The Importance of Choosing the Right Wakesurf Board Fins
Are you struggling to take your wakesurfing to the next level? It might not be your skills that are holding you back but rather the quality and style of your wakesurf board fins. Fins are often overlooked, but they can completely transform the way a board performs and its personality. Don’t settle for low-end fins that limit your board’s potential; experiment!
Typically, stock boards come with either inexpensive fiberglass or plastic fins that cost from $10-$30. Upgraded fins cost $80 up to $140. Stock fins typically have more drag, are sluggish, and have a heavy feeling. I have yet to ride a stock fin I have been pleased with.
You wouldn’t put cheap economy tires on a Porsche, would you? It’s the same concept. On a high-performance board, you want a fin that allows the board to perform to its maximum potential.
In this article, I’ll tell you about some fins I’ve tested on my surf style board and how upgrading them can help you stay in the wave, perfect your 360s, and achieve higher airs. Get ready to unlock your board’s full potential with the right fins. Again ,this is is for Surf style boards only, not skim style.
Understanding the Role of Wakesurf Board Fins
When it comes to wakesurfing, many people focus on their skills, board shape, and size, but often overlook the importance of their board fins. Fins are critical to your board’s performance, as they impact how it tracks in the water, turns, generates speed for tricks, and stays in the wave. Without fins, your board would spin out of control, and it would be nearly impossible to execute tricks and turn as well.
Wakesurf board fins also help with stability and control, allowing you to maintain speed and prevent the board from sliding out of the wave. The fins’ shape, size, and material all contribute to how they perform, and selecting the right fins for your board can make a significant difference in your wakesurfing experience.
Choosing the Right Fin Shape For Your Wakesurf Board
Choosing the right fin shape is essential to achieving optimal performance from your board. Raked fins, for instance, are ideal for making big bottom turns, carving, and slashing. They provide more surface area for water flow, creating more drag and stability.
Upright/pivot fins, on the other hand, are better for spinning and tighter turns, as they have less surface area, which reduces drag and allows the board to turn more quickly. With pivot fins, you lose some stability and pumping power at the back of the wave where there is less power.
Neutral fins combine the characteristics of raked and pivot fins .
Raked and upright/pivot fins each have their unique benefits, and it’s essential to choose the right one for your riding style. Ultimately, choosing the right fin shape and model will depend on your personal preferences of how you want the board to perform and skill level.
There are other variables that affect the ride such as foil, base width, etc but I don’t think that is relevant to the average wakesurfer.
My Reviews Of Popular Wakesurf Fins
I’m a surf style rider that is 6’4″ and 225 lbs. I ride a 4’8″ Pure Tripp Wakesurf board. I am an aggressive surf style rider who prefers a very responsive and fast board that spins 360s easily. You can check my Pure Tripp review to learn more about it.
One thing to remember is that all the fins I mention only work with Futures fin boxes, which is the industry standard for premium wakesurf boards, minus a few companies.
There are endless fin options to choose from Futures as well as numerous other companies that make Futures compatible fins.
Futures Machado Pivot
I’m going to start with my favorite fin, The Machodo Pivot. These fins spin 360s very easy, I am able to initiate, control and stall out my 360s with these fins. They offer adequate bite to initiate a spin but release and rotate with ease. Another great thing about these fins is the torque they have, I am able to generate tremendous amounts of speed with only one to two pumps which give me higher airs. This fin is very lively, loose, and turns on a dime. It carves decent as well for being such and upright fin. The one downside is that they require much more pumping effort to recover from the very tail end of the wave, where there is less power, compared to others.
Futures HS2 Generations
The Futures HS2 (Pivot fin type) are my second favorite. They spin effortlessly, have power to recover from way back and a great feel. I can control my spin speed very easily with these as well. The main difference in how these differ in ride from the Machados is where the power is delivered. While these don’t have the immediate torque that the Machados do, they recover from the very tail end of the wave better with less pumping action. These fins do perform better in choppy water due to the extra fin height too.
Futures Blackstix F4, Doomswell, and Chaos Wakesurf Fins
The Futures Blackstix F4 (Neutral fin type) is one of the most popular fins out there that can really transform any board out there. I recommend these as a starting point for anybody wanting to upgrade their fins, they are a great all around neutral fin. They have a great spring to them, carve great and generate speed well. For me the fall a little short for recovery as sometimes I will pump right them them due to my size, but I like the feel of them.
The Chaos Flare fin (pivot) is a also another great all around option; they do very well when run as a quad set up, which I prefer when using them. The Chaos flare fin with rear quads has the best recovery of any fin set up that I have ridden, however do you sacrifice some of the play and liveliness. I am able to spin this set up too but it does require quite a bit more effort than a traditional twin. When riding boats with smaller waves or in choppy conditions with a head wind I like to use my Chaos quad set up. This fin used as a twin is very popular and well liked among serious wake surfers, but for my size they are too small for recovery.
The Doomswell X4 Fin (pivot) another find I have tried, at $80 they are cheap way to experiment with fins upgrades. For my weight, they did not generate enough power for recovery as they are on the small size. However, I have a buddy that is about 150 lbs and he loves them, more so than the Blackstix.
Futures Machado Bamboo
Machado Bamboo (Raked) is an awesome fin for for speed and carving, but very difficult to spin 360s. Raked fins carve up and over the wave on spins, pivot fins spin on a dime. These fins are perfect if you just like to carve, cruise, and slash hard. This very lively fin allows you to do big bottom turns without fear of sliding out, while offering great back-of-the-wave power while pumping too.
There really is no “best” fin out there because we all prefer different things, but I can guarantee you that any of these fins I have mentioned are 100% better than cheap stock fins. Some fins pair better with different boards than others, and other factors such as the rider’s skill and weight can come into play as well. Maybe you feel like carving one day and want to use a raked fin, and other days you might be in the mood for a quick pivot fin. There really is no right or wrong. I highly encourage you to experiment and try different fins to see what works best for you. There are still other fin models I’d like to try myself as well.
I’d also like to thank Dan Van Ampting from No Coast Surfers, an online wakesurf shop, for sending me fins to test. Dan is a competitive wakesurfer and fin expert who can help you make the right choice.
One more thing of note when looking at Futures fins, which are actually designed for ocean surf boards, disregard their weight recommendations. Wakesurf boards are completely different and their ratings do not apply to them.