Very stable during take-off and ride
Best suited for larger (170lbs+) surfer
Handles closer to longboard than fish
Difficulty catching & riding small waves
Catches waves late
Slow in speed and acceleration
The RF Soul Fish by Surftech tries to bridge the gap between the longboard and fish. The thought of having a surfboard that has all the paddling and wave catching abilities of a longboard with the performance of a fish sounds great. Unfortunately the RF Soul Fish has a hard time blending the two types of boards. On the plus side, this board paddles great for its size and has a looser ride than your typical longboard. On the other hand, this fish struggles to catch your small, weak waves and rides more like a maneuverable longboard rather than a fish. Overall the RF Soul Fish will give you a little more performance than a typical longboard, but you'll have a harder time catching the small stuff that you'd normally use a longboard for.
Dimensions & MaterialWe tested the 6'6"H x 21"W x 2 1/2"T Tuflite model. The board has plenty of volume, coupled with Tuflite, makes for a very buoyant surfboard. The outline of the board follows that of a longboard but with the tail and nose attributes of a fish.
BottomThe bottom is a very shallow single concave that fades to a vee at the tail. This board could have benefited from a deeper, single concave to help with speed and drive.
TailThe RF Soul Fish tail width and entry is comparable to most other fish. The tail is more of a swallowtail shape than fish shape.
NoseThe nose follows the typical fish nose design, but with a very flat rocker, similar to that of a longboard.
RailsThe fish has 50/50 rails with soft but defined edges, fading to hard edges at the tail. Again, this plays to the longboard/fish blend.
FinsThe RF Soul Fish uses 3 Futures system fins. We tested our board with polycarbonate fins with a biter at the center fin. Although we didn't test this, this board would likely benefit with the use of stiffer fins.
PaddlingPaddling is the best part of the RF Soul Fish. The larger volume coupled with Tuflite made the board glide across the water. This board paddles closer to a longboard than a fish.
CatchingThe RF Soul Fish easily caught clean shoulder to head waves. Ideally waves for this board are beach break slabs at a slow to moderate pace. The board was very stable when popping up, enough to make longboarders feel right at home. In addition, the extra paddling power helped to catch those waves that broke a little late.
Unfortunately, the flat rocker does not allow for late take-offs and requires a wave with a smooth take off. Catching moderate to fast pace waves are out of the question for this board. In addition, because of the longer body and larger volume, this board has a very slow response after take-off. You'll be left waiting for a second or two while the board gets going.
The RF Soul Fish also has a hard time dropping into a wave, likely attributed to the extra buoyancy of Tuflite plus the extra volume of the board. Essentially this leads to catching the wave later, coupled with a flat rocker leads to some fancy nose-diving. The difficulty dropping into waves also makes catching small and mushy waves challenging and at times uncatchable. For a small wave board to have difficulty catching small waves is never a good thing.
Varies by Order
In shoulder to head high conditions the ride was fun. You'll find the RF Soul Fish rides more like a loose longboard than a fish. Turns and snaps are doable but you'll need a lot of back foot pressure. If you throw a longboard around, you feel right at home with the feel of the RF Soul Fish. But you'll need a good wave to be able to make these moves, as the board does not naturally generate speed like a longboard. Even with pumping, the board runs a little sluggish. If you surf a sectiony wave you'll likely get frustrated trying to make the links with this board. The good news is the RF Soul Fish has no problems with floaters.
In small and mushy waves the RF Soul Fish lacks the benefits of a longboard. The RF Soul Fish does not glide in small waves like a longboard and doesn't have the looseness to pump through them. You're essentially at the whim of the wave and board. In waist high conditions, the board starts to come alive and you'll be able to drive the board through the wave. But for longboarders who are used to having that natural drive, you'll find that critical small wave drive lacking in the RF Soul Fish.
In the right conditions the RF Soul Fish is an easy and fun board to cruise on. Because of the extra buoyancy, this board would suit larger (170lbs+) surfers well. So for those in search of a small wave board, you might want to look elsewhere. However for longboarders looking to get a little more maneuverability with forgiveness in clean, shoulder waves, the RF Soul Fish may be worth taking a look at.