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Surfboard Fins

Surfboard Fins

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Your surfboard fins are an essential ingredient to wave riding. Fins make the board go straight and enable you to turn. It seems like such a simple concept, but fin science can get rather complicated! Don’t let it overwhelm you. This fin guide will help you figure out how they work and how to optimize your own setup.

Surfboard fins have gone through a number of different style changes and technological advancements over the course of surfing history. Until the 1990’s, fin design was mostly ignored. Today, however, fin science is almost overflowing with information and innovation.

Tom Blake Surfing History The first surfers didn’t have the advantage of fins…they controlled their boards by dragging one foot in the water! In 1935, Tom Blake introduced his nub keel fin and the rest is history. For more information on the history of fin evolution, click here.

There are many types of surfboard fins on the market today, from removable models to the glass-on variety.

At the most basic level, you have two options of fins: Glass-Ons and Removable Fins. After that, there are other options within each category to consider.

For Beginners

If you’re just starting out, you’re not likely to notice the minute differences between fins. Check out this page written especially for you.

My Number One Recommendation

Pro Teck fins might get a bad rap as “training fins” or that they’re for babies, but I highly recommend them for surfers of any ability level. These things saved me a trip to the hospital and time out of the water. Check out my story and review.

Types of Fin Setups

Glass On Fins

Almost considered a throwback, glass-on fins are becoming more and more rare as removable fin systems gradually take over the market. Click here for our section on glass on fins, including advantages and disadvantages.

Removable Fin Systems

Removable fin systems are the current popular choice among shapers and riders. The ability to remove and change fin templates has ushered in a whole new way to customize your board and improve your riding. Click here for our section on removable fin systems.

Fin System Brand Guide

“What fin system should I get?” This is a common question for surfers getting a custom board. The market is saturated with different brands, and it can be hard to try them all out. We cover FCS Fins, Futures, Red X, and more. Click here for a summary of the most popular fin systems on the market today.

Fin Repair and Maintenance

Sometimes fins break or the plugs come loose. The screws involved in connecting the fins to the board are also vulnerable to stripping, especially if you change your fins a lot.

Unfortunately, a broken fin can be a pain in the neck. Check our repair and maintenance guide for some tips and tricks to keep your fins operational. !! COMING SOON !!

Fin Science and Engineering

Once you become more comfortable with your surfing, you might want to experiment with different fin designs to optimize your performance in certain conditions. There are fins designs that will speed you up, loosen your turns, and pick up your tail. But how do they do that?

Fin manufacturers are beginning to use a lot of complicated aspects of naval-type engineering to create surfboard fins that generate more speed, control, and optimization for different conditions. It can be overwhelming at times! Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything right away. Knowledge comes with experience.

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11 years ago

who is the author if this article?

11 years ago

Hi, John Elliott here. I am a competere of yours With a Google Page #1 & Pos #1 Website in the surfing niche. and I am letting you know i am bowing out of the game. If you would like some instant market share I am selling my website that is ranking #1 On Page #1 of Google. It is for sale at for a short time. I would like to see it go to one of my competeres. Here is a link to the auction.

Thank you

David Stokes
11 years ago

Like your site. Check out my boards I can make custom wood fins any shape and style.


[…] ask at your local surf shop  or check out a couple of my favorite, go-to sites, Surf Science and Surfing Handbook.  You can’t go wrong with either one of […]

Mark Ivory
12 years ago

Adjustable Wing Twin Fin here new different and may be soon a reality.

13 years ago

James use some epoxy…Glass on fins are pretty sweet. However, my friend gave me a board with Futures on it and I pretty much in love. Ive talk to others and they have said the same thing… Future Fins own it

13 years ago

I have a 6’2 tri fin shortboard and somehow the middle fin broke off and i need a replacement but for some reason it also cracked the fin hole and a new one would not fit in right. what should i do?

Travis Meador
Travis Meador
14 years ago

I have a vintage 6′ 10″ singlefin with a finbox that nobody seems to have seen before. It has a long skinny slot and 9 wider square-shaped slots, where it looks like a square-shaped piece should be inserted, then slipped toward the rear into a locked position. Almost like the twins on a 2+1 system. Do you have any idea what I’m talking about? I have pics. Where can I find this fin?

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