Fish boards – Why your Quiver Needs One!

Fish Board Cutback


The History of the Fish Board

The first fish boards spawned out of the 1970’s short board revolution.  With riders seeking maximum performance on the wave face, so began the shift to smaller and smaller boards.  Many shapers began experimenting with small wide knee board style designs. Pioneers like George Greenough used these early knee board style designs to take carving on a wave to new heights. However San Diego born shaper Steve Lis is credited with taking the small knee board design and placing his signature split tail and twin fin and creating what is now called referred to as “the fish”.

Characteristics of a Fish

The term fish comes from the shape of the board. Yep, you guessed it! The outline of the board looks like the profile of a fish.  The boards typically have a hybrid style nose, more thickness, a wide body, and wide tail with a deep swallow. The rocker profile tends to be flatter and the fin set up is either a twin or more recently quad fin.  Fish are mostly available in smaller sizes ranging from 5’5 – 6’6 but bigger fish are more commonplace for beginners in the 7’ – 8’6 range.

So how do all these characteristics affect the performance?

Fish characteristics make for a board that paddles more like a longboard yet once up and riding feels more like a short board. The flatter rocker profiles and lack of a center fin make for lots of drive in small flat sections of the wave.  And since most of us are not fortunate to live in zones where the surf is pumping 24-7 then having a board that catches small waves easy, maneuvers great, and flies through the flat spots is a big plus making you want to leave your short board or longboard on the shelf when the surf is lackluster.

So what are my options? Should I get a small fish or a big fish?

Beginner /Intermediate Riders:

Surfers just starting out should seek a bigger fish 3 – 5 inches over the head of the rider. This gives you plenty of stability to work with for learning the ropes and it paddles like a longboard. Bigger heavier guys should go even longer than 5 inches.

Fish Boards




Check out our Isle Ecore Quad Fish Boards – Available in 6’2, 6’6, 7’0, and 7’6


Advanced Riders:

Surfers with more experience should look for a fish 3 – 5 inches shorter than your regular short board. Fish are thicker and wider and made to be ridden small for the more advanced rider to get maximum performance.

Fish Boards




Check out our Isle XPS Epoxy Fish Boards – Available in 5’10, 6’0, 6’2, and 6’4


Fish Boards are mandatory to have in the quiver and can turn a small sloppy day into a fun filled session.

For our full selection of Fish boards visit us online at

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