Best Guide on Choosing Surfboards Fins for Beginners in 2023

Choosing the right surfboards fins comes down to a lot more than just material, or price. You should know the differences of surfboards fins both fins sytems and fins setups, before buying.
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Buying the right surfboard’s fins isn’t just about the looks and your surfboard system. There are materials, price, technical specs that you need to know. comes down to a lot more than just material, or price. For beginners, you should know the differences of surfboards fins both fins systems and fins setups before buying.

As the essential surfing equipment, Surfboard fins are really important for your surfboard. Please remember that in choosing surf fins that will work best for you and your surfboard depends on your surfboard fin’s box, your style, and your riding style.

First of is to see your surfboard’s fin box and how many they have. We will explain the fin boxes down below so you can choose surfboards better before buying fins.

And then there’s your riding style and the waves. Because each type of wave and riding style is different and it somehow is affected by the surfboard fin setup you choose. But with fins, you can plug and play your favorite fins instead of changing your surfboard.

For beginners, choosing the best surfboards fins, or a perfect fin for you can be tricky as you might be wondering what to consider.

When picking out your personal fins, be sure to be honest about what you can do on a surfboard and how you want your surfboard to react. Buy surfboards fins online only at BGS Bali Surf Shop.

In this guide, you will have the detailed guide in choosing the surfboard fins for beginners that could work best for you.

Explaining Fins Systems / Fins Box

You need to know this first as a beginners learning to choose your surf fins. When talking about the size of your surfboard’s fin box, then we are talking about removable or swappable fins. Surfboard with removable fins has “boxes” as the place where the fins are installed.

Most of the fin boxes generally come with one of the two typical box types. They are Dual Tab (FCS & FCS II) and Single Tab (Futures) Fin Boxes.

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Since they are not cross compatible, it’s important to choose the one that match your surfboard’s fin boxes.

There are two main systems (not the brand) in fin boxes. There are FCS II system and Futures system. You will likely ask, what fin system to choose? or which is better FCS II or Futures Fins? or what is the difference between both fins systems? We will explain the two and hope you can learn.

While there are two main fins systems, there are many surf brands that offer their own Surf Fins using those two systems. E.g Captain Fins, Shapers Fins, DHD Fins, and more.

But please note that the fin box comes with the board. So when you know what fin box to choose, then you can ask for that fin system to be installed on your surfboard.

Dual Tab FCS II Fins System

FCS II accelerator fin

You probably have heard this FCS. But do you know what FCS means? FCS stands for Fin Control System. It is originally designed in 1990s but it has come a long way now to have the 2.0 version called FCS II system.

The FCS system is designed to perform at the highest level by connecting the 3 essential elements in surfing; the surfer, the surfboard, and the wave. The main characteristic of FCS system is it has two tabs or plugs that are secured to the board.

For the first-generation FCS system, you may need set screws to remove or install the fins. But in their second generation FCS II, keyless fin standard, you no longer need a key or grub screws helping you to get to the line up faster.

Nevertheless, the FCS II system is backward compatible. With FCS II Tab Infill Kit you can use your FCS first gen with the new FCS II system.

Buy range of FCS II Fins online at our online store.

Single Tab Futures Fins System

chippa wilson futures fin
Chippa Wilson Future Fin

As SurferToday said “Futures fins system is considered to be user-friendly” It simply because you can easily remove and change them for a new setup. Even when they break, you just have to replace the fins because instead of repairing the surfboards. It is because futures fins are considered stronger not attached directly to the boards.

One thing about the Future fin is that it has solid base and strong connection to the board instead of using plug like FCS. It is quick and easy set screws hold the fins in place.

Buy range of Futures Fins online at our online store.

Surfboard Fins Setup & The Difference

There are exactly five surfboard fin setups out. Those are Single, Twin, Thruster, Quad fin, and Five fins. You can choose your fin setup by looking at the number of fin boxes on your surfboard.

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Fins SetupAdvantage
Single Finperfect for fast and straight shot surfing.
Twin Finscommon for shortboards to add more speed that allows you to have playful maneuver
Thursters / Tri Finsit provides more stability, maneuvers, and control
Quad Finsallows mix and match of fin types but it provides smaller speed
Surfboards Fins Setup Difference

Single Fin Setup

surfboards fins single fin

The OG the original, the single fin was the first fins setup used on a surfboard. The single Fin setup is now typically found on longboards. Single fin surfing is great for a relaxed surfing experience. It doesn’t produce speed or turning maneuvers. So the single fin surfboard is ideal for fast, straight shot surfing offering control, stability, and predictability on your board.

