It’s not until you have mastered surfing along a wave face that you are even going to notice changes to a fin set up. So until then just make sure your board has fins, any old fins, and you’ll be fine! If you have an old board it might only have one big fin…perfect!
Fins stabilise your board and stop it from slipping all over the wave face. They also create forward movement to allow you to turn. Most surf boards now come with removable fins. This gives you the option to change the size and shape of your fin to suit the types of waves you ride. It also makes travel a lot easier.
There are a couple of fin systems that dominate the surfboard market. FCS and FUTURE fins are the most common. These fin companies have slightly different screw in systems and a surfboard’s fin box (where the fins slot into) is set up for one type of fin systems.
There are literally thousands of options when it comes to what fins to choose and it can be as simple or technical as you like. The larger the fin, the more stability your board will have, but it will take a lot more effort to turn it. Finding a good fit can begin (and end) with establishing the appropriate fin size for your body weight.
If you are in between sizes, consider your ability. For example, if you are a beginner and are in between size M and L, it could be a good idea to pick L for the added stability.
Once you havedecided on a size, examine your board’s fin configuration. Your board will be outfitted with 1 to 5 fin boxes.
From here your options are limitless. You have the ability to experiment with different set ups and transform the way your board preforms. Your local surf shop may even lend out ‘demo’ fins for you to try before committing. Packs of fins in shops and online state exactly what they’re designed to do for a board.
Here is a very basic run down of some of the variances that can be found in fins
Depth: the longer the fin, the more it will hold in the water = more stability.
Flexibility: The more side to side movement = slower response, a stiff fin has immediate responsiveness
Curve: A sharper curve = better drive. A longer curve = more manoeuvrability.
Foil: or (bulge)
Materials:Keep things simple and stick to a general all round fin, or get as technical as you like!
Legrope is basically your lifeline that keeps you within arms reach of your surfboard at all times. There are heaps of different models and fun colours available. Selecting the correct size and model and attaching a leash correctly require a little bit of guidance.
READ MORE> Parts of a leash
The Cord The two main aspects of the cord to consider are: length and thickness. Length As a general rule your leash should be about 6’ longer than your board. So naturally, the longer the surfboard is, the longer the leash required. If your board is 7’0 then a 7’6 leash is good.
Thickness varies from 5mm to 7.5mm. The thickness of a legrope is dependent on the size of your surfboard and the size of the waves you like to surf. Basically long boards and heavier boards require the added strength of a thicker legrope and if you surf big waves a thicker leash is also required. Advanced surfers prefer thinner legropes to reduce the resistance of drag in the water so they can retain speed.
Rail Saver The railsaver is the velcro section that links the small rope cord to the leash. It’s thickness protects the edges (rails) of your surfboard from being damaged if stress or pressure is applied. The rail saver is in its correct position if it makes contact with the rails when your leash is stretched out fully. If the string is touching the rails when it is stretched out then you need to shorten the string.
Swivels Swivels allow any tangles to automatically untangle themselves and prevent your leash from getting tangled up and wrapped around your feet. Choosing a leash with a double swivel system is the best. One swivel is attached to the ankle strap and the other at the rail saver. Which leash to choose? If you are a beginner you are not going to notice the subtle differences between different leashes. So long as your leash is around 7mm thick and about 6’ longer than your board it will do the job just fine.