Where should wide point be on a single-fin shortboard?

I’m going to shape a single-fin sort of like the CI MSF. On their 6’1" model, the wide point is about 2-3" ahead of of center. Is this important on a board of this style? Why not make the wide point at the center or behind center?

Because then it would work properly and not fit into the retro early 70’s fad.

Singles are very forgiving I have had favourite singles in the 6 foot range with wide points behind, at, and forward of centre.

So why did Al Merrick choose to put his wide point ahead of center? The board is supposed to perform very well, and Machado ripped on it, but then, he would rip on anything.

Well the wide point has to be somewhere and forward is one functional option.

Roy is quite right…The location of the widepoint is only one small factor in how a board works. Tail width, rocker, rail shape, fin design and location all work together to create a board that will work in a certain way…The only crude generality you could use is that the farther forward the wide point, the farther forward your trim spot, the longer the radius of the turn. But even that can be modified by changing the other factors I spoke of.

I have a rule of thumb; There are three things that make up 80% of the way a board works…not one of them is the outline.

I think wide point dead center is best, just like the fastest and most performance oriented singles.

That’s bizzare Solo, at a first glance it looks like the Zap has the WP way back, but actually it’s about halfway as you said. . . . . just shows how deceptive a single variable can be. . . . I have boards with the WP at centre and less area in the tail than the nose, and boards with the WP at centre and exactly the same nose and tail area. . . . and there’s the zap with more tail area than nose area !

My favorite single fins were widepoint center or just back of…

I had 7’6"er made with WPoint 4" behind center in '73, and that started my interest in that direction.

However, customers thought it was a stupid idea, so I shaped most of my boards with traditional Wpoint placment 4" forward on a 7’er.

One sits at Wise’s shop (last checked a month ago), and it looks functionally OK even by today’s standards. It was shaped around '75.

7’3" x 18.75x 13.5 nose, 12.85 tail, about 2.65 thickness, single 8" fin glassed on.

well why he did it has probably 2 things at least behind it…

1 rob asked for it like that

2 to capitalise on the retro fad

but CI also has a ‘newer’ version of that board. makes you wonder why, right?

unless my eyes decieve me, that boards widepoint is at center, or at least very close to it. if it isn’t, they carried some width in the tail to make the curve smoother.

personally, except for fish, i like all my wide points at, or just behind center. thats where you’re standing when you’re riding, so it seems to be the best place for it.

glad to see you are going to give shaping another try too.

good luck

personally i really like wide points ahead of the center on my small single fins. i know others that agree too. it’s just a matter of what your styles like and how you like to surf.

Aloha Joe

I just finished this single fin about an hour ago. Wide point is a couple of inches forward of center. The wide point is going to be greatly regulated by how wide your nose is. Its position is a factor of several issues in the flow of the template curve. Functionally, you can float it around a bit. It isn’t critical unless there is something specific you need the board to do.


It’s funny, all the copies of the zap that were done back in the day like the Schroff blaster and others had tons of rail curver and wide points way behind center to give the look. Mccoy actually shaped the very first needle nose singles in 1974 and the measurments were like 6’ x 12 x 19.5 x 15.5 x 3 wide point dead center and fairly straight rails in the mid section. Kind of acted as a third fin in a sense for the wide tail.

The board in the picture is a bit decieving as you say, because of the wide 17’’ tail. It makes it look like a tear drop. The early zaps and the stock zaps were and are a very functional design if performance is what your looking for. Pretty much a tail driven design, like the thrusters, but without having to pump the board rail to rail to keep it going. The CI works better being ridden slightly more forward, just like the old spin out models all did. I think the CI has really nice outlines, but the ones I have seen in person just don’t thrill me personally. Nice work, but just not my personal style.

By way of perspective, a fellow at Windansea named Ed Shafer shaped a Balsa board we all called “The Needle Nose”, in 1959. That board probably had a nose width of about 10 inches. And Del Cannon was shaping full guns with 12" noses in 1962/63. McCoy was not the first by a long shot, with respect to a needle nose design.

Mccoy took the foam out of the nose and placed it in the tail and modified it with his loaded dome bottom and soft edges. His design pretty much gave us the tail driven surfboard we have today. Look at that old Pink Railed board Cheyne burst onto the scene with and it’s looks very much like what is commonly misnamed a fish.

Velzy did something called a pig that had similar look, but was nowhere near the same board.

hi bill b

thats a nice board! are you going to ride it yourself? what fin did you end up going with?


Well the wide point has to be somewhere …”

ah yes !! That’s a good point Roy.

The wide pt. on a single is forward because not as much drive comes from the fin as is the case on a (wide pt. back) thruster. Particularly w/ a bottom turn on a single, the forward mass actually pulls you through the turn.

Why do you need more drive in a single than a tri?

Why not surf the single similar to the way you surf a tri?

You put wings/accelerated curve where sidefin would normally be, use a slightly bigger tail fin, and pivot snap your way to high performance.

Certainly not to make waves, that’s easy with Wpoints back 4".


hi bill b

thats a nice board! are you going to ride it yourself? what fin did you end up going with?


yep, billy doesn’t know it yet but i’m draggin him out to small pipe in the morning with that board he just finished…it looks like we must have stolen the same template back in the 70’s from gery somebody…i can’t wait to see him droppin in with the sun bouncing off his happy face again… danny