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  1. #1
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    More Fin Questions

    I need some fin advice from shapers or anyone who plays around with different shortboards and fins...

    Basically, every shortboard of mine is very similar. They may very by an inch in height, and they all have standard thurster setups, with either FCS or Future fins. Prettty standard stuff..

    In the past, I have not always liked riding boards that are wider, 19"+ or thicker boards. But I really want another fish/shortboard hybrid. Something with a little more width. Maybe a 5"11 or something with a wider nose than my standard shortboard. Maybe a swallow tail instead of the round and squashes that I always ride...

    So here is the fin question: Is there a different kind of fin setup for these shorter, wider boards, that will allow you to kind of whip the tail around like you can on a standard shortboard with a thruster. I feel like the reason I didnt like the wider boards is because they were harder to swing around through turns and I felt like I had to keep really centered on the board and I wasnt able to lean on the rails really hard and make sharp turns...

    So, in my head, I would think that if I am on a 5"11x19x2.x with a three fins thruster setup, I could put a longer middle fin, and put two smaller looser fins on the sides. In theory, that would keep the tail somewhat centered, but with a little ankle tweek, the board should still be squirly enough to swivel around the large middle tail fin...

    Hopefully that made sense. But basically I want to know if anyone has a really successful fin setup that you can bury a rail and swing it around more through your turns like a standard thruster shortboard can...

    Any advice?

  2. #2
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    seeing as my narrowest board is 19.25" wide & & my average, everyday boards hover in the 20" wide range, i think i may be able to help.

    if i'm understanding you correctly, you want to be able to break the fins out & slide the tail, kind of like a tail whip kinda thing. smaller fins would deff. be the way to go on that, but i don't think you'd want to put a larger center fin in, as that would stiffen the entire board up (depending, of course, on the size difference between center & side fins). for example, if you usually ride a fin similar in size to an FCS m-5, then try an m-3 size fin instead. if that proves too slidey, try just swapping out your regular center fin for a slightly smaller one...again, take your m-5 center out, slap an m-3 center in.

    the find set up that i've found works best w/ the modern fish style boards (& i know a lot of guys who like this set up on things like biscuits, rockets, pods, etc...) is a twin w/ trailer set up. both futures & fcs has a fin set for this...i think futures calls it the T1 & in fcs it's the MR-TFX or something similar. both feature side fins close (but not quite) to the size of fins a regular twinnie would use w/ a smaller center fin. this set up gives you lots of drive, but the smaller center fin adds stability to the board & gives you that kind of "training wheel" effect of having something there on the board, to make you feel better about riding something different. this is the set up i revert back to if i'm not riding a bonzer.

    hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2009
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    Larger rail fins will give you more of a pivoty type turn... maybe what you're after. Larger trailing fin will give you more drive and stability. If what you're looking for is a board for smaller/weaker surf, but you still want to be able to snap turns, there are a number of things you could consider...

    A quad. If you've never tried one, it's a great change of pace, and they work great on mod fish. Again, slightly bigger fins up front.

    Plenty of curve in the planshape. You can get away with more width up front and through the middle if you keep it really curvy in the tail. Keeping the wide point back, you can pull it in to a mini swallow if you want, but a rounded square or thumb works great, too.

    An exaggerated hip or bump, or wings. Creating a release point around your back foot will give you more snap.

    Plenty of tail rocker. You can flatten the entry, add width in the nose and middle, and maintain a typical tail rocker to keep it loose.

    Full single concave rather than the typical single to double. Singles flatten the rocker through the middle for lift and drive, and are more responsive than doubles in small surf.

    The trade-off of all of these, except for the concave, is a loss of planing speed, particularly if your "back-footed" which you most likely are if you only surf modern shortboards. Keeping it foiled a bit thicker helps moderate this, but once you're up and planing, thickness matters less, particularly in the tail.

    Don't get me wrong, you can have a lot of fun trying different fin setups on a "normal" thruster. But if you're bored with your off-the-rack thrusters, talk to a local shaper and consider a custom.
    Last edited by LBCrew; Jun 10, 2010 at 01:54 PM.

  4. #4
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    Yeah< i am going to my shaper for my next board. He has made me pretty much the exact board I want again a few years ago. It was a 5'10x19.25 ( I forget the thickness, but it was pretty thick).... But the model he made me before was eps/epoxy.... So, I think I am going to do the same setup, with a swallow tail. He did the standard FCS fin setups.... So, I guess it does make more sense that to get the sliding, whipping tail, it would be with two larger side fins and the smaller middle fin...

    On my shortboards, my 5'10 etc, that i ride in really goo, clean mid sized surf has FCS FG3's (the red ones with figure eights...) My larger shortboards, all 6'0-6'3, I load up with the FCS FG5's (Blue with figure eights... ) So, ideally, I could slap the two FG5 side fins on and throw the red FG3 middle fin in and get that effect.... Thats makes perfect sense.


    And as for the quad... I will certainly try one some day... But since I am so comfy doing everything I do on shortboard with a thruster, I am still afraid to go to something completely different.... Some day.... some day.... =)

    I am just afraid of having a lack of focus going down the line and in barrels with a quad setup.....

    P.S. This hybrid fish board is more for good surf than small surf. More for surfing the cliffs in the summer when its big than surfing when its really small. Although, the board does really well in small surf. I use these fish hybrids when the surf is good, but you need something different. More for the larger, mushy stuff....

  5. #5
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    when you say, "lack of focus," what exactly are you getting at? are you concerned that a quad won't hold as well in the face as a thruster would? or you wouldn't be able to pump to generate speed as much?
    i will say that i prefer swallow tails for quads rather than round, squash, or diamond tails. i've just felt like i don't get the drive or responsiveness out of quads w/ those types of tails like i do out of the swallow tails, esp. quad fish. i've ridden quite a few quad fish of different persuasions (a fishcuit style, a Lis-style fish, & a speed dialer type) & loved them all. conversely, i've ridden a couple different round tail quads & felt that they were lacking. but that's just me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by njsurfer42 View Post
    i will say that i prefer swallow tails for quads rather than round, squash, or diamond tails..
    I started riding those sucky quads back in the 80s and thought they were a step backwards from the thruster. But about 3 or 4 years ago, I went back to quads and I'm totally hooked. My daily driver is a battail and my East Coast gun is a double wing swallow both with the McKee placement specs. I agree with what you said... I prefer the extended rail line with quads for small to medium surf. I think 90 percent of thrusters are squashes for a reason... they work great. My big wave board is a mini swallow for a touch more control. I chose that over the typical pin or rounded pin because I wanted to keep that straighter rail line through the middle, then bump it down in the tail with wings that are placed to work with the fins. The Fish took a big leap forward with the quad setup, too. Pavel has them DOWN.

    Gotta admit... Stretch Riedel has been a huge inspiration for me over the last 5 years, and McKee has corrected a lot of what the 80s quads were doing wrong.