The Orbit Fish is the perfect blend of whitewater and surf, continuing Necky’s legacy of ripping up waves. It is a true carving spud that responds instantly when loading an edge and railing it around. The split tail and stringers shred features both big and small. The Orbit Fish bounces into aerials or carves aggressively into them. And, it’s a surprisingly good river runner.
If surfing makes you feel all nutty, here’s your boat. It feels like a rocket sled with rails on the wave, carving just behind your seat.
The Orbit Fish is fast (maybe not quite as fast as the Seven-O, but it’s three inches shorter) so you can use the whole wave, land tricks and not flush. It’s also fast from edge to edge and fast and loose to spin. How fast to spin? Fast like an amusement park ride with some carnie skid at the controls. In learning to control the Orbit Fish you need to lower the volume on Def Leppard, slow the ride down and get set up. Then, it’s green grinding, blunts, air blunts and so on with absolute ease. However, unlike more symmetrical hulls it back blunts differently and requires re-learning.
If you want to see grown men cry, come to a Rapid freestyle boat test and watch tall guys try to cram into new boats. No tears from the string beans here though. There is plenty of leg and foot room in the Orbit Fish. As for the outfitting, it’s not that it’s uncomfort- able, it’s just that it isn’t really there. Everyone agreed it needs custom foaming on the thigh braces; the seat would need some lift at the front and, as is, the backband wasn’t in the right spot for anyone.
For 170-pound freestylers the Orbit Fish was a snap to throw down in flatwater and eddy lines. The bow never pearls and the hull jumps up on a plane in and out of eddies.
PRO: Good for green grinds, surfing, blunts and aerial blunts.
CON: Minimal outfitting. Might be too loose for beginners. Trippy stern. Unbalanced cartwheels.
SPECS: length 6’6” | width 24” | volume 51 US gal | weight 34 lbs cockpit 16”x34” | price $1529 Cdn/ $1099 US
This article first appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of Rapid Magazine. For more great boat reviews, subscribe to Rapid’s print and digital editions here.