Jughead and the history of the Wiz Fish - video

jughead
Design Outline

In 1995 the surf industry was just coming off the extremes of the Kelly Slater / Greg Webber 'banana' boards of '92/'93. At the time I was riding a 6’1" x 18'¼". Looking back now those boards looked long and narrow, and they didn't work in fat or gutless conditions. Consequently I was struggling to enjoy surfing smaller sluggish waves.

Around July of ’95, Gary 'Wizard' Loveridge decided to make me a 5’6" x 19'¾" x 2'¼" hand-shaped fish.

Gary's been shaping boards since 1968 and he had some ideas from his early years that he thought would work in this era. The 5'6" fish was one of them. It was also the refreshing change I needed to get that excitement back in my small wave surfing.

Gary’s step deck design allowed the rails to stay low yet still retain the volume needed in such a short board. The flat rocker in the forward three-quarters helped through the fatter more gutless waves and the late tail kick helped turn and fit in the suckier sections if needed.

I took this board to Bali in October ’95 and rode it at Halfway Kuta late in the afternoons after I’d been to the Bukit or after I’d come back from onshore Canggu, and I found myself enjoying the waves I’d promised myself I would never ride.

This was all before the retro/hipster fad that occurred after Donavan and Ozzie made appearances on single fins and bat wing twinnies sporting collared shirts and shit.

Late in December 1995, I rode my fish in the Avoca Pines Charity Classic. I never really did much good in contests, especially in tiny conditions. But this was different, I had my secret weapon for small waves! In the final I took out two of my good mates from North Shelly, Jason Harris and Daniel Haggerty, with Macs boy Joel Gribble in fourth.

Taking the win I recieved a 12 day boat trip on the late yacht Katika and as a reward for my fish I took her along for the ride.

hairy_jughead_laying_it_down.jpg"This feral Aussie character emerged from the Indo jungle with this old fish-style stick, and shocked the luxury boat charter crew by ripping it up with style" (Photo Grambeau/Deep)

After Gary made me his original fish model, his brother Duck and a few of the locals up here on the Central Coast of NSW had been using them in smaller waves and decided along with myself we’d take them to Sumatra where we tested them out in waves of all conditions, from two to ten feet. They were our go to boards when the waves were small or fat, however we found out that they were also really good all round boards. They worked well in anything. 

Before long we got addicted to riding them in all conditions, from two foot Bintangs to ten foot Thunders and everything in between. It became a one stop board for every wave up there. From chop hops to deep caves to drawn out lines, this thing was holding it in everything.

Even the punk Dave Neilson from Umina went on to win an Air Show event in shitty waves in Perth on his 5’4 Wiz Fish

As mentioned in an earlier Swellnet article, Global Surf Industries acquired Gary’s original fish design and released a stretched out version of it. They released it under their 7S label as the ‘Superfish' model and it went on to be one of the biggest selling board models in history.

21 years on and Wiz is producing the original version of his fish again.

Gary has a few in the racks now at his factory showroom and will be doing orders of these this summer.
Check 'em out at 465 The Entrance Road, Long Jetty, or phone (02) 4334-3987 business hours.

Comments

wildenstein8's picture
wildenstein8's picture
wildenstein8 commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 2:40pm

Solid surfer/shaper pairing there. 21 years and going strong.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 2:52pm

Jughead linked to the interview I had with Gary Loveridge from a few years ago which I recalled as being a really fun li'l conversation. At the time I got a kick out of the contrast between GSI's slick marketing and Gary's humble, suburban manner. I don't know, those kinda things always tickle me: the unassuming fella making good.

Reading it back my mind hasn't changed one bit, and it's unreal to see Jug - the "feral Aussie character" - revisiting those boards.

Also, as per above, two thumbs up for supporting your local shaper.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 3:05pm

Unreal. Erm Jug ...21 years later im not surfing as good as i was ....bullshit
Jug ..Cape Fear you blew minds around the globe .

science's picture
science's picture
science commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 10:29pm

Agreed; would've given Bierke a REAL good run for his money had he not been injured.
Not to discredit Russell, that kid's got his shit together.

Ever heard of Stanger Surfboards? Trying to identify a singlefin scored off ebay.

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 3:18pm

Good to see Gary still doing a few customs - I had a lovely custom board from him in the late 80's. Great rails

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 7:00pm

Good story jug

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 7:35pm

This might not be the most popular thing to say , but.....

I've had one of those 7S fish for over ten years and I still love riding it whenever I'm near it .

Goes well even with a bit more size, though it's not a winner in hollow waves for myself.

So that's a compliment to his Gary's shape in a fashion.

Great story regardless.

Let's him from you more often if you're inclined Jughead.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 19 Dec 2016 at 11:53pm

Good read and vid.

They look like they go alright 'eh?

Dave Nielson, wonder what he's up to?

