Best Fish Surfboards – Our Top 5

Best Fish Surfboards – Our Top 5

Who fancies a little fishing – without the rod that is.

We covered off Longboards and Shortboards in earlier articles so its time to drop it down a notch again. While their overall designs and specs are different again to other surfboards, a fish isn’t that out of kilter in truth.

Fish surfboards actually came about from knee boards as they were designed to be wider and thicker relative to their length making them great fun in barrels. Over time though they developed into a specific style of surfboard altogether as they became more popularised amongst the broader surf community.

Their design is very similar to a swallow tail board making them responsive in terms of control and transitioning particularly in small wave conditions. They are not ideal for less experienced paddlers mind you so as a general rule of thumb, you start out on the longer boards and then progress down the line before you tackle a fish.

Best Fish Surfboards - A Selection on the Rack

Characteristics of a Fish Surfboard

All surfboards have specific characteristics which will impact the boards intended surfing style, conditions and performance. When we factor in the boards dimensions, weight, capacity, rigidity, design features, materials and the manufacturing processes, as well as a manufacturers own unique twist, the options are literally limitless.

Fish surfboards as well as some of their hybrid variations, take on the following characteristics:

  • Typically + or – 6’ in length
  • Low profile or very little front rocker
  • A little thicker than a short or fun board
  • Wider through the body when compared to a shortboard
  • Highly configurable in terms of fin setup
  • Normally have a recognisable swallow or fish shaped tail
  • Fuller rails owing to the thickness and volume of the board
  • Wider nose as compared to a shortboard
Male Surfer on a Fish Cutting Back on Wave

Pros and Cons of Fish Surfboards

Surfing on a fish isn’t really a lot different to surfing on any other board. There are pluses and minuses to all surfboards and a lot comes down to not only your ability but also the type of surfing you are after as well as the conditions on the day.

  • Perfect for small, mush and softer waves
  • Easier to paddle out on
  • More manoeuvrable than a longboard
  • Greater width and body making for comfortable pop-ups and stability
  • Holds speed well in small / messy conditions
  • Will put you into waves quicker and easier in weak surf conditions
  • Great transition board between long and short surfboards
  • More challenging for beginner surfers
  • Not as fast as a shortboard owning to the greater volume
  • Tougher to duck dive under waves (volume)
  • Not for the overweight or unfit
  • Can’t perform as many tricks or manoeuvres as compared to a shortboard
<< Keen to mix it up a little? Our Beginners Guide to Skimboarding is definitely worth a read >>

Time to go Fishing

If you are in the market for a new board or would like to take a look and some of the latest fish on offer, then the below recommendations might just be for you.

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Paragon Surfboards Retro Fish
  • Length: 5’10”
  • Width: 20.75”
  • Thickness: 2.5”
  • Volume: 36.5 Litres
  • Capacity: 160 lbs
  • Construction: Polyurethane (PU)
  • Fins: Detachable Twin FutureFins + Fin Key
  • Leash: Not Included
Paragon Surfboards Retro Fish

Also available as a 6’0” board (made from Epoxy + Carbon Fibre / Innegra), Paragon’s Retro Fish is a high performance board that is well suited to intermediate and seasoned surfers albeit not for heavier riders owning to its rated weight carrying capacity. With a shallow front rocker and chunky fat and flat mid-section, the board is designed and built for speed particularly in smaller surf conditions.

Constructed from a high quality polyurethane (wrapped in 6 oz fibreglass and a polyester resin), the Retro Fish is both light and extremely strong and durable and has proven to perform in a wide variety of wave conditions. On the underside is a single to double bottom concave with two FutureFins to enable quality manoeuvrability and dynamic turns.

South Bay Board Co. 6’ Mahi Hybrid Surfboard
  • Length: 6’0”
  • Width: 22.0”
  • Thickness: 2.75”
  • Volume: 50 Litres
  • Capacity: 220 lbs
  • Construction: EPS Foam / Fibreglass & Epoxy Resin
  • Fins: 4-Fin Quad System – FutureFins + Fin Key
  • Leash: 6’ Straight Ankle
South Bay Board Co. 6’ Mahi Hybrid Surfboard

It‘a no secret that SBBC are one of our favourite water-sports and board manufacturers to which their Mahi Hybrid surfboard is a great example as to why. With the intermediate to experienced surfers in mind, the Mahi has great buoyancy so can comfortably cater for larger and heavier surfers. Designed in the traditional fish surfboard shape, with a slightly rounded thruster nose and widened chest area for easier pop-ups, the board has a loose feel and can be easily manoeuvred in the smallest of waves.

Design features include: mild nose rocker to prevent pearling with a flatter tail rocker for better speed plus hard rails for cleaner transitions. On the underside is a single concave running from the nose out to a slight V-exit at the tail along with a responsive set of Quad FutureFins. At the core of the board is a light-weight EPS closed-cell foam, and a single I-Beam wooden stringer which is sandwiched between upper and lower deck bamboo wooden sheets. With hand tapered rails, a top deck heat release valve, glass hard bottom deck and South Bay Board’s signature wax-free foam soft top deck and non-slip rubber die cut logo, the Mahi definitely sets itself apart from other run of the mill fish.

