The latest trend in surfboards recently has been the renewed interest in retro style surfboards. Back in the seventies & eighties, surfboards were quite short & very fat( 3 – 4 inches thick). This was just a natural progression from malibu’s which were long ( 8-10 foot) & fat. Then came along hot young surfers like Mark Occhilupo, Tom Curran and later Kelly Slater, who all rode increasingly thinner boards for better turning ability. So every kid then wanted what the pro’s were riding, which saw the demise of the thicker boards which were much easier to paddle for the average surfer. So the average surfer had no choice but to get one of the new generation thin boards, but because they were harder to paddle, they had to get a longer one, so instead of having a 6 foot board, now they had to get a 6’6″ board which was still a bit more work to paddle , and didnt turn as good as the old thick 6 foot long boards. The whole thing has come around full circle now with the reintroduction of short thick boards that are called ” Fish” which are ideal in small waves up to about 2 – 3 metres in wave face height( or 3-4 foot in surfing terminology).
While most of the “Fish” style boards are shaped like a brick ( and turn like one), Darryl Wilkes from Wilkes Surfboards in Western Australia has refined the genre with his range of “Pyg” boards that are the same outline shape as a thin shortboard, but have the thickness in the middle of the board for easy paddling. They are also fairly thin at the nose, which makes duck diving under waves easier than a typical fat “fish” surfboard.
These fish style “Pygs” which are attracting a lot of attention from your average recreational surfer, also come with nice rounded tails for easy rail to rail turning ability, are 20 inches wide and 3 inches thick. Faster and more responsive than a normal fish style board, they range from 5’10” up to 6’8″ and deliver unrivalled paddling power, speed and loose turning ability , especially with the extreme concave bottom shape. Above all they are a lot of fun in small beachbreaks and a much better option than a mini mal for the average surfer. I ride one myself and most of my mates now ride one after they have a go of it.
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