Fin guide

Choosing the correct fins for your board is essential for determining how the board will perform. Shapers create boards with the intention of them being ridden in a specific way. Therefore, different boards and surfing conditions require different fins and fin set ups.

Fin design and set-up can be endlessly experimented with, but before you start testing your options, it’s important to know how each type of fin and their features affect performance.

The size of the fin

The overall size of the fin makes the biggest impact in your boards performance. The larger the surface area, the more hold the fin provides, and fin categories are also broken down into weight ranges. A large fin provides more “hold” and control in bigger surf. A small fin is more loose and forgiving, however lacks the control for large surf. A medium set provides an in-between “all-rounder” performance.

The base of the fin

The base of the fin attaches to the board. The wider and longer the fin base, the more drive it will provide. The shorter or more narrow the fin base, the easier the turns and more release.

The depth of the fin

The depth of the fin refers to how tall or long it is, and how deep into the water the fin goes. The deeper the fin, the more stability and hold. The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns. The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing.

Fin Rake

Rake refers to how far back the fin tilts. Rake equals hold, and vertical/upright equals tighter pivots. The more rake a fin has, the less pivot it will provide. This is useful in bigger surf. A more upright fin will pivot more and is more useful in smaller surf.

The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing. See picture shown.

Fin foil

Foil of a fin refers to the shape of the fin from front to back. Different shapes create different kinds of lift under the board. Generally, fins are thicker in the centre, and taper towards the edges. Side fins are generally flat, with inward curves on the inside and foil on the outside.

Centre fins have equal foil on both sides. The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing. See below picture.

Fin cant

The cant of a fin refers to the angle outwards a fin produces in relation to the board. A straight up and down fin has “zero cant” and will be faster down the line, but less responsive for turns. A more angled cant will be more responsive during turns because the board becomes more titled through the rails.

The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing.

Fin toe

The toe refers to the angle of the fin pointing inwards towards the stringer of the board. Side fins usually angle more inwards to create pressure on the outside foil. This creates a more responsive feel. See below picture.

Fin shape - flex fin

Flex fins have maximum flex, and create tighter turns. The overall shape of a flex fin has a lot to do with how the board performs, and a fins performance is directly related to flex. The flex of a fin determines projection, and is versatile in that it can be utilised in a range of different boards, including short performance boards to long boards and nose riders. Generally, flex fins have a wide base, which tapers down to a narrow tip. This shape offers very minimal drag.

Fin shape - rake fin

Rake fins have medium flex, and draw out your turns. A rake fin also has a wide base, but the tip is more narrow, and then sweeps back. This shape provides manoeuvrability, and more hold in the tail.

Fin shape - pivot fin

Pivot fins have very little flex. They are generally a surfers go-to for nose riding. A pivot fin features more of a vertical outline, and a wider base. This shape is designed to slow you down, and keeps the tail of the board in the water while you are nose riding. It also provides swing and tight pivot turns.

Fin shape - D fin

D fins have no flex, and are the least versatile.These fins are generally spotted on classic shapes and logs. They provide less stability, and are quite hard to turn. However, they provide speed down the line. D fins are wide in both base and tip.

Fin construction - fibreglass fin

Fibreglass fins are considered traditional. Multiple layers of fibreglass and resin are cut and foiled, to create a strong finish. The thinner the sand back, the more the flex. 

Stiff fibreglass fins are often the go-to for big surf, as they provide control and stability. 

This composition is reliable for single and twin fins, where sturdiness is required, however, they are quite heavy and won’t assist in providing lift. 

Examples include:

FCSII Performance Glass 'PG'.

The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing.

Fin construction - composite fin

Composite fins are a combination of two or more materials constructed together. 

Generally, a composite fin is made with resin transfer molding, combined with fibreglass. The finish is plastic-like, lightweight and strong. However, composite fins do not provide the same flex properties as a fibreglass fin.

Examples include: FCSII neoglass, or glass flex.

Futures alpha or thermotech.

Sea Eclipse PC.

The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing.

Fin construction - performance core

High performance fins often feature a core that is a ‘hexagonal’ or ‘honeycomb’ shape. This creates lightweight and strong fins, as well as stiffness and flex. 

These performance cores are often wrapped in composite fin material of fibreglass and resin. 

These fins are most common, and are considered the best all-rounder. 

Examples include:

FCSII honeycomb performance core 'PC', performance carbon core 'PCC'.

Futures PC. 

Sea Eclipse PCC.

The shallower the fin, the more release when performing turns.Start with an outline of topics and identify highlights, which can be applied to whatever subject you plan on discussing.