Beginner Surfboard: What about a Fish?

The sport of surfing has evolved tremendously and so have the surfboards. Dating back to 1778 the first recorded surfboard emerged in Hawaii, made from trees. Fast forward to the most recent evolutionary trends include electric fins and 3D printing surfboards are creating a lot of buzz in the surfing industry.  And while year after year the innovation continues to emerge, transforming the world of surfing-some things are just as good as before, like the Fish.

The Fish. Great name, great board, and great for San Diego waves. Also known as a swallowtail, the Fish was first shaped by Point Loma local Steve Lis in 1967, this twin fin-two fins on the bottom of the board-short board remains a classic today.


This is a local and team favorite because of its versatility and maneuverability. Often the board of choice for summertime waves, the fish surfboard works well on those summer swells which are often met with relaxed, less powerful, laid back waves. This is because of the unique fish design with a wider, shorter and thicker anatomical structure providing more volume to keep you floating on top of the wave-making it easier for you to paddle and maneuver into the perfect position for the next wave. 

The fish is a great transition board from a foamie and is a team favorite. The fish is great for beginners and also super fun for intermediate and advanced surfers for both smaller days and slightly larger swells, thus being coined a “fun” board. It keeps you floating on top of the water for an overall fun experience. 


From the classic twin fin style, the fish has evolved with slight variations to include length, width and roundness depending on the types of wave and surfing goal. Whether a fish surfboard for mushy waves or for bigger and heavier conditions, there most likely is a style of fish to meet your needs. 

Of the many of styles, there is the hybrid fish and the retro fish. As you can probably guess, the retro design is classic 1970’s style similar to the original by Steve Lis. It is the classic wide, short, and thick. The hybrid fish is a mix between a longboard and shortboard-hence the name. It is thick, stable, and has a lot of maneuverability to progress surfing or use on bigger days. 


For a brand new surfer (never surfed or a few times), we would say hold off on the fish, conquer the foamie or longboard first. For the beginner surfer transitioning from a foamie to a hard board, the fish is an excellent option. The fish provide beginner surfer attributes such as great for all ages, ease of use and stability in the water, and versatile for small to medium sized waves. It is a great surfboard for beginners who have conquered the foamie and ready to progress. Again, making it one of our top recommendations for beginners who are transitioning from a foamie to a surfboard.