Flyer: Two Is Not A Prime Number

Stu Nettle

I’ve never been a fan of twin fins.

Owned many, ridden plenty, couldn’t get any of them to work. “They lack drive," I tell myself, and anyone else who cares to listen - which right now means you.

And it’s not my only complaint.

Turning options are limited, meaning arcs are shorter, they lack projection, while I feel kneecapped going backside and positively legless in big waves.

It’s a thorough list, no? 

So far, my conviction has been strong enough to withstand alluring clips from the likes of Rasta and Asher. Yeah, I admired their delayed bottom turns and footloose top turns but sagely attributed them to the pilot not the plane.

I theorise that pro surfers are clothes horses of a kind: instead of making duds look good, they make boards look good.

...but it did get me wondering about two fins.

Then this week I watched ‘Sway’, Josh Kerr’s wonderful new film, and was also granted a pre-screening of Torren Martyn’s sure-to-be-an-epic ‘Lost Track’. Both surfers are at the top of their game, yet in different ways: Kerr is always ultra-radical and tight to the pocket - except when he’s flying above it - while Martyn is all grace and flow as he pushes clean water off the rails or holds a line from deep.

Both are exclusively riding two fins, and they were ably supported by random punters riding twinnies in a clip of Lennox we ran on Swellnet earlier this week.

It felt like the arguments were stacking up against me. ‘Maybe I was wrong about the design?’ I began to wonder. ‘Perhaps rocker curves have changed over the years? Or maybe, just maybe, I’m not the pilot I thought I was…?’

Dark thoughts indeed.

But then a barbed li’l piece came in from Ding Alley writer, Gra Murdoch. A facetious, semi-spiteful takedown of twinnies and the people who ride them, and, for the time being at least, I went back to blaming the board.

- Stu

(Written with Reg Barton and his towering Gary McNeill twinny in mind)

Local Surfer Has No Idea What Long Twin Fin Doing Under Arm

First up, it's a cautionary tale from the pandanus-lined shore of Toonalook after local surfer Gordon Gallagher stopped on the steps, looked down at the board under his arm, and asked himself aloud: "Fuck me! What in God's name IS this thing?"  Enjoy more solid, unopinionated research from the Ding Alley team. Read More >

A Different High – Matt McGillivray and BASE jumping

In last week's installment of A Different High, Rod Dahlberg spoke of the gentle satisfaction he got from golf. This week's version comes from the other end of the speedometer: current world number nine, Matt McGillivray shares his love of leaping from tall objects and falling towards Earth. Read More >

The Australian national surf team unveils its new name

Yes, yes, slow news week, so I had to include a story on the national surf team and their new name, which was unveiled on Wednesday to a somewhat mixed reaction - many cheers at the press conference, more than a few jeers online. It's left field, no doubt about it, but 'Carn the 'kandjis' works for me. Read More >

Watch: Deep Water // Part 2

A slow news week it may have been, yet the vids came thick and fast. Tim Bonython dropped his much-anticipated clip of a no-name left, and if you haven't watched it yet then give it a click now. Read More >

Watch: Josh Kerr // Sway

And now, the aforementioned 'Sway' with Josh Kerr pushing micro twins - smallest board 5'3", largest 5'11' - into positions far beyond the twin fins' known safety zone. Read More >

Watch: Robo grovels like a boss

Could've picked a few vids to end on: John John's last surf before quarantine, or a clip of the best surfer not on the CT for instance, however this seems most apt. Jack Robinson going against type, ripping the bejezus out of small waves, which gives something to think about with the CT soon visiting Newy and Narra.  Read More >



bipola's picture
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bipola Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 2:00pm

i am 70 yrs, old and i love twin fins as they make me feel 20 yrs. younger and r lots of fun to ride

factotum's picture
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factotum Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 2:25pm

"Or maybe, just maybe, I’m not the pilot I thought I was…?"


garry-weed's picture
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garry-weed Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 2:53pm

Two's company? Twins suit some people, Derek Hynd, Dane Kealoha, Rasta, Gary Timperley, MR, etc etc. MP said they were bad for your back. Surely the resurgence is to do with a lack of interest in the elite driven hi-performance board which for the average surfer means bunny hopping till you get enough speed/drive/momentum to do a full turn. The low performance twins and fish are more forgiving in terms of rail to rail transitions and glide and are more satisfying for surfing the flat waves some of us have to surf. I am relieved that there are more options offered in both equipment and approach.....

