Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review: one of the best modern fish around

A redesigned Mark Richards classic, the Lost X MR California Twin board works just as well for average Joes as it does for serious rippers

T3 Platinum Award
Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review
(Image credit: Rich Owen)
T3 Verdict

Whether you want to race down the line or sit deep in the pocket, the California Twin is an excellent choice for most conditions – though it's not at its best in the smallest or weakest waves.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Suitable for most conditions

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    Early wave entry

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    Fast yet nimble

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not suitable for beginners

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    Susceptible to dings

Welcome to T3's Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review. This board is a collaboration between legendary surfer and shaper Mark Richards, and Lost Surfboards' shaping kingpin Matt ‘Mayhem' Biolos. Biolos took Richard's iconic and best-selling Super Twin board (a design honed by the boards he rode to five world championship victories in the 70s and 80s) and tweaked the high-performance shape to make it more user-friendly and perform better in weaker waves. In doing so, he created the Lost X MR California Twin. This board is suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers – if you need something easier to handle, consult our roundup of the best surfboards for beginners

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review: design

Lost X MR California Twin: specs

Lengths available: 5'2 to 6'4
Board type: modern fish
Fin system: FCS II twin + trailer (not included)
Construction: polyester fibreglass
Suitable for: intermediate to advanced surfers
Ideal wave range: chest to head high

A flatter nose rocker, plus a wider mid-point, nose and tail help to give the California Twin plenty of useful glide in the weaker surf typically encountered here in the UK. A flat deck helps give provide stability and makes the board more forgiving for less skilled surfers, while the performance tail rocker and Richards' proven ‘soft down' rails gives easier take-offs in steeper waves and enable more experienced riders to pull precise turns.

Bumps in the rail line towards the rear allow for a more pulled in tail than you'd find on a more traditional fish, while a single concave runs from mid-way on the board for extra drive through to a double concave near the tail that helps enable freer manoeuvres. 

Somewhat strangely for a twin-fin, the board comes with three FCS II fin slots. But while Mark Richards' original design was a pure twin-fin, the Lost X MR California Twin is designed to be run with two larger side fins plus a small trailer in the centre for extra hold through the turns – though you could opt to run it as a twin, or even a three-fin thruster if you want to try a different feel. While there are plenty of suitable FCS II fins around, the Mark Richards Performance Core 2+1 fin set makes the perfect partner.

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review: performance

Our test California Twin came in at 5'7 long, 20.25cm wide, 2.42cm thick with a 30l volume. Our 5'9, 11 stone reviewer rode the board in a wide range of conditions – everything from fast, punchy, overhead waves, to gentle, thigh-high peelers.

In small, weak, more marginal wave conditions, our California Twin works pretty well. Though wave entry isn't the easiest and we constantly had to work the board to maintain momentum. We switched to a more traditional fish for comparison and with its wider, flatter shape, it was easier to catch waves on and it held its speed better when up and riding.

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review

(Image credit: Rich Owen)

In mid-sized, open faced waves, the California Twin properly comes to life and is a total blast to ride. Over a number of sessions, we consistently caught almost every wave we went for, the board generated huge amounts of speed down the line and held that momentum when pulling surprisingly tight turns.

In steep, fast, head-high plus waves, the California Twin still performs very well. With a more generous tail area than a traditional shortboard, the Cali Twin allowed us to get into waves a paddle or two earlier than usual and gives plenty of hold even when bigger sets come through. As you'd expect from a board of this kind, it's harder to pull snappy turns than on a shortboard, but they are nothing like the drawn out turns typical of a more traditional flatter and wider-tailed fish.

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review: durability

Despite being made with a traditional construction of polyester resin on a foam blank, the California Twin is surprisingly light. However, we put small dings in the rail and tail of the board from two extremely minor bumps, so we suspect the board's feather weight (for PU) is due to a relatively thin glass job. 

Most surfboards are constructed with an extra layer of fibreglass matting on the deck, but even so after a full winter's surfing we expected some to find a fair amount of pressure marks when cleaning off the wax – particularly given how susceptible the board is to damage. But this proved not to be the case and we were pleased to find only a handful of very light pressure marks when cleaning up the deck.

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review: is it right for you?

These days, there are hundreds and hundreds of different surfboards to choose from that come in all kinds of varied shapes, sizes and finishes. Despite all that though, there are essentially two paths to follow for surfers who have just tossed aside their L-plates and are regularly catching green waves: do you want to become a shortboarder or a longboarder?

Typically, longboards paddle faster and are far easier to ride than shortboards so will enable you to catch more waves. However, shortboards are far more manoeuvrable and easier to handle in big waves. It basically all comes down to the kind of surfing you want to do and when you want to do it. If you're looking for some summer fun on small days, longboards are a great choice. Should you prefer looking to do more radical moves in bigger, punchier waves more typically found in winter, then shortboards are for you.

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review

(Image credit: Rich Owen)

While it's not a big leap for beginners to make the switch from a learner board to a longboard, progressing to a proper shortboard is a far more challenging transition. Fortunately, there are all kinds of hybrid boards around that would-be shortboarders can use as stepping stones to reach a performance shortboard. Then again, a hybrid board may be all they need to realise their surfing ambitions.

Hybrid surfboards include everything from performance mid-lengths to stubby, super-fast fish, so choosing the best board for you can be a difficult choice. We reckon that it's hard to go wrong with a fish though and the Lost X MR California Twin is one of the best modern, twin-fin fish around.

Lost X MR California Twin surfboard review: verdict

While there are plenty of modern fish type boards to choose from, the California Twin is one of the best and most versatile models around. In mid-sized to head-high waves, the California Twin goes like a rocket, but still manages to stay nimble and easy to manoeuvre. While it's not the best small wave groveller, it's still super-easy to catch waves on in anything three-foot upwards.

So, who should buy this board? Well, it's a top choice for intermediate to advanced surfers looking for something that will get them into waves a little earlier than a shortboard without much of a sacrifice in performance. Less experienced surfers should look at the bigger sizes of the board as the California Twin is an excellent board to hone your skills on.

Rich Owen
Rich Owen

Rich Owen has been frantically riding mountain bikes since the early 90s and is a former editor of What Mountain Bike magazine. He’s also a surfer with over 20 years’ experience and lives near North Devon’s best beach breaks.