February 15th, 2014 | By | 530 Comments

SeaMade: Surfing 101 | Fins

What’s in a fin? Aside from being those knifey things that stick out of your board and slice through the water (and hopefully not your skin), there are a lot of components to fins. Here are a few basics to focus on when deciding on a fin system for your board:

1. Does your board have a glassed on fin? If yes, no need to proceed- you’re going to have to work with what you’ve got.

2. Do you shortboard or longboard? (sorry hand planers and body surfers- this post doesn’t apply to you)

* If you shortboard, you’ll need to pick fins based on the fin box in your board. FCS and Futures showcase the most common style of bases. It’s either two nubs or gumdrop shaped cutouts on the base, as seen below.

* Pick fins based on your weight range. Most companies have sizes based on weight.

* You’ll also want to consider stiff vs flexible fins.
Stiff= more stability for wide sweeping turns (beginner-intermediate).
Flexible= more drive and snap for tighter turns (intermediate-advanced).

* Some shortboards have glassed in fins too, like the Ocean Racer pictured at the top of the post. Those ones are called keel fins, which create a super loose, skatey ride.

* If you longboard, pick fins based on your style of longboarding. Most big heavy logs have glassed in fins but if not, you have options. Raked fins (the ones that look like a dolphin fin) will add maneuverability to your board. Pivot fins (the fat wide ones) will keep your tail in the water and slow you down while noseriding.

So there it is, a basic run down of fins and what they can do for you. Get slashin!

* Shop Fins
* More Surf Tips
* Follow Madison on Instagram at @mmadisonn

Pictured: SWELL Short | RVCA Hat | Raen Sunglasses

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