2+1 US Fins

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Which fins choose?

The fins delivered with our boards are perfect for exploiting them correctly. But when you know that 50% of a board’s performance comes from the fins, you will necessarily want to adjust the set of fins to your size, your style, your tastes, or quite simply to test new things…

Some fins promote speed, others turns, others acceleration, others nose hold, etc. There are full descriptions on their own product sheets. A good read by the fire 😉

We will find two main types of fin set-up, single and 2+1:

Single fin, between simplicity and technicality

A single fin can be considered the simplest but also the most technical set-up to surf. It all depends on how you surf and on individual intentions.

The single fin set-up is the one that allows you to give speed to your board without having to change gears, sort of speak. Because it is the set-up that opposes the least resistance and drag. If you like to slide as “simply” as possible down-the-line*, this will be the most efficient fin set-up.

*Which has to be understood by a diagonal trajectory, kind of an infinite bottom turn at mid-wave height which allows to maintain a movement at a constant speed if this trajectory and its placement is perfectly optimized in relation to the energy of the wave. It’s exactly the same reasoning as going down a ski slope, but in the case of surfing, this slope is going to be very short, and to go down indefinitely, you will have to constantly alternate downhill and uphill, or find the perfect line which will maintain this balance which will allow the surfer to maintain this inertia, the famous expression: “down the line”.

On the other hand, if your goal is to tighten your turns as much as possible, you will need to be particularly precise in your trajectories in order to always be well placed in relation to the energy of the wave, and to have a strong stance in order to maintain maximum pressure on your rails since the absence of side fins. It is in this context that we can highlight the fact that surfing with a single fin can be technical, and will call on the experience of the surfer, because your only ally will be gravity.

A single fin set-up is often favored on noseriders, boards on which maximum glide is sought. A sufficiently deep fin allows you to stabilize the tail of your board well at the top of the wave, thus leaving a maximum of time to stay on the nose of the board.

The 2+1 assembly

For 2+1 set-up, a bigger central fin stabilizes the board and lengthens the turns. Larger lateral fins boost cornering speed. We lengthen some and not the others, they are communicating vases: a large central fin with large side fins is too much, your board will be unmanageable.

  • The size of US central fins: 6″ to 9” in 2+1 set-up and 8″ to 11″ in single fin set-up (7″ and 10″ being the references for each fin set-up).

The 2+1 fin set-up is the one that will bring the most versatility to the board, in this case we will seek to optimize control and grip once the board is on the rail.

The placement of the center fin

On an US rail, it is possible to adjust the fin forwards or backwards. The more the fin is advanced, the more the board is maneuverable, but at the expense of control. The board becomes “goofy” and will turn more than you want. The further back the fin is, the less maneuverable the board will be, but the more control you gain. The board is on a rail, very wedged, but more difficult to turn, almost asleep.

The right adjustment is decided to the nearest centimeter depending on the shape of the board, the shape of the fin, but also the conditions and above all your surfing style! Your size, your stance, and your weight transfer in curves can change everything. So do not hesitate to test different settings until you find the one that suits you.

It is now possible to equip your board with a central FCS II fin, so as not to have to use tools to fix your fin. This is a significant time saver, and without the risk of missing a session if you forget a tool. Another advantage is that it becomes possible to adjust the setting in the water during the session, to test different configurations.

Understanding central fins

To choose the most suitable fin for your surf, the conditions, and your style, you must understand how each of the following parameters, which constitutes the shape of each fin, will influence the behavior of the board.

THE RAKE

  • The rake refers to the back curvature of the fin. This is the distance between the end of the base and the end of the trailing edge of the fin (tip). The greater the rake, the closer the tip of the fin will be to the tail of your board. Ideal for experienced and powerful surfers to perform long turns, with maximum grip and drive. The drive corresponds to the ability to hold a trajectory while maintaining speed. A fin with a wide base will help maintain this speed, while a fin with a shorter base will offer less drive. Recommended for rather powerful waves.
  • Conversely, the less rake there is (straighter fin), the greater the pivot. The pivot being the ability to make more or less tight turns. Ideal for tightening curves and turning short, therefore ideal for exploiting waves that lack power.
  • Imagine yourself at the helm of a catamaran with the rudders down, the boat will turn short and you will only need a little pressure to operate the rudders. But raise these rudders by applying a 45° angle to them, in this case it will be difficult to turn it short, and it will require a lot more power.

