10 Reasons To Ride A Fish
Modern shortboards, with their pronounced rockers, are by their very nature speed controllers, and they require a powerful wave to get going fast. Not fish. Once you’ve connected two distant peaks together with one healthy pump of the legs, you’re gonna have a hard time returning to the perma-parking-brake feeling of the potato chip.
Refining Your Style
Style wreckers? Try style refiners. Forever, retro haters have been preaching that fish will hurt your style. But keep two things in mind: 1.) Rob Machado rides them all the time, and his style hasn’t exactly suffered, and 2.) Your style kinda sucks anyway.
Because Tom Curren Does …
And so do Rob Machado, Joel Tudor, Kelly Slater, Dave Rastovich, Chris Ward, Ozzie Wright, Dan Malloy, and lots of other A-list pros. If it’s good enough for Curren …
There’s nothing quite like taking off, seeing your wave wrapping a kilometer down the point at Kirra or Malibu, and knowing that your board will be ready for whatever that wave throws at it. Your fish will plane over the flat sections, race the closeouts, slip through the tubes, and float the clumblers. The maneuverability of a shortboard and the steadiness of a longboard-hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!
Because They’re Uncool Again
Last year, fish were the rage. Everyone got one and pretended to like Morning Of The Earth. But 2004 is gone, the surf mags have completely milked the “Retro Comeback” cover blurb, and as the throngs fix their collective gaze on the next trend (stationary waves? tow-offs?) we may just see a glut of unwanted Skip Fryes hit the used-board racks at discounted prices, but don’t bet on it.
You know how at your local spot it’s six foot and perfect every day? Well, it isn’t, liar. It’s small, blown-out, and mushy, and that 6’0″ x 18 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ is gonna work out there about as well as a waxed-up piano bench. Stop pounding the round peg through the square hole. With higher volume and lower rocker, fish substantially decrease the number of “unsurfable” days per year, Pinocchio.
5’5″ x 19 1/4″
Lost’s 1997 fish movie proved that riding short, fat twin-fins doesn’t have to be an exercise in retro backtracking. This film reintroduced surfing to the fish without the caveat that they had to be ridden like it was 1974. Starring Wardo, Cory Lopez, A.I., and with quick appearances by Occy and a teenage Bruce Irons, 5’5″ is one of the best movies to amp you up for a summer session.
Resin tints, Bob Marley silhouettes, visions of Michael Petersen’s face appearing in your shower curtain, and half-hour didgeridoo solos will suddenly make sense.
They Look Cool
Fish are from an era when airbrushes didn’t equate to coming out of the closet. Ten years ago, someone would have taken a swing at you for showing up at the beach with a pink board. Now they want to know you (and I don’t mean “know you” in the biblical sense).
The chief benefit of the resurrection of the fish also happens to be the goal of surfing … fun. Guess what? You aren’t turning pro. You’re also not going to make the WCT, star in your own surf video, or take Kelly Slater out in the finals of the Pipe Masters to win your third consecutive Triple Crown. You’re an okay surfer, and you should be focusing more on how surfing feels when you’re up and riding than how it looks to talent scouts on the beach.