25 May 2008

Fish Quest, Part 2

Today's flat surf expedition was to cool and cloudy Santa Cruz to continue the search for a fish. Having decided I want to go a bit shorter than my 5'8" shortboard, the shopping became much quicker: walk into the store and look for something about my height, usually a small subset (if any) of the available boards.

After some web window-shopping, I'd also gotten pretty much set on another Xanadu, the Rocket Fish, which I found at the first stop, the Santa Cruz Surf Outlet on the Westside. They had the burgundy/yellow/white board in 5'6" with a sad scratch on the deck. Comparing it to a cheaper epoxy fish a few inches longer, I was surprised at how much lighter the Surftech is. But I was sure the Rocket came in 5'4" and I wanted to lose those two inches. The helpful salesguy called his Surftech rep to inquire, but apparently some people actually don't work on Sundays during a holiday weekend, so I left to try a couple more surf shops.

Near the wharf, I checked out Shoreline, which has a website not only promising lots and lots of boards in stock, but that they'd drive over to nearby Surftech to pick up any they didn't have on hand. Unfortunately the meatspace didn't live up to the virtual hype. In a customer-unfriendly way, all of the boards were out of reach, on the ceiling or behind the counter, and I didn't see any fish, much less a short one. On the way back to the car, I popped into Cowells, but its focus seems to be on the beginner market with lots of Softtops and no fish in evidence.

With the ultimate destination of the O'Neill Memorial Day parking lot sale, I headed to the Eastside. Freeline had some fish, but they were all too long. Billabong had some that were cheap, heavy and too long as well. Paradise, with a very small board selection, had no fish at all. And O'Neill had none in my size. I also struck out on finding a couple of discounted replacement rashguards at O'Neill, since they had no women's thermals and the only long-sleeved ones were pukish gray or green. My old ratty ones will just have to last a little longer. But I did score a new leash for $12, in colors to match the new 5'4" Xanadu fish I was now set on getting.

Alas, memory served me ill; the Rocket fish doesn't come smaller than 5'6," as I found when I checked the Surftech website when I got home. And out of ten surf shops, only one had even a 5'6," so finding something even shorter for sale locally was looking impossible. Ah, but then there's the web. After a bit of Googling I landed back at the SoCal-based 9:Fish website, which checked out favorably before but I'd shelved while looking closer to home. And then I saw the 5'4" Clownfish:It's just adorable. Of course it's performance that really matters, but my board has to look cool too. And there are a lot of good reviews for the board and the company, which makes only fish, so hopefully they know what they're doing. Plus, even with shipping, it's cheaper than the Surftech. So I ordered it. I'm a little nervous, though, as it disappeared from the product list immediately afterwards. It is a limited edition. Maybe I bought the very last one...?

Update: Actually, someone else got the last one. I have to wait a couple weeks for the new & improved model to arrive. Patience is not one of my strong points...!


  1. Hope you like your new board -- it looks cool!

  2. Thanks, Nic! Let me know if you want to try it sometime.