Single Fin Wavestorm The Perfect Storm

Product Review: I Turned My Wavestorm Into A Single Fin

I’m in love with soft top surfboards. I started surfing them in the 90’s with an old, heavy waterlogged Doyle and spent most of my teens and early 20’s running a surf camp on INT soft tops (see below) and spending more time on the softies than hard boards.

Taylor Lobdell Soft Top Surfing in Newport Beach.


Surf Camp Days 2004

Lately, I’ve been recovering from some surgeries and mostly surfing a Wavestorm up in San Francisco. It’s a surprisingly good Ocean Beach board. No joke. Paddles fast, you can hunt down waves and get in them super early.

Last month, I surfed with my cousin down at Pleasure Point. As we were suiting up, I noticed he had installed an obnoxiously pink single fin to his Wavestorm. I gave it a whirl in solid 6 to 10 foot Pleasure. I honestly couldn’t feel much of a difference because the waves were so good, but I was intrigued.

I looked around online and found “The Perfect Storm” single fin which promised to “Turbocharge your Foamie.” I ordered one off Amazon and about 2 days later (thanks Prime) a small cardboard box showed up at my doorstep.


Installation is super easy, and you can actually do it on the beach because all the tools, including a pink screwdriver are included. You basically punch an extra hole through the “deck pad” of the Wavestorm and screw it in. There are plugs for the two side fins so they don’t take on water.


My first real session was in 2 to 3′ playful and glassy Ocean Beach. As I was paddling out, I saw a little wedgy peak on offer so I swung and went. I faded the take off and did a quick shimmy to the front half of the board. I crouched low and the board stayed in the pocket for a good 4 seconds! It was an effortless trim. Usually, with a thruster set up, it’s a chore to set a really good line and hold it in the critical part of the wave.

Photo by Perfect Storm Fins

I caught a couple more waves. My best one was a backside left where I was fairly deep but it was a solid little chest high runner. I set a line, and again just stuck to the wave. I felt like I could really push off my bottom turns as well. I’ve surfed with the single fin for about 2 weeks now and really don’t think I will go back to the thruster set up.

The highlight of the whole experience was this week at Ocean Beach. It was a dreamy day. About head high with crossed up low tide barrels. I pull in one, in full trim and going fast. I pull out and no other than pro surfer Ace Buchan is “Yewing” as I pull out. Stoked.


Downsides? Honestly, the pinkness of the fin screams kook. But you don’t really paddle out on a Wavestorm trying to be serious anyway, so it sort of works. I could see it being a good gift for a younger Wavestormer who wants their board to stick out from the rest, even if they don’t have the skills to really notice the performance. Another downside is that the size of the fin makes it hard to ride the board all the way to shore without possibly breaking off on the sand/reef/etc.

Purists will say these Chinese made boards have no soul. They are killing the industry. I get it. I’m not saying for everyone to grab Wavestorms, tell your local shaper to suck it and join the soft top revolution, but it is a nice addition to your quiver for when the waves are too small, too big or you just want to pack closeouts and not worry about shrapnel from a 6 foot piece of fiber glass.

In conclusion, the Perfect Storm single fin is an insanely fun addition to an already fun board. Would recommend to anyone. See you out there.



Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: Power Rankings

With Snapper just around the corner, we’re here to evaluate the top 34 surfers with our pre-season power rankings.

#33 Tomas Hermes – Brazil – Rookie

The 30 year old WQS journeyman finally qualified after a strong second place finish at the US Open and a semi-final finish in Haleiwa. His stature (5’5”) and style remind us of a regular footed Tom Carroll with a penchant for big finishing moves. If he can link together a couple big turns and throw down some airs at Snapper, he could have a good start to the season.

#34 Michael Rodriques – Brazil – Rookie 

An explosive air game and powerful hooks define Michael’s surfing. The relatively unknown rookie qualified with a strong showing through Europe and hopes to make a splash at Snapper. If he can overcome the rookie nerves and surf with confidence, he may turn some heads with a solid result on the Gold Coast.


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My hands are shaking.  No, I’m not angry.  I’m not fuming with indignation or disgust.  I’ve simply had far too much to drink.  Coffee.

With an energized mind I tend to focus on things I despise.  A curse?  Perhaps, but I write on.

“I would never donate to any charity that would help sharks.  I hope they all die,” said President Trump.

Chas Smith of BEACHGRIT recently (not that recently, but I’ve been drinking) wrote about the President’s statement, referencing the ancient proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  Chas went on to dub President Trump an honorary surfer, which can only mean that Chas Smith shares our leader’s contempt for the large fish.

