Progressing with surfing doesn’t just mean learning new tricks; it also means you get to test out new kit. Whether you’re trying out new surfboard shapes, different tails or changing your fins, there is so much surf kit out there to try out. What with technology constantly progressing and so much choice, it’s difficult to know what equipment to go for. But don’t get your bikini bottoms in a twist about it – we’re going to keep things really simple and give you the lowdown about different fins, how they work and what they do.
Firstly, what are fins for?
Fins are attached to the bottom of your surfboard and have a big impact on the feel, drive, manoeuvrability and stability of your board.
Let’s start with the basics…
If you’ve ever really looked at a fin you will see it’s shaped in an aerodynamic way, with the thickest part of the fin around the middle and the thinnest areas on the outer edges. This is known as the fin’s ‘foil’, and plays a big part in the way the board moves through the water.
Some fins are flat on one side and foiled on the other, these are usually called side fins. Others are foiled on both sides – these are called the centre or single fins. The idea with fins is to create a lift under your surfboard, to help manoeuvre the board effectively in the right conditions.
The flex and stiffness of a fin has a big effect on the way a surfboard handles on a wave. If you’re a beginner, stiff fins can be more forgiving, offering up more stability. The lack of flex in a fin will make it harder to do sharp turns and the turns you do perform will be wider and sweeping. Turns are generally faster with a flex fin. Flexible fins are more suited to the intermediate and advanced surfers as they are more responsive when being put through