SUP board fins are an essential part of your board. Think about it: just like a fish, without fins a stand up paddle board would have a hard time steering! Fins make the difference, so your board goes where you want it to rather than where wind, waves, or current might decide to take it. One fin, two fins, three fins, four might sound like a nursery rhyme, but it’s really about the style of board that’s best for you, and what you want to do with it.
Basically, the size of the board is relative to fin style and fin combinations. The descriptions below relate to fins and performance styles of stand up paddle boarding. Read on, and be prepared to ask knowledgeable questions when it comes time to purchase your board.
Everything you need to know about proper fin placement for your stand up paddleboard as well as fin types, number of fins, and more from Naish Pro Rider Chuck Patterson.
SUP boards that are specifically designed for flat water will have one long fin. This provides board stability and minimal drag, and allows the board to travel straighter during long distance touring, racing and downwinder treks. This fin is great for casual paddling, crossing waters (shore to shore) or paddling with a child or pet. Usually, a single fin will be mounted on a longer, wider board for ultimate stability.
ALL-ROUND MULTI-FIN & THRUSTER BOARD FINS
Some boards have a three-fin setup for better manoeuvering in swells and waves, providing dynamic action and easier turning. Some three, four, and five-fin setups are called "thrusters"; they allow the board to move faster through the waves while surfing.
Three-fin setups are NOT favourable for flat water since the two outside fins create drag. Many board designs allow you to remove the two outside fins, which makes for great versatility. Take two fins off and voila!—now you have a flat water board. In some cases you can even remove the centre fin and replace it with a longer, single fin—even better for flat water. This makes for a great all-around board, ideal for beginner and intermediate SUPers who want to try different techniques and water conditions.
By Starboard this video covers the SUP thruster setup VS the Quad setup
SUP RACE FINS
Racing fins are just that: SUP fins specifically designed for racing. The shape falls between the flat water fin and wave fins, offering maximum stability and manoeuverability for racing situations.
Many SUPers say a quad fin set-up is faster and more responsive, able to handle waves of all sizes depending on your capability. A quad fin setup provides the most versatility. Some of these boards allow for multiple setups: two, three (thruster), or four fin. This versatility means more choices, especially desirable if you travel to different waters. These quad fin boards will have "cant" for easier and more responsive turns.
These fins are longer and narrower, with less curve from base to tip. They reach further into the water to reduce spin in the currents while manoeuvring downwind on oceans, rivers, or fast moving lakes.
SUP fin terms:
CANT/SWEEP - refers to the angle of the fin in relation to the board, for example: if the SUP board fin is perpendicular to the bottom of the board, there's no cant. If is angled towards the tail, it has more more sweep. More cant or curve means more sweep for easier, quicker turns.
SINGLE - a single fin. This set-up works on flat water SUP and downwinder SUPs.
TWIN - usually paired to a board with a fish tail or swallow tail design to enhance speed in smaller waves and reduce drag, since there is no third middle fin.
2+1 - an all-round SUP fin combination. Can be used in swells and waves with three fins or can be used for flat water touring using only the centre fin, removing the two outside fins.
THRUSTER – this three-fin set-up provides some thrust to move faster through the waves.
QUAD – four-fin set-up allows you to ride with a variety of combinations to optimize your board’s behaviour depending on conditions.
DESCRIPTION: understanding SUP board fins
Installing SUP board fins.
Futures Board fins.
2014 Fin-S Fin System Installation
How to install Fin-S screwless, toolless fin system into your board in minutes. www.fin-s.com
Review for 2014 Fin-S Fin System Installation
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Home – where it all started
Quad fin set-up.
3-fin thruster set-up.