Test Tub: Maluku Archfishop Surfboard Review

A surfboard review of the Archfishop, a new mid-length quad fish by Maluku Surfboards

Mid-length surfboards, once considered the exclusive province of the over ‘60s, have acquired renewed cultural cachet in the last five or so years. The young, the old and the in-between are now almost unanimous in their appreciation of the smooth-riding, easy-paddling benefits of refined yet floaty surfboards in the roughly 6’8” to 8’0” range. Fish surfboards, meanwhile, are as fun, fast, and popular as ever, be they twin-finned, quad-finned, or two and a half finned with a wee stabiliser fin in the middle.

In this episode of the Test Tub, Aussie surf journo Ben Mondy, who is in the difficult 40 to 60-year-old age bracket, and describes himself as “old and infirm”, tries out a mid-length fish that seeks to combine the best elements of both designs. One of several new models from Maluku, the ArchFishop is an elongated quad fish made in Wadebridge, Cornwall, by Bill Atlee, a fixture of the British surf scene for decades.

As Mondy puts, it does what it says on the tin. He was just hoping for a nice, smooth ride, and that’s exactly what he got when he took it for a sesh at the Wave, Bristol, where the surf was on the “Advanced” setting.

Mondy’s key take-aways on the Archfishop

  • “It’s a mid-length, but it doesn’t feel all that voluminous”
  • “Quad set-ups are a way of going pretty flaming fast”
  • “Goes like a dream!”
  • “That smooth ride is there”
  • “In terms of setting your rail, fanging down the line, it went fast”
  • “The quad fin set-up means you’re not going to do amazing transitions”
  • “Once you set your rail and set where you’re going, it picks up so much speed”
  • “It felt pretty responsive for a 6’10” with 49 litres”
  • “I’m an old guy, I just want to cruise, I want to get that speed and shake off any of those wobbles and jittery turns, and this does that”
  • “Best for angling down the line, doing little smooth turns and getting speed”
  • “Thumbs up, stoked!”

“After four or five waves,” said Mondy, immediately post-shred, “you start to get your groove on, you get used to the quad set-up, and you just work out what it’s best for, and that’s for angling down the line, doing little smooth turns and getting speed.”

The ArchFishop comes in lovely bronze tint, and is available from 6’10” to 7’10”. It draws inspiration from the ideas of Skip Frye, an early pioneer of the “long fish”, as well as from newer shapes like Rob Machado’s recent Seaside and Beyond model.

Bill shapes and hand-finishes these himself in his Wadebridge factory, in between R&D on Cornwall’s north coast. As with any Maluku model, if we haven’t got any left in stock you can order it through the Surdome website to made and delivered (waiting times can vary – see the product page for more details). The same goes for Fourth Surfboards and Pyzel.

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