Thursday, 20 December 2018 - Posted by Roger at 10:07 am
Tony’s Quiver Part 4: ACE OF DIAMONDS and other Single Fin Obsessions
I remember my first single fin, in fact I wish I still had it. It was one of Dad’s old boards and the name of it has been lost in the archives of my surfing memory. But I clearly remember the flat rocker, turned down rails and clear glassed on single fin and the “retro vibe” that board created in my memory bank. It wasn’t really until I started riding Logs that I started to fully appreciate the “feel” of riding a single fin.
Back in my early 20’s when the “wiggle wiggle bash” style of long boarding was at it’s peak (shit I am old….) I used to steal my sisters 9’0″ Electraglide which had this amazing hand-made 12 inch single fin (paisley inlay) in it and that board always felt so smooth and locked in perfectly on the nose. I think that board eventually became Lucre’s first Surfline and the rest is history! But it set me on a path of single fin life that has spanned nearly 2 decades.
O.K so I am getting a bit lost in nostalgia here, but that’s the thing with Single Fins – they evoke that feeling from the first time you lay eyes on one you feel the retro vibes take over your imagination and high line speed trims and arms up in the air lay back carves take over the cerebral space in your minds eye.
A big part of my journey with Roger Hall and the team at Surfline has been exploring Single Fin designs. From the 5’8″ Flow right through the 10’0″ Sugar Glider, my preference has always been one fin only with no other option.
The first board on the voyage was a 6’8″ Magic Carpet SF and that thing was an absolute revelation. I remember pulling into a solid overhead barrel at Taupo Bay one summer swell and felt like I was Jerry Lopez shooting out of that thing.
Closer to home all of the longboards Roger has shaped me have been exclusively single fins, and my current 58 Special is exactly that “special” – other words I would use to describe my love affair with that board could include “smitten” “obsessed” and “slightly cuckoo” haha!
Other SF’s I have ridden have included the Retro Single Fin, various Flows, Classic Longboards, Sugar Gliders and my 7’2″ SF Flow.
About 2 years ago this magic shape popped up on my social feed on the Surfline page, accompanied by a message from Roger saying something like “I have been working on a new board idea for you…..” I had to see it, put it under my arm , and paddle it out. It wasn’t long until it appeared in the Candy Store and we were off.
Aptly named the “Ace of Diamonds” this 6’2″ single fin beast has become an absolute staple in my quiver, and a preference in almost any conditions. One of the first voyages was at solid 4-6ft Te Arai when I managed to sneak out through the rip off the point, only to be confronted by perfect double over head rights breaking from right around the corner, and only one other guy on it. Paddling into a bomb set I managed to draw out a long bottom turn to then set up one of the best waves I have ridden at home. Fast off the bottom, tight arcs in the pocket, and the ability to attack the lip without looking like a “flapper” – the Ace was an instant hit.
One of the most recent strikes on the Ace of Diamonds was a last minute dash to the Far North Points in November. On arrival I was greeted by a solid swell punching the reef, and after a mad dash around the rocks I found myself on the outside at Peaks. Fair to say I was frothing. After a couple of warm-up waves, a bomb set reared its head and I was on. I surfed that thing for probably 150-200m down the point on the Ace and at every arc off the bottom or hook in the Ace let me do my thing.
Riding a Single Fin has become the cornerstone of my surfing, and something I advocate to any surfer wanting to explore the benefits of variations in fin configurations on any board. Enjoy the freedom of a Single Fin this summer. As Joel Tudor once aptly put it ” One Fin, One God, One Country”…. I’m not super patriotic, and Im not super religious. But I am part of the Single Fin community so yeah, let’s roll with that!