You might not expect Chippa Wilson to have a thing for twin fins. The North Coast air specialist boasts one of the most progressive repertoires in surfing. In a surfing sub-genre where your worth is measured by a combination of height and variation, Chippa is the ultimate gymnastic astronaut. Frequently his clips and photos require a second and third glance to fully appreciate the technical difficulty involved in his big, lip jumps. Matt Hurworth thrusters are his usual spacecraft, but a few years ago Chippa couldn’t help but fall under the spell of a particular kind of twin fin.
Celebrated surfer shaper, Neil Purchase Junior, shares Chippa’s North Coast hunting ground between Kingscliff and Blacks. When Neil started showing up on random peaks, tearing on a board with two big fins, Chippa was a little tortured.
“They just looked too weird, strange. It just looks odd so it took me about six months of watching him absolutely shred for me to get the courage to order one.”
NPJ’s unorthodox looking ‘Duo’ model features two big single fins, placed four inches apart. The extra length in the fins equates to more drive and the closer than normal placement of the fins allows you to push a lot harder than on a normal twin, while still preserving some of that twinny freedom and flow.
For Chippa, who loves to go as fast as possible and then load up and throw the tail as hard he can, the board was instantly addictive.
“I finally ordered one and it went as good as it looked in the water and from then on I was just hooked on twin fins. The biggest thing that drew me to them is just the lines. You can get from A to B on a twin fin way quicker than you can on a three-fin board. That means you can draw different lines
– go straight for a couple more seconds; really draw out your bottom hand turn and still have enough drive to hit the lip.”
Smitten with the Duo model, Chippa explored other variations on the twin fin and suggested that a two-plus-one model he got off Neil was one of the best boards for airs he’d ever owned. “I feel like it helps your surfing because different lines put you in different situations … you can do some crazy stuff, I think it helps your style. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough that people should always try and mix it up… They’re so much quicker than normal boards but the only downfall is if it’s choppy you’re kind of screwed.”
On this trip the 5’5” stringer-less, epoxy Duo was Chippa’s regular go-to. As the photos and footage indicate, Chippa’s aerial inclinations were in no way stifled by the absence of a third fin. Commenting on the board and his experimentation with different fin combinations Chippa was clear about how to get the most out
of the design. “It was so responsive and actually quite good for airs. I did swap the fins around in that Duo. I thought having smaller fins would make it a lot looser but I lost a lot of drive and I would bog – you shouldn’t be scared of big fins.”
Above: Colonel Chippa flanked by his twin fin battalion.