It all started with the fish when the innovative shapers and board builders out there decided to revisit the past for some inspiration. In doing so they brought back some lost skills such as resin tints and hand foiled fins.The Fish Fry has been a place for these fine craftsmen to showcase their skills. We have seen some amazing boards as shapers have pushed the boundaries over the last few years. As this new look at the fish has evolved to its many forms, it has influenced other shapes and designs along the way.This has spawned a renewed interest in other board forms by this same group and a wider following.Notably the Mini Simmons, Hulls, old school Logs and Pigs. It is pleasing to note that there are an increasing number of people building their own boards as well.All of this is to be applauded and celebrated as a positive for surfing.So it is only natural that these shapers and board builders continue to share their skills with us and include these other shapes at the Fish Fry.It has truly become a melting pot of ideas for like minded people.

Surfers celebrate form and function

When you hear the words "fish fry" a battered fillet of lemon fish probably comes to mind, not a non-commercial, non-competitive surfing event.

But the Cove Fish Fry is garnering a name nationally and internationally as a Northland-based gathering of surfers and shapers celebrating the various forms of the surfboard, most notably the twin keel "fish".

"It is a day of show and tell, so surfers and shapers bring surfboards that are loosely based or influenced by the fish," said organiser, surf enthusiast and Northern Advocate photographer Michael Cunningham.

The second annual Waipu Cove event on March 8 will include other alternative boards such as hand planes, traditional Hawaiian belly boards, mini Simmons, longboards -- traditional and new styles-- and wooden boards.

"It should be a real mixture of new and vintage New Zealand surfboards, plus some international surfboards as well," Mr Cunningham said.
The Cove Fish Fry, Douglas Pearson, Whangarei, who will be there on the day with some of his vast collection of surfborads.

And it's not only the boards that will be international. Overseas visitors to this year's event include well-known Californian shaper Rich Pavel and the founder of the Gold Coast's Alley Fish Fry, Grant Newby.

They will joined by shapers from across New Zealand, including Northland's own Roger Hall of Surfline and Jamie Scott from Tribal Surfboards, as well as Bobby Crisp from Deluxe Industries, Jay Jackman from Christchurch-based Sadhana Surfboards and Steve Morris from Morris Surfboards, displaying their handiwork for people to view and possibly have a surf on.

"It's kind of grown and evolved into almost like a car show, but for surfboards," Mr Cunningham said.
"It's not really a swap-meet, more a networking day that's good for people that are interested in surfing and learning how to surf to get an idea of what different things are out there.

"It's also a good day for surfers who have been surfing for a while and who are looking for something different to ride or try. It's good for shapers to be able to see what people are interested in, and what direction surfing is going in. And it's also interesting for people that don't know a lot about surfing to come along and see how varied and different surfing actually is."

It's an annual event Mr Cunningham would like to see continue for a number of years.
"At the moment the Fish Fry spirit is pretty strong, but, as with all events, it will fizzle out at some point. It'll have its longevity, it might last five years, it might last 10 years. I'd like to think it would go a little bit longer than that.

"It's an excuse to get all of the people in the surfing industry locally and nationally and whoever we can get from overseas in one place at the same time to talk about surfing and surfboards, and exchange ideas, and hopefully come away with a new direction."

The Cove Fish Fry will be held at Waipu Cove beach on March 8 from 8am.

Content from The Northern Advocate Newspaper New Zealand

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