The least glamorous surfboard in the world : Review

Blowin's picture
Blowin started the topic in Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 11:10am

The saying goes that there’s no such thing as a bad surfboard.

A board might appear bad cause it’s paired with the wrong rider or maybe the wrong waves , but it’s maintained that all boards are legitimate in their own right. Whilst this may be true , it’s also true that all boards are not loved equally. For a surfer’s love of surfboards goes beyond mere practicality. Surfers love surfboards because they trigger emotions.

A pro model short board carries the promise of cutting edge performance levels . The niche shaper’s retro fish bears the bloodlines of high lines spanning decades of country soul . The eighties thruster contains the wild spirit of a reckless era within its clunky volume.

The brown seventies single fin , the glossy malibu and the core shaper’s specialised tube spear all represent an emotional attachment for the surfer which is greater than the sum of its physical manifestation and it’s literal interpretation of surfing.

These boards all conjure an attitude and a spirit which adds a romantic element to the idea of the ride. A palpable quality which lends surfers to idolise boards throughout history.....Sam . Black Beauty. The Stickerless reverse V. The low volume magic slipper.

Collectors pay dearly for this intangible metric of soul. Performance levels rise on the confidence attributable to this unquantifiable notion.

Surfboards are not loved equitably as a result. Not all surfboards possess the MAGIC which attracts awe.

Nowhere in the history of surfing has this been more glaringly obvious than when one contemplates the Global Surf Industry’s 7S Super Fish. .....6’0” * 20 1/4 * 2 5/8 .



There is no love in the world for the 7S.

It’s backstory is all wrong for a start. Conceptualised as a mass produced board by a faceless corporation. Manufactured by automation and a workforce to whom surfing is an abstract and foreign activity . Sold globally without regard to local surf conditions or rider sensibilities.

The Global Surf Industry 7S Super Fish is the surfboard equivalent of beige brand X tracksuit pants from a big box retailer. Unappealing to the fashion conscious, disagreeable to the discerning consumer.

A slap in the face to the mystique of the shaper as guru.

And yet.....and yet the 7S Super Fish works.

As stated....there’s no such thing as a bad surfboard.

Good luck getting people to swallow that line when they’re eyeing a brown decked 7S whose bottom bears regular disfiguring craters and whose every point and rail is subject to dings of varying degrees of poor quality repair.

Not that the condition matters. The 7S was uninspiring when it was brand new.

I still vividly remember when I first laid eyes on it 15 years ago. I’d suddenly found myself riding low period beach breaks for the first time in years and I was completely unequipped for the waves on offer. Everyone was going Full Litmus and so I found myself caught up in the Fish Movement.

But there was no animated discussions with foam covered shapers for me. No earnest paring down of requirements with the local foam sage in order to establish just which form of fish I should ride. It was straight to the nearest board retailer and grab the first fish I laid eyes on .

So I came to be in possession of a Super Fish.

It was the first board I’d ever bought which I wasn’t completely enamoured with. Perhaps it was because the 7S was more functional than anything else. I needed it to be able to ride the waves available. It’s not like I was unlocking unimagined realms of performance , rather it was pure utilitarianism. And that’s some unromantic shit.

Eyeing the board in the racks , it wasn’t sexy or impressive. It was a case of that’ll do , hit the cash register and get the fuck out.

Thankfully the board worked as it said on the packet.

Catching waves with ridiculous ease. Gaining speed immediately and racing through the deadest of sections. Unsexy it may be , but the 7S opened up an entire new world of surfing.

Suddenly the tiny waves became rideable , the high tide sessions were tenable and the disjointed and lumpen fare most regularly served on East coast beachies wasn’t just palatable....it was delicious.

Soon I was riding the 7S exclusively.

Days when I’d have previously not surfed due to low quality waves became days at the fun park. I’d actually see forecasts of meagre surf stretching into the future and become excited. So many breaks which I’d viewed as unthinkably bad became spots to relish.

