could a fin be rigged up to pivot like a rudder?

Just curious.  Has anyone here ever tried a pivoting fin that could steer like a boat's rudder?  Seems like it might be a fun experiment.

BTW, how do those RC sufers turn?

You may want to check out some of the solutions the SUP folks are using Huck.

My personal approach for a controllable rudder is built around a bolt-on skate deck/truck married to a 3/8" pivot through the center fin slot but it’s still a kludge that needs prettyfication so not ready for it’s close-up Mr. DeMille.


Seen one on a paddle board you “steered” with you foot/knee - great for padding in a side wind - big single fin monted to a rod that goes through the deck then a 90 degree anlge to a pipe about 3’ long, up between your legs, with a bungee rigging to bring it to center - you turn, or angle by pushing on the pipe.   Very cool for it purpose, not so much for surfing…

There was a guy in the Malibu area who developed a hinged swallow tail that allowed each side to lift independently of the other.  As each side lifted, it engaged a trailing flap on the backside of a single fin.  The hardware linkage was kind of complicated but as one side of the swallow lifted, the trailing flap would act like a rudder.

It was featured in a magazine article back around 1973/74 if I recall correctly.

One concern I discussed with the guy was what happens if you are in a suck out tube like low-tide sandbar Rincon and the inside swallow lifted.   The rudder would 'steer' the tail right out of the face and result in an instant spin out(?)

Other than that, it made sense for slow mushy waves where the steering effect would allow more maneuverability.

FWIW Blakestah's pivoting fin is a functional example that can be tuned with the use of different durometer limiter/bumpers inside the pivot mechanism.  I've used the single fin model and liked it although fore and aft adjustements were a bit of a hassle compared to a standard single fin box.

yep , my mate brad made three , in 1997


I rode them all. somewhere in my video collection is the footage , i'll have to try and copy it to digital , perhaps ?





1968 dickie keating made a little board w/ a steering wheel

actuating an articulating fin.Featured in fred windisch’s film 

THE NATURAL ART. some sites say 1969 some say 1970

I once had a vhs copy

lost to tropical mold…

tried to get another copy from

fred’s family some time after…

no luck.

cool footage dickie prone paddled into

waves then sat at the wheel

and go cart steered

across faces at pedro lefts.



searched you tube no luck

found an obscure refrence to the film

thats all.

Velzy lost a testicle to a tiller bar on a paddle board

histiric articulating appendeges become rudders

and cease to be skegs and or fins.

the addition of a keel is a good idea when 

installing a rudder.


or perhaps wear a cup

if prone paddling

in the presence

of a tiller bar

up the leg

of your shorts.




1968 dickie keating made a little board w/ a steering wheel

actuating an articulating fin.Featured in fred windisch’s film "


Yea, Ambrose… was hanging in the Wander Inn sand dunes, post session warm up, burning one, maybe another session when I can feel the toes again.  See DK walking up the beach, dragging something behind him. Huh…?  Steering wheel? On an elongated kneeboard? Did that fin just rotate? WTF?

Watch DK kick paddle it out, wheel, drop into a shoulder high wall on his knees, big wrench of the wheel, skidding 180 degree cutback, slam into the whitewater, wheel around and continue the run, finishing up with a tuck into the inside closeout.

Watch this for about 20 minutes, then walk down to the waters edge where he’s getting out. DK looks down at the board, nods his head, “gotta tighten the cable, maybe add some fin”, then heads back to the boat dock, dragging the wheeled roadster behind him…another time capsule moment from Yoda…

With all the re-releases of vintage films on video, it's a shame that "The Natural Art" has never been re-issued.  I remember seeing it at the Roosevelt High School Auditorium in 1969, but only vaguely remember it (we werent exactly sober).  I do remember the steering wheeled kneeboard though, a guy doing 360 spinners and a lot of Mexican pot. Whoever has the rights to this film, PLEASE get it out there for us.

Fred Windisch, who made the movie, was a true gentleman and class act.  Massively big guy who rode a huge board well, large walrus mustache, with a smile and kind word for everyone.  Before I had my drivers license I had to hitchike on Hwy 1 with my 9’8 to get to the beach, not an easy task.  Whenever I saw that old green wagon of Fred’s coming my way, I’d be picking up my board before it even slowed down, stoked to be getting a ride with one of the coolest cats around.  He left us way too early.