Fin help....opinions...

Hello all,

I am just about to finish my second shape,a fish, I know…I know, I made it because it is a simple design and I always wanted one. It is a traditional shape all the way (lis,frye,brom ect…) I am just about ready for fins. My question is for those with experience(with fins,twins…ect…) ,should I go with keels or a more modern fin to enhance the boards performance? I am looking for opinions on the keels performance as opposed to a twin with more modern fins? What are the pros or cons to a twin with one or the other set up? I know fins make a huge difference and am looking for some suggestions/opinions…thanks…

Sean W

That entirely depends upon how you shaped your fish and how you want it to ride. If it’s a traditional fish, you’re probably better off staying traditional with keels. But, if you’ve tweaked the rail curve and tail rocker, I’d recommend going with a set of modern twin fin templates and even a removable trailer. Check out our twin fin template at

Hey Oceans 23,

Each different fin choice will create a different performance curve. What you choose depends on many variables. With board photos and or accurate specks and other detail I can make some suggestions so email me if you want to explore some ideas or just post the details here and maybe we can process on Swaylocks if you prefer.

Mahalo, Rich


Thanks for the responses. The board is 6’2" x17-1/4"x 22-1/2" x17" x 2-7/8" , a beak nose,fuller foil through out the length. The rocker is 1-1/2’" tail and 2-1/2" nose, very flat. The rails are boxy and full,about 60/40 with a little tuck, getting hard the last 16-18" at the tail. Suggestions/opinions with those specs? Does someone make a system that I could have both, a keel and a more modern fin to interchange?(I really don’t want a trailer fin…) I mean I know there are(fin) systems …but keels too? Any idea what the performance difference between the two would be with the board specs given? Thanks for the help…


  The configuration of traditional keel fins is very different from modern twin fins. A traditional keel twin fin will be toed parallel to the stringer and use sysmetrically foiled fins. A contemporary twin fin foil is going to be toed in towards the nose and utilize single foil side fins. I had been resistant to making a keel type fin in the past, because traditional fish (to me) means traditional construction methods (i.e. glass ons). But recently, we have recieved requests from some very prominant fish manufacturers for a keel type side fin. So, maybe within the next year we'll have a system that could be used for one or the other. But, the box orientation will be different depending upon traditional or contemporary. 


Red X Fins


Good stuff here!

If you want snappier, quicker, more vertical moves, and you surf hard off your back foot, a traditional shape will provide the “contest” style moves.

If you want a longer, drawn out down the line kinda feel, for sure a keel would give you the smoothness and distance.

Haven’t seen boxed keels as of yet.

But extremely raked fins, like 6" tall, with a total rake from base leading edge to trailing tip of 6" or more, can act similar to keels, but have finbox versatility.

Hey Oceans,

The board can be set up as a quad or as a twin. If you put a pair of fin boxes on each side of the board you can do pretty much anything you want to do with the board. If you want to be able to experiment with a varity of fins including keel fins and you have enough thickness in the board at the rails moderate sized Bayhne boxes will allow you to put fins of any size comfiguration or cant that you may want to. You’ll also be able to move them fore and aft to tune various set-ups. If you put a smaller fin box in the board Keel fins are out because of their very long base. The lead fins will probably have a smaller base and thus Red-X, Future or FCS amoung others would work. The attachment may give you some ideas.

Gone Surfin, Rich

those curves and setts point to the ultimate small wave board especially for flat waves ,the width and thickness of the rails mean it wont get on the rail easily,the flat rocker and wide nose and tail mean drawn turns and it wont go near the pocket on a sucky wave , i would say choose the fin setup that works the best surfing the board flat , the type of waves it will work best in will be small and fat slow waves so you want a fin set up with maximum drive forget twin …worst case scenario quad if you really have to …but what i would say is 3 large super raked fins ,especially the tail fin …if you do go quad then raked fins are still the go…



I’m no fish expert, in fact this is my first attempt at building one. I have consulted with many folks on this board on fin type and placement for a board like this. Yours sounds like it has a pretty flat rocker and tracking has been mentioned as an issue for some using the keel type fins with no tilt or toe-in. Without being sure, I tried to allow for fine tuning options using glass-on twins (slight tilt and toe-in) and trailing single plugs. With different size trailers, hopefully the owner can find something that will work. Yes, those are a pair of Herb’s Superchargers being used as trailers.

"Surfing equipment evolution has swung into a new phase. A huge new breakaway direction has sprung out of the conventional surfboard move. The entire thought behind this new flow is freedom. The entire freedom.

This is not surfboard riding. This is wave riding. These are not surfboards, these new vessels. A board is a rigid flat plank for standing poised upon, balancing, defying waves from flinging. The lite wide-back machines, vessels or flying saucers are mind vehicles, just like your bodies. Performing, like part of your body, the new unit will take your conscious many fantastic places, in some fantastic ways."

Along the same lines, i’m finishing up a board that has almost same dimensions…

i took the Lis fish 5’3" template from this website, put it in Adobe Illustrator. Cut the template in half, stretched the template to 6’3", but turned off the maintain proportions button. then i stretched the width out to 21.5". traced the outline with the bezel curve tool, then tweaked the tail and the nose to fit a little better. seemed to work ok.

6’3" x16.5"x 21.5" x 16.25" x 2-7/8", a beak nose, full foil through out the length. The rocker is 1-1/2’" tail and 3" nose. The rails are boxy and full, about 60/40 with a little tuck, getting hard the last 18" at the tail. Crotch is 7" deep, and the tips are 10’ apart.

If i wanted to set this board up as a quad, where would i put the boxes? ie fin position, 7.5 inches up? where does the second box go? what size fins would you use for the front and rear boxes? Suggestions? Thanks for the help…

Hey ,

Thanks for all the comments and opinions. Looks like I have some decisions to make. John, nice board, how much rocker is in the board you posted? Varied responses to the question,the board is for FLA so fat and small waves is what are the norm. I am tempted to make some keels and glass them on…but a quad/twin with boxes and options for tuning sounds good too. I wanted a loose board…all the more reason for a twin/quad. Bert, can you give me some reasons/opinions as to why you are against the twin/quad route? I am not a vertical all the time surfer, is your thruster set up suggestion made to allow for more vertical trajectories or purely for drive? Thanks…

Sean W

Tail: 1 5/8"

Nose: 4"

That’s just laying a straight edge along the bottom and measuring up from bottom of board.

Novice shapers two cents. I have made 7 or 8 fishes. Initially I used future twin set-up. Stumbled onto Syaylock’s. Now my fishes have glassed on keel fins. The boards do not tail slide as much. A good thing in my opionion. I can ride my keel fishes in surf a bit bigger than the twinnies and they are fast down the line. Rainbow fins made me a set of 9 x 5 to set in fin boxes. I wanted to be able to switch to 7x5’s or some other configuration on the same board. I have not got the boxes yet so the fins are waiting for boxes and a new board(Dang, I got to shape another one?). They are beautiful, by the way, they throw off different colors depending on the direction of the light.