By this stage I was surfing alone virtually every session. The leg rope was gone. It was crap beach break every day and some of the most enjoyable days surfing I’ve experienced.

Walking from the place I was staying through Bush tracks to the secluded little breaks which surround the area. I’d see no people. Just board shorts and the board under my arm. A backpack with some water , a tin of food , some fruit and enough scoobs to ensure that I was stoned from go to whoa. Surf , chill on the beach getting baked and renourishing , then back out again.

I started to crush on the 7S super fish.

But no one else could even begin to conceive of the beauty hidden within it’s Plain Jane exterior.

One day I had a few friends come up for a surf trip. We all took a few appropriate fun boards down to an isolated little spot hidden amongst the littoral rainforest. Laying all the boards on the sand , we swapped and shared. Comparing and contrasting.

But not once did the 7S get ridden.

Passed over for the funky seventies single with the deep flyers. Overlooked for the flashy graphics of the eighties thruster .

The 7S was not sexy. Not new and lustrous, not yet an antique. It held no modern promise nor any bygone nostalgia.

It was the most unglamorous surfboard on the planet.

Unrepentant, I continued to love the 7S.

The upside was speed , speed and more speed. The fastest board between two points that I’ve ever ridden . It chews through flat water and high lines impossible sections. No rocker and no planshape curve is conducive to this. It’s all about projection. It’s a beautifully stable platform over which to centre in weak waves .

Downside was that carving is virtually impossible. It’ll turn no worries . Turn on a dime . Sitting on a rail for an extended period just isn’t viable.

It also hates the tube more than any board I’ve ever ridden. The Super Fish does not want to sit in a barrel of any power. It doesn’t enjoy turning in the pocket.

It turns out that the most unloveable board on Earth still has a lot to offer. Fifteen years on and the thing is still in respectable condition considering it gets treated with utter contempt. It’s never been in a boardbag and if there’s multiple boards going in the car it’ll be the 7S copping the wax all over it’s planing surface. For a board pumped out of a factory in Thailand it’s surprisingly durable. The deck is hardly dented. I’ve had many boards which have looked worse after several surfs.

In conclusion, I’d recommend a 7S any day of the week. It may be sneered at by the surfing cognoscenti and it may be as sexy as a dirty nappy , but they are cheap and they’re available. With the world looking economically unsteady and the threat of climate change still pending due to over exploitation of the planet’s resources, there is much worse things you could do for yourself and the environment than to source a board for next to nothing from the 2nd hand markets online . Just cause a board is cheap , dinged and unloved doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 1:44pm

Fun facts about the 7S :

1/ It’s been ridden stoned more often than straight.

2/ It’s ridden more often without than with a leg rope.

3/ It’s been used to go left approximately 5 times in 15 years.

4/ It was being ridden when I came the closest I’ve ever come to being attacked by a shark whilst surfing. ( That I’m aware of ).

5/ The deck sticker isn’t on straight.

What are you waiting for ? Go get a piece of shit Ugly Duckling surfboard .

You don’t wanna be left out.

https://youtu.be/ATkGvU8o0J8

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 12:58pm

"Conceptualised as a mass produced board by a faceless corporation. Manufactured by automation and a workforce to whom surfing is an abstract and foreign activity . Sold globally without regard to local surf conditions or rider sensibilities."

Close but not quite.

Say g'day to the Wiz AKA Garry Loveridge AKA designer of the 7S Superfish.

https://www.swellnet.com/news/talking-heads/2013/10/23/garry-loveridge-australias-most-successful-shaper

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 1:24pm

what the hell its time this got another airing - talking about boards that work, well here is Chief's story of boards that didn't https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CQjz0kLRf4

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 1:48pm

Stu....such a great interview.

The story is even better when it comes full story like that : unassuming shaper designs unassuming board which just fucken works.

And now they’re floating around the internet for $100 each .

