More Drive Out of Longboard -

I have a 9’ rounded pin longboard. Board flies on larger surf(headhigh +) but on smaller waves it seems to lack drive out of the bottom turn and then the wave kind of passes me by. It is a 2+1 but I surf it mainly single in smaller surf and as a tri fin in larger surf. How can I increase the drive on this board in smaller surf. I use the Yater classic fin whcih is about 8.5". Will moving it back in the box create drive out of turn. Is there something in my technique I need to do, such as putting more weight on my back foot or popping up more in the center of the board and then leaning into the turn? My last longboard was heavier(and more difficul to maneouver) and I think the weight helped drive it out a trun. This new board is fairly light. Thanks

Hey Spud, If you want to talk fins get in touch. They do make a difference. There are lots of people on the this forum that can probably help you. One has to remember that there is always a trade off when you go to a lighter board or use a different fin or fin combination. You may gain in one way and loose in another. I’d say that the fin you’re using is a wide based affair that may be a little more than enough for the board. It may be deadening the action of the board in small surf. Gone Surfin’, Rich

I have a longboard like that…(wingnut) it gets lots of speed off the bottom turn, then stalls for no reason till the wave catches up…maybe I am gettting to far in front of the power part of the wave. It goes fast, stalls, goes fast stalls…

Yes. What do we do about that?

It sounds to me like maybe you have tails that are pretty narrow and highly rockered? My personal experience is that the wider/thicker (dome deck) type of tail design coupled with a flatter rocker and full rails will add a lot of drive in less punchy surf. There are always trade offs though and in steep, punchy surf they are more difficult to control. Compare the tails on a Hobie Slug with a high performance Stewart or McTavish (just examples that come to mind) and you’ll be able to see the difference.

I agree with you on that John. I have a fair amount of rocker on the tail but a fairly flat nose. The tail is a rounded pin. Would proper fin configuration help it in small surf?

I ride a similair board to the original poster, and was just noticing the same thing last weekend in some knee to waist high mackers. I decided to just suck it up and start angling my takeoffs, no bottom turn needed, just pop up and you are trimming. Ideally I would have a board more suited for smaller stuff, but thats not an option right now. I really do like the shape, it does shine once the waves pick up, but I keep it as a single fin.

Spud… proper fin configuration will help any board in any surf. I’ve played around with small center fins (4 3/4" - 6") with side bites and like the improvement in small waves - I set up my center fins so the trailing edge slides past the back of the box for more of a conventional “thruster” set up. Too much fin can really hang you up in small waves. It sounds like you have removeable side fins and a center box so I would think that by adding a couple smaller sized center fins to your quiver and doing some experimenting you can turn that board in to a ripper in any kind of surf!

what’s a good bottom shape for a performance longboard?

John, I just picked up a Rusty Flex fin at 8" for my 9’ rounded pin. It still has a lot of base for 8" but might work for me in smaller surf. The 9" had too much base I think. What does a wider based fin give you as opposed to a wider tipped fin with narrower base.

That’s a good question… if the overall surface area, rake (length overall from front edge to trailing edge) and flex characteristics remain constant, I’d say the skinny tips are a little looser and easier to roll over doing turns and cutbacks. My experience is they basically tend to transition from rail to rail quicker. Fat tipped fins are less likely to spin out as the area is concentrated deeper in the water. I personally feel that the foil on the cutaway fins channel the flow through the cutaway portion of the template holding the fin in a bit more. The tricky part is that surface area, rake and flex are rarely constant. Check a fin company website like True Ames and you’ll see so many variables it’s baffling. My suggestion is to experiment… go smaller and/or farther forward until you spin out! You’ll be surprised how far you can take it and how much it loosens things up.

longboards dont drive they flow. cut back to about a 7’6 or less and then you will drive.

Hey Spud, After thinking about your question a little more. As you make your center smaller and the rails bigger the board will turn better but the rail fin drag will take away from board performance IMHO. I’d suggest that you put an 8" cutaway in the center and 3.5" rail fins on the board and see how it feels. As you move the center around the board action will change of course. Try and find a cutaway that has some tip area and some rake so you can still nose-ride. The real vertical ones don’t serve longboarding well at all. The one I make is called “whiteside”. I have a set of longboard performance fins in the works like this that I’ll be posting next week here at Swaylocks. I think what you mean by DRIVE is that you would like the board to be snappier off the tail and have more response when you lean on it to turn. I surf a 9’0" Rounded pin this way and it works real well with a set up like I described. It’s nice to be able to make that quick save out of steep close out wall that a set-up like this enables you to do. In the fin shop, Rich

my secret fetish is fins…can’t wait