I, too, am terrified of these underwater beasts, but alas I am not so quick-fingered and impulsive (sounds like a teenage boy aiming for the slip for the first time).

I want to wholeheartedly disagree, but I then fantasize about a world without sharks.  It’s fluffy, and safe and there aren’t any sharks.

Tut, tut.  There are reasons this world should not exist.  Namely, science.  The ecosystem exists in a delicate balance, the ocean especially.  Sharks provide invaluable skills that keep said ecosystem in balance and, thus, thriving.   Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard the arguments.  Are they true?

When an ecosystem is thriving, its reefs are healthy and full.  When those reefs are healthy and full they provide the infrastructure that grant people like Chas and every other surfer those things called waves.

Alas, I, too am not getting out of bed to campaign for sharks, nor are any of these others surfers, let alone the professionals.  So, although Chas is, perhaps, wrong to lend his support of the President’s bedtime remarks, I fear I’m no different.

This topic, however, got me to thinking: What do professional surfers campaign for?

I don’t see them banding together to protest any sort of ecological or oceanic preservation or anything of the sort?  Why is that?  DGAF?  One would think these surfers would do all they could to protest and rally their fans and supporters to champion ocean conservation efforts.

Aside from the bald one, Kelly Slater, I’m hard-pressed to think of any professional watermen that have outwardly, vocally, passionately stood to protect the very oceans in which they make their living.

Perhaps that’s it there.  Their livings are made traveling the world surfing the most beautiful waves it has to offer.  Life is good.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

To rock the proverbial boat may be unwise.  Examples have manifested aplenty, no one more so than Colin Kapernick.

This all being said, I could very well be dead wrong – and I hope I am, but if these surfers are out there campaigning and supporting efforts to conserve our oceans, their voices have not reached the likes of me and I’m much closer to the sport than most.

I’m going to do some digging.  Let’s find out who stands for what in professional surfing.  Stay tuned.

-S. Ben Willoughby

Worst Waves of the World: San Francisco Edition

99 times out of 100 I walk out of the water from a surf session a changed man. No, seriously. I have more energy. I breathe easier. My skin feels good. I get to my car, shake off my wetsuit, turn on the radio and feel good.

Last week, I found myself on the wrong side of that ratio. That towel change was not serene. I was seething. Why the fuck did I paddle out at Fort Point, one of the worst waves in the world?

This is a mirage Photo: Jeremiah Klein 

To those not familiar, Fort Point is the not-so-secret spot located right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The wave looks idyllic. Swells come from the Pacific Ocean, cross under the bridge, and wrap around a man made point.

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers began working on Fort Point during the civil war, arming the structure with 103 cannons and soldiers stood watch for an enemy that never came. The history is interesting and the setting is beautiful, the wave is not.

Fort Point Photo: 

The wave only really breaks at a low tide and requires a rock dance like no other to approach the water. Once your in the cold water, you are at the mercy of the tides. Usually, the tide is trying to suck you around and through The Golden Gate – straight out to the Pacific Ocean.

If you can manage the current, you then have to deal with the locals who consist of SUPpers without borders who paddle for every bump in the water, sea kayaks, kneeboarders, kooks who paddle out for the Instagram shot, and maybe a couple rippers who have the spot dialed and catch the one wave that barrels every 30 minutes. It’s truly a menagerie of kookiness out there.

After about 30 minutes of paddling, positioning, paddling some more, getting stared down and then repositioning I thought to myself “Fuck it – I’m going for one.” I tried sitting deep. I let the current take me out. I thought I could somehow go deeper then everyone else. I didn’t realize it’s almost impossible to stay in the position for a good one out there. I paddled back in to where the SUPpers were on the outside.

Right at the take off spot, there’s a submerged rock that shows its face on the bigger waves and causes a huge boil mid face. It’s not good kind of boil that you see before a wave really throws. It’s a boil boil.

Damn Boil! Photo: Daniel Won

To be fair, there are a couple good barrels to be had out there if you want to sit inside of the rock, towards the point and dodge SUPs all day. All the good waves you see in pictures are of this wave. It barrels for about 2 seconds and you come out and there’s no shoulder to ride.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

To the few that have it dialed and can weave through that one barrel every so often – you can have it. I’m done with it.

After 30 minutes of not getting any waves, I paddled in to about mid point and caught an absolute mush burger. Rode it straight and hit the lip on an inside section and had to bail mid term because it was jacking up over the rocks. Admittedly, a kook maneuver and I paid for it. My ass was dragged across a rock and I hit my foot on another.

I shame paddled all the way over to the pier, did another rock dance and headed to the car. The fog horn’s moan echoed my deepest thoughts. Fuck this place. I’m never going back.

