Select Page

The beginner guide to the best surfboard fins

The beginner guide to the best surfboard fins

Fins are a very important part of surfing, like other surfing gears. For a beginner choosing right fins is always a challenge. And this becomes more challenging when you visit an eCommerce website and see an ocean of fins before you step your foot into the ocean. Many beginners send us emails regarding this and almost all of them have pretty common questions like which fins should I buy for my new soft top board? What are the best longboard fins? Shall I go for FCS fins or Future Fins? How to choose best surfboard fins? And we felt these questions are very important to be answered before buying fins.

We ain’t gonna go more on technical jargon about fins here. As this will generally create more confusion for beginners. If you wanna know more technical concepts about fins you can read our article “FCS VS Future fins a race of producing best fins”. So for now keeping simplicity in mind, we have listed few tips to get your right surfboard fins. So here we go!

How to choose best surfboard fins. A simple step by step guide

Step 1:  Choose the correct fin size

The very first thing is to select the size of the fin. And the size varies with weight, so based on your current weight select the correct fin size. Here we have given two charts from two popular brands FCS and Future Fins. You can also follow the same charts while selecting other brands as well, as there is not so much difference in that.

Future fins size chart
x-small ( 75lbs – 115lbs )( 34kg – 53kg )
small ( 105lbs – 155lbs )( 48kg – 70kg )
medium ( 145lbs – 195lbs )( 65kg – 88kg )
large ( 180lbs+ )( 80kg+ )
FCS fins size chart
X-SMALL (Under 55Kg / 120 Lbs)
SMALL (55Kg – 70Kg / 120 – 155 Lbs)
MEDIUM (65Kg – 80Kg / 145 – 175 Lbs)
LARGE (75Kg – 90Kg / 165 – 200 Lbs)
X-LARGE (Over 85Kg / 190 Lbs)

Step 2:    Choose the correct fin setup

Once you the pick the right size, the very next thing is to choose the correct setup. So there are many setups available for fins. The most common setups are Thruster, Quad or Tri-Quad. Thruster or TRI setup is ideal and perfect for beginners, as with Thruster setup you will have maximum control and balance feel overboard and suited to all types of conditions. Whereas Quad setup generates exceptional drive and speed, feel quite loose and offer a moderate amount of control ideally not recommended for beginners. All most all longboards and soft top longboards have Thruster and Quad setup.

Step 3: Choose the fins that are perfect for weak waves

As a beginner ideally it is recommended to start surfing on weak waves. So the fins which are highly flexible and delay in response are perfect for weak waves and speed generating to gain confidence in the water. A combination of fiberglass and polymer or urethane will perfectly fit in this category. Also, future fins are making speed generating fins with a unique combination of fiberglass, carbon and added a layer of epoxy resin. These combinations make fins more durable and will have a great feel.

Step 4: Choose the compatible fins for your fin box

As you can see your board will have fin boxes, where you mount your fins. Before making your buy make sure these fins boxes are compatible with your fins. And this is a very common problem with Single Tab Futures fins and Dual Tab FCS fins. As both are not compatible with each other. So you have to use fins that are compatible with your fin boxes installed on your surfboard. Also traditional FCS I and FCS II are backward compatible, meaning you can install FCS II fins on FCS I fins box with the help of the compatibility kit.

And that’s enough to get your first fins. Now here we have listed some best fins that a beginner can use check them out

Top 5 best Surfboard fins review

Future Fins EA Vector II Blackstix 3.0 V2EA

Our Impression: The EA Blackstix, designed by Eric Arakawa of EA Surfboards very popular surfboard fin from Future Fins. It has future ride number 9.8 and v2 foil shape makes this fin ideal for generating speed in small waves and great for a soft condition. Recommend for beginners. It has Area 15.16 Height 4.57 Base 4.40 for side and center fins and Foil shape V2 for side fins and SYMM for center fin.

Pros:

  • Great flex pattern and having 9.8 ride numbers. Which means great speed generating fin for a small wave.
  • Great durability due to carbon fiber construction.
  • Suitable for the soft condition.
  • Suitable for all board types as well as for longboards.
  • More safety during a freak wipeout.

Cons:

  • Little bit costly
  • Not for beyond 195lbs weight

Final verdict: A perfect set of Fins to start even continues to intermediate state. Due to its flex pattern, ride number, durability, suitable conditions, supported board types and safety make this fins number one in our selection list for beginners.

Future Fins F8 Vector II Blackstix 3.0 V2F8 Thruster Surfboard Fin

Our Impression:  Another popular thruster fin set from Future fins the F8 Blackstix. It has a future ride number 9.4. It has great and unique flex pattern and very good in generating speed and suitable for weak and smaller waves what you are exactly looking for a beginner. It has Area 15.90 Height 4.64 Base 4.47 for side and center fins and Foil shape V2 for side fins and SYMM for center fin.

