If you had had asked me 7 years ago whether or not this event had any longevity, I would have been dubious but now I’m convinced that this thing has legs. Starting out as a small home grown event dedicated to the origins of the humble fish and attracting local aficionados, the Fish Fry has become a global event with variations on the theme being organised in beaches across the world. Organiser and fish fanatic Grant Newby has carefully groomed the event year after year, tailoring the day to keep it fresh and revitalised. This years incarnation included all foam sliders from our little twin fin friends to logs, quads, asymmetrical, paipos, alaias and hand planes, a veritable line up of equipment which at a grass roots level is changing the face of surfing as we know it.
We are in an interesting time with surfing right now where people are open to alternatives, about the experimentation, about challenging convention and having a go themselves. There is definitely a simmering undercurrent. Small pockets of individuals on a journey of rediscovery - rebuilding surfing from the garage upwards, backyard innovators forming a ground swell of enthusiasm, revitalising the stoke and re-evoking the soul. At its core this is what the Fish Fry is about, has become! A forum for like-minded individuals, a gathering of surfing’s true core shapers, glassers, artists and visionaries. The future is looking very bright indeed, thanks to the craftsmanship in Eden Saul's Dead Kooks fabric inlaid hull entry pintails, in Sam Yoon’s Flying Soul heavy rake finned logs, in Shoji Mujo's geometric Fantastic Plastic Machine hex-nosed flyer pintails, Grant Newby's foam core paulownia timber vacuum-bagged, lanolin rubbed, snub nose simmons. It is with the support of master shapers like Rich Pavel from California who has attended every Fish Fry on the Gold Coast, who takes the time to talk, encourage and support young shapers who turn up with their home grown creations. These young shapers work in other fields but love the challenge of crafting something for themselves and close friends in their garage, under the house, just like it used to be. This is where the next generation is born. It is where fresh ideas come to mind, free of the worries of running a business and trying to makes ends meet in a competitive industry with small margins.
Along with this came an eccentric mix of beautifully hand crafted wooden hand planes, a travelling Japanese soul surfer and musician, families enjoying surf culture together and in the many strange and wonderful saltwater sleds that saw the light of day at the heart of what the Fish Fry means to people. The phoenix had risen and the forefathers of surfing are smiling once again.
Shoji Muto's stringerless quiver.