I’ve got a new shortboard 6’6" X 21" X 2 7/8", WPC, swallowtail, designed to be ridden as a twin, 2 +1, or thruster.
In recent 3’ - 4’ surf I experimented with all of the above configs and found a lack of speed, or I guess responsiveness in change of directions, when either turning off the bottom to setup a maneuver or in coming off of the top afterwards…the board seemed considerably slow at those times while the down the line speed was very nice. It also seems to hang at the top a bit when taking off and needs to be pushed down the face to get going well initially, although it floats me quite well and is easy to initially get a bite on a wave.
While I first thought I’d ride this mainly as a twin or 2 + 1, I actually think I preferred the thruster feel, but would like as much help as possible fine tuning the above problems. I’ve currently got a tri set of Futures JC1’s ( and the 2 + 1 setup is 5.5" sides w/ a 3" trailer) and wonder if anyone out there might have some good advice on improving the lack of manueverability and speed out of turns with a fin set of a different profile. There are so many to choose from and at $30 - $70 bucks a pop, I’d like to keep the experimenting to a minimum. I’d be tempted to go with a Futures’ Merrick design in a pinch, but also wonder if the vectors are all they’re hyped to be. Also whether composite, glass or some combo…please help!
Does the board have a full nose and tail? Sounds to me like the problem is with outline and foil - too much width/volume up front. Too much volume up front is making the board hang a bit on take off and too much straight rail in front of the front foot is making it harder to drive up the face. Slow off the top - maybe too much tail rocker. Are the rails kind of thin? lack of drive out of turns might be lack of volume in the rails ie you push down but the board doesn’t push back. I’m not sure what you can do finwise to fix this. What are you current fins made of? If they are the molded composite type - they may just be too flexy, just getting a stiffer thruster set might work.
after a re read, no use here
The board does have a lot of volume, which I asked for because I was sinking on an old too thinly railed dtick I had back when I was 20ish. The nose is 13.5" and the tail 15.5", but the rails are thick at 2 7/8", with the thickness pretty well hidden…mostly in the middle I guess.
You mentioned stiffer fins as a possibility…does this help manueverability , speed out of (or into) turns, or down the line speed (drive)? My currents are black molded composite as you mentioned, Futures JC1’s to be exact…what kind of material might suit the situation better? Thanks for the help,
Thanks for the reply Mee,
I guess the bottom line is that with all the variables of flex, leading edge curve, overall volume, and profile (pulled back, etc.) I could really use some advice on what features to look for in a fin to fine tune my problems with speed out of and into turns (and at takeoff, which seemed less of an issue than the other).
What were the great features of the Rusty you use, and do you know if there’s a similar fin in the futures line…I will keep my eyes open too and keep in touch. I don’t see that Futures has any with thicker foil areas than others…are you talking about the leading edge thickness or overall thickness throughout?
Have you or anyone else out there tried the Futures F4 or FEA’s…or maybe as pinhead mentioned I should look at something other than the composite fins. In looking at the FCS KS line, obviously I won’t be surfing like him, but in looking at the fin it has a little smaller base area, and a much more straight profile curve to the leading edge and not as drawn out a cutaway to the trailing edge, but is considerable in the tip area. Then looking at the Futures line they all seem to have a pretty standard 4 3/8" base, but varying tip areas and pretty subtle differences in the curves. The advertise the ones with smaller tip areas as the looser of the bunch…any experiences here? In short, I’m not quite sure what to look for, and appreciate any and all help you guys can give.
dave, your best bet is to post some pics of the board…my feeling is that you may be able to improve the feel with proper finning but the board is what it is…that board size/volume/weight/whatever-else is going to fight back unless you weigh 200+ and are surfing in some juice …from your comments a wild guess is you need big fronts and a medium or semilarge middle…its a hefty board if you want to turn it fast you need:
a) hefty waves (more speed)
b) hefty power surfing
c) hefty fins
d) all of the above
imo, for tight turning at the top with good exit speed, thin fins really blow…unfortunately, there arent many choices in this respect…the FCS Rusty is the best cheap over the counter i’ve tried…Kfin also has a nice thicker foil as is the T Carrol
way too many variables for a definitive answer tho…
Hi Dave, just guessing…
I have a similar board up here and ain’t have a good solution too. But… do you put more pressure on what foot? If you’re pushing more foward it could be difficult to keep good speed on most situations, sometimes it seems that the tail is always popping off the water and the nose diggin it… and specially those you mentioned, carving upwards and coming off the top.
Some months ago, I’ve purchased a board with some caractheristics of yours, big tail, narrow nose and pulled back outline, winged swallow thruster. But I use to ride my front foot pretty much then my back foot, I need narrow tails and wider noses to perform well. So the board ain’t worked, always hanging the front rails. If you’re not a back-footer surfer, positioning could be one of the major factors for your board’s lack of performance.
My current board (pics) is an adaptation of a 70’s “piglet” design, it’s a 6’4" x 20,75" pulled front, nose 15"+, tail 14", 2,75" thick. Rounded tail, inpired by swaylock’s and by my friend’s research, who shaped it, did. Was designed to be ridden as single with biters or thruster or even pure single-finner.
I’ll try it with stiff, raky, big fins like T. Carrol, g5 templates or so for thruster setup, 9" for single ride and 6.5" or 7" with bonzer runners, as it has a double concave contour between the fins.
