fish combined with it’s short length and swallow tail makes for a super fast board, that’s easy to move around but maintains excellent hold when you want it.
Ride it as a twin, a quad, a thruster, whatever – and you’re bound to find a fish combination that works for you. Whether what you end up with is a traditional fish or not – who cares?
The fish offers some great versatility for experienced surfers, and a short, but floaty option for beginners who are interested in trying something other than a longboard or funboard shape.
Classic Fish Design Characteristics
Fish surfboards are extremely fun. They’re fast, they’re stable, they’re easy to paddle, and they’re super versatile for a variety of surfing styles.
The nose of a fish combines the maneuverability of a shortboard with the stability and paddle power of a log.
The fish also combines thickness and width with a flat rocker to make for a super fast planing machine.
Fish are also short – around the 5’5″ range – adding to their maneuverability and counteracting some of the drop-in limits of a flat rocker.
Classic fish are typically ridden as a twin – which makes them super loose, but you can play with fin positioning and fin shapes to make for a fish that’s both loose and capitalizes on the hold of the swallow tail for smooth, long turns.
History of the Fish
The fish is a surfboard design with roots we can pin down. In the late ‘60s, Steve Lis created the first kneeboard fish and tested in out surfing Sunset Cliffs in San Diego.
The fish design caught on and spread locally at first, but was introduced to the surfing world when it was used to smoke the competition at the 1972 World Championships in San Diego.
The fish in its true form and design elements borrowed from it have certainly stood the test of time, and will certainly be here to stay.