SUP Fins: The Choice You Make is Important

Fins for Your Best Stand Up Paddleboarding Performance

Because fins are one of the most personal aspects in the SUP experience, I’m going to take this a little slower than usual. We are going to move from the most family friendly fin to the most elite fin among racers over the next several posts. What, you might ask, is the difference and why should it matter?

No two fins are created the same. While most stand up paddle boarders prefer a certain type of water, what they may not realize is their experience is directly related to the choice of fin they use. Think of it the way you treat the engine in your car: it is what’s under the hood, in this case, under the board that really matters.

Nine-Inch SUP Super Flex Fin

The Nine-Inch SUP Super Flex Fin protects your fin box from damage in shallow water.

The fin plays an important role in achieving the performance you expect. Your best stand up paddle boarding performance is based on several characteristics of the fin. This is why knowing the difference between fins is such an important element in making the right choice.

First, let’s discuss the various characteristics of the fin. It is comprised of four different parts: the leading edge, the trailing edge, the base, and the tip. Both the base and the tip play a role in directional stability, a reference to how well the board will move from side to side. The leading edge of the fin controls the pivot and the all-important ability of the fin to shed weeds and kelp.

The next consideration is you. Because you are part of the system (board, fin, paddler), how you paddle is an important consideration as well. A strong paddler will need a fin that keep the tail of the board from flapping around and allow for more strokes per side. This type of paddler will need a shallower, shorter fin that doesn’t create too much drag. A paddler looking to track straighter over longer distances will want a deeper fin with more surface area. Paddle surfers and paddlers who might find themselves in choppy water will want a fin that is a little wider and more upright (which is reference to how the fin is relative to the board).

And lastly, which fin is right? While they all serve a specific purpose, there are a few other considerations: who uses the board and where. Because there is a chance that you will lend your board to someone who is inexperienced or younger, there is one single fin you should have in your bag: The Nine Inch SUP SuperFlex Fin. This fin will provide a lot of fun for those who are just beginning the sport, the same people who are likely to drag your board through the shallows and up onto the beach. The flexibility of this fin will protect your fin box, one of the single most expensive parts of your board to repair.

Next up: The fin you use should vary.

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