BIC Sport DURA TEC 5’10” Fish Surfboard
  • Length: 5’10”
  • Width: 20.5”
  • Thickness: 2.60”
  • Volume: 35 Litres
  • Capacity: 155 lbs
  • Construction: DURA TEC (EPS Foam + PU Skin)
  • Fins: 3x FCS M5 Thruster Fins
  • Leash: Not Included
BIC Sport DURA TEC 5’10” Fish Surfboard

Part of Tahe Outdoors, BIC Sports are a well reputed manufacturer of quality water sports boards, kayaks and sailing equipment. The 5’10” Fish surfboard is part of their DURA TEC range of boards which uses proprietary technology. Made in France, DURA TEC manufacturing is a process where a molded, watertight EPS foam inner core is sandwiched between a tough outer polyurethane skin for extreme impact resistance. With a high gloss finish, the board also has an integrated embossed EVA foam deck pad for better comfort and traction as well as a FCS M5 Thruster Fin set to maximise manoeuvrability and performance.

As an affordable entry-level board, this Fish is suitable for small children who are still finding their feet through to lighter weight adults who are looking for a responsive board that will get you into small waves early so you can make the most of them. At less than 10 lbs, this is a very light-weight easy to ride board that won’t leave you wanting.

Catch Surf Odysea Lost 5’5” Fish Surfboard
  • Length: 5’5”
  • Width: 20.0”
  • Thickness: 2.5”
  • Volume: 42 Litres
  • Capacity: 185 lbs
  • Construction: Dual Composite Core / PE Deck
  • Fins: 3 x Hi Performance Thruster Fin Set
  • Leash: Not Included
Catch Surf Odysea Lost 5’5” Fish Surfboard

While serving as a great board to help the kids find their feet, the 5’5” Odysea Lost is best suited for intermediate to advanced surfers who are looking for a responsive ride that can tackle the knee high sloppy beach breaks and then some. With its iconic rounded nose, the board packs plenty of float making it easy to paddle and pop-up on. Offering plenty of forgiveness and designed to perform well in varied surf conditions, this is a really well-balanced Fish that will not break the bank.

Features include: a detachable 3 x thruster fin system to aid manoeuvrability and feel. The board is constructed with a stiff dual composite core reinforced by a triple wooded stringer for added rigidity and strength with a soft PE deck and high-density PE slick bottom for greater glide. This is nicely complemented by the underside concave mid-section which pulls out to a V as it hits the winged swallow tail which rounds out an aesthetically eye catching board.

South Bay Board Co. 6’6” Fish Beef Pro Surfboard
  • Length: 6’6”
  • Width: 22.75”
  • Thickness: 3.0”
  • Volume: 52 Litres
  • Capacity: 240 lbs
  • Construction: EPS Foam / Fibreglass + Carbon Fibre
  • Fins: FCS Fins (Quad Set + Center Fin) + Fin Key
  • Leash: 6’ Straight Ankle
South Bay Board Co. 6’6” Fish Beef Pro Surfboard

SBBC have stepped it up a notch here with their 6’6” Fish Beef Pro. With some serious weight carrying capacity, this is one for the big boys who want to surf smaller waves with more speed and style. The larger outline, thicker more beefy body and rails allows for maximum stability and controlled speed to glide through fatter chunky waves with ease. With a highly configurable fin set up, the board can be easily tweaked to suit a variety of surf conditions.

Features include: mild nose rocker to prevent pearling and tail rocker for softer feel; classic swallow tail for drawn out turns; subtle double concave through the tail and greater volume distribution to aid buoyancy when paddling. The board is constructed with a light-weight closed cell EPS foam core with a single I-Beam that runs from nose to tail on both upper and lower decks. The carbon fibre wrapped rails and dual layers of 6 oz fibreglass sheets strength the board yet again. CNC precision shaped and topped off with a layer of cherry burl wood to improve durability and heat resistance, this board is aesthetically eye catching making it a brilliant addition to all surfers wish lists.

If you’ve found your feet and locked down the basics, then fish surfboards are a great way to take it to the next level and make the most out of smaller and less extreme surf conditions. A really nice way to pick up a few more skills and build up the confidence before you join the line up out back and brave it in the bigger stuff.

Start up a conversation and leave a comment below. We’d love to get your thoughts so don’t be shy.

Until then, stay safe and get wet.

2 thoughts on “Best Fish Surfboards – Our Top 5”

  1. Great to read your perspective. I did exactly as you said when I started surfing, I started on a long board 8’2″, bought a bigger shortboard 7’4″ and eventually bought a Fish 6’6″ as my skills improved. Height and size is key for me – I’m 6’2″ so the South Bay 6’6” Beef Pro looks appealing. Thanks for suggesting – will check it out.


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