During development, general information regarding the body plan, such as definitions of body axes and pattern formation, need to be translated into the morphologies of individual cells and result in apical-basal and planar cell polarity, with the latter being important in sensory hair cells. Not much is known with regard to the molecular effectors that enable the required cell shapes and their changes during polarity establishment and maintenance, but the process is thought to require membrane shaping by BAR-family proteins and force generation by the cortical actin cytoskeleton. Here (p. 196), Britta Qualmann and colleagues perform side-by-side loss-of-function studies by using the zebrafish orthologues of the F-BAR protein syndapin I and of the actin nucleator Cobl. They find that lack of syndapin I or Cobl result in similar loss-of-function phenotypes. Affected are processes that rely on the accurate formation and function of motile and non-motile sensory cilia; for instance, the fish show severe swimming and balance-keeping defects. Syndapin I and Cobl both localise to the base of the forming cilia, and rescue experiments show that formation of a complex between syndapin I and Cobl is crucial for the formation of ciliary structures. Thus, the authors suggest that formation of distinct types of ciliary structure relies on the modulation of the membrane topology that is mediated by F-BAR domains and cytoskeletal components.