Which fin to choose for windsurfing?
For most windsurfers, it seems natural to replace the sail when the wind situation changes. Often it can be just as effective and less time consuming to change the fin.
A larger fin will give you the extra lift you need to get out on the water faster and to get through the wind. The smaller spoiler can be used for stronger conditions to improve your top speed.
5 aspects to take into account: outline shape and length, profile and width, rake angle, flex and twist, fin box system.
5 ASPECTS TO LOOK FOR
PROFILE & WIDTH
A thicker and wider fin will give more power in light wind but will have more drag. It will be more limiting on high speeds
BEND & TWIST
A rigid spoiler will be important for high speed in order to be stalled and have a good rear foot anchorage. A more flexible fin, will be perfect for a “freestyle” practice.
5 main types of boxes exist:
- Deep tuttle box – mainly used for race and slalom boards to have an excellent fin anchorage
- Tuttle box – used for medium size fins
- Power box – freeride board mainly for medium and smaller fins
- US box – practical vague since it allows to adjust the position of the aileron
- Slot box – used in waves to mount small fins on the sides
AILERON/RAKE ANGLE SHAPE
A race fin will tend to be very long, straight and stiff. A slalom fin will be a little shorter than race fins but also stiff. They often have a “slightly” backward shape. A freeride fin will have more flex, and will also be more curved to be versatile. A freestyle fin will be large but very small. It will bring a fast start to the planning and a strong acceleration but also little resistance on the maneuvers where the board “slides”. Finally, a wave fin will be rather short but curved – these are the most maneuverable fins on the market in terms of shape and provide good control in strong winds.
Note that there are different configurations Single, Twin, Thruster, Quad but that is the subject of another article!
To conclude, the choice of your fin will depend on the practice, the size of your sail and/or board but also on your size. Many fin manufacturers offer configurators to help you find the right fin for your model – feel free to check them out.