Part 2 – Choosing the right Performance Fins:
Walking up to the fin wall can be intimidating and confusing. This simple three step process will help you choose the right performance fins for your new rip stick…
1. Choose the proper fin size. Just like different sized surfboards for different sized surfers, fins have different sizes based on the surfer’s weight. Both FCS and Futures fin companies have surfer weight charts to dial you into their different sized fins: XS, S, M, L, XL. Once you determine which size fin you should be using based on your weight, you’ve already eliminated 80% of the choices, making your final decision that much easier.
2. Choose the proper template. The next step is to determine the type of waves you will be surfing most often, with the board you will be using them in. Different shaped fins perform better at different things. More vertical fins tend to like sharper, more pivotal turns, like the ones you find in short, hollow beach breaks. More raked fins tend to hold better through long radius turns on open faces at higher speeds. You can also shoot straight up the middle for a good “all around fin”. Changing your fins as you encounter different surf conditions can dramatically extend the performance range of your board and an extra set of fins is way easier (and less expensive) to carry than a second board.
3. Choose the preferred construction. Plastic fins are great for groms or for stashing in your glovebox or travel bag for an emergency replacement. If you really want your fins to match the performance of your new surfboard, you should choose either honeycomb/fiberglass or honeycomb/fiberglass/carbon constructions. The carbon allows specific flex control in certain areas of the fin and can also be used to stiffen the fin. Carbon is sometimes viewed as “always better” but for light-footed surfers that don’t push as hard in their turns, it can sometimes be too stiff. For these surfers, honeycomb/fiberglass fins can give you the right template and foil, AND the right flex/response that matches your surfing style.