Surfboard Fins

Posted by on Oct 12, 2013 in Surfing Blog | Comments Off on Surfboard Fins

Surfboard Fins

Surfboard Fins

The surfboard fins are a type of hydrofoil that is mounted near the tail end of a surfboard. The reason behind surfboard fins is that it gives a board a lateral lift, stabilizing the surfboard and it’s path. The type surfboard fins can vary greatly depending on what type of board, and what each individual surfer prefers. Besides a variation in the number of fins, there are also many different things that can change from board to board and fin to fin.


Surfboard Fins Configurations

There are two major types of surf board fin configurations: a skeg and rail fins. A skeg is an upright, streamlined fin that is most typically mounted in the center rear of the board. Rail fins are usually two surfboard fins that are mounted on the edges of the board, at the rear. Both help to stabilize the motion of the board.


Types of Surfboard Fins

There are three major types of fins available:

  • Glass on fins are fins which are permanently connected to the surfboard through fiberglass. This type was mostly used on older boards because they break easily and are difficult to fix
  •  Removable Fin Systems are the most common type of fin used today. They can be unscrewed from the surfboard and replaced by different fins, or even moved around the board.
  • Flexible Fins are flexible, and safer than hard fins because they cannot cut you. They do not, however, perform as well as the other fin types.


Fin Set Up On The Surfboard

There are a variety of ways that fins can be set up on the surfboard. Below you will find the majority of the most popular ones:

surfboard fins

Different Types of Surfboard Fins

  • Single Fin: One long, wide fin that is usually set up at the back center of the surfboard. Almost always used on long boards.  A single fin rides great in directional surfing.  I have 2 single fins in my quiver.  They preform well if the take off is not too steep and can really hold a line in a tube.
  •  Twin Fin: Two smaller fins mounted on either side of the rear.  A twin fin works well in mushy, powerless surf.  There is usually very little or no entry rocker.  Think old school fish tail skateboard.
  • Thruster: Three fins of the same size, with two mounted slightly toed-in and canted outwards. These two fins are on the sides, about 10 to 12 inches from the rear. The middle fin is straight, and mounted three to five inches from the rear.  This is standard of today’s pro-surfer and the average joe as well.  They can make tight turns, they are usually lighter, and must be riden rail-to-rail.  Think of pumping down a line, to gain speed, but no pump, no speed, no going anywhere.
  • 2 + 1 Setup: Basically the same as the thruster set up, but with a larger middle fin and smaller side fins. They are not the same size.  This is used usually in a modern longboard.  It gives the board of that size good down the line surfing, with a lot move maneuverability.
  • Quad: Four fins, two on either side of the back of the board.  This fin set up give the surfboard a looser feeling in the tail, which is fun to make tight turn towards the curl (cutbacks) and other top to bottom maneuvers.  This fin set up has gained in popularity over the past few years.



These are the most commonly used types of  surfboard fins and setups, but there are still more out there as many surfers like to create their own look, feel, or setup as they become more experienced. It just takes trial and error to figure out which one is right for you, and which one works the best for your style of surfing and which one will work for the conditions of the day.

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