For rookie surfers, it’s best to start with the best fin setup your board is supplied or recommended with. However, once surfers become more experienced, it is easy to change and decide upon a different setup which suits their style and the conditions they are surfing. There are a variety of fin setups to choose from, as well as many top brands that supply fins in the necessary setups.
FCS and Community Project, run by Kelly Slater, are two top names, but Futures are the name that a huge number of surfers return to when they’re choosing surfboard fins. With a location right on the surfing spot of Huntington Beach, California, the company has earned themselves a reputation that precedes them. With a team of experts that all surf themselves, Futures Fins have the experience to provide what surfers are looking for, along with the ability to choose the setup that suits them best.
There will be two factors that influence what setup a surfer chooses: their personal preference or requirements and, less often with casual surfers, the conditions they are facing. Generally speaking, a setup that works in all conditions that one regularly faces is a good choice.
This setup uses three fins of the same size, providing both stability and drive. This is a combination many amateurs appreciate so is a popular choice. They are organized in a triangular pattern, with the central fin the furthest towards the rear.
Often used by professionals as well as amateurs, the thruster is popular because it works in a range of conditions. However, for amateurs it may be difficult in certain conditions as straight line surfers will experience more drag.
Common on modern board shapes, the twin setup uses two fins, as the name suggests. Many surfers choose this option as it is ‘looser’, meaning it provides more turn and movement. There are many ways to set this design up too, meaning it can be personalized to a rider’s requirements.
There are two main reasons why surfers choose this setup: speed and maneuverability. It allows the board to turn quickly and in exactly the right place. There is also less drag because of the twin setup, increasing speed in all directions. The only problem that may arise is when the surf gets bigger and a bit rougher, making the board more difficult to control.
Another choice for surfers is the quad setup, using four fins to ride the waves. The setup is known for being fairly quick as it lets the water escape out of the back of the surfboard, reducing drag. Another factor, which may not necessarily be relevant to amateurs, is that the quad setup works well in larger conditions.
There are other benefits of the quad system, including better response and direction because more fins are working together. However, it has been described as ‘loose’ by some surfers who struggle when first using it, or when performing bottom turns.