Fins definitely are the most overlooked part of a surfboard purchase. The importance of selecting the right fins is crucial, as your decision can make or break how the surfboard performs.
Even if you are still learning, surfboard fins are designed to also give stability and control while riding a wave, which is super important in the learning stage. That’s why I thought I should do a short guide on surfboard fins to help you make the right decision.
Lets start with configuration:
A ‘Thruster’ setup, is the most common because of its versatility uses three fins. One fin on each side of the board and one in the middle. All three of these fins are usually the same size.
A quad has four fins, two on each side, This is great for speed and extra stability. With this set up, the front two fins are larger than the back two.
Twin fins like the name suggests has two, these fins are usually longer and wider. These are designed to create a lot of speed but with the trade off that it will feel loose. Don’t make the mistake of trying to use regular fins in a board designed as a twin fin as this doesn’t work the best
And finally a single fin which is just one big fin that is usually used on a long board. The fin is placed in a long fin box at the back of the board.
Different fin mounts.
There are two different brand’s that you can use for fin mounting. These brands are Futures and FCS. The mounting system is pre set into your surfboard so you should check your board before making a fin purchase.
The differences in these mounting systems are determined by the way the fin connects to the bottom of the surfboard. The short version is that future screw their fins in from the back on the fin box and FCS has a hook in system that does not require a screw.
It is a personal preference on which system you choose to use. If you are starting out, I suggest to select the correct board first and match the fins to the system it has.
Be aware that FCS has two different mounting system, FCS are just two dual tabs that get screwed into the bottom of the board and FCS II is their latest system that hooks into your board.
Explaining the differences in Fins.
The size of the fin is going to impact performance. A larger fin generally will have more hold and also provide plenty of control in bigger surf. A smaller fin, on the other hand, is going to be more forgiving and loose, but you are going to sacrifice a lot of drive and control if the surf picks up.
The base of the fin that is the part of the fin that attaches to the board. A longer or wider fin base is going to help with your drive. This translates into drawn out turns. Compare this with a narrow, or short fin base that is going to let you turn a little easier and sharper but without as much of that drive.
The depth or fin height refers to just how far the fin extends away from the bottom of the board. A deeper fin in the water is going to have more hold and stability than a shallow fin. A Shallow fin will give you more release when you throw that tail around through turns.
The rake is how far back the arc of the fin tilts or sweeps. The larger the degree of rake the more drawn out your turns will be. This is great for those bigger days with a nice wall to work with. Less fin rake and more up right fin template, means that your going to get some more pivot out of them which is great for those weaker days.
I always suggest to people who are new to surfing to get the advice from someone that knows about fins, so definitely reach out to me here or via my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/southcoast.kook/
Or go into your local surf shop for advice.