Randy Rarick's Black Tip
Randy Rarick is a surfing legend—both in Hawaii and around the world. He moved to Honolulu at the age of five, and by the time he was 10 he was being mentored by Waikiki beach boy Rabbit Kekai. Since then, he has been involved in virtually every aspect of the sport and industry, from ding repair and owning a surf shop to helping form the ISP and running the Triple Crown. He is widely considered to have surfed in more countries than anyone else in history, represented Hawaii in the 1970 World Contest, and received invites to The Eddie.
Today, Randy continues to influence surf culture both on Oahu and abroad. At 70 years of age, he continues to paddle out on the North Shore on legit days, and is an innovator in a variety of forums. He recently decided to bring his self-designed Black Tip fin to market. Here at Hawaiian South Shore we are pretty excited about anything that Randy does, so we decided to carry his fin, and sat down recently to get the skinny on it.
What inspired you to develop your own model of fin?
I have been getting fins from Fiberglass Fin Company for years in my own templates. However, I wanted to make one with more flex and have a couple of different sizes, so I worked with FUTURES to help me develop a fin that fits my needs. It was more just to have a fin that I could use in my own boards, rather than something to take to market.
What was the most interesting part of the development process?
It was interesting working with FUTURES, as they did the specs here in the USA, and then had the fins themselves made in China, to keep the manufacturing costs down. So I had to go through a few months of back-and-forth to get the specs right, and then approve the samples and tweak those before going to production.
Did you draw inspiration from any particular shaper/designer, or from any particular session or trip from over the years?
I was always a fan of George Greenough and the concept of tip flex in fins. However, in order to get that much flex, you had to foil out the fins so much that they would tend to break down. Meyerhoffer came out with his “Surforward” fin a few years back, and I used that for a while, and really liked the flex capabilities. But the template was a bit too narrow for Hawaiian surf, so I went back to my standard template but approached FUTURES to use their technology to make it, adding the flex characteristics that met my needs and desires. This has actually been an ongoing process over many years, but to bring it to the market I needed the increased manufacturing capabilities.
What is your go-to board? And what type of board do you find this fin design works best with
Since the fin comes in 7.5" and also 8.5", I designed it to work with a variety of boards. The 7.5" works really well as a 2+1 set up in small and mid-range boards. I ride a 7'10", and it holds in great with the FUTURES SB 1 (side bite fins). That setup handles anything up to six-foot Hawaiian, yet still gives you the signature snap out of turns that the Black Tip provides. On my longer boards, I use the 8.5" as a single fin (and also with side bites sometimes), and it makes your board extremely loose. I’ve loaned it to dozens of longboarders and they’ve had their minds blown at how much looser it has made their boards. Because of all the feedback from them, I am in the process of making a couple of bigger versions for big boards and tankers.
The key to this design is the tip flex inherent in the Black Tip. It has the carbon in the tip, then a gap, and then carbon again in the bottom two-thirds of the fin. What this does is give you extremely good tip flex, without the tip of the fin breaking down. The fins are also light and thin because of the use of the carbon, so they are as high tech as anything on the market.