SUP Race Fins: Achieving Flatwater Speed

The Right Stand Up Paddle Board Race Fin may be More than One

In our previous looks at fins (SUP Fins: The Choice You Make is Important, an introduction to the different parts of the fin and why they are an important consideration, Adding SUP Fins to Your Experience – a look at how touring fins work to help you SUP board accelerate and perform), we found out that fins play a key role. While your stand up paddle board salesperson will inquire about your goals, where you like to take your SUP, and what you expect, for most paddle boarders, the answers to the questions may not be well-defined. But when it comes to the select group that knows exactly what they want, the fins play a critical part. These are the competitors; the SUPers who want to race.

Race fins require several key factors to come into play. First is consideration for the various conditions you might encounter. Granted, you can’t predict what kind of water you will experience on any given day but you can distinguish between competitions that are on flatwater, both calm and choppy, and in the surf, assumed to be always rough.

Danny Ching Racing

Danny Ching Racing

Because your flatwater fin is designed to keep the board moving straight, your race fin is designed to be more maneuverable. Your board will need to track straight when you want it to but you will also need to be able to weave around other competitors and make a good turn at the buoy. This “stiffness” should not impact your performance but it will if the fin isn’t thin enough to eliminate any drag. The best are made of carbon.

So what sort of fin can do all of this? Your paddle board may come with a good fin but no fin serves as all-purpose. For those serious about competing, two or three fins should be be all you need to address most conditions.

You may begin your day with the FCS 10” Weed Racing Fin, a fin that performs well where weeds might be an issue. It also sweeps back dramatically to give you a higher number of single side strokes, a nice feature in a crowded race.

As the day wears on, so often does the choppiness of the water. lending his name to the next fin says something about the quality of it. Known as the Quiet Champion, there is no doubt that stand up paddle boarding would not be as popular as it is today without Danny Ching. So to say the FCS 9” Danny Ching SUP Race Fin is anything less that competitive would be a sacrilege. This fin uses a carbon construction to keep it lightweight and retain as much stiffness as possible. Great for turns around the buoy in choppier conditions.

You might find the fin that came with your board as the perfect day-ender.

Next week we’ll spend some time on river and surf fins, some thoughts of why some boards come with more than one fin, and a look at fin box care and maintenance.

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