That’s it, i’ll post the results here later, if you may permit, gentlemen.
God Bless You
Thanks again, Mee.
I think you guys have probably nailed it, in that there may be a bit too much volume here, but this was a board shaped out of an old friendship with a guy who’s team I rode for as a kid, and who shaped me many a magic stick back in the day and never asked for a penny.
I’m on the East coast now and he’s still shaping on the West and we recently got together after 20 odd years and I decided I wanted him to shape me another board out of respect and gratitude for all of those years even instead of pulling a new CI or Rusty off the rack.
I really want to give my best effort to make this board work as good as possible and go from there…it’s a beauty to look at and I know a lot of pride went into it…and it actually worked pretty good, excellent down the line…now I need to know what my best chance is to correct or at lesast improve on the speed out of turns issue. Instictively I’d thought I needed smaller fons for a looser, faster response, but you’re saying I actually need “heftier” ones…my guess is that you mean “thicker” and more radiused at the leading edge, but not neccessarily larger…am I correct? Could you be more specific? Also, all of the fins you mentioned I’d certainly consider, but they’re all FCS…any similar Futures models?..it’s hard to tell from the Futures website of the subtle differences. You also said bigger sides and a smaller center…like the K-fin setup?..how to duplicate with Futures?
Lastly what are your feelings regarding fin materials for my case…stiff or flexible…and composite, glass, or carbon? I appreciate all the advice!!
I don’t know how stiff the Futures composites are like, but the FCS G5s I’ve got are like rubber with slow return ,so they actually dissipate drive. Stiffer fins will give your more drive out of turns because they redirct water flow across the bottom better - more squirt. Manueverability will depend on foil and placement - don’t know anything about Futures foils so I can’t help you there. Given the volume of the board and the fact you have no trouble turning it - you are probably overpowering the composites so going for stiffer materials is a safe bet regardless of foil. Going bigger is probably a good idea too.
Carbon will be stiffest followed by fibreglass and then composites. Thicker fins will also be stiffer no matter what they are made of. Carbon will be lightest most expensive and probably more fragile. See if your friend, who made the board, has any fibreglass or carbon fins liying around you could borrow.
Instictively I’d thought I needed smaller fons for a looser, faster response, but you’re saying I actually need “heftier” ones…my guess is that you mean “thicker” and more radiused at the leading edge, but not neccessarily larger…am I correct? Could you be more specific? Also, all of the fins you mentioned I’d certainly consider, but they’re all FCS…any similar Futures models?
dont think anyone can definitively answer all these w/o a detailed eval of the board and fin setup but GENERALLY, more fin = more turning power assuming good wave and rider input…less fin wont make it looser it will make it less draggy and more glidey (try the board w/o fins and youll see how she glides and doesnt turn)…more fronts both template and thickness will offer more turning power…i dont know much about futures fin selections cuz ive been using fcs for so long…people love to trash talk fcs…the fact is they have a very broad selection of products with a variety of foils too…thats a good thing…i would suggest asking futures what they have to offer and help you make a selection…or call some shops and ask what they have in stock…the foil info i have in the ‘file’ is from shop visits and hands on look at fins and foils…if i were you, i would look at design first and material selection second…if you can find a Rusty like fin/foil from futures dont hesitate to buy…
Thanks Meecrafty, pinhead, and JP for your responses and insight…I knew I could count on this forum for direction and your replies all make good sense. Mee, if I find a template in the Futures line that resembles the FCS Rusty I’ll post it here to you.
I’ve got an email in to Futures awaiting a response…thanks again guys…time to go shopping!
Have you talked to your shaper buddy about this? I wouldn't worry about offending him by asking what he'd recommend. He'd probably be stoked that you're so serious about getting everything out of the board that you can.
… In recent 3’ - 4’ surf I experimented with all of the above configs and found a lack of speed, or I guess responsiveness in change of directions, when either turning off the bottom to setup a maneuver or in coming off of the top afterwards…the board seemed considerably slow at those times while the down the line speed was very nice. It also seems to hang at the top a bit when taking off and needs to be pushed down the face to get going well initially, although it floats me quite well and is easy to initially get a bite on a wave. …
Ahh. Now that I read your post and understand your problem, I would have to say that the rep is probably right.
Bigger fin, longer base. Longer base, more drive. More drive, more speed coming out of turns. Stiffer fins also help. But going from composite fiberfill to fiberglass and carbonfiber is usually more expensive.
I’ve got a new shortboard 6’6" X 21" X 2 7/8", WPC, swallowtail, designed to be ridden as a twin, 2 +1, or thruster.
I’m confused about this. A board designed to be ridden as a twin, 2+1, and thruster, all in one shape? How does the fiberglass (or epoxy) skin hold all those different animals inside? You must have fin plugs and boxes all over the tail. ha! j/k. (Just kidding.)
test fiberglass vector 3/2 w/ hatchet or the rtm type. they loosened up my 6’6 flyer, but I still have to work to get drive. I say test b4 u buy b\c I hated these fins, but grew on to them after a month in 2-3 ft constant . . . your milage may vary
don’t go with am (merrick) they work more 4 juice.
i have a cj fishy thruster swallow rusty tmpl futures work best. The hatchet + vector make it way too loose… im goin to get rusty fiberglass ones for those