Ignorance is Zen

feltz1's picture
feltz1's picture
feltz1 commented Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 at 8:36am

What a blast from the past! I was one of those Central Coast blokes on that trip. I witnessed Jug pulling in to 8ft barrels, 20m inside the reef. With Brock Little and his Hawaiian mates shaking their heads in disbelief. Awesome display of raw Central Coast underground talent both in surfing and shaping. I've been riding Wizstix for 20yrs and I still ride the fish to this day at my local break. I can't believe guys are wasting their time on other crap. These are the real deal fish surfboards. Everyone needs one in their quiver. They keep me surfing like a grommet. Gary's fish was in years before all the wanky metro-retro crap came into play. Gary (The Wiz) Loveridge is the most humble person you could ever meet and a top bloke, he shapes some of the best boards in Australia. Stop in and see him. Legend.

smicky21's picture
smicky21's picture
smicky21 commented Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 at 9:52am

When I met my wife 16 years ago she had one of Gary's fish's. It was about 10 years old then and I rode it to it's sad death..It had a monster looking character painted on it stomping on all these other boards....I was converted back then and I still am today.....These boards are amazing...I've had about 10 fishes over the years and everyone of them amazing... Whether it's 2 foot or 8 foot they work.. If you love your rail to rail surfing these boards are for you ...They generate a shit load of speed and turn on a dime. Gary's fish should be in everyone's quiver not any of this new modern shit that is all just driven by pure marketing dollars by the big board brands...Get in contact with the WIZARD and order one today as you won't be disappointed..You will enjoy your surfing even more

PT73's picture
PT73's picture
PT73 commented Wednesday, 21 Dec 2016 at 10:16pm

We all don't surf as great as we used to, however when I saw him the other day out in 3ft slop he was still surfing way better than I did in my prime at the same beach 21 years back!

Into the ocean I go, to lose my mind, but find my soul.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 at 8:34pm

I've been riding fishes for a long time. My current 'go to' board' is a Neil Luke 'fresh fish freak'. I'm a kneelo, don't hold that against me. The original 'fish' was shaped in 1967 by Steve Lis, a San Diego kneelo. He used to ride pintails but found his flippers hung over the side and created drag. He created a split tailed board(fish) with enough width to hold his flippers on the board. This gave him a board with twin pintails giving him the same characteristics of the pintails that he had been riding. Today's fish boards evolved from his designs.

Toppa

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 10:15am

toppa, those neil luke fresh fish boards look really good. it seems everybody who has one raves about them. i so want one!

Wiz has made a few kneeboards over the year...the ones i've seen were thruster, rounded pins. he must have made some fish, given it's a kneeboard design.

and i have a question...how come that board in the video gets called a fish? isn't that a swallowtail? where's the line between a swallow tail and fish? in the 70s i never heard a board called a fish, any board with a V out the tail was called a swallowtail. now it seems any board with a nick out the back seems to be called a fish.
some idiot congratulateed me on my nice fish the other day.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 10:19am

"and i have a question...how come that board in the video gets called a fish? isn't that a swallowtail? where's the line between a swallow tail and fish? "

Eh? Not following this. Fish surfboards have swallowtails; it's one of the prerequisites to the design.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 2:36pm

G'day chook, the swallow tail is the fish tail. Neill's boards are magnificent to ride. I also have a 6'1" 'freak" he shaped for me. I'm 54 and surfing as good if not better than when I was 34, and it's because of Neil's boards. I rode Mick Di Sascio Strapper twins in my teens, twenties and thirties, and they were great boards. Neil's designs have taken my surfing to a different level. Can't recommend them highly enough. He is from Philip Island down here in Vic, but is living in Sth America these days almost 60 and still ripping. Here is his website, check out his shapes. He is also very creative with fin selection which seems to get even more performance out if his designs. http://neillukekneeboards.com/

Toppa

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 10:23am

Chook, maybe he was admiring your board but congratulating your mullet?

Ignorance is Zen

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 11:17am

couldn't be a mullet issue -- on the same day someone yelled at me out of the blue "no wonder you're bald". i'm still trying to work that one out.

stu -- now you're doing it. this madness needs to stop!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 3:37pm

What am I doing?

Have I done something dumb? Overlooked the bleeding obvious...?

Honestly, at this time of year nothing appears obvious. I might read it again on the other side of the break and it'll all be crystal clear.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally commented Friday, 23 Dec 2016 at 4:51pm

I'm with chook, if I understand his point.
Doesn't a fish have a very wide tail, with the consequently very straightish rails in the back half?
At what point does the degree of taper in the back half plane shape of the board turn a fish back into a swallowtail?
While all fish are swallowtails, not all swallowtails are fish.

stoner's picture
stoner's picture
stoner commented Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 at 12:53pm

So who's selling one in WA?

PT73's picture
PT73's picture
PT73 commented Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 at 3:48pm

online http://shop.surfindustries.com/au/surf/fish/7s-super-fish-2-x2-surfboard...

or contact Wiz and he may ship a custom over to you?

Into the ocean I go, to lose my mind, but find my soul.