True Balance in design.


These days with multi fin box systems showing up on the market. Do we need to change the way we design the shape? 

I have always liked glass on's because of how much lighter the finish board is. It's a night and day difference. If I didn't mind sanding 5 fins I would. The fin systems no matter who's ya use the boards are a bit tail heavy. Hence the board would not be balanced instead it would not float level. I'm thinking because the board trim/sweet spot would shift forward. Would we not have to stand a bet forward on the board to balance the way the board perform.
Do we adjust the foil to shift weight forward to compensate for a heavy tail by making change in wide points and outline.
So I say take your shaped blank and put your fins and boxes  on the tail and see if your will balance in the middle or at wide point. If ya use a tail pad set that on the tail too. It will blow ya away how unbalanced your board becomes.
Just thought I would see what you all think. 

It seems to me that if we’re talking about the difference in balance between boards with glass-ons vs fin systems then the comparison should include the glassed blank, fins, pads, leash and wax.    (and surfer).   On a retail weight glass job and under the feet of most surfers I don’t know that most people would feel the difference unless we’re talking about the ultra-low volume boards.    

what about the lift from the fins once up and riding ?


but i agree , glass on fins rule !

I thought about that too. Does the lift created balance out the trim point? Its like in the old days when ya break a board in front of the box. You could put it back together but always felt tail heavy. When ya broke a board in the middle and fixed it. It still would surf fine other then being a bit heavier?

So how do we measure balance with lift? How do we know how much lift we create? Does it compensate for balance? 

That board sure looks familiar? B)

One more thing at what point do we over compensate creating lift and causing to much drag?

Captain Obvious says the lightest and easiest to balance would be finless.  Beyond that we’re engaging in compromises between weight and lift.    It seems like the point of balance varies a lot from board to board anyway, and at least some designs are deliberately biased toward the tail.    

I question how many boards are designed and refined with glass-ons and then sold to the masses with fin systems.  Certainly some are, but I don’t think it’s most at this point.  

Hey Gdaddy.  Your right the added resin would make a difference. Would the amount of more resin in the back half of the board? I would think it would. So again now we have more resin, fins, boxes, pads. I wouldn’t inclued a leash it is causing drag but not weight to the board when surfing. True fact but given any good surfer not jus a pro. I believe they would. Hence most pros love glass ons. Is that because the board is balanced better or lighter?

I like glass ons because they feel more solid and connected to the board, but im far from a pro haha

The truth of your second point is I don’t think most companies design with glass on. I would think most will run boxes. Then when the pro gets the right combo of fin to design they make him one with glassons that surfs even better then the on off the rack.

I’m just saying that adding weight to an unfinished blank is going to distort the degree of imbalance.  Pads, fins, fin boxes, and wax add what?  Maybe 2 pounds at the outside?    The gross imbalance of all those extras is going to show a lot more in a 2# shaped blank than on a 4# glassed blank.  The net imbalance, which is the difference between however much (additional) resin, finbox and fin base is used for the fin system vs a glass-on is going to be a lot less.  Glass-ons still use fins and they still use additional resin and cloth besides what’s used for the board itself.    


As for pure balance in design I would think it would matter more to a design that operates primarily in trim.  Even then, those guys walk around to shift their weight in order to put the board in trim vs turning it.  When we turn we obviously strive to weight the tail.  

SOAR glass on fins are amazing and between the DL, DXL , and LE8 you can not go wrong for the standard issue rip stick .


the balance point of a board out of the water is drastically different than a board surfing a wave. im sure it makes a difference esp. in fins free surfing but the practicality of being able to change templates and travel easily is worth the extra weight. some surfers may benefit from a lighter tail and some may actually benefit from a heavier tail based on their style and type of wave they surf. i find that i like solid fiberglass fins the best even though they are the heaviest and i like to bust the tail out when a little wedge comes my way. maybe flex pattern, maybe extra weight....?

i think greg loehr had an article on here a long time ago that mentioned taping little weights to the nose of a board to increase drive. theory of pitch. the weight of the fins has something to do with this but the design elements of the board, width, thickness, foil, rail shape, fin size & template etc play a much bigger role.

Grasshopper. I agree with Fins,foil ect. Those are elements we have control of and many options to play with. Balance has to have a major effect with performance. I remember adding lead weights to the nose of my board in the early 70s. I want to say it was Reno, BK and Brewer playing with Balance. In essence it would have allowed them to surf off the tail a little more and added swing weight to keep momentum. I was just a dumbass kid at that time and couldn’t say for sure if it made a difference Gregs statement on pitch is one of the best ever written. I was kind of hoping he would jump on and give his two cents worth. A lot of things have changed since he wrote that.


Then why use fin material that sinks?  Why not make glass ons from wood.  I do and prefer glass on fins, but I admit I’m not a good enough pilot or builder to make any conclusions. It does make sense to me to use material that floats.  mike

Rooster. I have used Bamboo I bought  which I like and plan on making some kind of spendy. I had a 9 3/4 " Greenough bamboo glass-on single on my last LB light and great flex. The board was balanced as I’ve been talking about. I was as close as I could get it. I also had a quad set on a board I built in Maui. The wood fins I see around her made out of plywood have no flex. I do like a little snap in my fins. I have often wanted to build some hollow carbon fins. Using some glass ons on a board as a master and create a mold. That would add some buoyancy and be light. Then again a lot of work.