Greetings, Shredderz! Look, as you have probably noticed, I happen to dig surfboards in general. But if there’s one particular category that always gets my attention, it’s surfboards shaped by notable shapers, custom made with a specific, world class surfer in mind. Whether it’s the blades Al Merrick supplied Tom Curren over the course of his career, or this thruster Shawn Stussy shaped for Gotcha founder Michael Tomson, I’m always down to celebrate a rad shaper / surfer pairing. Needless to say, when I saw this Ben Aipa twin fin shaped for Australian power surfer Luke Egan, I was immediately smitten. Many thanks to Dominic, who supplied all the photos you see in the post. Follow him on Instagram here, where he frequently posts pics of his insane quiver.
The Ben Aipa twin fin measures around the 5’8″ range. Aipa produced surfboards in Australia under license, but I don’t think this one counts: the board is clearly signed by the man himself.
I am still surprised to see that Ben Aipa ever shaped boards for Luke Egan. I associate Egan’s entire career with high performance thrusters. I can’t find a photo of him surfing anything else. I’m guessing the Aipa twin fin was shaped early on in Egan’s career. According to Wikipedia, Egan was born in 1970 (Encyclopedia of Surfing claims 1969). I tend to think the Aipa twin fin was made in the early- to mid-Eighties — for example, see this Ben Aipa quad fin with a similar design, which is dated to 1978. Even if the board was shaped in the late Eighties, Egan would have only been in his late teens when it was made.
How did Egan and Aipa link up? I don’t know, although Egan was probably making regular trips to the North Shore of Oahu, like any other up and coming pro surfer. Egan and Ben’s son Akila are roughly the same age, too. The only other thing I can think of is the fact Egan’s father is Sam Egan, a well regarded Australian shaper, and perhaps there was some connection between the elder Egan and Ben Aipa. The exact origins are a mystery to me.
I am a huge fan of Aipa’s shapes in general, and I am blown away by the dramatic lines of this twin fin. As you can see, the tail sports super deep double concaves, which culminate in a ridge / pintail. (I’m almost certainly butchering the terminology here but hopefully you get my drift.) The Aipa twin fin is a crazy looking shape. The closest thing I can think of is the Bing Bonzer, which has a similar double concave in the tail, but a way less dramatic ridge along the stringer.
This Aipa twin fin is one of those rare boards where I could literally lose track of time simply studying its lines and curves. There is a hypnotizing quality to the sharpness of the tail and then the otherwise seamless curves throughout. I can’t speak to the functionality of the shape, and I’d love to hear some feedback on how this thing rides.
Aipa produced this twin fin for some period of time. I don’t know how long he made it, or why the design seemed to fall out of favor, but you’ll occasionally see some other examples. Here is a clean Surfing’s New Image / Aipa twin fin, and while it was likely not shaped by Ben himself, you can clearly see the same double concave design in the tail.
Thanks again to Dominic for sharing this amazing Aipa twin fin with me. Last but not least, here is a photo of Ben himself posting with one his creations.