This is the signature fish model which helped us to win best UK and Ireland Fish shaper. Our design is hugely influenced by the original split tail, twin-fin fish invented by the great Steve Lis.
The Keel Fish at a glance
SIZE RANGE: 5'.0'' to 6'.8''
TYPICAL DIMENSIONS: 6'.0''x 20 ¾''x 2 3/8''
ROCKER: fairly flat with slight tail kick
RAILS: down rails
BOTTOM SHAPE: vee with single concave
IDEAL CONDITIONS: small to medium surf
BEST SUITED TO: intermediate to experienced surfers
The Design In Detail
The reason that the Fish became such a revolution the in the 70's, is the same reason that our Keel Fin Fish is such a potent design today. The main feature that everyone notices is the blinding horizontal speed that modern shortboards lack. That speed comes from the wide planing area between the fins and our unique combination of vee with a single concave that runs from the belly through to the split tail.
Another key feature of our Keel Fin is the easy paddling and early planing. Both of these are achieved by placing the wide point some 4-6" forward of the middle.
Moving the wide point forward also has an important influence on the template. It elongates and straightens the tail, which creates directional stability. Put simply, it helps to make the board to feel stable even when you are going at breakneck speed.
It's also a good idea to ride them short. This provides the tight turning arcs that the keel fin is famous for. It is possible to ride them short because they have so much extra volume in them. The extra float comes partly from a bit of extra thickness throughout, a flat deck (opposed to convex) with down rails and of course the added width from nose to tail. Finally, we can't forget the keel fins which give the board its name. They have a wide base and the back of the fins line up with the 'butt crack' of the split tail. The result is brute hard drive and precise control right where you need it, which is under your back foot.
Small to medium surf is where the Keel Fin excels, but don't think weak summer surf is all that the Keel Fin is about. Far from it, they ride beautifully in the barrel and the shorter you ride them, the more vertical you can go.
Keel Fish by Simon Ashford
Like most people the onset of summer normally means two things..... rain and small gutless waves and most summers I have had to resort to a 9'2" longboard ( also by Gulf Stream but that's another story) to get any form of surfing done and although its not my normal board of choice it gets me all important 'water time'. A couple of years ago I saw Skelly riding a tiny keel fin fish (old style twinny) in small waves and having a great time while I was on the trusted log, I was still getting waves but just not, well, just not getting the feeling that aparently 'only a surfer gets!'
As Jools has shaped quite a few boards for me in the past, I wandered up to the factory where luckily I found not only Jools but also Skelly. After a long and meaningful discussion during which they discussed height, weight, style, ability and most importantly colour, I ordered a 6'2" x 21 1/2" x 2 3/4" Keel fin fish in Resin tinted Sunset Orange.
Three weeks later the new object of my affection was ready and after careful fin selection (purple ones !) I wandered home, stick under arm, where it lay on the bed for a week, why a week? well ...... a) it is absolutley stunning, the craftmanship in the shape, the deep reflection of the resin tint, the shape, the subtle rails, the polish and ...... b) it was flat.
So how does it surf? Well I have surfed anything from 1 foot to 6 feet, in all conditions, beach breaks and point breaks. It is just amazing I am getting more surf time doing things that I want to do rather than being restricted by the size of my board. It has, because of this, improved my surfing. The big keel fins hold in no matter what I do, the almost flat rockerless design means, when paddling, all my energy is focused forwards and the perfect thicknessing throughout lets the board move freely and smoothly through the water. On small days the twin fin set up allows either flowing turns or quick snaps, on bigger days you feel the water being funnelled along the Vee in the bottom through the fins and out past the big 'crack in the back'. I can't really put into words how good this board is but I am having so much fun on it.
If you are looking for something different, something with style, something with craftmanship, something to improve your surfing or take it in another direction, something with soul (and I really believe that the workmanship and attention put into this board gives it this), then this is for you. If you want to continue floundering then that's great, more waves for me!