Scaled Fish Experiment

Over the past several years, from time to time the topic of aspect ratios, etc. has come up regarding the original Lis fish template. After carefully reviewing the different theories in the archives on the optimal way to scale up the template (Loehr method vs. aspect ratio vs. just make it look right vs…), I just said “damn the torpedoes” and shaped a 6’1 version of my 1970-something 5’4" Dyno fish by scaling the Dyno using aspect ratios.

As many of you may suspect, the thing ended up with some wacky dimensions: 23+" wide, a bit over 3" thick and tips over 13"! I even scaled up the original Dyno fins (but tried to keep the template and foil consistent with the originals). I will post pics and more precise dimensions sometime soon.

Because the project was a total experiment from the get go, I also decided to try to implement an idea that hit me one day when I was about 2 Coors into a 6 pack - resin tail blocks for each of the swallows.

Well, after glassing the thing and surfing it all week at the Cove in Palos Verdes, I am surprised at how much I like the board.

First, the Cons: As I am sure LeeDD will point out (because he predicted it to someone in another post), the thing feels like a slab under foot (especially compared to my Tyler fish). Put simply, there is a LOT of foam. In addition, as you might expect the board needs to be muscled a little through turns compared to a “normal size” fish and if your feet aren’t placed correctly (i.e., you don’t ride a fish often) then it will try to track.

Now, the Pros: the thing SCREAMS - it is seriously fast, so fast that I have to plan out my turns earlier than I am used to doing. It is also a paddling machine - I have been sitting outside with the guys on 9’+ logs and having no problems getting my share of waves (don’t want to get greedy). Finally, notwithstanding the need to muscle it I am really surprised at how well it turns for me. This is probably because of my size (6’1", 205-220 summer/winter) and a smaller surfer would probably have a more serious problem with muscling the board around.

So there it is - I hope that this is useful to some of the folks out there who have been trying to decide whether to scale, how much to scale, etc. Basically, I just got “paralysis of analysis” reading all the theories, etc. and said “to hell with it, let’s just shape the thing and ride it”. Given that I made the board specifically for going real fast on more sloping, open faced waves I would say that I ended up with exactly what I set out to accomplish. The negative charateristics of the board don’t really factor in on the waves I shaped it to surf and the positive characteristics are amplified.

That being said, it definitely is NOT a board for “everyone” and I don’t know that I would recommend what I did to someone who wants an all around, balanced or “neutral” fish to use on a wide array of waves. If you want to surf fat, rolling waves and little dribbling mush then this board is great. If you are going to be cutting back, pulling into tight pockets, surfing snappier or hollower waves, etc. then I would reccomend against what I did.

I will be posting pics soon - the guys at Shoreline in Hermosa Beach really hooked me up with a beautiful glass job.

Also, mucho thanks to Halcyon for general advice on fins and Kokua for his thoughts on the resin tail tips.