The 5'2'' Fish allows you to enjoy any type of wave, from the small and weak to big and chunky. A rounded outline allows for tight turns and for the rail to maintain contact with the wave. Fantastic upwind and early planing ability come in the bucket load thanks to its width and flat rocker. The impressive float allows you to use a kite size smaller than usual, giving you serious gains in steering and directional control.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The 5'2 is way smaller than any of us would normally ride, but as with last year's range of Bamboo boards from F-One we were blown away by the quality of the finish. This little 5'2'' is a super sexy little shape. There are no garish graphics; just an honest, plain look that's offset with a functional black and white foot-strap and pad set covering all the important areas of the board really well. There's an interesting double stepped fishy tail on it, for a tough feeling board there's barely any weight to it and the fins are quality. The foot pads aren't overly thick; thin enough to have a good contact with the board, are unobtrusive and feel remarkable. The straps do the job. You don't need a really supportive strap on a surfboard because it's nice to be able to move your feet around in it for different positions, but there's ample comfort and control and these ones are good because you can trample all over them as you gybe and they squash down nicely.
On the water... wow, this is fast. You don't expect it to be so with such width in the hips, but it really gets a wriggle on. Small boards like this are usually a bit sketchy and technical to ride, but this one goes upwind like a dream and was even easy to gybe on. As it's small it's very easy to ride in strong winds as it holds power well, but the best thing about this board is its bottom turn. When you're halfway through the turn and exerting pressure through your toes it just does the sweetest bottom turn ever, which it shouldn't have, because it's only 5'2. You should be bogging halfway round and searching for the kite to kick in some power. Once that pressure from your toes gets chance to grip, the board almost changes gear and careers you into the sweet spot on the wave. It's just lots and lots of fun and incredibly quick.
On big waves you'd need a bit more behind your back foot.
Compared to bigger boards we were aware that there wasn't much behind the back foot and did get carried away, lost grip and skipped out a bit, but spend an hour on it and you'll adjust to that nice carve at the top of a wave rather than pushing the back end out. Surfboard riders who've already adapted their style to a less powered riding technique might not be keen on the feel of this, but there are ballistic occasions when it's just the perfect tool.
This makes ordinary conditions, onshore to cross-shore, a huge amount of fun. It's an unfashionably small size, but there's plenty of getup- and-go, it's easy to ride, there's enough stability for gybing easily and, on top of all that the bottom turn is incredible. This is for kiters who ride in strong winds and untidy waves where you need to be adaptable in order to get your waves, and you need something strong, that can take the hits and heavy landings from jumps and that's also going to allow you to easily make the most of the average, bumpy, windy conditions.
KW LIKED: Rally car feeling from a wave board.
KW WOULD CHANGE: A bit more to push on at the back foot.
SIZES: Gun 6'9'', Surf SL 6'4'', 6'2'', Surf 6'0, Signature 5'10'', 5'8'', 5'6''
and Fish 5'2''
This test is in issue #42