I don’t ever want to feel like I did that day.


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You Can Have It

Top 10 Surf Colleges…Again

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How many times can SURFER recycle one article? Forever, it seems, for they have done so with the BEST Surf Colleges article for the last ten, maybe twenty years, maybe thirty years. We sat down with SURFER this year to get the inside scoop on the contest. Let’s check it out and see who won this year!


STRANGE BEN: Hi Surfer, thanks for sitting down with us. We’re psyched to see who won the best surfing college this year. It’s always a barn-burner.

SURFER: Whoaaa! Hey there Strange! Good to see you, brother. Well, it was a tight, tight race but it seems this years belongs to UCSD. We compiled some heavy-hitting, I’m talking lip-smacking, analytics to the group of finalists this year and this the list we came up with. Pretty sick, right?

SB: Damn! Who would have thought? Hard-hitting analytics, eh? And UCSD came out on top?

SURFER: Yeah, I know. Big surprise to us here, as well. Crazy analytics, brah. I’m talking some straight up scientist tip, dude.

SB: Well, what changed from last year?

SURFER: Well, not much, but we couldn’t let Santa Barbara win again so we moved ’em down to 4th. And then slotted Cal Poly to 6th and brought in good old Monmouth University at 10th to really shake things up, ya know?

SB: Haha, no I don’t but that’s okay.

SURFER: Yeah, I mean the BIG surprise this year was Point Loma Nazarene University at #3! Can you believe that? So happy for them.

SB: No I can’t believe it because I thought the only people who go there are studying to become Bishops. Do Bishops surf?

SURFER: Hah! They might now that we’ve put them on the map!

SB: I doubt it. Well, I’ll say goodbye now. Thanks for sitting down with us and, uh, can’t wait till next year???

SURFER: No problem Strange! Keep shredding, dude!

SB: Yeah, okay.


I would say get some new material, but I’m genuinely entertained by the article and its ever-rotating cast of colleges. What they should do is set it up like one of those squirt gun races at the county fair — and film it. More squirt gun races in general, I guess. So long.

-Strange Ben Willoughby

STAB v. BEACH GRIT: Final Thoughts


I’m back.  And the first thing I’ve been asked to do is to weigh on the recent “debate” between Chas Smith of BeachGrit and Ashton Goggans of Stab.

God, was the whole thing awful.  It felt set-up, or like two caricatures coming to life to almost fight each other.   There were parts, though.  There were parts.

To start, I want to say that I wish Chas had socked Goggans.  I also wished Goggans had socked him back prompting a savage, full-scale brawl.   Doubtful that wish has anything to do with the actual debate or Chas or Goggans themselves, but more of a personal thing.  Worry not, for I’m trying to work through it.


Chas is a dick.  Plainly.  Goggans is a blowhard industry feeder (he has the perfect voice for it).  Obviously.

In discussing surf media/journalism as a whole I side with Chas.  They cater to sponsors, protect their own, and refuse to do any sort of hard-hitting reporting that might make one of them look bad.

“Surf journalism is not a noble pursuit,” said Chas, and I agree.  It is not.

Chas, however, aside from being a dick believes he is gasoline and his pen is a match.  His goal, which he has made clear, is to burn the whole place down with hope that, in its stead, something much more pure and true grow back.  For that, I cannot fault him.

On his way in Goggans, I’m assuming with a tilted head and puppy dog eyes, said to David Lee Scales,  “On the way down I listened to your podcast with Jamie…sooo sick.”  In my estimation of Goggans, I believe he uses that phrase perpetually.   I imagine that that grows tiresome, and I was glad to hear him spit some venom during the interview, albeit droplets.

As long as the world of surf journalism is run by people like Goggans who claim that cupcake interviews with Kelly Slater and obscure WQS trivia are entertaining as hell, then it will stay in its current jerking state.

The Inertias (not quite yet STAB) need to die, and quickly, painlessly, if surf journalism ever wants to be held in any regard.   Think about the constant debate and scathing attacks that go on every single day in every other sporting arena by every other reputable sports media outlet and you begin to realize why surf journalism is essentially (as verified by Goggans) a bunch of stylish edits and “cool” art pieces and fluff pieces meant to do nothing more than cast a friendly breeze.  There’s no “Fuck Medina and his Stupid Antics” or any “Kelly Slater thinks he’s a God” or “Whatever happen to all the good ol’ drunks in surfing?”  or “The Fucking True Story on Anything”.

Instead, it all gets swept under the big soaking wet rug.  And so be it.  I’m not here to change it.

I will tell you who won, though.  The podcast won.  Knockout.

-Strange Ben Willoughby