Webber Mini Fish in SLX technology

Don't adjust the pic it really is this squashed and fat- the Mini Fish.. Rules!

Don't adjust the pic it really is this squashed and fat- the Mini Fish.. Rules!

The mini fish, well where do I start.  Aimed at intermediate to advanced surfers. Not one for beginners – stick to the mals, mini mals, and bigger boards peeps. Intermediate in my book means your doing turns and starting to look at creating your own speed.

Described by Webber as a board with the glide, drive and paddling ability of a retro twin but the turning of a hi-performance thruster.

If  your intermediate or better, and your in a hurry or have a short attention span, then yep, it does exactly that… go buy one for Summer junk, you will not regret it.

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Do it DO IT DO IT!

 

HOWEVER if your sitting at work, bored and looking for something to read instead of doing mundane office work then read on….

Looking at it’s plan shape it doesn’t look too bad. Pretty pulled out template but nothing approaching obese. Quite sexy really, but then….

Then you look at it’s rocker line and almost laugh. The thing is thick, no, fat as fuck to put it bluntly. To most people they’d write it off right there! Put it back in the rack. Back away slowly whilst whistling. Hoping no one saw them considering this chunky ugly little play thing as a serious ride.

 

However if you can look passed it’s oversized form and check out it’s underneath, it’ll make you shiver. The bottom contours on this baby are something else. Smoother and more beautiful than a Reef girl’s butt (well not really but I needed a metaphor), this thing is “blended” to quote Gregg.  A huge double concave starts from the first 1ft to the last 1ft. It then blends out  to the tail and through the….. er… fins.  The fins, I think thats what they are. These things are about 8 inches high, red and flex more than………. well……. something really flexible. They also hurt if you fall on them when trying mad shit… eh Gav?

Mini fish bottom bits

So enough funny shit, how does it go?

Dimensions & Construction —–    Board I have is 5’9 x 20 1/2″ x 3 1/8″ in SLX. SLX is an Epoxy/fibreglass shell over a pretty light but dense EPS core. So the thing is light for it’s girth, and very solid. There is also a 3/4 deck patch too and the rails are lapped over a few times. All giving extra strength where needed.

The fin plugs have extra dense foam inserts as well to give the FCS plugs better resiliance. The side fins have 3 plugs rather than 2, which gives extra strength for those massive red blades. There’s also a centre fin set-up for a trailer fin.

Performance    –       First surf was at Porto Do Mos on the softish right reef break there. Very long sectioning waves. Pretty fat faces too. Quite setty, so average wave about waist to chest high, sets overhead but every 15 minutes or so.

Paddle out, felt like I was paddling with just my finger tips. This thing is super bouyant. You have to lay pretty high up it because of it’s length too. However speeds out when paddling, duckdiving needs a little extra push to get it deep. All in all felt bouyant but good.

Catching waves was a doddle, barely a stroke needed to pick up anything. Felt like a good board to tackle crowds with if you get what I mean.

Straight off the bottom turn, huge drive. No waiting for the board to come with you, just sheer down the line squirt, like a magic trusty thruster. Top turn after that felt a little twitchy and slidey. Well it is a twin. However after a few more waves, you start to tune into it. At first thought you may have to flatten out your surfing, so nothing vertical just linking turns and speed lining it.

However went back to the beach to get out the Trailer fin. I’m a big bloke and heavily backfooted. So this should sort it out. Next surf was definately better. This thing will get vertical no problem. Roundhouses, just whip through with ease. It’ll really hold and whip out of the turn thanks to those massive fins and that bottom.

Laid on a rail and the MF grips gooood!

Laid on a rail and the MF grips gooood!

The speed of this thing is mental too. Mos is usually a 3 sectioned right hand wave, everyone favouring the final section. However on the MF I could paddle over to the deepest section and just blitz straight round or float over them. I’m grinning like an idiot now.

That was early Feb 09, and I’ve been on it since. It’s my go to board for anything weak and onshore or junky. However anything overhead and this thing freaks out a little. Maybe a bigger trailer fin would sort it out, but I’d rather be using my regular shortboard. So all these great things being said about this board. If the surf suits I’d rather be on my Bufo MK. So the Mini-fish will never be better than a hi performance thruster but it gets bloody close. However try your shortboard in junk and there’s no question that the MF will outsurf it.

Durability – After 4 months of heavy use, it’s holding up well. Deck has light compression but nothing to worry about. Still light and reactive. Fins a little damaged thanks to rocks and sand during some shorey action. However seems a solid board.

