What Is He On?

Josh Kerr’s Single Fin Throwback

Carlsbad, 2:35 pm. Josh Kerr awaits me in a parking lot overlooking the wind-torn ocean. I slide open my van door and yell, "In here!" He strolls over and hops in. Just as good of an interview spot as any, I suppose. We talk about the tour, about the importance of riding different equipment and about the Rusty Preisendorfer single fin he has been shredding on this past year. Turns out we share a kindred love for this nearly forgotten, bottom turning sled of nostalgia. Although, as we've seen in Josh's Web clips, he uses the lonely-fin for things a bit more unglued than bottom turns. —Mitch Abshere

Photo: Sherman

How does the single fin work compared to your standard thruster?
The single fin is a totally different deal. It has a bit more hold off the bottom and off the top with curve next to the wings through the tail. It's a 5'4", and really holds speed through the flats. You can take different lines and it actually has an insane amount of pop when you try airs.

Does riding a single fin help you think about your surfing more?
One hundred percent, yes. You might surf a little softer on the single fin, but it teaches you to find the points where you can push it. You go a bit easier off the top, easier off the bottom, and then you really start laying into it.

What have you found to be the best conditions for this board?
Single fins really like cutting through the water, so when it's really clean, it's really precise. I'd say J-bay at 3 to 4 feet because you're not getting the pull-back like you would on a thruster. If you want to get around a section, just get that high-line, come down, go way further out to the flats of the wave, then come back to the face and you won't lose any speed.

Being on the tour, do you think it's important to try different shapes?
Definitely. I've had such positive feedback. I was surfing one time on a single and Tom Curren was out and he was like, "Is that a single fin? Man, if I could just find that one single fin, that's all I'd ride." And then Kelly comes up to me and he's like, "We need to have a heat riding only single fins." Those guys know how good a single fin can go in the right waves and how sick they really are.