Windsurfers are obsessed with size. I have spent much of my shoreside windsurfing career rubbing my chin, wondering what sail size to rig or which board to take out, but something oft overlooked is the size of the fin. Most of us ride around on the fin that came with the board, whatever the weather, whatever sail we’re on and whatever our size or ability.
Yet the truth is that the size of your fin can make a HUGE difference to your sailing!
I had a chat with Steve Thorp, who knows a thing or two about fins. Combining a unique fascination with windsurfing and fluid dynamics, Steve felt that fins were important enough not only to design his own range, but to develop a material which would give them the optimum flex patterns for windsurfing – be it stiff for drive and power or flex for waves. All of which has helped Steve to excel in his storm chasing and 50knot speeds – and for his fins to become the weapon of choice for many a pro sailor!
Steve told me “Having the right size fin is perhaps the most important set up consideration.”
So why should a freeride sailor consider investing in another size of fin? “A different fin can help a sailor of any level by being more specific to their needs. The fin which comes with a board has to cater for all conditions, all sailor weights and rig set ups. A change in fin size can bring more control in high winds and large chop, or faster speeds on flat water – and easier gybing!”
I asked whether it is true that most people ride on fins that are too big and could actually avoid changing down sails if they just changed fin? “Yes for sure it can help. Often boards are provided with the biggest size they are likely to need, so a smaller faster fin will make a powered sail feel lighter and for lighter sailors on smaller sails it will be a better balance.”
But are they expensive…? “Not ours! £59.95 for the Free rides, down to front fins at £11.25!”
Don’t just take it from Steve. NWF Guru Jem Hall once told me “The cheapest way to upgrade your quiver is to TUNE! For example – a good fin will transform a mediocre board. If you are overpowered, why not try changing the fin instead of your sail?”
So if you would like to get some personalised advice on finding a fantastic fin, come along and have a chat with Steve. You can expect free advice, free stickers and some exciting new fins to show off -the new Freestyle range, performance SUP/surf fins and tide fins to name a few!
Steve Thorp and his company, K4 Fins will be exhibiting at the NWF at Rutland Water on2-4th June 2017.