Pros:

  • Has 9.4 ride numbers, implies great for speed generating with balance flow.
  • Durable due to carbon fiber construction.
  • Suitable for smaller waves.
  • Ideal for all board types as well as for longboards.
  • Safe during a freak wipeout.
  • Come in large size, suitable for 195lbs+ weight.

Cons:

  • A little bit more costly
  • less glide and less engaged, (which is fine for a beginner not really required to look at)

Final verdict: If you are a big guy looking something which can handle and suitable for 195lbs+ weight this fin is a great option. Area, height, and base are same in size in this fin, which makes this fin a balanced as well as speed generating at the same time. So another pretty good choice for a beginner.

FCS II Performer Glass Flex Surfboard Tri Fin Set – Medium

Our Impression: A great combination of engineering grade polymer and fiberglass makes these fins a balance of speed, flow & response. You can surf in a wide range of conditions from beach breaks to point breaks. ♦ Base: 4.37in ♦ Depth: 4.55in ♦ Area: 14.81sq.in ♦ Sweep: 33.7° ♦ Foil technology: IFT a perfect specification for a novice surfer.

Pros:

  • Enough flexible to generate speed in weak waves
  • You can go up to intermediate level of surfing with this fin with a single investment.
  • Suitable for wide range of conditions beach brakes to point brakes
  • Suitable for all types of boards as well as longboards.
  • FCS II setup, that means new innovative technology to get rid of screws.
  • One of the low-cost fins.

Cons:

  • The size comes with only small and medium. That means if you are beyond 175 lbs this fin is not for you
  • If your board is having traditional FCS I fin box setup than it is not compatible.

Final verdict: If you are a beginner and looking for fins which you wanna surf in weak waves also if you are a beginner but surfing for awhile and now you wanna perform speed and maneuverability along with flow between turns. This will be a great buy for you.

FCS M5 Natural Glass Flex Set of Tri Fin

Our Impression: Just like above FCS II Performer Glass Flex Surfboard Tri Fin Set this is also made up with glass flex which is a combination of engineering grade polymer and fiberglass. It will have a balance between speed, drive, and maneuverability.

Pros:

  • Enough flexible to generate speed in weak waves
  • Suitable for wide range of conditions beach brakes to point brakes
  • Suitable for all types of boards as well as longboards.
  • FCS I technology that means you don’t need to buy FCS II compatibility kit
  • Available in small, medium and large size
  • Price is also relatively low

Cons:

  • If your weight is beyond 200 lbs. Thess fins are not for you
  • It may be too flexible for few Intermediate riders.

Final verdict: It is super flexible which will help you to generate speed in weak waves eventually help you to get confidence in the water. If you are just starting up and looking for a great thruster setup fin compatible with FCS I fin box, this will be a great buy for you.

STEALTH Performance Core and Netted Fibreglass Surfboard Fins

Our impression:  BPS STEALTH thruster fin has become very popular lately and has a couple of reason for that it’s amazingly netted fiberglass skin provides rigidity and better flexibility than regular plastic fins. It has an FCS style mounting system and Fits any surfboard, shortboard, funboard or longboard.

Pros:

  • Cost efficient
  • Fits to any board
  • Flexible enough to surf on weak waves
  • Fully guaranteed for one year
  • Have FCS type fin mounting system
  • Come with medium and large size.

 

Cons:

  • Foil shape is not optimal

Final verdict: If you are looking for cheap and best option this will be a great choice. Even though you won’t have the feel like FCS and Future fins mentioned above still it is a good option at low cost to start with.

FAQ

  1. Where can I but surfboard fins?

There are plenty of options to do that, you can either head to surf shop or you buy the same from online.

  1. Do all surfboard fins are compatible for my longboard?

No, the fins are varied board to board also you can only mount those fins which are compatible with your fin box.

  1. Does FCS I and FCS II fins are compatible with each other?

Yes, FCS I and FCS II are compatible with each other only when you use FCS compatibility kit.    

  1. Does Future fins and FCS fins are compatible with each other?

No. Future fins and FCS fins are not compatible with each other

  1. Do other brands have a mounting system like FCS?

Yes, there are some fin brands available like BPS fins, their mounting system is the same as FCS. 

Conclusion:  

If you are surfing and don’t have fun in it, think of it like you never did anything on the wave. And it is almost impossible to get proper fun on the wave if you don’t have a proper fin on your board. Different types of fins give different flavors of funs, sometimes through speed, sometimes through the turn and so on. So choosing a right fin is as necessary as choosing a right board for you. I hope after reading this article it will be helpful for you to grab your first fin. So don’t wait anymore Grab your fin, put it into your board and run towards the water, the ocean is calling you for fun!  

About The Author