why's my board so stiff???

Ok, I searched and found nothing so I’m posting here. I’m sorry for such an elementary question but I’d like to think this is a problem I can fix.

I just got my newly shaped board out in the water on Sunday and it seemed to ride half decent but it seemed really stiff.

It was almost like it was being “held up” when I tried to pump or get the thing to “move”.  I went with a Mckee quad and used his measurements for a 5’9" board. Mine’s 5’10". Not a huge difference and since it’s my third shape it’s not dead on.

The fins are the FCS PC-5 set. I’m using probox and have them set at 8 degree front and 6 degree back. I have yet to understand cant all that well so any suggestions there would help.

Maybe it was the waves with the high tide push/backwash or maybe it’s the thickness of the board 2.5". Maybe it’s because I’m used to an off the rack 6’2" potato chip that flys. I don’t know. Maybe I need to surf it like it’s a retro board with volume and get back on that tail to turn it.

Any thoughts?

Oh, and it’s a parabolic eps blank.

Thanks for reading.

You should not have to " pump a quaid to get it moving. You did not say anything about rocker? Maybe post some photos so that everyone here can see the board and give you a better idea of what might be wrong.

Im under the impression that quads are made for forward speed

how are your fins set up?

I would make sure the large fins (pivot fin) are installed in front of the small fins

and move all fins forward

you may want to go 6 deg front and 4 deg rear

but get that cluster forward first


start there, then you may need to push the fore and aft fins closer together


got to love Probox

maybe cause you can't surf it - yet.  Each board is different and lotsa lotsa people who don't stick with the same old thing, board after board, find a new board unusual.

you mighta "searched and found nothing" but you haven't looked in the mirror yet.  if you have adjustable fins and posted this question before adjusting them and trying different settings, waves, days, SHAME ON YOU.

I was watching a grom contest this weekend and one of the little ones won a new tiny board.  The whole family was stoked and I was happy for her too.  But looking at the board I noted there were three fin boxes in the board.  When is this kid ever going to change fins?  Probably never.  So you're not much different than anyone else.  Or me, actually.

Good call on the rocker.I’ll take some measurements and get them on here for you. The reason I was trying to pump was because of the backwash coming out. It was fairly strong that morning so you had to work to get through it. 

Here are some outline shots and bottom shots so you can see the fin setup(kinda). Not the best shots but gets the jist of it across. I’ll check rocker later.

[img_assist|nid=1053439|title=5'10 quad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640][img_assist|nid=1053440|title=5'10 quad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]

Im sorry

but I dont understand why people dont keep their front and rear fins lined up along the rail.

thats how a true quad is supposed to be set up.

what is the point of having fins that are designed to work together spred apart?

how about a shot of the fins installed???

looks like the back ones are toed in quite a lot…could be just the photo?

hip should keep it loose

…beats me?

got a rocker shot?

rocker would be the obvious one but you aint changing that now so I would try some more upright fins in the front, I use KS2'1's in McKee quads to make turns easier, shorter, sharper arcs....but give the board some time, get used to it, adapt to it ...good luck....


i have some limited experience with a homemade quad with Proboxes...

"I went with a Mckee quad"

i didn't like the McKee-ish setup i had on my quad. i now have a board with a few extra fin boxes but learned that lesson. like Kensurf says put 'em on the rail. trying to make a quad surf like a thruster is a waste of a quad.

"I'm using probox and have them set at 8 degree front and 6 degree back. I have yet to understand cant all that well so any suggestions there would help."

hmmm... i was gonna suggest those cants. i originally had 6* and 4* = stiff and tracky. went to 8* and 6* and it was a night and day difference. maybe put some 8*'s in the back? what are the bottom contours like?

"Maybe I need to surf it like it's a retro board with volume and get back on that tail to turn it."

this goes for most boards. on mine, it goes best when my foot is over the rear fins.

"Any thoughts?"

board looks really sweet, i hope you get it worked out.


Got some bottom contours for ya. 

Rocker is 4" front and 2" back.  From what I know that shouldn’t be an issue.

Concave is single deepest in between feet and flattens out just before front fins then double with vee off the tail.

I have to say it probably is just my own ignorance and haste. I haven’t tried it in different conditions, I haven’t played with the fins yet, and it is a different board than what I have ever ridden.

So, I’ll try not to be so quick on my posts. I just don’t have the opportunity to surf as much as I’d like so when somethings on mind it eats at me. After all my reading all I heard is how quick quads are and how much fun they are. I was not seeing quick so it bugged me.

After a few different sessions I’ll post again on what I find.

Thanks for the input. Sorry for the waste of time. That’s the hard part of not knowing many shapers and living where I do. I can’t get the hands on advice and feedback that is necessary for growth.

Totally NOT a waste of time… and if it was, so what… for most of us, that’s what we’re here for… to waste time!

