Our Top Five Twin Fin Picks For 2020

While certainly not new to the sport of surfing, the twin fin surfboard is experiencing a popular resurgence. The reason for this is simple—twinnies are often credited with drawing out the most fun attributes of surfing: speed, flare, and flow! That said, twin fins aren't necessarily the most user-friendly boards and often pose a serious challenge to high skill level surfers. The same board elements that allow for tail slides, spins, and dreamy cutbacks, are also equally conducive to slipping, sliding, and wiping out.  

Perhaps the most ubiquitous name credited with popularizing twin fin surfboards in the late 70s is that of Mark Richards. Working with shaping legend, Dick Brewer, and using concepts learned from Hawaiian performance surfer, Reno Abellira, Mark Richards pioneered the twin fin design. The 60s and 70s were the golden era for twin fins—sandwiched between the classic single fin and Simon Anderson's advent of the thruster. Check out MR putting his craft to work in the short film, Fast and Loose

Since then, twin fins have undergone some serious changes and are now offered in various shapes, sizes, and templates. From high-performance to speedy grovelers, here are our top five twin fin picks for 2020:

1. Channel Islands FishBeard

Channel Islands Fishbeard surfboard.

A brand new 2020 addition to Channel Islands' board lineup, the FishBeard is a hybrid twinnie with ample rocker, volume, and planing power that offers performance, speed, and (relative) stability in a variety of conditions. CI's Britt Merrick recommends using the Al Merrick Keel (AMK) by Future Fins. On the topic of this modern keel, CI says, "Make no mistake, this fin ain't retro. Although inspired by classic keel outlines, the all-new AMK template boasts a modern rake shape, graduated tip flex and flat inside foils finely tuned for fast, high performance surfing. This keel-fin design is built to rip but also ideal for those that just want to groove.”

2. Lost Cobra Killer

Lost Cobra Killer

The Lost Cobra Killer is a special collaboration between acclaimed shaper Matt Biolos and master resin artist Paul Lefevre (aka "The Son of Cobra"). Lost refers to the Cobra Killer as a post modern twin fin, and features a template that combines Paul's deep double-concave bottom with Lost's tried and tested QuiverKiller. The board's rounded pin tail and deep concave behind the fins gives the board plenty of hold and drive. For a twin, this board is extremely responsive yet can be ridden confidently without fear of sliding out or drifting as it is not as loose or squirrelly as a traditional twin. While the Cobra Killer can handle punchy beach breaks, it thrives and excels most at fast and powerful point breaks. Lost recommends pairing this board with Future Fins Son of Cobra Twin fin set. Check out Lost's volume calculator to determine the right size Cobra Killer for you!

3. Firewire Go Fish

Firewire Go Fish

While the Firewire Go Fish is not a new model, it's a proven itself as a standout in the world of contemporary twins. Winner of the SIMA Alternative Surfboard Model of the Year, The Go Fish is the brain child of flow master Rob Machado. In Firewire's words, "Visually, the Go Fish sits excitedly at the intersection of “Brand-New” and “Totally Familiar” – the same traditional outline that every fish enthusiast is familiar with, but containing an entirely new approach to bottom contours. This Rob Machado design is an advanced adjustment to a proven fish concept, and it’s easy to imagine it working fantastically on the face of wave when you hold it under your arm, fingers wrapped around a familiar rail, on the edge of a concave that feels uncommonly exciting."

This modern twin features epoxy construction and Firewire's patented Linear Flex Technology (LFT) which incorporates Firewire's SPRINGER HD, a 18mm wide aerospace composite that runs down the centerline of the board in lieu of a traditional wood stringer. The SPRINGER HD runs the entire length of the board and is crucial to optimizing nose-to-tail flex and durability. This twin is perfect for generating speed in smaller surf and drawing sharp lines in powerful, larger waves. The epoxy construction also makes this board a great, buoyant option for wave pool surfing. Check out Firewire's volume calculator to discover the right size Go Fish for you!

4. Lost California Twin MR X MB Surfboard

Lost California Twin MR x MB

The California Twin is the result of a collaborative effort from Mark Richards and Matt Biolos. The CA twin offers a contemporary twist on Richard's popular shortboard, The Super Twin. Featuring a modern, single to double concave and twin fin set + a small trailer center fin box, this tweaked fish is a cutting-edge small wave weapon. The board's low entry rocker, widened nose and tail block, and wide outline provides superior glide in the mushiest of conditions. The flattened deck, down soft rails, and modern performance tail rocker allow for tight turns and precision in critical situations. This twin is perfect for groveling at small beach breaks or shredding at mid-size point breaks. 

5. Channel Islands Fish

Channel Islands Fish

The CI Fish is a next generation progressive fish featuring a thinned out, tuned-up, and versatile template that excels in knee-high mush and screaming head-high point breaks. The CI Fish stemmed from the Channel Islands’ 2005 shape, the Retro Fish. The Retro Fish was followed by the Skinny Fish which featured less volume and quad fins. The CI Fish is the third iteration of CI’s fish family and wraps a twin keel fin set-up and subtle performance board characteristics into a classic fish shape, resulting in a board that both high-performance shredders and retro fish purists can appreciate. For optimal performance, CI recommends throwing a set of AMK Keel Fins by Future Fins on this board. The CI Fish is available in both PU/PE and EPS Spine-Tek constructions.

Ready to add a twinnie to your quiver? Just grabbed a fresh one? Check out pads, board bags, fins, and other surfing accessories in-store or online at Ridershack.com! Not sure if a twin is right for you? Reach out with any questions here!

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