Men of a certain age do strange things to recapture their youth--cars, combovers, tight black ribbed t-shirts, whatever. I shape twin fins. Why? Because these days my idea of abusing drugs involves a fistful of ibuprofen before a surf session, and at this point in my life my knee goes out more than I do. In other words, I'm a man of a certain age.
My first surfboard was a quad, but after an unfortunate encounter with the inside rocks at Rhode Island's P__n_ J__i__, it was a twin. I was fifteen years old.
The board was not what some would describe as 'good,' or 'capable of being surfed,' but it was my first board, and it was pure love despite its coffee-colored foam, its delaminated deck, and its tendency to spin out even when paddling. Eventually, a dude at Warm Winds surf shop took pity and gave me two salvaged fins and some roving, and I restored my beloved quad to her former four-finned glory.
But not before scoring some great rides. So, like many first loves, our relationship was a complex stew of the sublime and the awkward. It was clumsy, it was ugly and awkward, but so is every first love. Remember middle school dances?
It's the shape I return to when I think of my favorite surfing moments, and the one I try to reproduce the most in the shaping bay.
And this one comes pretty damn close--the TwinFin Jet Pony which, now that I see in print, is a terrible name for a surfboard model.
Aside from having two fins, this stick differs from its predecessors in almost every other design element: rocker, fin placement, bottom contour, rail shape..etc. What it has in common is glide and effortless speed. What it adds is hold, drive, and a thruster-like positivity without the drag. It recaptures the feeling, but thankfully not the actual experience.
If it looks like there's wax on it, that's because I waxed it. Then I rode it. Then I cranked some Black Sabbath for the drive back home and, for a moment as I passed through a eucalyptus grove with the windows down, I almost believed that there was a lukewarm case of Black Label beer in the trunk and I was going to get busted by my parents for missing dinner again.
Some things change for the better.