Poor man's cluster

I have become fond of the Infinity Cluster fin setup, and am thinking about trying to improvise something similar on my own board. I have a Surftech (I can hear you booing, I know…) Yater 9’10" 2+1. The sidebites are FCS. I was thinking of putting some 5 1/2" fish fins in the sides and buying a 3" center fin from the guys at Infinity. The sidebites are around 15 1/2" up from the tail as opposed to Infinity’s 14" (I think) standard.

So do you think it will work, or am I nuts?

If I had the money I’d buy one of their boards, but I don’t so I’m trying to work with what I have. The fin setup I have on the board right now is a 8 1/2" center fin with optional 3 1/2" side bites. I moved the rear fin up so its leading edge is maybe an inch behind the trailing edge of the sidebites, and it turns well. Still, I think it would be fun to see just how maneuverable I could make this board.

As a follow-up question, does anyone know how to get an FCS fin catalog or something? I have been unable to find a website for them via Google. What I really want to know is if they make composite fish fins, or just the 2 models I found in carbon. (Composite is cheaper and so am I…)


Depending on how strong you surf, and how powerful your waves are, are you sure the FCS’s can handle 5" fins, without box problems?

I’ve been using 5.75 tall x 6" base G-10 fins as side biters, usually without trailer, but sometimes trailers between 2" to 4" at the stringer for a tail fin. But my boxes are strong (or seem to be) after 8 years of use.

You bring up a good point. I have no idea if the fcs plugs will take the stress. I’m a novice surfer right now, and have been riding smaller surf. I’d like eventually to be carving come deep turns as I get better. Maybe I should use the big side fins only in the smaller stuff. This is why I decided to ask the Swaylockians before I ran off and bought more fins.

The FCS website is www.surffcs.com From there, go to price list and there is an option to have a complete FCS catalog emailed to you in .pdf format. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

A guy around Newport, Lance Collins, sets up a lot of his boards this way. He makes these cool little 2 1/2" fibreglass centers, I talked the guys at Frog House into selling me one for my fish, it’s awesome if I need a little more grab.

As far as the 5 1/2 on the sides and small center: I have two friends that each got a Collins and they seem to work pretty good - though they’re both just learning. I’ve done a couple fin repairs for them, always on a side fin, but like I said they’re rooks and I’m sure they rode all the way in or something that would have broken them regardless. They’ve got a bad habit of running into each other.

FCS makes a 5 1/2, so I’m sure they can handle it, though maybe more susceptible to snap… now that I think of it, it’s only available in carbon.

Thanks for the info, guys. Maybe I’ll save up for a set of those carbon fish fins and give it a try.


The 9’10" Yater is (IMO) a great shape. Replacing the center fin with a forward tab 4.75" with a recess cut into the back of the base (where it fits in the box) allowed me to slide it back a little beyond the end of the box. For daily surfs in small to medium waves, it really made a difference over the stock 8" fin it came with. I don’t know about the FCS plugs being able to support the fish fins you decribe but if you call Surftech, they can probably give you an answer. I think many longboards are overfinned. Kirk Putnam refers to it as “Dragging skeg.”

To clarify, you like it with a 4.75" fin at the far back of the box, no side fins?

Sorry, I should have made that more clear… that would be with the stock side bites.

Regarding the stress issue, the only board I’ve owned with fcs held up pretty well for a year or so, then twin cracks developed between the two forward fins. I can’t really blame that on the board or fin system, as I surfed that thing to death before the cracks developed. Even now it’s still surfable, though it’s heavy as all hell.