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-   -   Understanding Surfboard Fins (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=801711)

ssjrmk 04-12-2014 4:57 PM

Understanding Surfboard Fins
I was hoping someone could shed some light on how many fins to use, what size fin to use and where they should be placed. If you could explain how size,number,and placement of fins affect the characteristics of the board. Thanks.

fence_sence 04-12-2014 5:43 PM

Here is a great place to start...


Chaos 04-12-2014 9:06 PM

It really depends on your board. Fins, their number and placement tend to be an overall part of the board design. Most company place fins in a very generic tried and true format. The thing to first understand is that the two main upper fins set between 10-12" from tail are your main drive fins. All other fins are generally accessory fins that serve a variety of roles depending on placement, shape and type. Generally speaking most wake surf utilize the smaller fins designed for ocean surfboards or silly little wakeboard fins. The problem with the little wakeboard fins is all they do is provide a little hold but no drive or energy transfer, and downside of most surfing fins is that they tend to be designed for longer more drawn out turns, which is not really a part of wakesurfing.

Your average board is going to ride quite well with a typical thruster (3 fin) configuration. Some people as they get more comfortable like to remove the center fin, to allow for a more lively feel and easier rotations, i.e. 360s. A Twinzer-like style fin configuration is relatively popular on certain types of board. This style utilizes smaller 'canard' fins set in front and to the outside of the drive fins. The concept is for these fins to work similar to a jib on a sail but instead of directing wind to the main sail, they direct more water past the drive fins. These boards generally tend to be more of a hybrid between a surfboard and a skim board. They tend to have sharper rails, which helps to dig into the wake, given the overall smaller fin area. This digging into the wake provides some hold and stability. Quad fins are popular with riders that like a board with a bit more hold, a board that can be pumped harder on the rear foot to generate explosive speed down the line for the biggest aerial maneuvers. Standard 5 fin boards or 5 fin convertibles provide the best of both worlds being able to choose between a quad and a thruster, maybe even riding it as a 5-finner. Sixers or Six-Shooters combine the twinzer-style and quad into a versatile package. A Seven (7) is basically a Sixer with the typical thruster style center fin box added, to provide even more versatility.

Steve, if you just tell me what board you are riding, I will tell you the best fins for it., or at least my opinion as to what the best fins are.

Cheers, Nick

ssjrmk 04-13-2014 8:29 PM

I have the Island surfer Swallow.

tuneman 04-14-2014 9:16 AM

Well, coming from lots of first hand experience, I can sum it up for you. Just my opinion, though. All of these different fin arrangements are for big ocean surfing. While wakesurfing is still surfing, it's still quite different. For one, the wave power is upward, not horizontal. So that means less drive and small pockets. That simplifies things a bit:

Forget about anything more than two fins, unless you like riding on rails and only jumping. Bigger fins give you more drive, but create more drag. Toed in fins allow easier turns. The one exception to more than two fins is the twinzer setup. Twinzer fins create more drive by channeling more water to the base of the main fins. The base of the fin is where the drive is, not the tip.

For the swallow, I recommend the Busters for the most action and drive.

phathom 04-17-2014 10:03 AM

So can anyone give me some insight into the fin setup my board I bought this winter has?
I bought my first wakesurf board, a skim style board. I only rode surf style last season, but heard that if you wanted to do more spins and stuff that you needed to ride skim and figured I'd give it a shot.
Mine has a single fin that is 8" long and 1" tall at the peak.

Chaos 04-17-2014 11:21 AM

Steve, unfortunately since you have an inland board, you are stuck with inland fins. They use an obscure box system. However they do sell a variety of fins.

Tuneman's insights are basically correct. I generally disagree with the twin fins assertion. No top pros ride twin fin boards, except a few female. Twins are easy, and allow some freedom, but you never get the true surfing feel with twins. They just slide out to much. Of course, not everyone is looking to be a pro, nor are they looking to carve the face of the wake. But that is why the thruster is pretty universal. You can start with 3 and if you find it too locked in for your taste/wake then you can take the middle fin out or use a smaller fin.

Suf Addict. Most skim fins range from 6-8" long and yeah, about 1" to 1.25" tall. Most are just adapted from wakeboard fins, and allow a slight amount of forward to back movement with additional drill holes. In my experience most of the top riders set them in the further back position.

phathom 04-17-2014 3:27 PM

Ok. I appreciate that info. I thought it was a little odd it only had one long, short fin. All the boards I've ridden have been surf style with shorter, taller fins. My board is a WaveZone, a Florida surf manufacturer, so I don't think it's an adapted wakeboard fin. I'll look at it when I get home to see about that adjustment you were talking about. If I recall it's pretty far back as it is.
I'm still waiting to ride it since I bought it in January. This rain can't stop soon enough!!

Rob17 04-18-2014 12:27 PM

Thanks for all the good information guys! Nice to learn a bit on here....

zap 04-18-2014 6:26 PM

The is big boys will work well in the swallow, I actually made an adaptor for my sweet spot that allows the use of FCS fins..... Nice to have some options!

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