Four years ago Matt Meola was in the Maldives with Asher Pacey when the waves bottomed out. On a whim Meola, who is best known for his gymnastic-inspired aerials, borrowed one of Pacey’s DHD twin fins and glided into a whole new world of possibilities. “I remember it was like the funnest thing ever and I didn’t want to get off it… I didn’t expect it to be as loose and as fast – it was just like a really good board.” Although the twinny made an impression on Matt, he didn’t revisit the design until he was recovering from a knee injury just over a year ago. “I wanted to make a fun board that I could ride coming back from injury and that I wasn’t going to try crazy shit on, he explains.” Convinced a forgiving twin fin would be the perfect craft to gently hasten his return to full confidence, Matt found himself plundering the internet for inspiration. On the DHD website he tracked down the board that most resembled the one of Asher’s he’d ridden in the Maldives a few years earlier and did his best to reproduce it. “I took a picture of the outline and tried to make my outline on the computer just like it.” Matt’s partner in the well-intentioned fibreglass piracy was Marlon Lewis. The son of iconic Maui-based shaper, Jimmy Lewis, Marlon had access to a shaping machine and was happy to participate in an experiment that at first glance seemed akin to helping a Formula One driver to race in a vintage go-kart. Once the board was glassed and finished Matt was hoping for something that urged him towards cruisey cutbacks and downthe-line speed runs, instead the board proved to be a major source of temptation for the injured aerial junkie. “I started riding it and thinking it was going to be some board that I wasn’t going to try airs on and it ended up being super high performance… The first session I pulled a back-flip on it and I was like ‘holy shit this thing is crazy’.” When Matt got the call up for this trip he instantly realised it was an opportunity to explore the twinny from a range of different perspectives. His diverse six-board quiver featured everything from flat and fat 4’3” slabs to rockered out fibreglass slippers and everything else in-between. The experiment taught him that like all board-types different twin fins have their distinctive nuances, but there also seemed to be some common elements. “I brought a pretty big variety of boards and each one had its own special thing, so I don’t want to say all twin fins do this or that. However, one thing that they all had in common was speed. They’re way faster than a normal short board and I felt like I could carve way better on them. On my normal shortboard I feel like I’m stuck with the same carve that I always do and on these it was like I could do a real long, drawn out carve or I could do a tight one and pull it short … I felt like I had way more control in my carve, which was weird because I expected to have less control.” And what of the twin fin’s suitability for launching high trajectory flips and spins? “The conditions we got were terrible for airs, but I got a few sections and I didn’t feel like it held me back at all,” insists Matt. Matt laments the fact that Maui’s howling trades don’t always make for ideal twin fin conditions but by the end of the trip he’s adamant that he will be making use of his alternative quiver whenever the waves clean up. “I’ve got six of them now so I’ll definitely be busting them out.”
Matt Meola literally ‘channelling’ Tom Hanks in Castaway as he plants a hand and powers through a front-side carve.