Single Fin Retro Shortboard

Since you guys are the designers, I hope you can help me with some info. Thanks in advance. I was looking at a 7’1" Channel Island Single Fin (14 1/2 Nose, 15 1/2 Tail, 2 7/8 Thickness, 21 1/2 Wide) that comes with a 8 1/2" fin. Bottom is apparently designed for performance. My questions are - what type of surf do you think this board can handle and what type of surf would it excel in, also do you think it would hold the face of the wave well in a steep beachbreak (it has a rounded tail). Any other info. or opinions on this type of surfboard design would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

You hold the key to most of these answers…Your size will be part of the determining factors whether the CI board will work for you…And your skills in the water are the biggest part of the equasion…You know your abilities and shortcomings…Any board will work under skilled feet… As for me, I prefer a single fin roundtail in steep fast beachbreaks…I’m 6’3" x 200#…My ride of preference on waves from 5’ to well overhead is a 7’4" x 22.5" wide - 17" nose - 15.5" tail - 2.375" thick…with a rakey Greenough style flex fin… Paul

Does it come with a longish fin box (10-inches is best)? With 3 different fins you will end up with an infinite quiver…move the fin up and back 1/4 inch and it will make the board perform noticably different. If the box won’t accommodate some fore and aft adjustment you will miss out on how well you can fine tune the board to almost any condition or riding style. A single will feel very slow to turn at first but you will be amazed at how much speed you can generate in a trim without pumping.

If you’re used to riding thrusters in steep beachbreak, there may be a learning curve with the CI single fin. You’ll find that you need to ‘anticipate’ turns a little more, as the board won’t snap in and out of turns like a conventional tri-fin. Because the single fin also rides the wave rather than the fins, positioning the board in the speediest sections of the wave is also important. Stick with it, keep your sense of humor, and you’ll be soul stylin’ in no time. Eggman

…Eggman has got some good advice for you here…checkout some old surf flicks like the 5 SummerStories,A Sea For Yourself,Pacific Vibrations.Watch and learn…that board should ride anything…within reason…and alittle without.Herb

Thanks for your responses. I am about 5’10" and 175 lbs. so the dimensions seem to be somewhat in proportion to the board you ride Paul. I believe it does have a long fin box that would allow me to change the placement. Although I do ride a thruster set-up, it is on an 8’ funshape and because I am of a below average skill level I am not used to making sharp turns/cutbacks so I was hoping that the learning curve would not be that great. Although, I am aware that I need to learn a lot about surfing in general. Again, I appreciate everyone’s help and I will definitely check out those surf films.

Anyone got a copy they’re willing to dupe…??? Paul

I can dupe morning of the earth–watching terry f. at kirra should inspire anyone to hop on a single fin. i could also dupe the seedling, which has some good footage of tudor’s quiver, including some retro (and one he shaped himself) single fin surfing. that’s it for my movie collection, except for a few of a more, ahem, ‘artistic’ nature. also good for rainy days in northern california…if you send me your email i could send you the (surfing) dupes. hey Paul–christened the twin fin over the weekend. loved it. it may be on the ugly side, but it’s no dog. i’ll send pictures soon. Jamie

Paul- I’ll try to get it done this weekend. Matt

Herb, I may be all wet, but isn’t there a portion of one of the 5 Stories that shows a guy in Hawaii falling repeatedly trying to come off the top. He was riding one of those downrailer, stilletto pins with the wide point up around 8 or 10 inches. He’d pull a nice bottom turn and square up the face but would stall out at the lip. 2 more inches of tail width and some rocker and he probably would have ripped. Some things retro should be left where they died… Newbs

…Yeah,but it goes to show you that there is plenty or room for innovation with a single fin shorty. …I also had a few singles back in the day that ripped.One was a 7-3 diamondtail called a WestCliff Surfboards,really advanced foil and rocker,combined with a good outline and rails.It was my only board while I was living in Hawaii.I used other sticks while I was living there,but hated to step off the Cliffy.Some of the other boards I rode were GLs, Brewers,and other various Island builders,famous,or not. …I still to this date have gotten some of my best rides on that board,and it had a glass-on fin to boot!.Herb

Old School? Single Fin? I like it already…

I’ve been thinking about getting myself a single fin, but I don’t know too much about them. The guy that shapes my boards doesn’t do too many “retro” boards, in fact he’s fairly new to it (still under 100 boards I think). My question is: If I had him make me a board similar to the standard 6’5" I usually ride, but a single fin rather than a thruster, would it ride well? Should I consider different bottom contours to better accomodate the single fin? Any other suggestions?

You could easily try that, just pull out the sidefins of your thruster and install a large center fin. I don’t think it would ride all that well though. regards, Håvard

Havard’s idea is a good cheap one that is worth trying but I think you’ll find that the fin is too far back and the board will lack any drive. Most thrusters have a “kick” in the rocker that starts at the front fins and carries through the tail block. That kick often doesn’t work with short single fins. Try your outline with a little more width especially in the nose, keep the rails soft to the back foot or so, a little (1/4 inch) v in front or under the fin box (keep the tail flat) and go with a flatter entry and overall rocker. A single will use the rails more so flattening and widening the nose will give you a little more rail to work. I like wider tails because it pushes the “sweet spot” right over the v. Have your buddy check out a few at your local shop to come up with some other ideas.

What kind of tail rocker would you put in a slightly modernized single fin shortboard(numbers)? Smooth rocker with the apex at widepoint and no kick in the tail? regards, Håvard

…Depends on your primary use, …the numbers can be there,but less tail kick for sure,also you can go 5.5"-to vell over 6" in nose kick,but a smooth even rocker is key.I still might go with a upper wide point vs a lower(just my preference only)widey.Let me throw you some numbers,these are proven # that have been up dated since the middle ages of surfing. 6’-8" x 19.25" x 12.5"n x 11.5"t 2.75"thick,wide point +3.5, roundpin… or whatever, full flat deck from stringer to 6" out (from nose to tail),after 6" out, residual deck is crowned/blended into downed softboxed 60/40 or 70/30,with a 1/4 tucked edge…of course hyperedges in the tail from tip to 15-18" up.vee or no vee…whatevers 10.5 boxfin set-up.,foil,…this is the tricky part,thin the nose but you want to leave a bulk for forward riding,and past the center width going towards the tail,thin gradually/evenly…Take a good look at Shaun Tomson’s quiver back in the day…(5 Summer stories)…Herb

Hey, sorry to drop in, (I’ll kick out after this), but I was wondering what any of you might think of the Martinson X. Rounded pin, single fin,flaaaat entry rocker, mostly flat bottom (not much vee that I can discern), wide nose with wide point maybe 40% back, rounded rail line tapering very gradually into about a 70/30 just a little ahead of the fin box. Looks like it might be great for carving turns using lots of rail. Thanks in advance for the responses from anyone who is familiar with it.

Thanks Herb for those numbers and shaping instructions, I might scale it up a little length and widthwise tho. Bdw. the video ‘Thicker then water’ features a few of todays pros riding a single fin shortboard and riding it pretty good too. It also show to some extent the differences in riding characteristics between the single fin and whatever they are used to. regards, Håvard