Guide: Find the right SUP Finn
Buy the right SUP Finn
Finns are the subject of endless articles in magazines, in the SEA as well as in the surf sector, side-by-side forum discussions and hotly debated Youtube videos. Opinions differ as well as the results of SUP Finn tests.
Optimizing around SUP Finns is not just something for professionals who want to tickle out a few thousandths. Normal stand up paddlers can get a lot out of their SUP with the right SUP fin.
The fin does not fundamentally change the driving characteristics of a board. A short Wave SUP will never be a touring board. The fin will rather polish your SUP and improve the characteristics that are important to you.
In my article I will teach you the most important knowledge about the Finns, introduce perfectly matched SUP fins and show you how to attach your SUP fin.
First, some key facts about SUP Finns:
- Fin position: The further up the Finn is placed, the more revving your SUP board is.
- Surface of the fin: The larger the fin surface, the more grip and driving stability the fin offers. Negative is the low acceleration of the board and the poorer rotation. Tour paddlers and heavier paddlers should rather resort to a big fin. Race Finns are the best choice here. Light stand up paddlers and those who incorporate many twists and turns should prefer to resort to small areas.
- Thickness of the Finn: Thick Finns make you slower than thin Finns. However, thin ones are less robust. Of course, the SUP Finns should not break and sometimes can put off the collision with obstacles. Ultimately, it’s a material issue. More on that later.
- Length of the fin: A large fin surface improves straight-line stability. However, a large fin also provides frictional resistance and therefore slows you down. Small Finns achieve the highest speeds in theory, but are wobbly in straight-line running. Here a compromise must be found.
Later I will go into more detail about the shapes and material of the Finns.
The different SUP fin systems
With Stand Up Paddling Board, two systems have prevailed. The US box comes from surfing and is one system. On the other hand, there is the mating system on inflatable boards.
The best SUP Finns US Box System
The US box fins are very numerous. This fin system has existed for a long time and accordingly there are already many good Finns on offer.
The best SUP Finns for plug-in systems
The connector systems for Finns are a little less common.
The systems of well-known brands are compatible with each other. Naish fins on Nash boards but also on the boards of Aqua Marina, Fanatic, Red Paddle, BIC, JP Australia and co.
Unfortunately, plug-in fins are not always compatible with no-name fins.
The best SUP Finns for Race Boards
Race board Finns are small and have a low draft. This means they offer little water resistance are accordingly fast, but also little tipping stability. Turns work really well with these Finns.
Common SUP fin shapes in the overview
The molds are an important element of fin construction. The different construction methods are surprisingly far apart. Sword-like Finns are available as well as hump-shaped middle fins or curved fins.
The shape is by far not just an optical detail. The different shapes are the result of complex simulations designed to improve driving characteristics. Due to the many factors in the calculations, deviant variables (like another subject) can cause dramatically different results in SUP Finn tests.
In the following table I present common construction methods and roughly describe the corresponding properties. I also always linked an example.
SUP Finnish Materials - Which are the best?
The material significantly influences the stability, robustness, durability and weight of your Finn. In my opinion, the weight for beginners and advanced stand up paddlers plays only a minor role. The few grams more or less under the board you will hardly feel in the water.
Unlike backpacks, belt bags and anchors, where weight really matters, you’d better pay attention to their ruggedness. Otherwise, an unfavorable lying stone, pretty much go into the money.
In any case, you do not need super-light, modern fins. I advise to materials such as carbon, nylon, fiberglass or hard plastic / PVC. Finns made of these materials have prevailed. Most popular sports models are made from one of these materials.
Honeycomb SUP fins can also be exciting. The very light models are robust but also flexible.
Fastening the SUP Fin - How to attach Finns correctly
Attaching a SUP fin is usually not a big effort. If you practice it may take 15 seconds to half a minute. It is nevertheless an annoying activity, which is why I briefly list the necessary steps here. Maybe I will spare you such a frustration.
Attach SUP fin in US box
- Place the thread of the fin through the wide recess in the fin carriage. First slide the tile into the front part.
- First forcefully insert the fin with the rear end into the fin carriage.
- Now fold the Finn down completely.
- Place the thread plate just below the mounting hole of the fin and screw in both.
If you’ve lost the screw, you’ll probably find my mini SUPF Bolts Guide helpful.
Finn is not Finn – that’s what I should have made clear. There are different models for the different requirements. So that you can find your way through the jungle of advantages and disadvantages, there is this little closing word.
- Can you easily stand on the board, but your board is too slow for you? Try it with a short median fin.
- Do you paddle long tours on which it is primarily straight and more stability you think is good? Then reach for the long sword fin.
- Are you looking for a compromise or want to equip your first SUP board properly? Choose the allround fin with its dolphin shape.
Comment by the author
2019 is a great year to enter Stand Up Paddling. Sure the summer will be just as great as last year. And the selection of boards has never been so great!
My favorites for this SUP season are: