Fin Cant – the hidden gem?

fin cant OK, so I’ve been playing with fin cant, you know, how much your side fins “lay over” to the rail. Anyway, this whole surfboard design process is proving to be both mind blowing and a total mind fuck; all at the same time!

I started this journey because I wanted to push some crazy idea’s I’ve had from years of surfing. So, using AKU Shaper I have a “base design” that I can duplicate with accuracy, and then I can tweak certain elements of the design to feel for myself what each design element change makes to the performance of the board. What I have found is that the fin cant is a hidden gem … let me explain.

Looking over some old boards, boards I have bought from various shapers over the years I noticed some interesting common elements. Least of which was rocker, and now so too fin cant … all the boards I’ve kept, which are the boards I liked and surfed to their death, have more fin cant than the normal 6 degrees. Yep, all of them! What’s more, boards that I’d had just before starting this journey, all with the standard 6 degree fin cant are OK, but by no means great. The last great board has 7.5% of fin cant …

So, I’ve been using more fin cant on a few boards, and with the ability to adjust it since I have been using the Probox Fin System, I’ve been able to get a great sense of what impact it has …more fin cant, a way more free feeling, easier to turn, but a feeling is less drive. Less fin cant, drive, yes, but at the detriment of the turning easy.  With the last board I’ve made, I’ve pushed the outer limits of the fin cant and have struggled with a totally different sensation; sort of like not getting much drive from the board, but with a different angle of attach to the wave at the same time. Playing with different fins has proven what I thought … more fin cant and bigger fins are a match made in heaven.

And, then BINGO, it dawned on me what I was feeling, what this weird sensation was … it was like I was surfing a quad. The same almost stalled response when wanting to drive, but the smooth hold the turn all the way around with ease feeling. And the angle of attack, except more vertical than the recent quads I’ve ridden … a totally different sensation and one that I’m having fun figuring out!

I actually, as much as I hate to admit it, I actually do not think I have the athletic ability to get the maximum out of this set up! After all, I’ve just turned 43, and while the brain wants to, the body does not seem up to where and what I want to do on a wave sometimes … I’m talking about a board that wants to go vertical and then easily burst around off the top, or, just as simply, go free and loose with fins drifting and then biting back to bring the board under me …

I can only think how many surfer are getting boards “off the racks” with standard fin cant and are missing the performance sensation.

Hell I love this process. But, it is frustrating until you get the combination right. Hasn’t help that I have not been surfing as much due to health issues, but, that’s another story …

I’m off for a surf!

8 Replies to “Fin Cant – the hidden gem?”

  1. Great post! get some 4swf plugs into your next board and ill find away send u some fins too fit.

    wait till u start playing with fin angle too

    its like a witches brew!!!

    1. I looked at 4 way fin system, but the fin templates are all different to what I ride. Way to costly to change over, hence I used Probox.

      I love playing with fin set ups and know there is a lot more to board performance, but subtle changes I can feel easily. I personally think all boards could be improved with fin adjustments; fin cant particularly.

      The average surfer doesn’t know what they are missing.

  2. I need get u one my old boards to try. ill try and sort it but its difficult. they are out the back of yamba locked away in a shipping container

  3. I think back to the fins that have made the most dramatic positive impact for me – FCS H2 which you pictured, and for the last 3 years the futures Solus which I just love

    1. Yes, and designed around the ‘standard’ 6 degree used when setting to the fin plugs, so taking the out to about 8 degrees.

      I’m surprised there are not more fins with extra cant built in … that way the ‘average joe’ could tweak the performance of their boards while staying with the standard fin plugs.

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