As I wrote a while back, I have been trying different fins in the latest evolution of the “Forty One Two”. Now that I’ve found the right fins, I have the confidence to tweak the design. Weird I know!
As you may have read, this latest board has a lot of lift, get up and go, but with that, lacking some control.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no athlete, or high performance surfer. Rather, your average bloke in his early forties, who is lucky enough to get to surf almost every day. So I am “surf fit” and have some experience, having started surfing just over 30 years ago.
As I wrote previously, I started with Performance Core K2.1’s and then put in some of the Parko JP5 fins. I ended up deciding to try some AM2 fins, and bought an “after market” copy of what I thought were AM2’s … the first give away should have been the poor fit, with a gap between the base of the fins and the board. I sanded the tabs so it would fit flush, but the base of the fin had a curve, so I had to give the corners near the tabs a sand too … after surfing the fins for a while I concluded there was something still wrong.
Thinking board issues, I decided to double check the finished dimensions of the board.
Now, that was an eye opener … what it said in AKU Shaper, is within a bees dick of the finished board. I checked the concave shape and depth, both single and double and they were as per the AKU design, and what I had wanted … although, I was starting to think it may have been the depth that was causing the performance issues … more depth, more lift, less control?
Or, maybe outline issues I had not figured out yet.
In the process, I decided to check the fin cant, toe, etc … well the toe was the same as other boards I had, but the fin cant was the shock. I had asked for 6 degree cant (when I had the board glassed) and that’s what I got … BUT, all the other boards that I had liked over the last few years had more, some 8 degree’s, other around 7. Each board having concave, I measured from the stringer across to get a ‘true’ comparison.
Lesson there … check what your riding!
OK, back to the fins.
It was at this stage, I checked the after market AM2 fins against some genuine AM2. They were different, and with that knowledge it filled the gaps with what I was feeling with the board. I had thought the AM2 would add drive, but less than the JP5 fins, and maybe a tad less than the JP5 with K2.1 centre fin combo, but more than all the K2.1’s. Same with the pivot … a mid way solution which was what I needed. What I had found was less drive, like way less, no punch off the bottom and a weird release off the top feeling, like it got “stuck” … I was really starting to doubt my design process.
After comparing the after market AM2 with the genuine AM2, things fell into place. But I still was not getting what I wanted from the board.
So, I went around to see the boys (Tank, Elvis and Foils) at Shapers … As usual they were more than happy to help, well Tank was, the other two were off loafing somewhere as usual. Tank went through a heap of fins and options with me, and after a process of elimination he lent me some Asher Pacey AP02 fins to try …
Whooah, that’s what’s been missing! I used the AP02 sides with a slightly bigger ‘nuke’ back fin … very nice, and just what was missing.
First wave, punched off the bottom, vertical, and off the top with pace. I was not ready for it. Over the session, I found the combination was great and all the ‘issues’ seemed to dissolve. Cutbacks had speed to burn coming out of them and I did not feel like I had to ‘muscle’ the board to get it around … The AP02, being a tad bigger than K2.1, there was no lack of control.
So, now having found the right fins, I feel confident that the design is OK. So it’s time to tweak it … look out MkIV is on the way!
I’m keen to hear if anyone is finding fin changes are radically changing the performance of their boards. What fins do you use? How have they changed the performance of your board? How have the changed the way you surf a wave?