WHAT ARE SURFBOARD FINS? HOW MANY TYPES ARE THERE?
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro surfer, the fins you choose for your surfboard can make or break your performance on the waves. Here at Sri Lanka surf camp, legend has it that the right surfboard fin can affect your performance by up to 40% – yes, you read that right!
With so many different fin types and shapes to choose from, how do you find your perfect surfboard fin?
Let us help you get started.
What are Surfboard Fins?
Fins are the bits you can see protruding from the bottom of a surfboard. With a shape resembling a shark’s fin, they are designed to help steer your surfboard and enable directional stability. The fins come in various sizes, shapes, and flexibility for different surfing purposes.
Generally, there are two types of fin systems, glass on fins and removable.
Types of Surfboard Fins Systems
· Glass-on Fins
The Glass-on fins are laminated directly into the board using fiberglass during the construction of the surfboard. Even though they appear sleeker and offer a pleasant ride while surfing, Glass-on fins are irremovable.
Since these fins are permanently fixed on the surfboard, this may not be the best option for someone looking to try other fins. Besides being restrictive, they are also costly to repair if damaged.
· Removable Fins
As the name suggests, removable fins can be detached from the board. Hence, they offer ease of use and more versatility than glass-on fins. You can add these types of fins to your surfboard using ‘fin boxes,’ which allow fins to be taken on and off with a fin key. The key is used to adjust a tiny set screw in the fin box, and each fin box has a different mechanism. While attaching a fin to a box, be sure you do it right. Once in place, you can simply tighten the screw, and your surfboard fin is ready to use.
Types of Surfboard Fin Shapes
Now that you know the most common types of surfboard fin systems, let’s cover what type of fin shapes choices you have.
1. The Flex Fin
Flex fins are known for their wide base, large sweep, and narrow tip. It’s a versatile fin shape and suits varying lengths, including short stubbles and even 9-foot-long nose riders. Featuring a broader base, not only do they offer more flexibility but also better projection while completing a bottom turn.
2. The Pivot Fin
This is the conventional fin shape used for nose riding and surfing in Sri Lanka. Easy to distinguish by their unique shape, Pivot fins are designed to help you control your speed and grab a larger surface area in the water. The upright template also allows you to pivot the back when you’re up on the nose and take sharper and quick turns.
3. The Rake Fin
With maximum flexibility, the rake fin lies somewhere between the pivot fin and the flex fin. It has a wide base and a slightly more fin that curves away from the base and affects the maneuverability of the surfboard.
4. The D Fin
Shaped like a giant D, this fin is a classic. You can find them on traditional heavy logs and come with a super large surface area to keep you locked while up on the nose. These old school fins are the least versatile of the lot and are much tougher to turn in a tight radius. However, they allow you maximum trim while you surf down the line.
A fin is to a surfboard what a tire is to a car. So, you wouldn’t want to get a Formula 1 wheel and place it on your 4WD. Similarly, choosing the right fin for your surfboard is crucial, but don’t forget to consider things like your riding style, fin size and shape, and your surfing needs before you settle for one.
Whatever you choose, we at the surf camp in Sri Lanka a recommend checking out our website thesurferweligama.com to take your surfing game up a notch.