Month: December 2018

What The Fish?

The legacy of the Fish surfboard is the most baffling of all the shapes out there. In it’s fifty plus year existence, uninitiated surfers are still confused by a first look at the Fish. The shape of the board appears to look like it has previously been a longboard that was snapped in half and added a few fins to it. In reality, that is not too far from the truth.

Kona Team Rider Jake Mckenna on the Kona Retro Fish.

Like many things in the surfing encyclopedia, the Fish evolved from older concepts. The Fish combines aspects of both a short and a longboard. Surfboard shaper Steve Lis is credited for creating the Fish surfboard in 1967 in which he carved out of a longboard that was broken in half. Lis, a kneeboarder, who traditionally surfed shortboards on his knees, looked at the broken board and thought the additional width from the front of the broken longboard would be more comfortable to ride. With that being said, this board was first developed as a kneeboard, but Lis took it a step further by splitting the tail. This technique created the extra width needed to support the fins to make the shape a true surfboard.

Unfortunately, due to the rivalry between surfers and kneeboarders, nobody noticed the importance of this new-fangled surfboard that would make a lasting impression on the surfing industry for several years. The Fish started to make an impact in 1972 when Jim Blears and David Nuuhiwa rode the surfboard to victory at the Huntington Beach World Championships. Due to the laid back personality of Steve Lis, he never capitalized on these victories. Lis had also never patented the design or made any attempts to cash in on the board’s success. In an entirely selfless act that is now considered the greatest gift to surfers everywhere, Lis shared the design with local shapers.

Steve Lis Fish Template from Surfer Magazine Design Forum.

The broad swallow tail, straight rocker, and the placement of the fins assist with rail to rail transitions. The increased volume from the wide, thick body catches mushy waves at the local break and helps with paddling. Plus, this thing cooks! It’s super fast on small and large waves which only adds to the misconception of the board. The Fish is tried and true in a variety of surfing conditions. The main benefits of riding a Fish are catching less than ideal waves with more speed, additional stability, quick and easy to paddle, and easier transitions than a longboard.

The fish lineup at Kona Board House in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Through the late seventies and early eighties, the Fish was primarily ridden in San Diego, California. Sometime in the early eighties, shapers modified Lis’ original Fish design. A three-finned version was created that was so popular, the original Fish design became obsolete. It wasn’t until the late nineties when surfers like Donavon Frankenreiter and Dave Rastovich realized that the design of the original fish was not only really fun but is still revolutionary in the speed and flow department, allowing the original design make a comeback.

You know what? There’s an awesome documentary Joseph Ryan made a couple years ago that gives you an in-depth look at the history and design of the Fish surfboard and how the board has impacted the culture. Check out the trailer below.

 Fish: The Surfboard Documentary Trailer

Here at Kona, we offer three versions of the Fish surfboards. We recommend our Twinner Fish surfboard to be the closest shape to the original Fish. It is perfect for all conditions and levels and great for young surfers transitioning from a beginner board. While you’re at it, check out our Kai and Retro Fish models that blend modern elements with the traditional design to increase the boards performance.

You can check the Fish surfboards for sale at Kona here:

Follow The Waves.

In Honor of Forgotten Turtle Gut

Kona Surf Company is honoring the Father of the American Navy, Captain John Barry and his role in an important historical battle that took place right off the coast of Wildwood, New Jersey. Check out our blog post about the Battle of Turtle Gut by clicking here.

Inspired by the history of Turtle Gut, we decided to take the location of this important hallmark in naval ingenuity and add it to the Kona legacy. With plenty of research, we discovered a nineteenth-century map that shows the location of Turtle Gut, which is right on Rambler Road in Wildwood Crest. In 1922, Cape May County wiped out the area of Turtle Gut but Kona is bringing it back to celebrate the heritage of our home.

1777 map of South Jersey showing Turtle Gut

We are stoked for this new design and hope you will be proud to display your local heritage. Our in-house designer, Kristen Eaton, recreated the antique Turtle Gut map as a super-high resolution graphic. With that being said, be on the lookout for a full line of products of the Turtle Gut design in our clothing line and surfboard line in 2019.

As always, all of our Kona clothing products are produced here on location. Here at Kona, everything from the concept to the product is handled on location. We take a hands-on approach with every detail so we can ensure that you are receiving the highest quality product. Our printing department is currently burning screens to print up a fresh batch of shirts and sweatshirts that will be available online and at our flagship store very soon.

In spring of 2019, we will have two surf fins available for purchase along with a fabric inlay design that will be available on our Owen surfboard. Keep an eye out for these items, or join our mailing list to stay up to date on all our latest products. Until then, follow the waves!

