Distributor of Ideas

Photo: Inspire Courses

The Inertia

One of Leah Dawson’s mottos when it comes to surfboards is, “Don’t knock it til you try it.” It explains how she could amass a quiver with so many wildly different shapes, from a handful of fishes to twinzers, logs, mid-lengths, and the list goes on. Leah also admits that the flavor of the month is always changing for her — a philosophy that fuels her creativity and one-of-a-kind style the surf world has grown to know and love. And no board sums all these ideas up like her 6’8″ twin, which is a current favorite (or maybe by the time you read this she’s already obsessing over a new board altogether).

“This has been my go-to board this season and it totally surprised me because I wasn’t expecting it to be,” she says in the Guide to Alternative Surf Craft. She loves it in small waves, where she might usually pull out a fish, as much as she love it on big days at places like Sunset. “I’m not a big wave surfer. But surfing Sunset is about as big as I like to get.”

Leah points out a handful of the board’s features that make it magic, as well as some of the things learned about it through trial and error.

The Fins

Bigger board. Smaller fins. While the board is easiest to describe as some mid-length-twin fin Frankenstein, she doesn’t just slap her typical twin fin setup on the long twin. The fins that make hers ride like magic are actually smaller than what you’d typically expect.

“The other fins that I’ve tried have felt a little too big,” she admits.

Photo: Inspire Courses

The Tiny Adjustments

Watching Leah surf her long twin, you notice she doesn’t shift her feet from tail to midsection as often as you might expect. Slightly larger mid-lengths tend to call for almost constant shifting, but Leah’s footwork on this board is way more subtle. She points out how most of the pressure dings on this board are above or over the fins, shifting her feet up for speed through steeper sections but really focusing most of her attention on the back foot’s movement from the swallow tail to just above the fins.

“You can see very clearly how when you don’t have your feet in the right spot, the board will not respond the way that you think it will.”

A Wide Range of Wave Heights

Photo: Inspire Courses

As mentioned, Leah likes this board in small waves as much as she likes it in larger ones. But the range she takes her long twin out in is actually much wider than your typical “go-to board”

“It’s great from like one foot to 15 feet,” she says. “So the versatility of a board like this is really fun. Fun to have in the quiver. It’s definitely surprised me and made it the board that I keep going back to when I want to have just a fun session.”

Editor’s Note: Read more about Leah Dawson’s course here, and you can also access  Leah’s entire Guide to Alternative Surf Craft with Inspire Courses now. The 17-video digital class highlights several of Leah’s favorite boards as well as insights into the techniques and mechanics that can be applied to surfing them. Access the course today.


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