Rocket Fish 2008 review:
The North Rocket fish is a very special board that does exactly what it is supposed to do. As a surfer and long time rider of the North 08 Freestyle Fish, I have a good feeling for this board having ridden it for some few months now.
The board is thinner than most other boards that I considered before this purchase. It took me a very long time to decide on this board having considered such boards as the Naish Custom 5'10" pintail, the slighshot SRT, the Cabrinah S-Quad 5'4" and the Underground Freewave 5'8". I chose the Rocket fish as I already had the wider Freestyle Fish and wanted a faster down the line board for larger waves and a gripper carving board. The closest to this was the Naish Custom Wave pintail with similar width.
First impressions were that this board is a great size for me being 68 kg rider and can easily work in lighter winds, as well as being able to hold down strong wind as you speed up toe side down the face of the wave. Something that can get too intense with the Freestyle fish that starts to get too bouncy from the 48cm width. Also as the Rocket fish is very light in construction jumping and chop hopping through rough sections is very comfortable. The board feel super light under foot.
Toeside riding is very comfortable and extremely grippy. The board sticks a line and is super friendly in the toe side position. Heel side of course allows for very hard railing. The rails are a touch soft for a comfortable ride but do not feel at all like loosing grip. The fins that come with the board are the black plastic job and do the job extremely well. Loose and yet they prip really well.
re-entry and bottom turns can be very agressive and endless top to bottom rail to rail riding is this boards gig. The only board that beats it for snap turns is the Freestyle Fish, especially heel side which is where the Freestyle fish makes your lip move to down the face reos remarkable. The rocket fish does have tgreat heel side snap back in small waves and even better toe side (facing the wave) reos as you have the added heel pressure, just not the same as the Freestyle Fish in small waves. However once the waves get to 2-3 and 4 feet the board just gets better and better, confidence, speed, fast arcing turns, insane reos and aerial moves.
Gybing, very nice, I have taken my improved gybing from the Freestyle Fish to the Rocket Fish and it has got better. The Rocket Fish is actually a slight bit more stable in gybing and under some power creates a smooth arc. The rear sky hook is in a good position for rear foot placement (between the back of the rear strap and the sky hook) in the gybe which gives you the option for a real 180 switch in direction.
The 5'9" North Rocket fish is likely to be a good size for those floating around my weight of 68 kg, I would say up to 78 / 80 kg where you might start to think about the 6' board.
Any negatives? After my time on this board I find it really hard to pick up a bad performance characteristic. The mini tuttle box fins give great stability for the fin, however these fin anchors do make it hard to swap with the more popular fins such as FCS etc. which is a shame. We did use some mini tuttle box adaptors from NSP but I actually had to grind them back a bit as they sat about 1mm above the board profile. This does work however it seems that any compatability that manufacturers can add always helps.
The other critcism is that I always feel you can never have too many foot strap holes in a board. The position of the straps for me is perfect and I don't need to move them, however everyone is different and likely that others might want to move the straps outside the range, why not just have a few extra points.
I am very happy that I ended up choosing this board as it really has become my favourite board and I just love to ride it. I am using the Freestyle fish for strapless smaller up to 2 ft surf and then 2ft up or stronger winds in any suf size it is the Rocket Fish.
Which Board? Rocket or Freestyle? This is quite a simple question really.
Freestyle Fish: *Smaller surf perhaps up to 3 foot max, onshore, side onshore crumbly waves that make you want to cry if you are a sufer only. These waves are actually fun and allow for epic wave riding sessions from zippy agressive turns and aerials in such small conditions. Light to Medium winds.
Limitations: big surf with strong winds and plus heavilly chopped up conditions.
Rocket Fish: More serious wave riding, essentially if you are after a wave board, then this is it. 3 ft waves and above, Onshore, side onshore and side shore where the board really arcs up. This is more likley to be an all round one board only than the Freestyle Fish unless your conditions are as described above*. This board is where you rock up at your local and can expect anything from 2 ft onshore to 6ft side shore.
Limitations: smaller than 2 ft onshore, it will still work but you will want to be on your Freestyle Fish.