Everything You Need to Know About Surfboard FinsStuart Donaghy
Just as there are loads of surfboards you can choose from, there are also many possibilities when picking surfboard fins. You can buy fins in different sizes, different materials and different configurations. The right fins can have a big impact on the performance of your surfboard, so it is worth doing a bit of research. We have a huge range on our website, but before you go to take a look, let’s look at the options….
Fins are an important part of your set up. They add stability and help with control and direction. They also help you to maintain a steady speed, like the keel of a boat they help the surfboard to cut through the water.
There are many different fin set-ups, but there are four that are particularly popular, so we’ll start with these.
You will usually see a single fin on a longboard. It is a traditional setup that has been around for a long time. Some people enjoy the feel that a single fin gives while riding a wave as they are generally long, wide and big enough to provide control over the board on its own and are great for small to medium waves. They take a bit of getting used to, but they will give you good speed and help with smooth, slow turns, but you may struggle with shorter turns and some other fins can help with that.
Twin fins have been around since the late 70’s and early 80’s and provide more stability than a single fin, alongside more manoeuvrability and speed when turning. The limitations of this setup are that it can be harder to surf bigger waves, particularly making those bottom turns and can give a feeling of less control over the tail.
This is probably the set up you will see other surfers using the most, regardless of whether they are just starting out or are pro surfers. The three equally sized fins give more stability and control, making many of the more impressive manoeuvres in bigger waves possible. Thruster fins are suitable for most conditions and are great fun to ride.
This set up with four fins combines some aspects of the twin fins with some aspects of the thruster fins. They are great in small surf and can give good speed, even in small waves as there is less drag. They can also be used for big waves, with the fins located further back on the board, which gives extra grip. You can use quad fins in many conditions, depending on where you place the fins.
Other things to consider
The location of the fins and the number you choose to go with is important, but there are some other things to be considered:
Size of fin – generally the bigger the fin, the bigger the hold as there is more surface in contact with the water.
The flexibility of the fin – a firmer fin will give you a sharper response, and the ability to turn quickly but the flipside is that they are less forgiving to ride.
Fin base- this is the length of the fin at the point where it meets the board. It may seem like a small detail, but a longer base gives you more drive, a smaller base will give you less drive but will help with short, sharp turns.
Fin rake (sweep)- this is all about the tilt of the fin towards the back of the board. With less rake you can change direction quickly, whereas more rake will give you longer turns.
As you can see, there are loads of fin options to choose from. Now that you have a better idea of the right fin set-up for your riding style check out our recommended fins.