fuggin_waffle's picture
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fuggin_waffle Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 3:24pm

I think your instincts serve you well, more often than not twinnie footage is shown in isolation, looks great when there's no thrusters around; "10 in the office, 6 out in the wild". Every now and then we're lucky enough to see footage where they are side by side (Northern Rivers clip, which I suspect was the catalyst for Ding Alley's great write up?) and the thrusters surf rings around the competition. Always found it a little odd that we focus so much on the number of fins in the board when what I imagine most people dig about the "twinnie" is the added volume in a shorter package with little to no rocker and forgiving rails.

Optimist's picture
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Optimist Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 3:42pm

There's not much Stu and I agree on but riding twins is one thing that's for sure. Perhaps beside the lack of drive which may have been partially overcome with the modern keels, there is a mystic attraction to the younger crew and also many old crew with short memories. This is an example...
Rob Machado to Al Merrick regarding a single fin....
“This is another board that I had to beg and plead to Al to make for me. He was really reluctant to “go backwards. He figured that we’d already been there and done that and we didn’t need to go back, but for guys like me that started surfing in ’83, single fins weren’t really part of our existence, so I felt like I needed to go there to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks, Al.
....For me though, a good thruster with a fairly pulled swallowtail or rounded pin on an open faced pointbreak is unbeatable due to both its hold and carve due to the drag of the tail fin. For someone who's favorite manoeuvre is the bottom turn this board is king to me on a point wall.
For hollow beach breaks and shallow reefs, a quad swallow or quad round pin is king for me especially on backhand the swallow quad with all flat inside foils rules.......Ahh the technology....
So in short."Stick your twinnies".

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memlasurf Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 4:00pm

I am old enough to have surfed them first time around in the early 80’s and on average waves you could turn them something not possible on a single. They had all the issues Stu mentions. My latest foray has been an eye opener as the little 5’6” I have is so much fun forehand and backhand from 2 to 4 foot. I have ridden thicker/wider/shorter thrusters and they were dogs with fleas: clunky and slower and not dynamic. Quads much better but feel railway tracky. Fin placement and fin shape and size seems to be the key which has unlocked them. No doubt high performance in the pocket surfing thrusters are great and they do go more vertical. But.... not being able to get my yearly fix of quality indo waves, advancing age, surfing a lot of rippy beachies in often average conditions, long wally sections to make, surfing with my 28 year old son and his mates and trying to hold my own (all mine have thrown in the towel and play golf or something) and the thought of 4/3 rubber in winter, a floaty, fast, fun manoeuvrable board is for me the way to go. To this end I ordered a step up to 6’2” rounded pin twin. Of interest is the fin placement which is further back and a bit closer together than in the olden days. Yes it’s an old farts board in many ways but they bring a smile to the dial and are waaay easier to paddle.

udo's picture
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udo Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 4:35pm

Twinfinning @ Lances Right - Morning of the Earth and Album twins
Yew !

Ellen's clam's picture
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Ellen's clam Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:01pm

Twins can be made to go as well as a thruster but not when shapers continually rehash the same designs that caused them to go extinct the first time.
Most of the throwback offerings are good for Insta posts and poncing around the car park but not much else.

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:10pm

Loosely goosey twins with the fins quite forward like the earlier type, get ho hum pretty quick. I've had a good look at the more modern performance twins, such as the album's. And the fin placement is much further back. I've always been critical of twin performance, but one I've been riding based more on these modern twins has really surprised me, and I've been frothing on it.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:24pm

That’s just your Oklahoma attitude Stu

Michael Bourne's picture
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Michael Bourne Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:26pm

"Or maybe, just maybe, I’m not the pilot I thought I was…?"


Fucking exactly facto.

Likewise, anywhere around the world, we can take and post videos of literally millions of absolute fucking gronks, gronking their fucking guts out on their latest gronkfest high tech thruster, quad, asymmetricals, you name it, whilst thinking they are cutting edge shredding, or, as stupe puts it getting 'rad', and even crapping their guts out about it in the one place they can, here.

"Or maybe, just maybe, I’m not the pilot I thought I was…?"

Or maybe you are just that, and so that's all you'll ever be.

