knee(l) paddle-able fish?

I currently surf an 11’x25.5"x4.25" board due to a bad back that keeps me limited to boards I can knee paddle. I am 6’2", weigh 200lbs, and I am interested in opening up new possibilities in riding waves by having a shorter board that I can still knee paddle. I’m also thinking that I really like the lines people can take on fishes. I realize a longer thicker fish won’t turn the same, but I know it will turn differently than my single fin longboard. I know that Rob Machado has a stand-up-paddle fish, and was thinking that could be a starting point (9’x28"x4"), but shorter might be good too. Ideas?


I’m that size and that seems like a huge amount of board to row even given that you can only knee-paddle it. How do you ride? Do you stay on the tail or walk up it a lot?

See if you like this one attached below (running keels with some cutaway I guess)


(I didn’t do anything with the contour slices)

just remember 2 things…

  1. thickness for float

  2. width for stability

Just adjust your dims accordingly.

Im 6’0 190-200 (depends on the post surf grinds) and I can knee paddle my bro’s 9’4 25" x 3.5

Thanks for the replies!


I actually love my 11 foot board. It is surprisingly fast (I’m often catching up with folks on their performance 9’ boards with 2 and 1 setups), and turns well off of the tail with the 10" harbor fin I have on it now. I also do walk the board a lot, which opens up wave possibilities that would otherwise be lost on such a big board. My biggest problem is that in small surf it is hard to turn, because if I stomp on the tail the wave passes me by.

Also, while I need to be able to knee paddle, I actually switch back and forth between knee paddling and prone paddling. The combo of the two is good for my back. Relying on only one is bad for my back.

I like that board shape, dimensions, and especially the name. My current board has a displacement of about 120L (264lbs), compared to the 88L (193lbs), so I’m almost tempted to add another half inch to inch in thickness to give it a little more float. Does that sound ridiculous?


Good points. On my current board, stability was only a problem the first couple times I tried knee paddling. However, for a shorter board, I am thinking I will want to keep the width to keep the flotation, as well as the stability.



Whatever makes it workable for you. I was wondering though–does your longboard have belly to the bottom contour?

I was thinking that fish would be good as a 2+1.


PS that name is as far as I can tell not trademarked but a few people have used it for big fish

Check the volume now–I flattened the deck out filled in the rails and got a bunch more–the bottom contours are still up for study etc–


My current board hasn’t got much belly. It has a gentle single concave in the nose, slight vee in the tail, fairly flat deck and fat but down-turned rails. It does have quite a bit of nose rocker, and a little tail kick, so a board like you have suggested would, by virtue of its smaller rocker, provide a different flotation.

2+1 is good, but I’m looking for something completely different and the idea of a fish with twin keels is really something I think might be fun to ride.

Volume is pretty good on that iteration. I’m still thinking another 1/2" of thickness might be good…and allow for taking some volume out of the bottom. What kind of bottom shape would you recommend? On the fish I have looked at, it seems like they are very flat througout. I see in the second iteration that you put in a little double concave towards the tail.

Thanks again for your help.


I’d probably have it flat or very slight belly throughout, and the bit of double concave Vee out the tail

I also drew it with a slightly pulled in tail and nose and liked that too, with the smaller waves thing in mind

More rocker is gonna make it harder to paddle and catch waves, less stable paddling, slower. I think it’s good on volume and dims, but your mileage may vary. (Anyone else look at this thing?)

Have you downloaded APS3000 yet? (


Do the keel fins, no reason for a 2+1 setup. Just saw a surfers journal where mark renneker had dave parmenter shape him a drawn out 8 foot fish for Mav’s. It was setup for 2+1, but according to mark here never used nor did he need the trailer…ymmv


Yeah, good call on the rocker. I just downloaded APS and have had fun making my own design. It is almost there, I’ll post it tomorrow. What did you mean when you said pulled in tail and nose? Check out the stand up fish at Channel Islands…might be a bit big, but I like the pointier nose. Thoughts?


I like 2 and 1, and to be honest I’ve never tried it on a swallow tail. But I am thinking I want a twin fin for variety. Thanks for your comments.


Pulled in means more tapered at the nose and tail, as in easier to get turning with a bit of pullage in the tail and easier to not catch the nose rail on turns up the face.

That makes sense. Yeah, since turning is part of my inspiration, I like the idea of a pulled in nose. I like the idea of keeping the tail wide and a deeper swallow, since I’ll be putting twin keels on. With all your inspiration, I have come up with a design (heavily based on yours, THANKS!) on APS3000. See attatchment below. I shifted the widest part and thickest part forward a smidge (is that a bad idea?, added a little thickness and width, and thinned the rails a smidge. Very similar, though, to your latest iteration. Just need to finish this kids board I’m working on (my #1), and then I can get cracking on this one (my soon to be #2).

I am hoping for more feedback, but this time on a different version of the original idea (see attachment). First, let me say that I’m an idiot (I don’t need feedback on this part…my gf has this covered). I was being naive and hoping to make one board that will do too much. After spending a lot of time cruising through the archives, and thinking about what I really want, I’ve come down with this: I want a shorter board for summer/small waves. Important to this shorter board are the knee paddleability, slower rail setup than my 11ft board and hopefully less likely to catch little bumps, and the ability to turn without having to stomp on the tail and stall it out/risk losing the wave. My big board carves great when the waves are waist high, but smaller than that and it gets a bit iffy.

This all being said, here are the design elements I have come up with. I was thinking 60-40 or 50-50 rails except in the tail where I’m thinking of turning them down for the sake of turning. Either flat or slight belly throughout the bottom. On reading about tails I think I’ll go with a wider squash, instead of the swallow-tail, figuring that the swallow tail might be lost on a bigger board…and might be a pain to shape/glass. I also figure that a wider squash tail will still help with turning in these small waves.

I’ve brought the widepoint and thickest point back to half way, figuring that since this isn’t really going to be a fish, and since I really want to be able to turn it, this might work a little better. I’m still thinking that 8ft long, and around 4" thick, and 25.5" wide at the widest point, displacement 105L (not 55 as it says in pdf attached).

My big board has little rocker, and I can get it into steep stuff without too much trouble, so I think the little rocker on this design isn’t going to be a problem.

And finally, fins. I’m thinking that I WILL set it up as a 2 and 1 setup after all. However, I am wondering if it is possible to set up the side fins in such a way that they could be used for sidebites, or take out the center fin and put in some twin keels. As far as I can tell, the only big difference I can figure out is that for sidebites I’d want some cant, and for keels, no cant necessary.

Any feedback you all can give on this design related line of inquiry will be greatly appreciated.