Freshwater rounded pin

Hello everyone!

I’ve been searching around the foums for a while but this is my first post. I’m getting ready to build my first board. I’ve done a handful of paipo and handplanes, so I’m somewhat confident with my sanding ability, at least.

This board will be mostly for Lake Michigan windswell, which means I want plenty of volume for buoyancy in fresh water, and low rocker for paddling and getting in as early as I can. I want to be able to charge through mush, which is abundant here - but hopefully be able to step on the gas and hold a higher line through the occasional steep section. We are talking sand bars after all!

I’m 6’1, 190 lb and have been surfing for about 5 years, about 12 - 15 times a year (although that will increase now that I finally got a winter suit).

My plan is for a single fin 8’7" rounded pin. Epoxy - 4/4 bottom 6/6 top. 


103" overall

22.5 with wide point about 6" forward from center 

14.9" wide @ 12" up from tail,

18.1 @ 12" back from nose

 and at least 3.2 thick


My questions:

Bottom contour / rails: I’m thinking flat-to-vee with somewhat down-turned rails is the simplest, classic way to go, but would it be worthwhile to try concaves?

Blank/ Stringer: I’m having a 3lb EPS blank made locally. The plan is to have two 12" wide pieces, sides left straight, but with the rocker profile machined in to about .5" proud, with extra at the nose and tail.  I’ve yet to select my stringer material. I don’t like the idea of using plywood because I’d have to cut it diagonally out of a sheet to get enough. I don’t have the equipment yet to do my own millwork, so I’m wondering if I should visit woodcraft and have them mill something for me, or if there are other options. I’m pretty sure I want it to be wood though.


The difference between fresh and salt water as far as buoyancy is negligible. The main reasons you’d want more float for your local waves are:

1 Cold conditions. better to float higher when you sit, and the water’s cold.

2 Gutless, weak, mushy waves.  More float helps when the wave is anemic.

For what you’re describing I would forget about concaves, a little v up front flat through the middle and v out the back. Thin nose with neutral rails, fat round rails in the middle, going to down rails out the back but wouldn’t worry about hard edge. Keep it simple. Since you’re going 4/4 on the bottom, instead of 6/6 on deck I’d go 4/4/4 on deck. Just suggestions of course.

Sounds like you’re going to have fun with this board, hope you post some pics for us!

Hi Brillynt-

I am stoked for you and your EPS freshwater build, working on one currently myself as a beginner.  Are you planning on cutting the foam oversized and gluing it to the shaped stringer or using some other process(es)?

Please keep us posted, -J

Sammy, the difference didn’t seem negligible the first time I tried swimming here after a year and a half in Hawaii! Sadly I was still just starting to get in  shape at that point though. :slight_smile:

Huck, Thanks - I’m thinking simple is definitely the way to go. I already ordered both 4 and 6 cloth with enough for a little extra of each. Would there be any point in doing 6/4 on the bottom 6/6 on top? 

Randy - I’m having the foam CNC milled to my rocker profile, a little oversized in two 12" halves with the sides left straight for clamping to the stringer. I just got off the phone with a lumber yard, they’re milling me a 3/8" poplar stringer as we speak!

Wider Tail pull wide point back from center and narrow the nose  Say a 16-17" nose tail a about 15 or so with wide point about 2-3" back from center. I would also take a close look at the Boards Ace has posted.  Speed with come from a nice wide planing surface. a wide nose can inhibit entry into a wave by pushing water 

I’d say the difference was more in your mind than the actual reality.

The average density of sea water is 1027 kg/cubic meter. For fresh water, the density is 1000 kg/cubic meter.

That’s a difference of less than 3%. The density of a liquid is the main factor when it comes to buoyancy



I don’t know about that fin… it sort of looks like a pivot fin tilted back.

Single fin sounds good, but why not go with a fin with more rake? Like a california flex fin style?

Also the tail is pretty swept back, the outline looks more like a shorter Stewart outline.

I’m curious how a double ender or glider shape would fair…

I grew up in MIchigan, and didn’t surf until I moved to San Diego. Where do you even surf? Grand Haven? In terms of fetch, i would think the ends of the Lake (north or south) would be best?



I’m still playing with the fin and the outline. I tend to ride a bit forward, not so much off the tail so any suggestions for enhancing control in that regard are welcome.

I usually go to South Haven or St Joe when Manabush blows out of the N / NW. Grand Haven is closest to me, and breaks fairly well under a strong wind. If it’s blowing from the SW I try to go at least as far as Muskegon or Montague but I usually don’t have the time or gas money to go “up North” from Grand Rapids where I live. The trick is to go where there’s a jetty to cut the chop and longshore current. :)

I don’t know nearly as much about outlines as other guys on here, but I’ve ridden pin-tails,eggs, and trad. noserider outlines, and a round tail it a little slower but draws smooth lines, and works rail-to-rail pretty well. In theory, I believe a square tail will actually be faster than a round tail, but its all up to what you like in a board =)

Yeah i’ve been at st. joe some days where the jetty cuts everything and its huge on one side and completely flat on the leeward side. Its all like fast beach break and scattered, basically just looks really hard to find a consistent peak…

The windward spin cycle! You generally wanna stay the eff out of there. Unless it’s really blowing it’ll look flat on the leeward side but sometimes if you go a little further down, you might see something like this:

However, this is the wave I have in mind for this board:


Wow! Awesome photos!

The top one looks so fun!!! Perfect for logging!

The bottom one just looks gnarly… paddling out in that surge is going to be a little tougher on a bigger board. i don’t even know what i would surf on that, probably just a bigger shortboard, 6’2-6’6 ish maybe.

That was October 2011. I paddled out into that on my 9’ log about an hour after taking that picture. It can be brutal but if you stay close to the pier the rip current helps you out a lot.

I’m starting to realize I need to make a lot of boards!

Cute little wave in the first pic.

I can’t believe people paddle out in stuff like that shown in the second pic. But, I guess when you live on a lake and are nowhere near the ocean, you settle for damn near anything.

Sammy Even when you live close to an Ocean, Well a Gulf. As in the gulf of Mexico, you surf stuff like that.  West Florida is pitiful  But at least it’s something to surf and get wet. I do a lot of kayaking and Paddle boarding to keep active. It’s better then going on the Internet and being a cranky old man. nbsp;

wait a sec " HEY KID GET OFF MY LAWN" now what was I saying?

Some might. Not me. I guess when your options are limited, and that’s about as good you might see in the span of a month or two, it may look appealing.

For the record, that picture was taken late afternoon when the system was still building up. This is what dawn patrol looked like the following morning.

…anyway, after mulling over some of the feedback I’ve gotten, here is where my design is at. Should have my blank in from the foam shop this week. I did a little practice shaping and glassing on foam scraps that my cloth and epoxy came packed with. PSYCHED

Those test lams are also good for testing paint, markers, resin, gloss, fin routing jigs, leash plug depth, etc…glad to hear it is coming together for you. -J