I surfed a renown, revered wave for decades, a wave famous for its heaviness, along side, in fact inside numerous, famous, renown, revered, legendary surfers, and all who saw a ledge, back then, in his 'prime', on his specially customized MR twinny, payed tribute to, and were in awe of his surfing. Not 'prime' surfing, alpha surfing. His alpha barrel riding absolute bombs, and his alpha squared up, top to bottom, roundhouse, figure eight back foot attack, drew praise left right and center. Prominent board manufacturers and the big three offered numerous sponsorships. All were steadfastly refused. No shots, no stories. None. Custom MR Twinnies. Its all 'new'... fins back you say... So much input and thought in each board. 31/4". The likes of stupe, kimmy and gra, were well and truly enthusiastically banned back then. Absolutely banned. End of story. No story, no shots. The kids started all that shit, way after, well after his 'prime'.

His back went first, then the knees. He nearly had to stop surfing, well, he did for a while. Its so good for your health and fitness see. Welcome to the gym. A bit slack but. But with enough encouraging goading and prompting did enough to climb back in the saddle. Then he had to start to compromise his equipment. Les Norrish played a big, generous hand teaching him to shape, well, way after his 'prime'. No more twinnies.

In that era, we all surfed different boards. Another alpha ledge, a baker, surfed custom Greg Clough singles. No one was shocked or threatened by the use boards that satisfied their own, or others unique approach.

Why not question Terry Richardson more about his twinnie that thrashed all the thrusters in a barrel riding comp? For one. Or a world champ.

Why not put clips up of 'gra', and stupe, et al, so we can show the twinnie riders that they mock, what they are missing? All that, the 'radness' (as stupe puts his performances)... of all things... So we can really see ('seen' ya and raised ya ayyee) what they 'did' there?

No prize for guessing why. Back hand, forehand, pits, size? Stylemastering? Really...

So much confusion. Peak hour at maccas. Organic shit too... The old formula. Give them what they want, there's a quid in it. and a bottomless pit.

The magic board. Duds. Regaled to the shed rafters. Or Whitey's bargain rack. Gumtreed. Gumby's. Its a bargain... 5'8" 'step up' deserted storm, 2'3/8" or so... I think... who cares... 3, 4, 5, anyway... rad shit... in the big shit... really...

Goes good 'ere 'eavy shite... Not on that island but, facto and the d'j' stones haunt. No, not there... among other places...

Spuddy garnell's shed. Walls and roof, and the extensions. Merrick pop outs, awesome, surf the magic one to death, and just when it finally gets really magic, get a new, 'identical', raddo. Except. Gronks. See, there's these things call blanks. Identical... good luck with that. Mezza told Mozza its all them tiny details. Fuckin' foamin' bubbles. Noooooo... that way... get over there ya faaarrrkin'...!!! Not to mention the resin, cloth, all the equations. Touch ups too. The human element.

'Gidday, I'm after a quote on a new, bigger shed... wanna trade in some cheap boards... signed thrusters... they go unreal aaayyee but...'

Not to mention the Rawsons... et al... 'Yeh, thrusters aaayyee... go unreal aye... signed blanks but...'

'Nah, fffaaarkk ooorf 'seen' one that goes real rad on gummy, 1,000,000 or so on ebay too.'

If ya can't beat em... They got Horan too. He'd surf rings around 99.99% of the planet, anywhere, in his prime. Fuckin' gronks got 'im. Bad fur business aaayyee mmmaaaayyyteee...

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 9:25pm

Extra ! Extra ! Read all about it !

Ageing surfer caught in web of self delusion!
Barely average surfer over exaggerates his past ability during his sunset years! Now refers to people who surf better than he ever did as “gronks”! Mistakenly allocates respect for the past achievements of those around him to himself as his memory is replaced by wistful thinking!

Get your newspapers here! Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

PS- You ride twins do you lifty?
PPS- Damn those “kids” who keep on mentioning Blax on the internet. Maybe there’s something wrong with their self esteem so they’ve got to assume proxy status from a wave they surf( poorly)......lololol

Michael Bourne's picture
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Michael Bourne Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 6:27pm

You dodged it, shit ya pants that's all blow blow, you gutless, mysogynist coward. What's your name? Put it up, so we can see the reality behind your bullshit. You dodged it, chickened out. End of story. No story. No name chickenshit, runty little coward.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 6:46pm

Barely average surfer who never rode twinnies - but who habitually rode bloated McCoy Nuggets - goes online to harangue others about their board choices and cause they didn’t surf twinnies either :

Michael Bourne's picture
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Michael Bourne Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 6:49pm

Proven, gutless, no name coward. Completely dodged it. Still running. Chickenshit gronk. Never in doubt.

