For the fin setup, Lis landed on a twin-keeled formation, which shared similarities with what post-war surf-design legend Bob Simmons had developed independently years before. “Lis had no prior knowledge of Bob Simmons or his work, but intuitively arrived at some of the same design solutions that Bob Simmons had 15 years earlier,” says San Diego design buff Richard Kenvin. “Lis’ design came in a much smaller, refined, and more maneuverable package. “Stevie is brilliant, he’s reclusive, and he’s immeasurably talented,” says longtime friend and fellow Sunset Cliffs local Stanley Pleskunas in the thoroughly researched 2015 documentary Fish. “I remember the first time seeing him ride it.
Imagine the long, bulky boards still being ridden by most surfers in 1967, when the shortboard revolution was just warming up, and then picture a skinny little spaceman flying through the lineup on his knees, ducking into tubes on a board shorter than his own body. “You’d just sit back with your mouth open, thinking, ‘Oh my goodness,’” recalls Skip Frye, whose own versions of the Lis design have become some of the most coveted fish in the world, perhaps second only to Lis’ own handshapes.
While Lis continued to build and refine his own boards, apostles like David Nuuhiwa, Mike Tabeling, Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani, Dane Kealoha, and Mark Richards also picked up the design and ran with it. “The design was so versatile, everyone could put their own spin on it,” says San Diego surfboard collector and owner of Bird’s Surf Shed, Bird Huffman, who keeps a bounty of Lis handshapes and Lis-inspired designs on display at the Shed. “They’re maneuverable and designed for flow.
Read more here: Surfer Mag