Many people struggle with selecting the right surfboard fins and other people don't even consider it, not realizing that about 30% of the surfboards performance comes from the fins. I've seen so many people get a new surfboard, not get on with it and blame the board without realizing they have completely the wrong fins in it for how they surf. A question I get asked all the time is What surfboard fins should I get for more release in small waves? Or more hold in big waves? More drive?
The Right Surfboard Fins Will Improve Your Surfing
Changing your surfboard fins can dramatically change the way your board performs and having the right fins will improve your surfing no end.
If you are unfamiliar with surfboard fins I recommend first of all checking your fins and making sure you are using or have tried M5 glass flex fins, these are the perfect all-round fin. Surfing these will help you get a good overall feel for your surfboard before you decide if there is anything you want to change.
The Basics of Surfboard Fins
General size of the fin -
M1000 - Very small, intended for groms (young surfers)
M3 - Small fin intended for the smaller or lightweight surfer
M5 - Medium fin intended for the average size everyday surfer
M7 - Large fin for larger or heavier surfers or powerful surfers.
However these sizes are intended as a rough guide, larger surfers often prefer small fins to loosen up their big surfboard and small surfers often prefer larger fins to help power up their turns.
Base width - The wider the base width the more drive your fin will produce, the harder you will be able to push through turns, also making it easier to generate you own speed. Less base width will loosen your surfboard up making it more maneuverable.
Rake - Having more rake (a longer curve) will draw your turns out more whereas a more vertical, upright fin template will allow for tighter, faster turns.
Tip - The more area in the tip of the fin the more hold you will get through your turns, the smaller the tip the more release you will get meaning snappier turns with more slide.
So analyze what you want to change:
If you surf a very small short-board, these can often feel underpowered, and hard to produce speed on or do a good bottom turn. This is when you need more drive - so a larger fin or a wider base and a fuller tip will help you. This is also a common problem on shorter, wider boards (Fish etc.). The wider the tail the less drive you will have. (For this an example of fins you would want would be the FCS FG-7 fins or FCS TC Redline fins)
Your surfboard may feel too stiff and you feel it could be a lot more maneuverable and that your turns could be a lot tighter. In this case a smaller fin or one with less base width and a more upright, vertical template and a smaller tip is the key. Surfboards feel stiffer when they are long or depending on the tail shape and rocker. A narrower tail (pin or semi pin) will generally have more drive and feel stiffer as will a flatter rocker. (Fins such as FCS FG-3 or FCS AM-2 would be ideal for this scenario).
You may feel you want to smooth out your surfing, get a little bit more stylish and less snappy and erratic, in this case go for fins which are a little longer and with more rake. This will draw your turns out more and get you doing those nice arcs. (FCS G-AM or Kelly Slater K2.1)
You may have one surfboard that you use in all conditions. Therefore by changing the fins you can change the performance. Surfing bigger or hollower waves you will need more hold, so a larger fin, bigger base and tip, more rake.
Then when you surf that small junky day and you want to bust the tail out, stick in your smaller or less base, less tip fins.. You get the picture.
Choosing what surfboard fins to get can be confusing at first with all the choices. Personally I recommend none other than the two sets which are proven to be the perfect combination. Kelly Slaters K2.1 designed by himself for the highest possible performance surfing and tightest turns in everyday surf, and Kelly Slaters K3 which he designed for use in more open face surf such as reefs and point breaks for smoother arcs and drawn out turns. Those two sets are all he ever uses. And 11 World Titles later, they seem to be working just fine.
Amazon Price: $60.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 8, 2015)
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(price as of Jun 8, 2015)
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