Fin Talk

Surf Girl - - Morocco - Words by Cor­rine Evans

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…

Foil

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.

Flex

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

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