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 2:14pm

'It has the perception of being an entry level board.
Yeah, but it wasn’t a beginner's board or anything like that. You know, guys were using them in the Mentawais, my brother tested it out at 8 foot Angourie before Global had it. He was getting more waves than Baddy and all the locals up there. '

Yes i remember it well,couldn't believe he was getting so many good waves on that beast....was a beast back then seeing as most boards were 18 to 19 inches wide probably 11 inch nose and that thing was 20 wide from memory and 6-2 i think...i borrowed it off a friend of his for a couple surfs but found it hard to wrap my head around the alien shape....but he proved it worked in solid anga....

simba

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 2:15pm

Cheers. I called Wiz again last year for the story I did on Levi Jones, and he remembered that interview fondly. That made me smile.

Also, one more piece of the puzzle, this time from Jughead:

https://www.swellnet.com/news/design-outline/2016/12/19/jughead-and-the-history-the-wiz-fish-video

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 2:38pm

That’s classic , Stu.

Just goes to show where presumptions get you. Whether it’s dreaming of the latest big label model or hating on a board because it’s regarded as a pop-out .....you never know for sure till you’ve ridden them for yourself.

Good to hear that there’s others out there who dig the Super Fish. I’ve only really experienced eye rolls and disdain when I’ve shown mine to crew. They view it as a literal progression of the KFC coolite without seeing it perform or riding it themselves.

Need a 7S support group where we can all hug it out and cry on each others shoulders over tales of encountering car park experts hating on our boards.

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 3:10pm

"There's no such thing as a bad surfboard"

Seen a few shockers, particularly early 90's potato chip boards.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 3:13pm

Give that beast a $2 white rattle can paint job a $6 twin sticker Dragon pack from M.R.
and the Haters be drooling over it..

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 3:29pm

Funny how Blowin always blacks out his face, but shredding, sure Blowin's not Kong, got some chunk to him.

Ive never ridden one of these, but i did buy a cheap second-hand one for an Indo mate an all red one, but i dont think he ever used it, i might have to dig it out and give it a go next Indo trip was pretty chunky though, damn ugly shape too, but can see how it would paddle and grovel well.

I hate the whole image of mass produced surfboards, but i do really like the idea of being able to get the exact same board, if you snap one, just get another and often no difference.

I do hate the lack of individuality though, i actually gave two of my fav genetic boards full 80s sprays the other month to give them some personality..

If anyone wants to do it properly.

1. Give the board a real good clean (foam dust or even flour), once all wax is off i give it a good rub down with jiff and wash it all off, got to get rid of evert single bit of wax (citrus cleaners are good to)

2. light sand just to give a slight bit of grit/teeth to it and doublely sure no wax or grime

3. Give it a spray with an all surface primer, just one to two quick coats, not too thick, i use "norglass all surface primer" this paint ensures the best bond possible, even sticks to glass or tiles.

4. A few coats of a decent acrylic spray paint (low sheen or satin, IMHO gloss looks cheap) just a few light coats rather than going to thick at once.

5. A few coats of a clear UV resistant finish again satin is best not too glossy as shows up imperfections etc

Bit of effort especially if stencilling and masking up between colours etc, but do it like this and it generally won't scratch, as nothing worse than boards that are sprayed and start getting that scratched look and look cheap and tacky.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 3:30pm

That was an epic review Blow in and I love how it led to new information about the 7S. Gold, fellas.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 6:21pm

Loved it, fantastic review. Good surfing pics too!
A mate has/had a 7S, and it's actually very decent. The shaper is to be commended, it's an all round good design that works in everyday conditions, much like the Toyota Corolla.
My own surfing on the 7S, had a few gos. With modern deck/rails, lower rocker it enters into waves way better than 70's craft which were formerly the way to get volume, at least when the 7S was released. It'll feel like a thruster of the time - only wider and more stable. For some that's a tick. Although Blowin says it projects, that's relative and I know other designs that will massively project. But it's OK.
Prediction: these will go classic. It's a shared experience now, the post 1990 board, made easy. Fast forward a few years and the Hypto Krypto took this formula shorter, and with a widepoint forward, to crazy mass success.

