MR 80's-TypeTwin vs. San Diego- style Fish: Which to buy?

(Posted same on Surfermag BB)

I’m thinking of buying a shortboard for East Coast surf and seeking opinions on something other than a standard performance thruster chip. Interested in your opinions and recommendations on the advan./disadvan. on the above board styles?

Old school fish have been completely covered on this BB but there is less info on twin fins, which is a design that followed the earlier fish, I believe.

What shaper to do an MR twin? Type of tail? Dimensions for a 5’11", 170 lbs, avg skill level?

Should I just look to a Rusty Piranha or lost… design (although they are actually tri-fins?) CI’s website also references a twin I believe w/out a center box/plug.

I’d actually prefer a less mainstream builder than CI, Rusty or lost… Thanks

My choice would be an old-school Lis style fish or slightly updated a la Brom. I find MR twins a little more limiting. My 5’8 twin keel has become the board of choice…Long Island based.

skip them both and get a Lazor Zap. Heh Heh.


What’s your ability level, what’s in your present quiver, surf style, etc? Assuming you’re US East coast ,and that you’re looking for a primary usage board (averg. conditions shortboard): IMHO an old school fish or twin isn’t as universal as a modern fish would be.

Not matter what you choose, once you’ve narrowed a prefered platform, it would be best to contact a local shaper for final tweaking of the design to fit you and your local area.



why not get an MR twin that’s shaped by MR (or his ghost shapers…)


I like those MRs, but they are about six hundred bucks.

I have a Rusty Pirannah, and believe me brother, it rocks, but it’s nowhere near an MR twin fin. Not even close. The deck if very tapered to the rails. In other words, the thickness is at the stringer and gets less and less from there. The deck of the Pirannah is very modern, as are the rails, as are the bottom contours. The only similarity is that the tail is wide, along with the middle and the nose. But the tail on the Rusty is wider than the nose, and a fish is the opposite. Think about that.

You should probably buy both, and everything else too. Just get a really high limit credit card and hit Surfride one day. Buy it all. If I were single, I would, and I might even get myself a pair of Speedos like Mark Richards used to occasionally wear in the late seventies before you could get beat up for it.


go ahead treat yourself

…get the speedos!

I’m sure you could find the pluses and minuses in the archives. I think it would be a toss up between a fish and an MR type twin. I have a Lis fish and have a ball riding it when I do take it out. I did ride a T & C Minami twin in the late 70’s and loved that board too. Maybe a twin might get a little more vertical than a fish, and a fish faster down the line…I have been eyeing a twin here on Oahu, a Safari-Shaun Tomson model shaped by Spider Murphy, complete with the logo Shaun had back in the day…really sweet looking. How it got from SA to Hawaii beats me.

Thanks guys - some amusing replies!

Fairmont - Are you saying the 70’s/80’s -style MR twin (with some modern improvements I’m sure) is a better riding board than the Rusty Piranha; or, is the contemporary Rusty shape the winner?

Is the CI Twin a true twin fin or does it have the 3rd box/FCS plug?

Thanks for the feedback (and humor). John

I’m shorter than you, but weigh about the same. I’d look at the Channel Islands Flyer as a template for a fishy shortboard. If you want more volume in the nose, look at something kind of like the Kechele stub nose fish designs in the 5’11"-6’4" range. I’ve been using the FCS MR fins with a small trailer on a 6’2" x 13" x 15 3/4" x 21" (2 3/4 thick). The board is thicker and wider than I’d get now, but it has been a great board. I started off with Occy’s, but the MRs work so much better in smaller, mushy surf.

If your looking for a MR style twin I think Robin Prodanovich at SouthCoast might be the best person to go to.

I have an old (80’s?) MR twinnie. 6-4. Beat to heck. Strange fins. Must have been someones first airbrush job. Breaks my heart to look at it (the condition, I mean). I think about restoring it about once a month and decide it wouldn’t be worth it. I think about copying it and then remember my wife recently gave me a new MR (my wife either loves me or is having an affair). I talked to Mark by phone several times during the run up. What a prince of a guy. He really went out of his way for me. The board works. But I think you knew that.

Anyone want me to pull the dimensions off the old one and post them? I just got a Digi camera and may be able to figure out how to post a photo.

I would really like to know -Why is the small steve lis fish so popular?? What I mean to say is Why not the MR fish this time??The Lis fish was not even popular in the 70’s except as a kneeboard.The MR fish was huge hit in the late 70’s but not this time around. Why???

I’ve had tons of fun on a very short traditional fish outline with modern keel fins (Lokbox) toe-in and cant. My usual small wave board was a 9’6" noserider; it’s now a 5’10" fish. Most fun I’ve had in while. The width and thickness are perfect for the East Coast. Volume is paramount.

you may want to check out manny curo’s boards as well, based on rich pavel’s designs. beautiful fish, quads, and bonzers

i agree with LESider I work at the glass-shop for South Coast and he makes some good twins, and true twins no trailer bs

for glassy lined up conditions a properly made twin keel Fish can’t be beat in 1’-8’ faces, if you can jump right up and start pumping anyway. Kooks will try to drop in on you cause they don’t think you will make sections!!!.

If you surf slow afternoon chop a MR twin would/could be fun cause of the cutback/s-turning ease allowed on a lumpy peak by not having a center fin. I would recommend a removeable center fin for the MR style to stop the slide of twinfins on the down the line racy waves!

I live in San Diego(Fish ground zero), the Fish took off again after Rob Machado, Malloys, Curren, Derek Hyde were filmed riding them 2-3 years back. Now the japanese are buying them like mad, can’t even get the wood fins from L.Gephart now cause he’s buried in backloged orders headed to Japan. Average price w/tint and gloss and wood keels $800-1000. Skip Frye is God to the flow bro’s, and the japanese are into it, with cash!!.

In the 70’s they didn’t toe in the keels 1/8" w/slight cant, and now we use concaves and Blue foam weight and 4/6oz glass. The ‘new’ fishes blow the doors off of Lis’s 70’s knee boards. I rode them in Point Loma during the 70’s and they were much more limited in manuverability than now(expecially backside). You could literally own a well built fish as your only board for under 8’ conditions. The MR style is a joke- no drive, but cutbacks are on a dime. Speed is an essential part of all manuvers. The wide base of the keel, almost eliminates the unwanted slide allowing drive from pumping turns

Possible logical reason fish’s lost popularity in the late seventies?

Lis was a loudmouth jerk to all Newbreak/Big Rock un-locals around Point Loma.

Gephart(wood fin guru) was an even bigger jerk.

We hated all kneeboarders in the 70’s anyway.

We hated all logo’s, contests, contest surfers, longboarders, anyways.

This all resulting in David Nuuhiwa’s Fish getting nailed to the OB Pier at the '72 World Contest, (what a sight!)

Also, all us backyard guys got ahold of ‘finboxes’ around '74 or so, allowing better singlefin possibilities (a pulled in fish templete with a center box works damn good also resulting in what was to be called a ‘summer fish’ and then a swallowtail.

But a large backyard board building community was thriving in San Diego, and the sky was the limit, Fish’s were cool but we had insatiable design ideas and needed to try everything!!! Hell, you could make a whole board for $45. and that’s with cutlaps and gloss and insane multi-color Rainbow fin and detailed pinlines!!!

Watch innermost Limits of Pure Fun, that’s what I am talking about.

I’ll never stop building boards for the right reasons…back to work.


The only thing I might counter on surfhungry’s essay is the fact MR ripped ten foot (Hawaiian) on his six foot twin fin. Of course, he’s MR. Mike