A few things to look for:

I doubt it has much to do with the fin setup. Pulling the back fins off the rail and closer to the stringer would make it looser, if anything, not stiffer. But since that’s the only thing you can adjust at this point (aside from putting in a trailing box) you should try to address the issue there as best you can. I’d say (as Ken said), push the cluster together (front fins back, and back fins up), or… move all the fins up in their boxes all the way, and see if that helps. Bigger fins in front, and smaller fins in the back is another option. All worth a try…

But I think your problem may have more to do with your bottom contours and/or tail rocker. Your single flattens out at the front fins, then the double starts? If that is true, you may be creating a lot of drag where they meet, particularly if your outline, rail profile, and rocker don’t accommodate such a setup. Typically, the single would not flatten out until the trailing edge of the back fin, and the double is shaped into that. This allows the water to flow smoothly through the concaves, allowing them to do their magic. So check that, and see if your single really does flatten out before the doubles start. And 2" of tail rocker is OK… not a lot by HPSB standards, but OK. But where is the curve and what shape does it have? Is the “break” too far from the tail? Or does the tail rocker smoothly acclerate out the back, creating a little “kick” around the trailing fin.

I’d also suggest you take a look at your edges… are they crisp and long… soft and short? How does the top of your rail through the wide point and back blend into your rail profile in the tail? If they’re shaped very differently (round to square) the transition has to be very smooth, long and fluid, and match the foil of the rail. Shape and volume have to change together. I believe changing shape and not volume, or volume and not shape, can crate a lot of drag, too.

Finally, I’d suggest that your overall volume, if it’s much greater than what you normally ride, might make it feel stiff. Not slow, but stiff… meaning harder to get onto a rail. A wider outline can have the same effect.

It could be how the concave was shaped into bottom? 2,5 thick board could go great using flat to vee bottom :)

The Mckee quad set up I like for guns...not for small wave boards, so it could be the fins also...anyway as more you surf with the board the more you learn from what youve done wrong....

feel good bro, all part of the proccess....long process....



Sounds like the single concave is not funneling the flow into the double and fins.

First I’d try playing with the fins, put 6 degree in the front and 4 in the rear for more drive.

Great looking board though! Don’t be afraid to strip the glass off the bottom and merge those doubles into the single at some point in time. That’s how you REALLY learn…



why is it so stiff? maybe you are too excited?  :)

try smaller fins - you can ride tiny back fins.  upright templates as opposed to a raked template seem to work better for a quad i think.

more volume than you are used to (as someone else stated). wider, thicker..... thicker rails also?

the perimeter stringers can make a big difference too.  what size stringers are in that board? a thin stringer closer to the rail on a thin rail can give a lot of spring and sensitivity, but a thicker stringer further in from the rail with a thicker rail can net a very rigid board.

did you make this board? do you make your normal shortboards also?

Before you do anything take the board out in some better conditions.  try to analyze what you think is going on.  Take a look at the fin set up on other quads that have been proven to work.  For bottom contours and channels take a good hard look at a Campbell brothers Bonzer. They have the whole channel fin thing worked out.  Rusty and others making quad and 5 fin boards owe a lot to the Campbell Brothers.

 Over all not a bad looking board nose rocker might be a tad to much depends on how where the contour stars.

Make sure the fins your riding are single foiled in front, and double foiled in back.  Also try a bit bigger front fins and much smaller back fins (longboard side-bites).  I have a set of quad fins that are double foiled and make any board I put them in just want to go straight.  Good for big waves, but even then, there’s other fun, less stiff setups to ride instead.

Your back fins look like they criss cross the nose?  Some people are McKee guys, some are Pro Box set up guys....personally I'm a Probox set up guy. The Probox way: The fins work in conjunction with each other, In harmony...not against.  Meaning you set your front fins, then the rears are the same toe as the front.  You set the rears about the same distance off the rail as the front, distance apart depends on tail width and curvature.   I have found this to be a really good set up for our waves in CA.

Also you are running a full raked FCS Quad PC-5's?...PC-5 are 4 1/2 and 4 3/8, on a 5'10". In my humble opinion that's too much fin.  I run high aspect ProBox John Belick's at 4 3/8 and 3 1/2, on a 8 ft board  As you can tell, that is a lot less fin than you are trying to drag around.  I think you are over fin'd.

Reduce the drag, increase the speed. Increase the speed, lengthen the drive. Don't worry about spinning out because you have a lot of fin area rail.

Just one opinion, and might not be the answer because you are working with a lot of variables. Rocker, hard edge, bottom contour....How many boards have you shaped...etc.

Thanks for all the input. I think after some more research I’ve noticed a few things about the bottom contours. When I put the bottom contours in I wanted to go single to double to vee. When I went down last night and checked it I noticed that either I didn’t transition deep enough from single to double or the resin settled heavy in the contours and flattened it out. 

Either way I created a lot of drag by having the flatter section right in the middle of the front fins.

Alas, drag. If I can’t sand in the contours again I think I’m gonna go with Greenlight’s suggestion and cut out the glass in the problem section and sand the concave in deeper. Why not? 

As for the placement of the fins, the back fins don’t cross at the nose. I went right of Mckee’s site and set them at 9/16 off center. The pics don’t really do it justice.

I’m going to try a different set of front fins that aren’t so large. I’m not a big guy so pushing around a bigger fin would be more difficult.



i too like the Belik high aspects  for small surf