Thinking Of Trying A Different Surfboard Fin Setup?

The original surfboards did not have any surfboard fin setup as they did not have any surf fins at all!

However without surfboard fins, modern surfboards would slide sideways and be virtually uncontrollable.  This is due to the fact that surf fins create resistance to the water, which lets you, the surfer, maneuver the surfboard and glide across the face of a wave without sliding and falling flat on your face!

There are 4 different surfboard fin setup options for you to choose from and each requires different surfboard fin position, resulting in a surfboard with a unique feel.

The Single Fin Surfboard Setup

The single surf fin setup is the oldest surfboard fin placement found on surfboards of the past.  It is very uncommon to find this fin setup on a surfboard today. This surfboard setup however is still found on some modern longboards and big wave boards where control is more important than high performance maneuvering.

This setup features one fin placed between 6” and 8” from the tail of the surfboard in a center position, with the deeper and larger the surf fin the more control the surfer will have over the surfboard. The hazard here however is that this single surfboard fin not be too large, as this will cause too much drag making the surfboard almost impossible to turn.

A good single fin size is between 6” and 10” deep with a 6” to 8” base. The tilt of this single surf fin is also important, as more upright surfboard fins allow a tighter pivoting radius, with raked fins giving more control at high speeds.

The Twin Fin Surfboard Setup

The twin fin, or deep keel twin fin fish, appeared in the 1940s with the emergence of the fish and swallowtail shaped surfboards.

Steve Lis, a San Diego born surfer, created a popular version of the twin fin fish in the 1960s, which was primarily used as a kneeboard. It was this style that became the foundation for today’s retro surfboards with the double surfboard fin setup.

This surf fin setup utilizes two fins, one on each side of the tail of the fish board. These two surf fins were necessary to keep the symmetry and stability of the two points of the swallow tail of the fish board.

While the twin fin setup does result in higher speed, surfers lose effective control, and the setup is almost impossible to use in anything other than perfect conditions. With that said, a twin fin setup can be perfect for weak small, wave surfing.

The Thruster Or Tri Fin Surfboard Setup

The dawn of the 1980s brought the tri-fin or thruster surfboard fin setups. This is the most common surfboard fin placement for modern shortboards and funboards, and is the best fin setup for all around surfboards in all surf conditions.

Using three surfboard fins provides great control and maneuverability;  This fin placement helps hold the surf board in the face of the wave and provides great stability. The fins usually are 4” deep with a 3” to 4” base.

The base of the forward fins angle towards the nose of the surfboard slightly while their tips set further apart than their bases.  This is due to a surfboard fin design feature known as fin cant. Both of these factors increase speed and control while decreasing board tracking. Usually the rear center fin is foiled while the front fins have flat inside faces to enhance drive during turns.

The Quad Fin Surfboard Setup

Quad Surfboard Fin SetupThe Quad surf fin setup has two sets of twin fins.While the intent of the quad design is admirable, surfers have actually been slow to catch on to this surfboard fin placement.

Surfers who swear by this fin setup experience increased speed over the other surfboard fin setups.

This type of fin placement achieves this by removing the center fin to reduce drag and increase the down the line speed of the surfboard while using the twin fins sets and the rails of the surfboard to maintain stability and control.

The quad surfboard fin setup is also more responsive fin setup than other fin placements .

The quad placement has also become a common feature of big wave surfboards due to its increased holding power in big surf.

The Five Fin Surfboard Setup

The 5 fin surf surfboard setup is essentially a thruster setup and quad setup in one. This surfboard fin placement provides surfers with the best of both worlds allowing you to ride your surfboard with any one of the 4 popular surfboard fin setups.

The greatest advantage to the five fin setup is therefore its versatility when used with of removable fin systems.

There is an endless selection of surfboard fins for surfers to try: fin size, cant, rake, angles, and fin material, to name a few. This allows riders to customize their surfboard for any surf conditions and their abilities at any particular time.

This new design is therefore attractive to many types of surfers, from beginners to advanced, with it gaining popularity every season.

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