Fins: get the right set for each type of wave

Fin setups are designed to get the most from different types of waves.

What is the best fin setup for a small mushy wave? With what set of fins should you paddle out in big surf?

It can be hard to pick the right fin setup for the right wave, but this chart will help.

More than 95 percent of surfboards have five common fin setups: single fin, twin fin, thruster, quad, or five fins.

Futuristic designs and innovative functions are being experimented with all the time, but, for the most part, shapers still work with the classic five setups.

Thruster Supremacy

When Simon Anderson developed the thruster - three fins - he was changing surfboard performance forever.

Nowadays, the thruster is the most popular surfboard fin design because of its behavior and performance in fat or hollow, small-to-big surf.

Nevertheless, there's more to life than thruster surfboards.

You can improve your performance on deep, fast waves by riding a quad surfboard. Or, if the waves are really small, why don't you enjoy a retro single-fin summer session?

Hydrodynamics is a science, and there are many variables to consider when choosing the proper fin setup for a wave.

The fin has several components that change how you can surf your standard local break.

Base, cant, depth, flex, foil, and sweep of fins are variables that influence how your surfboard will perform on the face of the wave.

Fin Setup Chart

The optimal fin setup for a wave type is as follows:

Waves & Fin Setup Single Fin Twin Fin Thruster Quad Five Fin
Small Fat Waves                                                                                
Small Hollow Waves                                                                                
Medium Fat Waves                                                                                
Medium Hollow Waves                                                                                
Big Fat Waves                                                                                
Big Hollow Waves                                                                                
Giant Waves                                                                                
  Perfect Adequate Fair Avoid Don't Use

Print this chart and consult it whenever you're unsure which fin setup or surfboard you'll be paddling out with in a determined wave scenario.

Use caution, though.

This wave and fin setup chart applies to standard surfboards and should only be taken into consideration as a rough guide.

Learn how to choose the best surf fins.

Futures of FCS? Take a look at the surfboard fin dilemma.

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