Surfboard fins influence your ability to perform certain surfing maneuvers on the waves, they can also influence your style of surfing!
Surfboard fins are either glassed on or have a removable fin system. The different fin types are:
The single fin design was the first type of fin to be attached to surfboards. They are commonly used on retro surfboards and longboards where fin boxes are installed. This is done by sliding the fin forward in the box, as the surfboard becomes looser, whilst doing so, and by sliding the fin closer to the tail the surfboard will slow down. There are many different styles of single fins that longboard riders or retro surfers can experiment with.
The next progression in the fin movement was the twin fin, now they are mainly seen in retro and fish surfboards. Twin fins are often larger than a standard shortboard fin, and compared to the earlier single fin they allowed the surfer to perform tighter turns.
Eventually the three-fin system was introduced to the surfing world by Australia’s Simon Anderson, who turned the modern short board into a “thruster”. The fins were also heavily reduced in size to compliment the lightness of the shortboards. The thruster allowed for high performance surfing to come into the modern day, as the three fin set up handled critical maneuvers with speed and control.
Four fins are mainly used in retro, fish or “quad” surfboards; the additional fin which is set up similar to the twin fin style provides the surfer with a lot of down the line speed, and also offers more resistance to the traditional twin fin “slide out” while turning. Quads are also used on tow boards and have recently been introduced to high performance shortboards.
Tip: Fins can flex at the tip – more flexible fins are suited to larger surfboards such as guns, minimals, longboards or retro boards as it gives them more acceleration.