Single pivot and classic fins available in 2019.

Creating a unique surfboard shape from scratch.

It may be winter in South Jersey, but the only snow we’re seeing is the dusting of white foam coming off the APS-3000 Generation 5 Custom Surfboard Shaping Machine. Kona is taking decades of experience hand-shaping surfboards and paddling into the digital age. The computerized custom surfboard machine at Kona Board House is buffed out, cranked up, and turned on.

- Shape3d Surfboard Design CAD/CAM software


Together with the APS-3000 CNC surfboard shaping machine and the Shape3d Surfboard design CAD software, you can create your own totally unique surfboard shape from scratch. Any part of the surfboard from the nose to the rails to the tail can be modified down to the millimeter. The possibilities with this machine are endless for any surfboard under 12 feet. The Shape3d Software allows you to build your surfboard in a CAD / CAM graphics program specifically designed to integrate with the custom surfboard shaping machine. The program allows you to see multiple views of your custom surfboard at your fingertips; views such as the top, the cross section at any given point, the profile. Virtually any measurement, volume, width, length, rails, etc. can be modified throughout the entire surfboard. The water flow of your bottom contour can be visualized as well. Complete creative control is handed over to the surfer.


- Shape3d Water flow screenshot.


Currently there are less than 150 of these top-of-the-line surfboard shaping machines worldwide. What does that mean? It means you might say, “Dude. I have this board from 1972 that’s a ripper but I got a gnarly crease on it after an aggro dude dropped in on me.” No Problemo. We can measure and recreate that board down to the millimeter.


- APS-3000 Generation 5 Custom Surfboard Shaping Machine in action


Kona is offering a totally new service that is unique to the South Jersey area. The APS-3000 Generation 5 Custom Surfboard Shaping Machine has the ability to cut PU (polyurethane) or EPS (expanded polystyrene) blanks of any density. The machine finishes about 95% of the surfboard shaping. Having the experience of… too many years to count right now, hand-shaping custom surfboards is still extremely essential for the fine finishing details for a perfect surface finish.


- Finished Kona Surf Company Surfboard


The crazy thing is the possibilities for this application do not stop at simply shaping the surfboard, but also glassing. There are two glassing options for your surfboard: polyester resin or epoxy. Each finish has their own pros and cons. Epoxy surfboards tend to be more durable and offer greater buoyancy. Polyester surfboards tend to have more flex and offer a more comfortable ride.

Currently here at Kona, we have been cutting primarily Millennium PU blanks for our customers with an epoxy finish. Our philosophy is that you get a killer combination of flexibility from the PU core and the durable strength of an epoxy finish.


-Millennium Foam Surfboard Blanks


The bottom line – Kona Surf Co. is offering you, the surfer, an opportunity to take advantage of years of experience and the latest technology to create your magic board.

For more information on creating a custom surfboard, visit our website by clicking here.

Green, Eco-Friendly, Locally Designed – Kona Surf Co. Explains the Art of Screen Printing




Wildwood – Green, eco-friendly, and made right here in Wildwood, NJ at Kona Surf Company HQ, our team continues to design and print clothing palpable and reflective of the greater-tristate area surfing community. Every t-shirt, sweatshirt, and other articles of clothing are designed in-house by our skillful graphic designer, Kristen Eaton, ink mixed by our screen printer, screen printed at the Kona Board House utilizing eco-friendly water based ink, and dried at 560 degrees in an electric heater. Each article of clothing is later heat pressed with a Kona clothing tag acknowledging the efforts put forth by our team to personally design, and screen print that clothing right here in Wildwood, NJ.


Made popular during the Andy Warhol era, silk screen printing has been a technique utilized as early as the late 1970s by Kona Surf Company for designing clothing, and we continue to keep the process alive behind the “screens”. “We work hard every day to bring our customers and followers popular designs and clothing that they can wear every day,” said Chris Sciarra, partner and Owner of Kona Surf Co. “Our

 designs continue to cater and relate to the lives of our most valued surfing community here in Cape May County and Southern New Jersey,” said owner and founder, Mike Sciarra…“and we will continue to put out designs that express everything it means to be a cold-water surfer here in New Jersey,” said Mike.



Visit our Flagship Store or Kona Board House today to purchase some of our latest designs, such as: Night Sky (Whale Tail Design), The Essentials, Hippie Soul, and Follow the Waves. Flagship Store Hours are as follows: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and our Board House is open for all your shopping needs Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.




– Ron Simone