Asher Pacey is undeniably a leader of the modern twin fin movement. Torren Martyn, David Rastovich, Tyler Warren, Derek Disney, Rob Machado, Bryce Young and Ryan Burch (there are others) are all part of the tribe, but few have ridden the twinny with the same level of devotion as Asher over the last five years. So where did the binary romance begin for this lanky natural footer who was once part of the short-lived but fondly remembered air-show tour? The way Asher remembers it he’d already started experimenting with quads when he tried a twinny while taking part in a board test around six years ago. The twinny trial left him buzzing with a sense of flow and freedom, and inspired him to order one from his regular shaper, Darren Handley. “My first one that I got off Darren just went really, really good out at Snapper. It was more of a performance outline and a bit thicker.” Within a year of riding that first DHD twinny, Asher was solely committed to the two-fin design and was by then riding a shorter model with more of a fish outline. When explaining how he and Darren refined their modern twinny, Asher, who is famously laid back, suggests it was a fairly organic evolution. “I usually just put a few ideas in the suggestion box. The fins are definitely a lot further back now to tighten it up… We’ve probably made four or five changes since the original.” In the course of that evolution, Asher has become the ultimate twin fin journeyman, riding his craft in all kinds of conditions in Portugal, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the Caroline Islands. Not really the type to preach, Asher’s method of converting others to the twin fin faith is simply to achieve an incredible synergy between surfer and board. Watching Asher effortlessly manifest down the line speed and then tilt into a cuttie like a lick of melted butter is enough to make you wonder why you’re not riding a twinny. Asher admits that his twin fin prerogative has raised a few eyebrows in line-ups around the world. “People would quite often ask you about your board and be quite surprised that you were riding it in slightly bigger kinds of waves.” Watch footage of Asher gliding nonchalantly through cavernous P-Pass barrels and you soon become aware of just how comfortable he is in the absence of a trailer fin. Humble to a fault Asher is unlikely to talk up his own influence on the resurgence of twin fins, but does concede he enjoys being part of an era where surfers have license to ride such a broad range of equipment. “I think a lot more people are appreciating it now. I think it’s cool to be in that time where it’s having that resurgence and there’s a lot more interest in it and a lot of weird and wonderful boards being made.” Although Asher’s twinny act owes much of its refinement to the hypnotic coils of the Coolangatta points this trip forced him
to focus on a backside interpretation of his treasured craft. “On the normal boards that I ride at home, it was interesting to surf them on lefts. I’m not overly confident on my backhand because I don’t get to do it that often. It’s really fun and exciting just to feel out my boards on lefts… There’s a general thing of twinnies being difficult on your backhand. I’ve definitely experienced that, but I think the right board can defy all that.” In half a decade Asher has chiselled out a distinctive niche and a major following with his twin fin antics. We make heroes of pro surfers and marvel at their ability to conjure brilliance in situations where most of us are happy to make a turn, but we might also ask what other purpose the pros serve to the broader surfing community. In this sense Asher might be thought of as a raider of the lost art, a kind of surfing archaeologist reopening the door to a design that has much to offer to the modern surfer. Someone more cynical might argue that Asher has fashioned an image around his twin fin persona and he’s exploiting a niche to pay the bills and perpetuate his surfing life. Fair enough; that’s more or less the goal of any pro surfer, and there’s little doubt that Asher’s identity is borne out of a meaningful devotion to a particular surfing genre. It’s not some contrived marketing scam he came up with yesterday and as suggested his two fin act has helped empower thousands of surfers to sample the pleasures of twin fin surfing. On a more directly commercial level Asher’s twin fin focus is also earning him a well-deserved sideline profit. “I get 10 bucks a board for the DH ‘Mini’ model,” he offers a little proudly. “Just got a cheque in the mail for two and half grand for a financial quarter.” Do the math and it’s apparent that Darren Handley is selling a lot of twin fins, while Asher is spearheading a surfing movement.
Main: Asher Pacey and the craft at the centre of a twin fin renaissance.
Inset: Asher winging it on his backhand.