THE BASE

  • The base is the lower part of the fin. The one that is in contact with the board. A long base will bring more control and ample curves. Ideal in powerful waves on which we will seek more hold, and more stability in curves and trajectories.
  • A short base will provide more pivot and allow you to tighten your turns and free up the tail. We will choose this type of fins in slow waves because we will favor maneuverability over control. The longer the base, the more the fin will offer control and ample turns, the shorter the base, the more the fin will offer pivot, max speed and tight turns.

THE DEPTH

  • The depth is the height between the base and the tip of your fin. The deeper it is, the more stability and hold you will gain, especially in powerful waves.
  • A short fin will have less friction with the water, which will bring you more speed. This low depth of your fin will free up the tail of your board all the more. This type of fin is recommended in light conditions.

THE SURFACE

  • The surface, a fin with a large surface will bring more control. This type of fin is recommended for beginners because it also provides more stability. A fin with little surface will provide more freedom under the back foot. The board will be more playful.
  • Distribution of the surface: In hollow / fast conditions, we will rather choose fins with a thin head with little surface at the head which will foil less and therefore less accentuate the curves. In conditions in which the movement will be slow, we will choose surface on the head to accentuate the maneuverability.

THE FLEX

  • The flex of a fin determines its ability to deform and return to its original shape. A fin that has flex provides a smoother ride and will forgive mistakes. On the other hand, a fin with little flex, therefore more rigid, will bring more control, more reactivity and more power. Reserved for the most experienced surfers because these fins require the surfer to be very precise in his turns. The deeper and thinner a fin is in the head, the more flex you’ll have.

Understanding FCS Fins

The longer the base, the more the fin will offer control and ample turns, the shorter the base, the more the fin will offer pivot, top speed and tight turns. In hollow / fast conditions, we will rather choose fins with a thin head which will foil less and therefore less accentuate the curves. In conditions in which the surf will be slow, we will choose surface at the head to accentuate the maneuverability.

Some examples

  • The Pivot has a base with little length and little rake, so very good ability to pivot on the spot. This fin is all about maneuverability. We can turn on the spot without blocking at the top of the wave for example. At high speed it will be less stable, a lot looser feel. So it’s a fin to choose for rather slow waves and/or a surfer who wants liveliness without having to reduce the depth of the fin.
  • The Connect has a fairly neutral profile, as much base length as the Clique, but more surface area at the head, to be chosen for its versatility, its roundness in the curves, its very balanced, very progressive handling. A very effective fin that doesn’t flinch. Great for progressing or playing it safe at high level.
  • The Clique has a rather tapered shape, thin in the head, and a medium/wide base, so priority is given to maneuverability, speed and control. Only to be used for rather powerful conditions or a dynamic and aggressive surfer oriented towards performance.
  • The Flow has a wide base and a thin head which gives it drive, control, and speed. Program is large curves, directional stability and gaining speed out of turns. Perfect for chilled surfing and a smooth glide.
  • The Whip is the closest to the Flow, but with an even more pronounced character. At equal size, its base is longer, the rack is larger, and its head is thinner. This low surface area in the head gives it flex, and it is also what makes this fin pleasant in bumpy conditions. It is an ideal fin on long waves, it offers drive, speed, and beautiful, wide curves.
  • The Fat boy is a rather particular and technical fin, with the surface at the head and little basic length which makes it possible to strongly accentuate the rocking on the rail in the curves, but that requires control and anticipation because the surprise is never far. A good surfer will know how to use it to ride with style.
  • The Hatchet is 100% dedicated to noseriding, a wide base that gives it a lot of drive, but above all a lot of surface from the base to its head. It is a fairly thick, slow, unwieldy fin that has only one goal: to allow you to go for infinite nose rides without skidding. We stall on the wave, we run to the nose, we stay there, and we back up for a big stylish cut back stall.

More information in FCS fins : https://www.surffcs.com.au/pages/fcs-fin-data