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No we’re not talking about the ones from Finland. Nor are we talking about the ones that scare you when you’re in the ocean ;). We’re talking about kiteboard fins and specifically the ones on your twintip.
Fins are very often overlooked and very underestimated.
Your fins can make or break your experience with a board. The right fin for your style of riding can also save you big bucks. Sometimes it’s not necessary to swap your board but a simple adjustment to your twintip fin setup can do the trick.
In this article we will cover the basics and we’ll have a look at what changing your fin setup will do for you.
Ok so let’s make it simple.
Fins are very much like the tyres on your car / bike. More surface area will give you more grip eg. Larger fins will give you more grip while smaller fins will give you less of it.
But as driving on a dirt road with Formula 1 tires will be challenging so is kitesurfing in choppy conditions with the wrong type of fin.
Fins are your connection to the water similar to your car’s tyres on the road.
Most kiteboard manufacturers make the fin choice for you. Adding fins that will complement the style of riding they have focussed the board on. Although local conditions may require different fins to get the most out of your board. Back to the tyres -> You may be on a summer tyres on a snowy road. That doesn’t mean your car (board) is bad 😉
What do kiteboard fins do?
Fins affect 3 very important performance areas of the board. Grip/pop, carve/slide and upwind ability.
Remove your fins for a short session and you’ll notice a “loss of control” when making hard turns. Your board will try to spin out of control when you are exiting the turn. Landings will be harder and upwind, well that’s really all technique. For some style or riding (experienced riders) it’s common to ride without fins to nice surface rotations and passes.
Size does matter!
It’s very simple a large fin has more surface so it creates more grip. A shorter / smaller fin will give you more freedom on the slide/carve part but will lack on the upwind ability.
More grip also adds to the upwind ability.
The major downside of larger fins is that they will feel a bit like riding on train tracks. Large fins have so much grip they simply want to continue in the direction they’re going. Perfect for beginners who’re just getting used to riding and can use a bit of “help”. Large fins are also a perfect choice for light wind riding as they will give you more upwind performance. However short fins in light wind are very fun too. Take for example a skimboard.
Medium >3-5 CM
Large > 5CM
Smaller fins will give you a much more playful board and are the perfect choice for wakestyle type of riding. Powered but not too powered.
Medium style fins are generally what manufacturers go for as it will already give them a massive pallet of performance. For us it’s very simple.
Asymmetrical or symmetrical.
Regular fins are symmetrical means both the inside and the outside are curved. This gives you a stable fin that does what it should do. However in high wind / high speed conditions symmetrical fins will give a little more drag (turbulence) and a loss of control may happen.
Asymmetrical fins are flat on the inside and curved on the outside. This will make the water flow faster on the inside then it does on the outside. Generating “lift” or in the case of a fin this will feel as suction. Resulting in more grip. The more speed you generate the more “grip” you’ll get out of the fin. Asymmetrical fins are definitely the way to go when you want the best of both worlds. They can be short with nearly all the benefits of a large fin.
The only thing you need to add is speed!
There are a few common materials when it comes to kiteboarding fin manufacturing. Plastic, G10 resin and carbon. Plastic is cheap but has a lot of negative aspects so not great for performance fins. They break faster than the other materials, are a bit more flexible so generate more drag / turbulence) and get very sharp when riding in sand.
G10 is the most common material when it comes to high quality fins. They are much stiffer than plastic fins and are also fairly easy to produce. The price for a set of G10 fins is generally between 40-80 euro.
All Fluid kiteboarding fins are made from G10 material.
Downside: can get dents in the material which influence the waterflow.
Carbon – Expensive but great fins for those who need it.
So it’s simple!
Are you looking for grip -> larger fins
Are you looking for a more loose / playful feel -> smaller fins.
Your style of riding and the location you ride in have large influence on your riding. Don’t just try new fins 1 session .
BTW did you know most manufacturers use a standard M6 fin with standard hole distance!! You can use another brand fins on your board no problem!