San Diego is widely regarded as one of the premier surfing destinations in the United States. It’s no surprise that the city has produced some of the most innovative and influential surfboard shapers in history. One such shaper is Steve Lis, who is credited with creating the fish surfboard in the 1960s in Ocean Beach, San Diego.
San Diego Surfing 1900’s
Surfing in San Diego dates back to the early 1900s, with the opening of the Hotel del Coronado. The hotel’s owner, John Spreckels, built a giant saltwater swimming pool that was also used for surfing exhibitions. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that San Diego’s surf culture really began to take shape.
Birth of the Fish
During this time, a group of surfers began to experiment with new board designs in order to better navigate the waves of Ocean Beach, San Diego. The waves in this area are known for being powerful and fast, and traditional longboards were not always effective in these conditions. Steve Lis was one of these surfers, and he began experimenting with shorter, wider boards that could better handle the waves in Ocean Beach.
The result was the fish surfboard, which is characterized by its wide, flat tail and deep swallowtail. The design allows for increased speed and maneuverability, making it ideal for surfing the fast, steep waves of Ocean Beach. The first fish surfboard was built in 1967, and it quickly gained popularity among surfers in San Diego and beyond.
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Lis continued to refine his design, creating shorter and wider boards that were even more effective in the powerful waves of Ocean Beach. The fish surfboard soon became a staple in the surfing world, influencing board designs for decades to come.
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Ocean Beach Today
Today, Ocean Beach remains a popular destination for surfers of all levels, and the fish surfboard is still widely used. San Diego’s surf culture continues to thrive, with a thriving community of surfers and shapers pushing the boundaries of board design and innovation. And while there may be many surf spots around the world, Ocean Beach San Diego will always hold a special place in the history of surfing and the birth of the fish surfboard.