Asher Pacey

Tracks - - Fresh Fish -

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.

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