4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Surfboard Fins

If you are in the market for a new set of surfboard fins, you might be in for a big surprise. There are hundreds of options to choose from, and just looking at a fully stocked fin wall can feel overwhelming.

Still, the fins on your board will have much to do with your experience on the water, so you have to get it right.

You can make the right decision with this simple but effective buyer’s guide. Just ask yourself these four questions before buying fins for your board, and you should be fine.

1. What is the Fin Box Setup Required On The Board?

Before you look at a single fin, you should examine your board first. Specifically, you need to find out what its fin configuration is.

To do this, flip your board over and look at the tail section. It should have slots or openings where the fins are supposed to go.

First, each opening can either be a Futures Fin Box, which has one continuous opening, or a Fin Control System II or FCS II Fin Box, which has two smaller openings for each fin.

Second, your board can accommodate one to five fins, so you should see one to five openings. This will decide whether you should look for a Single Fin, 2 + 1, Twin, Thruster, Quad, or 5-Fin.

2. How Much Weight Can It Hold?

The next thing you need to figure out is what size of surfboard fins to get. For this, you need to know how much you weigh so you can use the manufacturer’s size chart:

  • For Futures Fin Box

Extra Small – 75 lbs to 115 lbs

Small – 105 lbs to 155 lbs

Medium – 145 lbs to 195 lbs

Large – 180 lbs or higher

  • For FCS Fin Box

Extra Small – 120 lbs and lower

Small – 120 lbs to 155 lbs

Medium – 140 lbs to 175 lbs

Large – 165 lbs to 200 lbs

Extra Large – 190 lbs and higher

If your weight falls in the overlap between two sizes, you can go for the larger size if you drive hard through turns. Otherwise, choose the smaller size.

3. Are you an Aggressive Surfer or Not?

Do you like making fast and sharp turns? If you do, you should go for a softer and more flexible fin. It gives a livelier feel to the board, which is great for free surfers. If you want a more durable and predictable board, you should look for a stiffer fin.

However, note that some of the more expensive fins are both stiff and soft, which means that they are capable of certain flex patterns. These fins make it easier for you to break the board loose as you make your turns.

4. What Type of Surfing Wave Do You Like?

There are four general types of surfing waves: beach breaks, reef breaks, point breaks, and river mouth waves. Your choice of fin design will depend on what type of wave you surf on.  For instance, fins with a more vertical leading edge are great for beach breaks. If you want more control in bigger waves, look for fins with more depth.

Make the Right Choice

After clarifying these questions, you should be able to narrow down your choices significantly, which will make your decision much easier. The sooner you get the right fins, the sooner you can get on the water and do what you love.

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