A par­al­lel uni­verse

Tracks - - Fresh Fish -

As Mur­phy’s law would have it, the swell picks up on the day of our de­par­ture.

We’re back at the right where the trip be­gan and the 4ft lines are be­ing sculpted into idyl­lic, pyra­mid peaks be­fore run­ning down the line at a for­giv­ing pace. It re­minds me of a good day on the south shore of Oahu and while the pros sleep in after giving it a good nudge on the fi­nal night, I surf for an hour and a half alone, mak­ing a wave-pig of my­self on a Chan­nel Is­lands twinny; rel­ish­ing the fact that it’s still taboo to reach for the com­fort of a thruster.

After 10 days even I’ve grown ac­cus­tomed to the ben­e­fits of a twinny. Sec­tions are chased down with lit­tle more than a sub­tle speed trim and ev­ery turn has a sen­sory qual­ity that you won’t find on a thruster. Maybe it’s be­cause you can con­nect to all the mov­ing wa­ter un­der­neath, flow­ing straight down the board and out the back via the sexy swal­low tail; in­stead of re­ly­ing on that back fin for lever­age and con­trol it’s about feel­ing the rail. What­ever it is, the sen­sa­tion is ad­dic­tive and part of me knows that it will be hard to re­turn to the more con­trolled, wave­g­rip­ping suc­tion of a thruster. The twin fin has opened up an­other di­men­sion and if not rid­den ex­clu­sively it will at least be­come a reg­u­lar part of my surf­ing rit­ual.

The surfers even­tu­ally wake up, squint to­wards the lineup and re­alise there’s waves. De­spite nurs­ing hang­overs, made more se­vere by a mem­ory-tax­ing, drink­ing game in­tro­duced by Matt Me­ola, they quickly find the zone on the long-armed, right bends. It takes more than a few Mar­gar­i­tas to sti­fle that kind of surf­ing tal­ent and pretty soon the crew are in at­tack mode.

Con­tent with my morn­ing haul, I kick back to watch the last show of the trip from the ten­der. As Tyler squares up and slashes at the cop­ing on his coral-blue bul­let, Rob­bie snaps vi­o­lently in the pocket and Asher melts through a carve that would be the envy of any com­pet­ing pro, it oc­curs to me that per­haps I had come on this trip to peer into surf­ing’s past. How­ever, in­stead I’d dis­cov­ered that the twin fin was not some re­vived relic from a by­gone era; its de­vel­op­ment and the re­fine­ment of the way it is surfed has never re­ally stopped. Its evo­lu­tion ex­ists in a par­al­lel uni­verse to the thruster, oc­ca­sion­ally drop­ping in and over­lap­ping to bor­row a few de­sign con­cepts from the de­sign, which had made it go out of fash­ion. The twin fin is nei­ther su­pe­rior nor in­fe­rior to other craft; it’s just a to­tally dif­fer­ent trip that many surfers and shapers have been en­joy­ing for more than half a cen­tury. There is how­ever no doubt that the twinny is in the midst of a re­nais­sance. Ab­sorb­ing mod­ern re­fine­ments in curve, ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion, the boards are bet­ter than they’ve ever been, and there are shapers in ev­ery surf town pro­duc­ing high qual­ity in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the twin fin de­sign.

Ul­ti­mately, it is only clichéd no­tions, thruster pre­oc­cu­pa­tions and a lit­tle im­pa­tience, which stand in the way of ap­pre­ci­at­ing the two-finned glide. If you are open to it, the twinny has the po­ten­tial to trans­port you back to the pure sense of Zen and free­dom you felt when you first wit­nessed a surfer fly­ing across a wave and thought, “Wow that looks like fun.”

A big thank-you to Louis and the crew from Liq­uid Des­ti­na­tion for de­liv­er­ing us to dreamy set-ups, empty line-ups and good fish­ing spots.

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