Pop quiz; have you noticed the sudden increase in twin fins at your local? Over the past few years, twinnies have boomed in popularity again, as more and more people are ditching their 'go to' thruster set up in favour of something shorter, wider, whippier.
It's not that the twinnie ever went away, mind. It's always been here but it's popularity has likely boomed due to fresh innovation. And then the fact that rippers like Josh Kerr now swear by twin fins. His take on it? “So. Much. Freedom," he tells MSW. "I would never go back to a thruster if I was on tour, let's put it that way.” And on the release of Kerrzy's latest flick (below) with filmer Matt Kleiner, we figured now's the time to check in with the Oz-born, Cali-based legend to talk about the joy of twin fin riding. Viva la revolution!
Have you always been a proponent of twin fins?
I wouldn't say I've always been a full twin fin guy, but definitely over the past few years. Prior to that, I was always interested in alternative crafts, had some great times on twinnies. But then single fins, quads, two plus ones, even finless boards, I got into that for a while.
The freedom twins have given me, you know, not having to jump on a thruster every day, has been another level and pretty addicting. Always been into any sort of board design, any shape and size.
When did you realise there was more fun to have by ditching a centre fin?
To be honest, to just get to ride twinnies in good waves and trusting them – and Matt (Album) has made me some amazing boards – they're second to none for drive and speed and once you have adjusted your surfing towards that style of timing – there's no better feeling, it is so pure.
Just twins that you've found give that feeling, what about quads and the rest as you mentioned earlier?
Yeah for sure, I've got a few models I prefer as straight quads. But the past year or two, it has been strictly twin. I do like quads, there's a load more resistance in the water, a little bit more fin in there that can create more drag. That's good for pushing things in a tight pocket but you lose that little bit of freedom out on the open face.
Freedom, is that how you would sell the benefits of a twin to the thruster only crew?
So. Much. Freedom. So much speed through the turn, you're not held back.
And surfing on tour for so long, do you think that moulds you into surfing a certain way?
I don't think it moulds you to surf in a certain way. But it definitely tweaks your mind frame to surfing in a certain style, that you feel like you need to emulate. It might not be the most creative way though.
So, it's safe to say then that the twin fin love has been born out of you being a little more unshackled?
Yeah, absolutely. The freedom of not being on tour and I'm frothing to surf – and I have a young frothing daughter and getting to travel to some amazing locations with amazing waves. The thought of doing that with the boards I've ridden the past 20 years on tour just isn't...very motivating [laughs]. Needing to match that new found freedom without having to surf for a judge or on a certain style of equipment – is imperative for me, for sure.
So, why aren't they on tour?
I would never go back to a thruster on tour, let's put it that way [laughs]. I don't knot, I have a really good connection with Matt the shaper, his fin placement is next level and he's got a load of things dialled in.
A thruster has a load of control in the pocket and you can get away with making a few mistakes. The twin, if you have impurities in your surfing, it shows. There's no hiding it. Riding a thruster is much easier.
Walk us through your relationship with Album too, what about them screamed out to you?
I got off Rusty surfboards in 2016, did another year on tour in 2017, was going through a lot of surfboards. And Album just did this crazy quiver of new boards, and I wanted that inspiration from new boards and shapes. Back then, if anyone hits me up asking 'hey can I shape you a board', I'm just like, 'yeah shape me something you think you can see me riding on tour, then also try something super creative and fun'.
They made me want to go surfing. Fast forward a few years and they're still doing that for me
And most of the guys would shape me a 5'8”, my regular shortie and then a 5'7.5” that's kind of the same but a bit lighter or something [laughs], not much inspiration on those boards. But then Album comes along and just gave me this five board quiver that were all crazy looking, all different and it was so inspiring to surf and have fun. They were beautiful looking and as good as they looked, they surfed well too. Rode them for a bit then got a couple more boards off him and never got a bad board off him.
They made me want to go surfing. Fast forward a few years and they're still doing that for me.
Are you a forecast guy, do you travel specifically for swells?
I kind of wish I had the freedom to do that a bit more now. But it's pretty selfish with a family. We will hunt some local forecasts though. We travel as a family so it's hard to breakdown the family unit at the sight of a swell. Yeah, used to be a big forecast guy, and hunt swells and everything like that.
And there's a few venues I would do that for if I was around in that part of the world at that time. I don't think I'd jump on a plane to travel to the other side of the world to catch a three day swell to travel back... those kind of days are behind me. But I'll definitely try to take advantage of the moments and where I'm going. I try to now place myself at good locations around the world so I can be in those places and have the best opportunities at scoring.
Having your family close by, I'm guessing the Kerrs are fully dialled in to agile travelling...
[laughs] Absolutely, we're fully dialled in. Lucky enough to have a family unit that's happy to jump on board and want to go on adventures and live the life that's been my dream and they love it as much as I do.
Gotta ask, how's COVID impacted any plans?
We've done a pretty good job of navigating our way around and through it. When it all kicked in we were in Australia at the time and decided to stay there a lot longer. Luckily enough, we had an amazing season, beautiful waves. And then when we moved back to California, you know, where we've lived the past 10 or 11 years, it was such a culture shock with everything going on.
But you know we were still able to travel. So I've been lucky enough to keep doing that – like Mexico, Texas, Hawaii and this amazing stint in Indo. It's definitely impacted the attitude to travelling though and you have to get a bit more creative with the way to get around – luckily we're all young and healthy and happy and taking the right precautions as we do.
That's great, thanks Josh!