What are some tips for choosing a surfboard fin system setup?

The fins are a crucial part of the configuration of your surfboard. Find out which fins will best suit you depending on your style and board configuration. Surfboard fins are a crucial part of your surfboard setup. Choosing the fins that best fit you and your surfboard depends on your size, riding style and the surfboard's fin box.

Before talking about the size of the fins or the different configurations of the fins, it is important to distinguish between glazed and interchangeable fins. There are a lot of different configurations of fins. Here we'll focus on the 4 most popular ones, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, and the type of conditions in which they excel. Switch from the freedom of a double fin to the traction of a thruster or the speed of a quad bike without changing boards.

Trip Forman is the host of the popular and informative series of REAL Watersports surfboard video reviews, including “How to choose the right size surfboard”, shown below. FCS recently launched the FCS II keyless flap standard, which means that the flaps can be installed or removed without the need for wrenches or screws. The sheet alters the flow of water over the surface of the fins and has a direct impact on the performance of the fins and the board. Quads can be great on small waves, especially if the rear fins are higher up on the surfboard and closer to the rails.

On the other hand, the fins with a large angle of inclination and a small displacement will allow the board to have a narrower turning radius, but they are more “squirrel” and playful. Advanced surfers enjoy the extra speed that comes from not having a central fin, and the extra support on higher lines, having 2 fins close to the rails. The removable flaps can be added or removed with a flap wrench and by adjusting the small insertion screws (usually made of stainless steel). This article is not about “teaching”, but about finding an easy way to find the right fins that improve your surfing.

For example, a flap that is straight up and down and inside the wingbox has no inclination (90°) and will likely make you drive faster, while if it is above 90° it will increase responsiveness. Conversely, a fin that is too soft, like plastic fins for most surfers, flexes and is washed and never bounces back effectively. At that time, the world discovered how twin fins offered additional maneuverability and speed, giving Mark Richards a competitive advantage to surpass other competitors who mounted individual fins.

Surfers who work hard when cornering or who ride faster, more powerful waves will appreciate the added stiffness that carbon or solid fiberglass adds to their fins, while surfers who only flow in their curves may find that these structures are too stiff.

Nowadays, the 3 fins are the most common configuration and can be found in a variety of surfboard shapes and sizes.

The sweep, the tip, the length of the base, the thickness, the flexion, the height and the angle of inclination are important measurements of each surfboard fin and should be taken into account when choosing your next surf fins. Do not force the flaps into the box, as this could damage the board or the flap; instead, make sure that the screws are loose enough and that the flap is facing the right direction.