Fins! …….Just how much difference do they really make to Nose-riding?


Most longboards come with a 10″ centre box, and some form of “Side Fin System”

So a vast amount of “Fin Set-up” variations.

Just how much difference do these various “Set-ups” make to Nose-riding?

This could be (and is in reality) a very complex subject, I am only giving you the very shortened version…. or we would all be asleep before you finish reading!!

And these “Findings” are based on my own (and Katy’s) personal preferences, whilst here in J bay….. a perfect place to test, as the wave known as “Point” is a constant speed right hand point break, that breaks in a way which is perfect for Longboards…. and Nose-rides.

1st… The Boards used for the testing. To nose-ride well, you need to get the board into the right place on the wave…. so I am in favour of a board that turns well…. so for me that is a “Pintail”. I keep the wide point back a little from centre, and have a generous nose width….. and not too much rocker. All the boards that Katy and I ride here in J bay fit the “Criteria” above.

I am not anti the “Traditional Log” but I just prefer a board that turns well off the tail AND nose-rides.CIMG3514

The Single Fin Set-up has the edge over the other Set-ups purely for nose-riding, AND with the pintail board will turn off the tail to get you into the correct place on the wave to start with.

I prefer a narrow base fin, with a more upright “rake” and some flex at the tip…. just like my fave purple 10″ version in the photo…. well worn at the tip due to many “Run ins” with the reef!!CIMG3515

The Big Daddy Set-up I use this set-up for stabillity. It does everything you want…. just requires more effort. Less good as an All out Nose-riding set-up due to the side fins which cause the tail of the board to rise up the face of the wave. This has the effect of pointing the board more to shore and thus tends to bury the nose unless you step back…. and end the nose ride! The Big Daddy and the side fins on my bigger board (9′ 3″) is my “go to” combination for taking video while I am surfing on the board…. it is that stable!

The Big Daddy fin is wide in the base with a greater “Rake”….. when used as a “Single Fin” for me, this tents to lengthen the turns and makes for better nose-rides, but with the loss of tightness in the turn…. I tend to go with the narrow base more upright fin for those classsic medium days, where as I will opt for the Big Daddy on the small days, when turns are less important for position.

CIMG3516 The Thruster Set-up ….. on a medium to bigger wave, and on a pintail or squash tail board, the Thruster Set-up will allow you to turn as though you were on a big “Short Board”. It is still possible to Nose-ride a Thruster set-up…. but not in the “Trim Nose-riding” manor, the “Stall Nose-riding” method needs to be learned. This is another story all together.

CIMG3513 The Wierd and Wonderful. The Turbo Fin. ….. I dismissed this fin when I first tried it…. just too odd. BUT when Katy was having difficulty slowing down her turns to get into that “Slow and Easy” approach to the nose ride on the smaller/medium waves this fin was excellent. It does actually allow more “Tip Time” but it is slower in and out of any transition turns. I have tried to like it…. but cannot, where as Katy “Loves” it. Horses for courses I suppose.IMG_0034 (2)

This is a shot of me on my 9′ 3″ ….. 20 year old Pintail…. with the Big Daddy as a single fin set up…. I still love this board and fin combo for those small days.

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