Mark Richards, the Twin Fin, and the Perfect FCSII Fin Design for Summer
Posted by DAVID KELLY
There are few names in surfing that are more iconic than Mark Richards. Also known as the “Wounded Seagull” for his signature, awkward, splayed arm style, MR won what at that time was a record four world titles in a row, dominating the world tour from 1979 to 1982 on his self-designed, twin-fin fish. Today, Mark Richards is a renowned shaper, and his Superman-style MR logo is known around the world. Still specializing in fast, loose, twin-fin fish designs, his line of boards is representative of his patented style of high-performance surfing that led him to such dominance in the early 1980s.
MR’s twin-fins were a response to the long, difficult-to-turn single fins that were dominating surfboard design in the late 1970s. Although he continued to ride the more stable single fins in Hawaii, he needed something shorter, faster, and more maneuverable in the small waves that dominated most of the tour stops—a need that informed his design of the 1978 Freeride twin-fin. The first one he shaped worked perfectly and became MR’s signature model—one that he continues to build and refine today.
Along with the shorter, wider, straighter-railed fish design, MR also worked to create the perfect fin for his twin-fin boards. The fin that he ended up designing has also stood the test of time, and continues to be the staple of his fish and twin-fin experience. Recently, FCS introduced the updated FCS II version of the Mark Richards Twin Fin with Stabilizer, a classic design that remains relevant today. The addition of the small stabilizer fin in the middle of the large twins provides extra control without sacrificing the speed and looseness that is characteristic of twin fins. MR also spent a lot of time refining the size of his twin fin template so that the fins are large enough to surf without the stabilizer, but not so large as to become overly stiff when the center fin is added.
The FCSII Mark Richards Twin Fin with Stabilizer is perfect for fish designs, funboards, a variety of twin fins, and really any board that wants drive and speed. It is a great option to spice up your ride during the summer when the waves don’t provide as much push as in the winter, but when you are still looking to ride something short and spunky, and keep your shred factor high.