Surfers Textbook

Section 9- THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS—FINS AND FIN SYSTEMS

( This section contains more pages. Purchase " The Surfers Textbook" now to gain access to the full 416 pages)

The following areas are dealt with;
(a) Choosing the type of fin/s and/or fin system.
Fin Design and performance – a perspective by Phil Way.
(b) Laying up and shaping your own fins.
(c) Fin materials and methods of attachment;
(i) Attaching fins using glass fibre and resin.
(ii) Fitting fin plugs.
(iii) Fitting fin boxes.
During the designing stage detailed in Section 4, decisions regarding the number of fins and choice of fin style to be used should have been made. By far the majority of short boards produced since the early eighties utilize three fins or Thruster style set–up. Long boards vary between the traditional single fin and newer three-fin system, often having a hybrid combination of a larger centre fin with smaller side fins.

In order to reinforce the design and performance aspect an article written by Phil Way, one of our leading fin designers and manufacturers, has been included.

Laying–up a fin panel and foiling fins have been included for those keen individuals who would like to make their own fins and have the freedom to experiment with their own designs. It is time consuming and a very dusty process when foiling glass fibre fins hence you may choose to avoid this by purchasing already prepared fins.

Attaching the fins to the bottom of the board using glass fibre and resin is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward technique but requires more time in the sanding process compared to the two other methods described in c(ii) and c(iii).

Commercially available plug-in fin systems such as Fin Control System (FCS), Advanced Fin Systems, O’Fishy’l, RedX, Swivel Fin System, Speeed Fins, On a Mission (OAM), Performance Fins, Pro Teck Fins, Fin Solutions, Future Fin Systems, Lokbox, Excel Fin Systems to name only a few, are fitted with the use of a few specialised tools. Kits can generally be purchased if you plan to do a sufficient amount of work to warrant the expense. However, for a one–off operation a commonly available speed bit or hole saw without the aid of jigs will suffice in most cases.

The obvious advantages in using either plug–in fin systems or fin boxes is that different fin sizes, shapes and positioning can be experimented with as well as the fins' removal altogether for ease of storage or handling when travelling. From a manufacturing point of view it is much easier to machine sand and polish the bottom with the fins removed otherwise slow and tedious handwork around the base of the fins is the only option.