by Rod Eagles August 18, 2017


The Wonderful World of Fins

By Jackson Surfboards owner Rod Eagles

 Fin selection can be a very confusing, costly and frustrating process. Hopefully my guide below will demystify the process making fin choice easier and most importantly more rewarding in the water.

 Get it right and your surfboard will fly through sections and carve beautifully when you lean into a turn. The right fins can make you look and feel like your surfboard is connected to your body.

Ian's got his Fins wired !!

Get it wrong and your surfboard will bog down, catch rails and turn your style into an ugly representation of surfing.

 There is 2 key Fin categories we need to discuss:

 1. Shortboards:

Shortboard fins, (specifically Thruster-3 and Quad-4 options), range from a budget option with plastic type fins up to more expensive fiberglass and carbon fibre options. For a Single fin surfboard use the Long board guide below.

  1. Plastic fins - are perfect for beginner surfers because they are cheap and they are safe. Falling onto a set of plastic fins as you go over the falls is way more forgiving than landing on fiberglass fins. The down side is DRIVE- plastic fins will flex when you take off, trim and turn. Every flex equals a loss of drive and this generally reduces your speed. As every good surfer knows speed is what makes for good surfing. Some surfers enjoy the flex into a turn but for most of us this causes us to bog down.
  2. Glass fins - less flex, more speed, better turns but more cost. With Glass fins there are 2 key components to take into account- 1. Size and 2. Flex (Material).

Within the performance fin grouping there are sizes that we need to be aware of.

The FCS size guide below gives you a good indication of what size to purchase. My tip is that if you are an above average surfer and in the upper range of the category then get the next fin size up.  Slightly larger fins again equals more speed and drive through turns. I’ve recently jumped to Large fins (bodyweight 74kg) and this has made a huge difference to my speed and turns which equates to more happiness. Fins also have a Flex pattern and generally speaking the more expensive fins will have less flex thus will react quickly and make your turns shaper.





  1. Long Boards:

The rule of thumb with Long boards is 1 inch of fin per foot of Surfboard.  Thus a 9 foot Mal can have a 9 Inch fin.

There is some personal preference here but this rule general holds true for a Single Box Fin system. BUT, there are always some exceptions-

  1. Side fins: If you elect to use smaller side fins then it is best to drop one inch of the Fin size eg: an 8 foot Mal with side biter fins should have a 7 inch main fin.
  2. Personal choice: Everyone has there own preference to ride either larger or smaller than the guides. Log style 9 footers are often ridden with 10-inch fins. Larger will mean more stability but also more drag.  The argument of course is that just like a shortboard a bigger fin will give more drive and speed to hopefully negate the extra drag. Yes confusing! My tip is to purchase a few fins and play around with the sizes


Rod dialing in the Egg's single fin.


Rod Eagles
Rod Eagles


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Jackson Demo Day - October 2017
Jackson Demo Day - October 2017

by Rod Eagles November 09, 2017

Board Volume
Board Volume

by Rod Eagles February 27, 2017 2 Comments

Warming Up before a surf
Warming Up before a surf

by Rod Eagles February 27, 2017