All you need to know about Surfboard Fins and how to tweak your ride - largest selection, lowest prices, fastest shipping through the security of Amazon checkout, shipping and returns

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FIN FACT - Legendary waterman Tom Blake (some say second only to Duke Kahanamoku) invented the first surfboard fin in 1935, along with the first waterproof camera, hollow surfboard and sailboard.

Fin Materials

Molded Fins - Made using a composite mix of materials. Many of these fins have more flex. At this time, molded fins are the most common. FCS calls them Glass Flex or Composite. Futures uses the terms Natural Composite and Composite.

Fiberglass Fins - Layered glass fins have a solid flex, much like the old glass-on fins. Usually they have a stiff base and a selection amount of tip flex. These are most popular for surfers who like the old-school glass-on fins but want the convenience of removable fins. FCS calls these Performance Glass (PG). Futures stays with the term fiberglass.

Resin Transfer Molded Fins - RTM construction is more high tech, using advanced technology that began with aerospace research and development. Usually this method sandwiches the glass with a layer of honeycomb foam to reduce weight. The high RTM performance and appealing appearance make these fins most popular. FCS calls them Performance Core (PC). Futures refers to them as RTM or HEX.


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Fin Terminology

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Base - The base refers to how long the area is where the fin touches the surfboard. The base contributes to the drive, lift and acceleration of the board.

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Depth - Depth refers to how far the fins dips into the water. Short fins will not hold as well as larger fins and may cause you to slide in some surf. Long fins can feel slower. A big fin is approximately 5 inches or greater. A small fin is approximately 4 1/4 inches or less.

Area - The Base and the Depth determine the overall area of the fin. Your fin area needs to be large enough to hold the board on the wave but small enough to allow for controlled turns.

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Sweep - The sweep of the fin refers to how far a fin is angled backwards. The further the fin sweeps backward, the longer or more rounded your turns will be. A straighter fin allows tighter turns (FCS example: upright fin = TC Redline and a highly swept back fin = YU).

Cant - This is the angle for how far your fin leans to one side.

Toe - The toe is the angle of the fin. If it is parallel to the board's stringer then there is a 0° toe angle to the board. The board shaper permanently sets this angle.

Foil - Fins, similar to airplane wings, are foiled or curved. Usually the middle or back fins are foiled on both sides but side fins are foiled on the outside and usually flat on the inside. Now some fin developers have recently used a slight foil on the outside fins (FCS offers a range of fins with inside foil). Giving a fin foil creates areas of high and low pressure which move through the wave to hold you in by moving away from high pressure to low pressure. This is a rule of hydrodynamics.

Flex: Stiffer fins drive harder. Softer fins can offer less performance.

How to Install Fins

10 Rules to Choose the Right Fins

These 10 rules will help you select the right fins to tweak your board and make surfing more fun:

1) If your board feels too stiff, use smaller fins or fins with less sweep or more flex.

2) If your board feels too loose and lacks drive, use bigger fins, a stiffer flex fin or a fin with more sweep.

3) Lighter surfers require less fin area to provide enough hold on a wave.

4) To make a board more responsive, choose a fin constructed of stiffer materials.

5) Boards with long rails and close fin clusters (known as guns) require less fin area (even guns used for giant surf use small to medium fins).

6) Boards with much rocker should use fins with more area, depth or sweep.

7) Boards with deep tail channels need less fin area (small tips can increase the release out of turns).

8) Boards with wide tails need more fin area than those with narrow tails (fishes).

9) Small boards in big or powerful waves need larger or more swept fins.

10) Different sized fins give the surfboard different capabilities. Switch out fins to experiment with your board and its performance.

FCS versus Futures Fins

FCS offers the largest selection of fins, with over four dozen models in half-a-dozen materials which are available here.

FCS is just a larger force in the industry and used by more shapers and surfers. FCS lists among their clients: shapers Al Merrick, Rusty Preisendorfer, Matt Biolos, William 'Stretch' Riedel, and pro surfers Kelly Slater, Jack Robinson, CJ Hobgood and many others. It's hard to argue against such surf luminaries.

Futures Fins offers some advantages. Their design uses only one screw, which makes them simpler to install than FCS. Some say they also fit more tightly and secure in the box.

Futures Fins also offers a wider selection of fin foil patterns. Their special high tech material used in Black Stix offers a unique flex. Because they have not been adopted as widely by the industry they can be difficult to find but we offer a good selection here.