Twin Fin Setup

fins setup twin fin

The Dual fin or mostly called the Twin Fin setup generates speed and maneuverability while also being more stable than a single fin. It gives more floatation, produced faster looser, and more responsive performance. However, the Twin fin setup is not best used for big wave surfing.

Thruster Fin Setup (Tri Fins)

fins setup tri fin
futures john john flex tri setup

So it’s called thruster or tri fins setup. It is a very common configuration and can be found on a variety of surfboard shapes and sizes. From beginner to expert, the tri fins will always be the answer. The extra +1 fin on the back provides more stability and maneuverability. And because it has 3 fin boxes, you can go with a single fin or twin fin style.

Quad Fin Setup (4 Fins)

fins setup quad fin

Quad fins are best in giving you more hold or bite into the wave face. Because clustered closer together, quads fins also allow you to turn in a tighter arc.

Quads can be great in small surf, especially if the rear fins are further up on the surfboard and closer to the rails. By channeling the water to the end of the surfboard offering greater speed on small wave.

Five Fins Setup

Surfboard Fins Technical Charateristics

There are also surfboard fins technical charateristics that ou can learn and help you choosing the best fins for your surfboard. Those are Sweep, Toe, Base Length, Foil, Flex, Height and Cant.

Each surf brands have their own dimension and measurement that make the fins different from the others. Understanding how these fin characteristics can change the performance of your surfboard is an important consideration. 

Best Guide on Choosing Surfboards Fins for Beginners in 2023 1
img by Surf FCS
Fin CharacteristicsDetails
Flexa flexier fin will provide a skatier feel on more playful waves, but a stiff fin is ideal in faster more hallow waves.
Depth/HeightMore depth the more hold, the shorter the depth the more a board will slide and release.
Base LengthLonger fin bases create trajectories for water to go past (faster ride). For sharp turn choose smaller fin bases.
Sweep / Rake Fins with more sweep or Rake gives a longer turning arc, less sweep offers a tighter turning arc.
CantLess cant fins give you more acceleration. More cant fins give you maneuverability.

Choosing surf fins for you

There are lots things to measure in choosing surfboards fins. The technical aspects above will help you choose surfboards fins based on the Fins itself.

So now, let’s answer the question of how to choose surf fins based on yourself. We’ll help you by explaining these three things :

Your Weight

Just like the surfboard, fins are also sized in accordance with the surfer’s weight. The fins size typically sized from XS to L or XL. The question, what fins size should you get? Well you need to know which fins are best for your weight can ease you in deciding the right one.

FCS Fins Size ChartFutures Fins Size Chart
XS: under 120lbsXS: 75 – 115lbs
S: 120 – 155lbsS: 105 – 155lbs
M: 140 – 175lbsM: 145 – 195lbs
L: 165 – 200lbsL: 180lbs+
XL: 190lbs+
Fins Size Chart
*Note : This is the size Chart for Each FCS II & Futures Brands.

What waves do you plan to surf?

Same as surfboards that has its use for different type of waves breaks. Choosing surf fins also need to answer this question and based on the waves you are planning to surf.

Beginner surfers are recommended to surf weak waves that require the use of fins that are highly flexible and delay in response. This can be achieved by having a combination of fiberglass and polymer.

Especially if you are surfing in Bali, you can surf and test ride your surf fins in these surf spots for beginners.

How do you surf?

If you are the aggressive type of surfer who likes to push hard and surf in faster and powerful waves, then you might go well with surfboards fins that have stiff materials like carbon or solid fiberglass for your fins. You will not be able to flex the fins but you will get a burst of speed in return.

On the contrary, if you are a free-flowing surfer who likes to take the riding slowly and enjoy the calm flowing waves, then you can try to go with surfboards fins that made of fiberglass or honeycomb construction.

So, which surfboards fins do you think is the best one for you? Well, you might not be able to find the best one for you at once since you might need to go under some testing. But that’s fine, you’ll eventually find the one that works best for you. AND THAT’S THE JOY OF SURFING!

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