Spineless chickenshit. running around shitting his pants 24/7.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 at 10:23am

Fuck mate, take your meds before your mind explodes

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:40pm

“ I surfed a renown, revered wave for decades,”
Wouldn’t be blax would it by any chance?

stunet's picture
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stunet Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:46pm

Why use 10 words when 10,000 will do?

Love ya, Uppy.

RB's picture
RB's picture
RB Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 5:59pm

I’ve got a 7’0” twin that’s a game changer Stu. Feel free to ride it anytime.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 8:15pm

Twinnies are fun , but I still prefer thrusters.
On the lack of drive, I have ridden a few that have had plenty as far as speed goes. Had an MR twin that was fin humming-ly fast and pretty steady in the pit.. It was just a bit like a dog on lino when it came to pulling hard turns , great fun tho

bipola's picture
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bipola Saturday, 20 Mar 2021 at 10:47pm

ii still love my twin

Elliedog's picture
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Elliedog Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 at 8:32am

Fuck Michael... WTF???..

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 at 10:22am

Rift in the ranks chaps clearly some history between the two protagonists.

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 at 11:17am

Oh no the Bourne ultimatum is back

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 at 12:30pm

Tempted to buy one of these and Re plug it as a Twin / 7'4 with 52 litres

ruckus's picture
ruckus's picture
ruckus Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 10:11am

Hell yeah that would Fly, good find

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 at 12:41pm

I surfed 'Blax' once in 1996.

Only a handful out and some nice conditions for it.

I had to get out however when a seal popped out of the water a couple of feet from me just after I went prone off the back of a wave. Wondered what else was nearby and the paranoia was too much.

Guess I'm a chickenshit.

I was riding a thruster but......

Michael Bourne's picture
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Michael Bourne Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 8:15am

The twinny was long gone by 96 ringo.

One thing's for sure but.

Twinnies certainly, without any doubt whatsoever, don't have any problem getting ridiculously barreled in all sorts of surf. Big, sucky surf too. Bennie bolted quick smart. Faded into the background.

''Loose' is a good start.'

Wise 'ol Stupe' however.

'Twinnies give a nice, loose, skatey feel through turns, and a lovely little whip out of them when done right. They're very fast but are harder to control when the waves get bigger and suckier. Speaking of, they just plain suck in the barrel.

I reckon a quad gives you all the good aspects of a twinny without the downsides.

Quads> twin fins'

So to cling to that is pure, text book delusion. At best. Some might say willful ignorance.

I sat next to twinny ledge thinking nothing but surfing, absorbed by surfing, in that deluxe , awesome place for so long. Its all we lived and breathed. Saturated. in it. A surfer might think, what kind of surfer is suited to riding twinnies, as well as he did. As well as plenty do. Likewise with any board. And be absorbed by it. There are hints on here. Feelings.

Cam's NW vid is famous and rightly so. I saw cam get a pit from hell in WA. On a 10' board with a fin nearly as big as some peoples desert storm step ups. Only Cam new exactly why he wanted that, and he succeeded in making the plan reality. I also saw Dave Macauley and Mike McAauliffe get equally sick pits the same day. All on totally different boards, totally different approaches.

If surfing was music, here's twinny ledge's song.

This might be an Andy Irons for instance.

Sometimes they just get together, vibin' off each other.

Meanwhile where's that clip of stupe', and 'gra'. To show the twinny guys and girls how its really done. The 'stupe de gra' so to speak (ya 'seen' wot I dun there).

Chickenshits ringo? I surfed with seals most surfs. We knew some individually.

I gotta go train people.

aaron.daniel's picture
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aaron.daniel Tuesday, 23 Mar 2021 at 10:44am

my first fibreglass board MR fly tail twin age ten grade 4 at school,1981. loved it me mum bought it like a pair of shoes ,slightly too big
for me to grow into, had to surf it from the hip, later on tried a thruster ,had the drive from the foot n leg, not the twist in the hips,and 3years later bought one dalberg 5,10 channel semi swallow at 14, never looked back. im 49 now and happy without a twinny