Sort of related, from around the same time, the last hot Corolla with the 2ZZ-GE:

https://www.caradvice.com.au/owner-reviews/2005-toyota-corolla-sportivo-...

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 8:30pm

Blowin, throwing buckets as a natural in this thread but getting tubed as a goofy in the photo thread?!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 9:36pm

Indo....cheers for the DIY paint tips.

I’ve got a couple of special boards which aren’t the prettiest things around anymore even though they’ve still got legs. Might even give it a go.

Goofy ....haven’t we been through this already ? Switch.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Saturday, 11 Apr 2020 at 9:47pm

Probably. Either way that’s epic

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 5:45am

Fark, I have one of those suckers in the shed. I fixed it up for a mate just before the lockdown. Might have to take it for a sly surf when all this is over.
Agree with the MR sticker theory as well.
By the way, I finish all the boards that I don’t gloss coat with a can of White Knight Acrylic Clear Satin from Bunnings. I probably should get some kind of spray gun set-up eventually but that shit is the duck’s nuts.

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 7:17am

Nice honest review Blowin. I'd always regarded them with contempt, mostly because of the fact they were imported. Hanging with some crew at the beach one day,tiny surf didn't bother taking my board down, just letting the kids splash around in the shorey. The guy there had 2 of them, beat to shit, been around Australia on the top of the troopy, no covers, even came off the roof, so you can imagine the state they were in. As you do, started seeing a few little surfable sections while we were chatting, so we grabbed a board each and went for a quick paddle. From the 1st wave the thing just lit up. I went from being, "well, this will be interesting", to frothing all over the 1-2ft lineup. Surprised to say the least, but still hate imports.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 8:11am

Yep thoroughly enjoyed also.
On my transition back to short-boarding I bought a local shaper performance fish nearly 10 years ago, this decision was influenced by reading reviews of boards like the 7S s'fish.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 1:19pm

If anyone wants one in there quiver 6.4 x 20 5/8 x 2 1/2 - good nick
$120.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 1:35pm

You selling, Udo? I'd bite, if i weren't stuck in NZ for the foreseeable future.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 12 Apr 2020 at 1:44pm

Na saw it on facey marketplace Byron shire..buy it and let it rest with stored D.S. until you come over / NZD pretty much parity eh..

D-Rex's picture
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D-Rex commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 8:43am

Great review by the shy, retiring, humble athlete known as Blowin. Suggest Swellnet be re-named 'Blownet', not only in recognition of his modest and unassuming character, but in an attempt to encourage this introvert to be less reticent to contribute to the forums in future.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 8:44am

Great review by the shy, retiring, humble athlete known as Blowin. Suggest Swellnet be re-named 'Blownet', not only in recognition of his modest and unassuming character, but in an attempt to encourage this introvert to be less reticent to contribute to the forums in future.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 8:48am

Thanks, Udo.

It's a good idea, but it'd have to involve people going out of their way to lend a hand, and I'm not going to ask anyone to do that now :-)

Would be the perfect board to leave at the father-in-law for the occasional visit, though.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
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philosurphizing... commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 8:52am

Pretty sure I saw the ex pro surfer with the most gougingest bottom turn ever (Ron Ford) surfing a 7S fish at Crescent a few years back.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 12:07pm

Thanks for the input , D Rex.

I appreciate your feedback . Just so I don’t miss any more of your intriguing insights, here’s where you can register it in the future.

https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/491387

I focus's picture
I focus's picture
I focus commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 3:37pm

Great review Blowin, all talented surfers can make any brick shape look good reckon you could be one of them.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 13 Apr 2020 at 4:14pm

Cheers , I Focus .

I appreciate the kind words.

Unfortunately I am just a punter and the beauty of the board is that it enables even myself to ride sub-par surf.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 12:52pm

Anyone want a 7s fish - 6.0 X 20 1/4 X 2 5/8 - $50
Gumtree Manly