Thinking about buying a fish surfboard? Here’s everything you need to know about why every surfers quiver should have one and how to choose.
When it comes to a well rounded quiver of boards the Fish surfboard should certainly make it into every surfers selection!
Fun, lively and stylish, the fish is a surfboard shape that has made a big comeback recently – so if you’re thinking about grabbing your first fish surfboard here’s a full rundown on everything you’ll need to consider when buying one and why they’re just so much fun to surf!
The Fish Surfboard – Why You NEED One In your Quiver!
Why Does Everyone Loves Fish Surfboards?
First off, lets chat about why everyone seems to love fish surfboards, after all it’s probably on your mind if you’re considering buying your first one!
Well there are a few things that contribute to this new surge in popularity…
The retro vibes of a more traditional fish are certainly of huge appeal at the moment. That iconic, sleek outline and those really nice drawn out lines you can create on a wave all draw people to the humble fish.
Small Wave Performance
The fact that on the whole fish surfboards dominate in small waves makes it an epic addition to any surfers quiver and you can happily use a fish as your grovellor for those smaller, summer days.
A big influence on the small wave factor is the fact that fish surfboards pack in heaps of paddle power – with plenty of width and foam under the chest, but this is something we’ll jump into more detail about in a bit.
Along with the small wave performance, the fact that fishes are just so much fun to surf is a huge reason why everyone raves about them, it’s as tough one to explain, but a good session on a fish will leave you with a big grin on your face!
Design of the Fish Surfboard
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most recognisable thing about any fish surfboard is that iconic fish tail. A super exaggerated version of the swallow tail – this “bum crack” ties the outline together and really compliments the traditional, twin fin setup.
The final tail shape can vary a lot in both width and depth – more traditional fishes have a deep, wide tail, whilst the more modern and performance based designs tend to be a bit more pulled in and shallow.
One of the most loved things about the humble fish is the fact they’re heaps easy to paddle, a lot of which comes down to the flatter rocker most of them have. More performance based fishes will have a bit more flick in the nose and tail for bigger conditions, but on the whole flat equals fun!
When it comes to the board breakdown, your traditional fish shapes tend to have a lot of width under the chest, with the wide point pretty far forward as a result too.
Lots Of Volume
With the more rounded waves and larger wide point it comes as no surprise that fish surfboards tend to pack in some serious volume and most models should be ridden with a few extra litres compared with your go to shortboard.
Due to the extra volume and width, fish surfboards tend to have more rounded, fuller rails. But there are more performance based fish boards out there as well.
Designed To Be Ridden Smaller
All of the above characteristics of a fish surfboard allow it to be ridden slightly smaller than your go to performance shortboard, and in most cases with a few extra litres of volume in there too.
If this is your first move into the realm of shortboarding don’t be afraid of the drop in size, fish boards are on the whole super easy to paddle and pretty forgiving too.
When it comes to fin setups for your fish surfboard, the usual array of options are now available…
Twin Fin Fish
The original and many would still say the best option is a twin fin fish surfboard. Retro, loose and boasting heaps of drive and flow, the twin fin and fish shape are a match made in heaven. If you’re looking to carve those long drawn out lines this is the way to go.
When it comes to a twin fin fish you also have a range of fins to choose from. Get a more upright setup for more critical, top to bottom surfing, some big keel fins for those long, drawn out carves or something in between for the best of both worlds.
When it comes to twin fins having a set of each can give your board two personalities, so its well worth experimenting.
Check out the Project Blank Classic Keels or Upright Twin Fin sets depending on your style and use the code STOKEDFORTRAVEL for 15% off!
Quad Fin Fish
On the other end of the spectrum, the quad fin fish is gaining some serious traction, especially for those looking for a little more hold in bigger waves.
Lots of drive and heaps of speed the quad fin fish is certainly suited to more performance based surfing than its twin fin brother.
Check out the Project Blank Split Keel Quad set for a retro take on the performance quad setup and use the code STOKEDFORTRAVEL for 15% off!
Thruster Fin Fish
Although there are a few thruster fin options out there, personally I feel the thruster setup looses the fun feel that makes fish surfboards so popular – so stick the the twin or quad fin options!
What Size Fish Surfboard Should You Get?
Standard Fish Surfboard
I’m being pretty broad when I say “standard” here – but what I’m really giving a nod to is that traditional fish outline – short, wide, plenty of volume and great fun!
For those looking to try a fish out for the first time, this is the best place to start. There’s a huge range to choose from (and I’ve mentioned some of my favourites later on in this guide), so there’s something to suit all styles and wave types.
As with the rest of the surfing world even the fish shape has got caught up in the mid length resurgence and it’s actually a really fun option to try.
For me the Seaside & Beyond is by far the best mid length fish I’ve ridden, in fact it’s one of my favourite boards ever! Heaps of paddle power, plenty of speed and lots of manoeuvrability, what’s there not to love?!
Are They Beginner Friendly?
So are fish surfboards suitable for beginners?
Well for complete beginners I’d say no – a mini mal or softboard is certainly a better place to start and if you’re learning to surf check out my beginner surfboard guide here for the full low down.
But, if you’re progressing from a mini mal or foamie and are looking for a shortboard that packs in a bit more volume and is heaps of fun, then a fish might be exactly what you’re looking for.
So with that in mind I’d say anyone from low range intermediate right through to experts are going to have a blast on a fish – and as long as you can surf on clean, unbroken waves it’ll be a great choice.
If you are at the lower end of the skill level though I would also say be patient with a transition to a twin fin as it’s a different feel and style of surfing compared to a quad or thruster which you’re probably used to!
Some Awesome Fish Surfboard Options
Go Fish – Firewire
A staple of my quiver since I reviewed it, the Firewire Go Fish has a pretty dreamy outline – with that deep fish tail and crazy channels on the bottom.
Great fun to ride and best teamed up with the Machado keel fins.
Seaside – Firewire
One of the best selling surfboards out there, the Firewire Seaside packs some serious punch with the quad fin setup, whilst still retaining all the elements that you’ll be looking for in a fish.
One of my personal favourites, you can surf it in everything from waist high beach breaks to pumping reefs.
Seaside & Beyond – Firewire
One I’ve already mentioned, the Seaside & Beyond is a modern, performance, mid-length fish and is a board I’m finding it hard to get off of! Quad setup for heaps of speed, but still carving out lovely lines, it suits a huge range of wave conditions.
Loafer Fish – Ben Webber
If you’re on the hunt for a full retro style fish, the Loafer Fish by Ben Webber certainly ticks all the boxes with its curvy outline, deep fish tail and twin fin setup.
Two Fangs – ACSOD
A favourite of my brother, the ACSOD Two Fangs is certainly a more modern approach to the fish surfboard, but still has all the characteristics that make the outline so much fun to ride. Best surfed with some more upright style twin fins.
Mini Twin 2 – DHD
The small wave performance of the DHD Mini Twin 2 make it an epic option for anyone hunting for that first fish surfboard. Plenty of volume and paddle power, it’s based teamed up with some retro keel fins for heaps of fun.
Hypto Krypto Twin
The evolution of the ever popular Hypto Krypto, the new Hypto Krypto Twin (aka the HK Twin) is a super versatile twin fin fish that works in everything from waist to well overhead waves. Best teamed up with some performance keels it is fast and fun
Have you got a fish surfboard?
Any options you’d add to the list?
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