Twin Fins Talk: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Twin (part 4)
The last blogpost of this serie, let's wrap this!
Writing this series was pure fun and this one is specially interesting because it wraps everything and explain how everything blend together and there is no right or wrong setup, and only experiencing yourself will allow you to find the feeling you are looking for, that you may not be able to put words on it. I just hope to guide you through trial and error so you can find your own recipe faster.
Let’s talk about a few more technical information, then finish with a quick how to pair your fins with a board!
I won’t go over all the manufacturer’s technologies in this post, but I just want to highlight the difference between a flex and a stiff fin and some advantages of them.
A rigid fin will be very reliable and will be best suited for pocket surfing, aggressive surfing or powerful waves. They will release with reliability and consistency. Full fiberglass or carbon fin usually gives you that consistent feeling.
A more flex fin will deliver an extra burst of speed when they bounce back from a turn or a pump and will allow for a great flow in your surfing. Honeycomb is the most common flex fin construction.
There is 3 main foil you can have on a fin: flat, 50/50 and concave.
Flat will be the most common foiling for side fins. They are fast and act like an airplane wing to give you speed and lift on rails.
Concave fins are not as common as the flat, but the concave will give more lift and speed through turns.
50/50 fins are more common on the back fin but can be found on the side fin like some keels. They don’t offer the lift that the flat or concave fin offer, so they feel like an anchor that slows your surfboard, but also stabilize it and gives you drive and hold to push hard through turns. That’s the interesting thing about the twin+trailer setup, it gives you plenty of speed and the little trailer stabilises, gives control, and generate drag, but not as much as a thruster due to the size of that fin.
There are also a variety of foilings like the former twad (that I recommend for my Alchimie Eldorado model) as their back fins are at 80/20 foiled which will be a compromise between flat and 50/50 fin.
The cant is the amount of angle the fin has related to the bottom of your surfboard.
A canted fin will be more responsive in rail turn and will tend to generate more lift and be looser when the board is flat. A straighter fin will feel reliable and release more when you are on a rail turn and be more stable when the board is flat on the water.
That’s why mini-Simon and fish often has no cant. While some thruster setup could have up to 9degrees cant.
Pairing your fins
All surfboards have an idea behind the design, and they won’t deliver that idea if they are not paired with the fins they are made for, it’s not that they won't work, but just not deliver the feeling the board is conceived to.
I will always recommend asking your shaper what the idea behind a design is and which fins they recommend.
Be aware that sometimes you will get the right pairing for your style the first time, but many times you will need to try different setups in different conditions to find the magic happening.
Personally, after some tests, at 185lbs myself, I ride my El Dorado model, with the Chippa Wilson twin+1 or the NPJ Quartet or sometimes just those as a twin when waves are flatter. Most of our waves around Montreal are on the flatter side and water flow is medium to slow I would say. We don’t have large wave faces; they are smaller tighter pockets. This board is designed to pivot and generate speed from the tail for a loose and playful feeling while still being able to go on rail in a tighter radius and come back faster. (Especially with the twin+2 setup)
The board is a 5’7’’ x 19.88’’ x 2.5’’ domed deck, the tail is 16.125’’ wide at 12’’ from the tail with a diamond tail. Those fins give me just the right amount of release, hold, pivot, and drive for my style in the waves I surf. I give you this as a reference if it can help you find a place to start in your testing journey on your twin fin surfboard!
I will be stoked to discuss with everyone who has questions or comments regarding this post, and feel free to contact me for advices!