So conclusion is exactly how I started this blurb. It does exactly what Webber wanted it to do. It does surf very similarly to a thruster but with the glide and speed of a retro twin. It’s by far the best small wave groveller board I’ve ever ridden, it’s tons of fun, but can be difficult to reign in a little when waves have a lot of push. You’ll never get a board that’ll give you enough float in weak waves but hold well in decent solid waves, but I think this board is the closest you’ll get.

So go on ride a little fat thing which I promise will give you tons of fun 

Big A's disguise was good but not his typical choice of ladies

Big A's disguise was good but not his choice of lady not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to hear and see this board in the hands of it’s creator click on this http://www.youtube.com/swf/l.swf?swf=http%3A//s.ytimg.com/yt/swf/cps-vfl99456.swf&video_id=CpA6eBDYQiY&rel=0&eurl=&iurl=http%3A//i4.ytimg.com/vi/CpA6eBDYQiY/hqdefault.jpg&sk=xUuPqGgXe7spIW4cGLS2GxP8c4Xbo-IiC&fexp=900037%2C901709&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&feature=&cr=US&avg_rating=5.0&length_seconds=346&allow_ratings=1&allow_embed=1&title=Webber%20SLX%20Mini%20Fish=player_embedded&fs=1″></param><param

PitPilot article

Here’s an artice I recently wrote for PitPilot magazine May/June 09 issue in the UK

Pitpilot article

 

Here’s a readible version of the text -

Jez Browning -32, Surf instructor, and self confessed surf junky from tender age of 5. Gets his fix by researching, touching, holding, and finally riding (oh yes, he said riding) new boards and fins whilst wearing the latest most flexible rubbers (wetsuits)! It’s a craving usually fulfilled daily at work (www.surfexperience.com) in Portugal, or by uploading his thoughts and test results to his site www.kudossurf.wordpress.com

 

December 5, 2005, we as surfers should drink to that date. That was when Gordon “Grubby” Clark, of clark foam, shut his doors for good.End of Clark’s monopolistic grasp on surfboard evolution. Hurrah!! This started the “new better materials for surfboards” race. It’s been going for a few years now and already were reaping the benefits. Aviso’s, Bufo’s, Firewire’s, Surftech’s are all the positives from it so far. Here’s what I think we can expect soon; Sustainability – A fully recyclable board or one made from green materials. The Eden board is 50% there. This will get closer to 100%. Bufo’s are 100% downcyclable, meaning they can recycle the foam and use the rest for something else such as fire extinguishers. But nothing I know of is 100% recyclable. Already there are boardies made from plastic bottles. Lokbox/101 are making Bamboo fins which have only proved positive so far. Maybe a board from Bamboo will be perfected. Why can’t our boards be greener? The High performance market is going to be adding a new dimension on their boards. Flex. New materials such as carbon and exotic foams are already giving us boards with “pop”. The perimeter flex (parabolic stringer) boards such as Firewire, Quiver, JS Paraletics are giving boards with better drive and “loading up” properties . Al Merrick/Burton’s highly secretive “Skunk Works” department have only released the Double Helix technology so far which is surprising to me. With Burton’s expertise from the snowboard industry, I reckon something pretty significant will be coming out soon. I think flex characteristics will give us a more kinetic board.Bufo and their Hydroflex technology are pretty much there. As we load it up with body torque, the board will give back when needed leading to more drive, tighter, faster turns and higher freakier airs. This speed will allow waves deemed unrideable to be conquered too. Universal, efficient shapes – Curran started it, Slater is pushing it, who will finish it? Slater already sneeked a peek into future shapes with his god like performance at Pipe on a 5’11..er…thing! Rather than a quiver of specialist boards, we’ll just have one for knee high to double overhead. Maybe bigger. Shapers are realising whats needed and taken away the rest of the board. Jeff Alexander realised this 15+ years ago with his twin nosed Gemini Speed Freak. Other more well known shapers have cottoned on to this too with the Lost Rocket and Meyerhoffer longboards as prime examples. Maybe we’ll be riding switch soon, so double ended shapes could pop up again, possibly finless. Cole is experimenting with some crazy boards such as the BD3. Sadly any new technology that doesn’t get used on the WCT guys gets written off. They’re so finely tuned to their boards that any major change would make or break they’re career! What they’re riding anyways won’t work for you. So next time you see a 5’0 x 20″ x 3″ double ended, squash nose/tail, with parabolic, triple concave, 6 bamboo finned punt stick. Don’t laugh, ask for a go, it could well be that “magic” one.

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