I bought a used longboard about a month ago, and I’ve been trying to break it in. I really like the way it paddles and trims in the waves. I have a blast just cruising on it. One thing that surprises me is how easy it is to turn, and I’ve got to credit that to the big-ass single fin. Unfortunately, I’m on my 3rd fin in a month because of a series of accidents and mishaps.
The first fin was a traditionally shaped 9″ fin. I pushed this fin all the way toward the front in the fin box; I found the turn very responsive. But this first fin didn’t last long. I was on the inside after a ride and this huge rogue wave came through and crushed me. I let go of the board and it hit the ocean floor, snapping the fin off. (Actually it ripped the fin box out with it! It was a nightmare.) I was devastated on the beach, but in my sorrow, I decided to take a wave with out a fin, just to see what would happen. I paddled into a wave and it was total mayhem. I was sliding all over the place and when I leaned to set my rail, the board spun around 180 degrees and I fell off. That helped me appreciate what the fin contributes to the ride – it is doing a lot of work back there that I was taking for granted.
Next I put in a high performance Harbour fin. It has a funny sickle shape which allows it to have a lot of flex. This fin helped my board to have an even more responsive turn. I really feel like this fin made my board as easy to turn as my shortest board. So now I had the awesome paddling and cruising power of the longboard combined with the sweet fast turning quickness of a shortboard. Alas, this fin also broke when I let one of my bros take a ride on it and he lost it into the rocks at Sunset Blvd. The cool thing was that the fin snapped right in the thin area of the sickle shape, and I was able to ride the board for the rest of the sesh with half a fin. Even with half a Harbour fin I was still getting pretty decent rides out of my board, so kudos to the engineering team that designed this fin.
Now I have installed a True Ames Slick Fin. I went to Mollusk surf shop in Venice and Chad Marshall recommended I give this fin a try. I told him I wanted to turn my longboard into a noseriding machine. He said the True Ames Slick Fin is the way to go. He definitely knows what he’s talking about, so I’ll take his word for it. I’ll report back once I’ve tested it out.
Here’s Chad demonstrating his longboarding chops: