20 Pro Surfers (Healthy And Not-So-Much) Attack Lowers On Mayhem’s Best-Selling Fish - Stab Mag

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20 Pro Surfers (Healthy And Not-So-Much) Attack Lowers On Mayhem’s Best-Selling Fish

5’5” x 19 ¼…Century nets everyone on the Lost roster from Sky Brown to Bruce Irons.

cinema // May 7, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“There was very little talk of fish in the surfing world. It was the fall of 94’ and there was a little blip of Tom Curren surfing in Long Island in New York on a kneeboard with a fish tail – there was a little spark. No one was making them at the time. Chris Ward was only 14 at the time but a religious Curren follower so he asked me ‘make me a fish’… I made a 5’5”x19 ¼ with the nose and tail the same 14 inches apart. I didn’t have much to go off, but I just fucking went for it. Then he took it to Hawaii with glass-ins and started ripping it.” – Matt Biolos

San Diego-based kneeboarder Steve Lis is first credited with designing the fish tail in 1967 but it wasn’t until Mark Richards (MR) began modifying the outline almost a decade later that fishes gained widespread traction. MR’s four consecutive World Titles from 79’-82’ were compelling enough testimony to show that fishes worked, but his subsequent retirement in 83’ at the peak of his career, saw them come off the boil just as swiftly.

OG fish by kneelo Steve Lis. Photo EOS/Warren Bolster

By the mid-90’s, fishes are few and far between again. Why? A combination of things, but also Simon Anderson, a plain Aussie bloke never veering, as Phil Jarratt phrased it, from “the pursuit of ordinariness” had thrust a skeg through MR’s dreams of a fish-tour, hogging much of the bandwidth of progress in performance board design. The third skeg, as it turned out, would create the most pivotal and unwavering change hitherto. Simon later joked about his failure to patent the tri-fin design, thus missing out on perhaps millions of dollars in licensing fees.

The original 5’5”x19 ¼ from Lost Enterprises revived the fish once again in the mid-90’s. “Back then the movies kind of mattered more, at least they lasted longer in the conscience. They hit like wildfire, if you were building and selling boards you needed to have some sort of fish on offer.” The fish-heavy lineups of Byron Bay owe a collective namaste to Wardo’s glassed-in decimation of Rocky Point in 94’.

Wardo, still serving.

Appetites for fish continue to be strong today. In 2023, Matt Biolos told Stab, “The Round Nose Fish and the Driver are our best selling boards worldwide” in no short part thanks to the needle-moving work of Mason Ho & Riordan Pringle’s award-winning YouTube channel (80K subscribers). “Some brands sell narrow and deep, like Jon Pyzel and Sharp Eye. Our brand is more diverse. We’ve always had our feet in the competitive thing, but I’ve also always loved alternative boards, hybrids, cruisy boards. I’ve also always loved art, with paints, and resin tints, and flamboyance, and different vibes.”

You can scope the RNF 96’ here – Griffin Cola reckons it works in “everything but Sunset beach”.

This is the first of six, longer-form films that will be dropping weekly on the Lost Surfboard Network YouTube channel. Next up is ‘Old Guys Rule’ and will probably not feature Erin Brooks.

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