Author Topic: Choosing a fin box setup  (Read 1731 times)

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Online jeffbhall

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Choosing a fin box setup
« on: September 29, 2014, 05:51:02 PM »
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  • I learned to surf on a single fin longboard.  I stepped down to a 7'8 thruster and a 7'3 quad funboard.  I have had tons of fun on all of them.  I really like the differences in the feel, drive and bite of the single fin, thruster and quad setups and I am just beginning to think about trying out some other setups and other board options. 

    I don't feel like I want to settle on any particular fin setup just yet; at this point I feel like I don't have enough experience to stop playing around and settle just yet.  My dilemma is that I am planning to invest real money in my first real quiver of 2 or 3 boards and I am having a hard time settling on a fin cluster/setup.

    Is there a fin box cluster that will let me configure a board as either a thruster, quad, quad+nub, or just a single fin?  Or is it either a fifth nub-box or a stand alone single fin box, but not both in the same cluster?  I guess my real question is this; what is the most versatile fin cluster that I could put on any particular board? I don't want to lay out serious money on two or three boards only to be limited by their fin setups.  Any advice would be helpful. 

    Offline Mayday

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 06:31:56 PM »
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  • You can do a five fin setup with the middle being a longboard fin box, and then buy the insert to make it thruster fin compatible.

    However, if you're buying two or three boards you should be thinking through what those boards will be for and why you're ordering them. What wave / conditions will you surf them in and then consider asking your shaper what will work best. Like are the three boards longboard / groveler / HPSB?  Some boards lend themselves to certain fin setups.


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    Offline SurfeRoss

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #2 on: September 29, 2014, 06:34:24 PM »
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  • I like a 5 fin box setup to have both tri and quad. I think it's pretty versatile as far as feeling comfortable in a wide variety of conditions. Plus, it's fun to try different fins.

    As far as single, I have a single fin +2 setup on 6'8", but I always ride it as a single. I found it to be slow as a tri.

    Offline Kyle

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #3 on: September 29, 2014, 07:43:24 PM »
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  • what Mayday said.

    And fwiw I like singles with and without sidebites. And bonzers. I love bonzers.

    Online jeffbhall

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #4 on: September 29, 2014, 10:02:02 PM »
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  • You can do a five fin setup with the middle being a longboard fin box, and then buy the insert to make it thruster fin compatible.


    Ah ha.  Thanks @Mayday .  I'll probably get the HPSB later next year but I am thinking of getting a longboard and a groveler for now.  I imagine I could tweak out the groveler with the quad setup plus the longboard fin box + thruster insert. The options that would give me should keep me busy for a while.  Both boards will be used primarily in Long Island surf conditions.  I travel twice per year


    @Kyle , I've been checking out bonzers and sidebites but have yet to ride them, they look like fun.  What fin-box options should I look for if I want to keep my longboard open to experimentation?

    Offline Mayday

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    Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #5 on: September 30, 2014, 08:17:06 AM »
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  • Grovelers are typically pretty short and fat. I don't know if I've ever seen someone throw a longboard fin in one of those. Might be too much fin for a board that short. I'd say go five fin and then work on different fin setups you can even go quad plus nub in one of those.

    For a longboard I don't know that much but  think primarily you're looking at different types of fins and sliding it forward and back to get different results. You can get a 2 plus 1 but those are more performance oriented longboards I believe. Like surfeross said I don't see a lot of people use the sidebites much.

    What boards are you looking at like shaper / model.


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    Offline adamlesper

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #6 on: September 30, 2014, 11:19:36 AM »
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  • For shortboards its always nice to go with the 5 plug to keep options open although very rarely do the waves call for 5 fins. Getting and trying new boards is one of the more exciting aspects of surfing.  I've got 2 being shipped right now that I cant wait to tear into.  Praying they don't get damaged in transit.

    Online jeffbhall

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 11:58:45 AM »
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  • What boards are you looking at like shaper / model.

    @Mayday, this will be the second board that I have bought since I started surfing about 7 years ago.  My first board was a 7'3 quad fish and that was really just a shot in the dark; someone told me I should get it, so I did.  In retrospect, it probably would have been better at the time for me to get a bigger longer board, but the shorter fish did jump-start my conditioning.  My other board was given to me last year by a neighbor who was moving to Japan.  It's a 7'8 Frierson, glassed in thruster setup, rocked, shaped in '95 in Virginia Beach.  Definitely a little step up (in volume) from the shorter fish, and it was the first thruster I surfed so it's really kind of grown on me.  If I ever get to the point where I am bombing DOH winter storms, that would be my board.  I'm 50, very surf-fit, have been in the ocean my whole life, and usually get 5-10 hours in the water (Long Island) per week.  Throw in two surf trips per year, and you get a good idea of my skill level.  If "intermediate" was scored 1-10, I'm a 4 or 5. 

    I'm at a point where I could use a board that will turn easier and sharper, without the lower volume that usually comes with true HPSB's.  I also want to have some freedom with fin set-ups, since I think there is a lot of experience I still need to get across different set-ups.  That's the reason I am considering a groveler with 5-fin box, something along the lines and style of the Lost R.V. shape.  I would also like a board that can bridge the gap between groveler waves and bigger waves, something that may overlap with smaller surf but has the ability to extend into bigger surf, like one of the larger Lost Driver kind of shapes.

    I surf with a friend who knows most of the local shaper options where we surf and whose style and fitness is similar to mine, although he's more advanced.  He reccomended Natures Shapes, where he gets his boards shaped.  I'm completely open to suggestions or advice on all of this.

    Offline UNCLE!!

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #8 on: October 11, 2014, 04:39:06 PM »
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  • You could try out an egg. I have a 6'8" single fin egg that's the bomb. I wish it had side bites every now and then, but it doesn't. A 6.5' to 7' egg with a bit of volume is a good board to have in a quiver. Get it with enough volume and it becomes a mini tanker small wave destroyer. I have the 6'3" St. James egg as well. It's a single fin and lower volume and narrower than my other. Works real nice in better surf.  Natures Shapes and Faktion are doing nice eggs these days.
    Foamies are the new black

    Online jeffbhall

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #9 on: October 13, 2014, 01:27:36 PM »
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  • Thanks @UNCLE!! .  Your answer prompted another question I have about working with shapers. 

    Is it appropriate to meet with or speak with more than one shaper before making a decision or should I just pick one shaper and go from there?  I was already considering speaking to Mike at Natures Shapes since he was referred to me by a friend, but since this is my first custom board I would like to speak to Mark at Faktion too.  Thoughts?

    Offline Mayday

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 09:21:53 AM »
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  • There's no reason you can't feel out each shaper and just give them a call. You may even want to discuss what you're looking for, see what they suggest, and definitely price which can influence who you go with. My buddy just got a custom egg through malwitz and loves it. May want to check w him too.


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    Offline damian

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 11:01:01 AM »
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  • I'll second Uncle's suggestion.  A good egg can be really versatile- especially as a 2+1.  Check out Brian Wynn- as he worked for Stu Kenson. 

    Online jeffbhall

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #12 on: November 07, 2014, 02:37:35 PM »
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  • Thanks for all of the advice guys.  I met with Mike, he's shaping me a 6'6 Mini Driver from Natureshapes, 5-fin setup.  It could be ready as early as this Sunday.  Appreciate all of the help from everyone above.

    Offline UNCLE!!

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    Re: Choosing a fin box setup
    « Reply #13 on: November 10, 2014, 01:41:15 PM »
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  • Sweet!!
    Foamies are the new black