SUP Fins for Surf: One Fin v. Multiple Fins

Stand Up Paddle Boarding as the Waves Break

We have been discussing the fin, the critical piece of your SUP experience that may be the least understood component of your stand up paddle board. Owning more than one fin allows you to adjust your performance based on whatever conditions you might encounter. Your board does come with a well-matched fin based on the type of board you purchase. But that fin may not be the best fin for racing for example, allowing your family to use you board, or for long-term touring. Your have a versatile personality; why shouldn’t you fin match?

Naish Mana GT Surf SUP

Naish Mana GT Surf SUP with its 2+1 fin system allows you to custom design your SUP surf experience.

The first surfing fins were long and deep. This is worth noting in part because this fin opened the paddle boarder to the pipeline. But like everything in this sport, a performance evolution was to be expected. So which is best: single, dual, three fins or four?

Let’s talk single fins first. As these fins became shorter and narrower, they became faster. Keep in mind, the fin itself is designed to keep the tail in the water, an important consideration for nose riding. But single fin configurations have critics as well, suggesting that while they are the preferred nose riding fin, they are not as good on the turn. The thinking here is simple: a single fin lacks the thrust that multiple fins provide.

At some point, this lack of thrust led to the design of the twin fin system. Credit goes to Ben Aipa for the design but the twin fins had distinct plusses and minuses, some which could take a little bit of getting used to. The twin fin does away with the center fin altogether and in doing so adds some serious speed to the way you board reacts in the waves. That liveliness may take some getting used to. On the downside, if you can say there is anything downside about SUPing on waves, is the lack of control as the barrel gets larger. If you get the chance to try out a board equipped with this set-up, you’ll notice the scamper in the board right away.

The tri-fin configuration was born of a natural evolution of one fin lacking thrust and two fins lacking controlled liveliness. So to the two fin set-up, a third center fin was added. You will never overpower your fins with this arrangement. It has all of the excellent characteristics of a single fin set-up and the brisk skip the twinneys add. This design changed the way surf SUP boarding is experienced.

And of course, if lively isn’t enough, if good thrust doesn’t get your juices flowing, if nose riding isn’t your thing, then consider a board with a quad-fin set-up. Two smaller fins were added behind the twin-fin system and the result was a crazy fast, allowing you to expand your arc and pump your board down the line. This might be the type of fin set-up for the most experienced SUPers and surfers, but if you have a chance to blow tail, do not pass it up.

The best board to try this out is the Naish Mana 8’10” GT Surf SUP with its 2 + 1 fin system. This gives you the opportunity to try out three different fin configurations. Not only will you be able to adjust to various water conditions, this also allows you to configure the fins to your specific stroke as well. The exaggerated tail rocker is simply an added bonus in the design.

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