EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PADDLE BOARD FIN PLACEMENT
SUP fin placement can have a huge impact on how your board handles on the water. That’s why your paddle board fin set up is something you want to make sure you consider before you head out on your stand up paddle board.
Your paddle board is made up of 3 parts. The board, the paddle, and (even though they are the smallest) the fins - which play a vital role in the performance of your board. Once you have your fin attached, these tips will help you optimize the performance of your board for whatever conditions you are paddling in.
The most common fin system on SUP boards is the US Fin Box, which is a track that is slightly longer than the fin itself. This design allows you to customize the performance of your board via the fin placement either further toward the nose, or tail of the board.
Most of the low priced inflatable paddle board companies use the Quick Release Slide in Fin Box. Designed to be used as a center fin or run in pairs in the outside fin boxes in shallower water. The fin installs and removes in seconds without tools.
- If your priority is going in a straight line above all else, then you want a large surface area fin with a long base and long leading edge. This will help your board to track better (go straighter) and will also help stabilize the board making it feel less tippy side-to-side and make it more predictable in choppy water and swell. However, a larger fin can feel sluggish because it will not cut through the water as easily. It will also take more effort to turn and pivot the board since there will be more resistance to the flow of water around the fin. A strong paddler, or someone who likes to use a stiff paddle with a larger blade, may benefit from a fin that has a wider base and reaches deeper into the water. This type of fin will offer good resistance to t.he extra force exacted by the paddler, which will result in the board tracking better.
- If you want more responsiveness and speed, then you should be looking at smaller surface area fins. However, a smaller fin will not track as well as a larger fin and it will be harder maintain stability in choppy water. A person who has a more fluid and slower stroke will benefit from a smaller fin as it will compensate for the lack of force by allowing the board to move more quickly through the water.
- Paddleboard fins that are used for surf-specific SUPs will have a different shape than the fins used on touring, racing and all-around paddleboards.