Tyler Callaway dropped some knowledge about fins on Episode 34 of the Podcast. Tyler is a return guest, so if you’d like to, know his story, listen to this.
This is a video episode, and should be watched as a video, especially the first 20 minutes when Tyler is using fins to explain different principles. I’ve also produced an audio show, but you’ll miss a bit.
Enjoy this technical discussion of fins in SUP paddle boards. Some key points from the show –
- Wider tails generally work better as quads
- Quads are faster, but they draw wider lines
- Thrusters excel in turns past 90 degrees, surf better vertically, but take more to get going
- If you want to turn harder go bigger front fins and smaller back fin/s
- More rake will draw out turn, less rake will feel faster and turn harder, but slide out first
- Tyler advocates trying different sets of fins in your board before settling, you never know what set will flow with the board
- FCS2 center box fin is a game-changer, adjust placement during a surf
Have I told you guys how much I love surfing? Well, I f@#$ing love it!!!
After traveling for a week and then having to unexpected leave for another 2 days, I’ve only surfed once in the last 2 weeks. You’d have to go back to august to find 2 weeks with that little surfing. I have been in the water, but kids are are amping so much that they don’t let me surf. Sunday, I had it all planned out, get up early, sneak an hour or two in the water, then have the kids meet me, but they woke up earlier than I did and were already ready to go. I’m not complaining, I’m actually having just as much fun watching them learn as I’m having surfing.
Read Day 1 of the Fin Test, Performer XL Front and GL FCS2 Center
But today was my day! Kids at school, and the Fiji swell was showing up! I checked the reef early, still not enough wave and the direction was wrong. So I headed up to the beachy, high tide. I didn’t expect it to be big yet, so I thought it would be a great day to try the quad setup that Tyler from FCS sent over.
Now, I don’t love quads normally. There are a few boards that I’ll ride them, but not since my board was the 7.4 x 28.5 Airborn have I preferred quads. Another board that I will ride as a quad at times is the 7.5 x 26 F-One. That board likes the GAM2s. So, today when I decided to ride the Quad setup, I wasn’t overly optimisitc.
I have tried a quad setup in the 2015 and 2016 7.4s. If you don’t know the difference between those boards, the 2015 is 78L the 2016 is 83L. The rails in the 2016 are a bit fatter, and fin placement is much better. The 2015 fins were pulled in too far off the rails which hurt performance. They fixed that in the 2016.
I didn’t like either the 2015 or 2016 as a quad. Early on I tried the stretch quad set, which is my favorite shortboard set and lately the Performer L front and M trailers. The stretch set was way too lose, fun on super small days, but I hate losing speed because of small fins. The Performer L-M combo was also slidey, and flitty. Not sure if flitty is a word, but it accurately describes the feeling. Quick back and forth without any real drive. Slow and weak off the bottom.
I described that feeling to Tyler and he sent me the Performer XL and the S trailer. As I said, I didn’t expect much.
The waves this morning were bigger than I anticipated. Sets up to 10-12 foot on the face were coming through every 15 minutes. As I loosened up on the beach, I regretted my decision to ride the quad. That said, I’m committed to the process and journey, not the outcome.
It’s a new experience for me to try to remain an observer instead of an active participant in surfing. I’ve been reading a lot about sports phycology and getting the conscious mind out of the way is something I’m working on. Also trying to instill this in activites with the kids.
Here’s the idea – You do something. Instead of judging if you did it right or wrong, you notice how it went and draw lessons from the process. So a wrong is a positive because you learn something. And a right is a positive because you have a mental representation of how to do it correctly. It takes the negative emotion out of the equation and allows you to learn faster. Easier to say than do, but I’m working on it.
So as I was paddling out today I was just reminding myself today is a great opportunity to feel how these fins work in larger waves.
All my preconceived notions were wrong.
First wave was a medium one. I’m conditioned to surf a new board or a board with different fins tentatively at the begging. I have a exploration process. Ideally I’d like to get a few slopey waves to first feel the rail, then open up a turn or two when I figure out where the board is really grabbing the water. My first bottom turn held. So much so that it put me off balance coming up to the lip and I blew the top turn, ruined the wave. But I realized that there might be something to this fin setup.
Second wave ran a bit and I got to expore where the board was accelerating. I didn’t figure the drive out today. Honestly, it felt a bit slow. This is most likely user error, as I’m so dialed into riding this board as a thruster. There’s a lot of subtlety to driving down the line. It didn’t slip around and the other quad setups I’ve used on this board have been dicey.
After a couple more waves I finally got a wave with a few sections. I loved it on the bottom. If you’ve been reading, that’s where I have problems with this board. If you can hold a bottom turn, you can have a good angle and enough velocity to come hard off the top.
I’m not done testing this set. Because I don’t ride quads much I need to give it a few days to internalize. I think it will be 2 or 3 days before I can surf it without thinking about foot placement and really get feel for the differences. But so far, I’m pleasantly surprised and looking forward to asking Tyler why it feels so much different from other experiences with Quads. So far, he’s 2 for 2.
Read Day 1 of the Fin Test, Performer XL Front and GL FCS2 Center
I rode the Infinity this morning. High tide was smack center of my session and with the swell on the decline, I figured it was the call. It was, but the waves weren’t great. Smaller inconsistent surf, with a big crowd really takes down the fun factor for me on a standup. It’s ironic, because those are the exact conditions that a bigger sup excels in, but with the crowd I feel bad utilizing the benefits. Even though nobody is catching most of the smaller waves rolling through the lineup, you just know that if you get aggressive and catch them, you’ll attract a bunch of attention and create some ill will. So, I played the other game, the wait way outside for the every 15 minute bomb and hope that I could see it in time and sprint to the spot game. It worked a few times and I got a couple. (more…)
Tyler Callaway, US Head of FCS and President of SUPIA, joins Erik on the PaddleWoo Podcast to discuss the new innovations in the SUP world from FCS and the mission of SUPIA.