Figuring Out Fins

Over the years, the materials have changed, but the theories on fin foil and hydrodynamics have remained relatively the same. That is, until recently ...
Evolution is the gradual process in which something changes into a different and generally more complex form. Fortunately, wakeboard evolution has made some leaps and bounds in our lifetime, and although there isn't a big-bang theory in wakeboarding, Darwinists would agree that evolution has quickly transformed wakeboard design for the better. (Not too long ago we were all riding straps and three fins on a foam-filled polyethylene slug.) Fins have undergone a similar transformation. Plastic fins that once were the bomb no longer meet the demands of performance-oriented riders. (They flex, causing cavitation, and are destined to break.) Modern materials and designs have been developed to work in a symbiotic relationship between riders and the water. Today's fins provide better durability and higher levels of performance than those of the past.
The goal of most fin designers has been to produce fins that have a symmetrical foil, track true, and are light, stiff and strong. Don't get me wrong - not all fins are created equal. Take a look at the foil. Is it smooth? Is it symmetrical? Does it mount flush on your board? Can the fin be tightened to eliminate any movement? These all play a key role in your board's performance. The size and shape of the fin also play an intricate role in your board's performance and feel. Everyone rides differently, and one fin won't work best for everyone. (There is too much personal interpretation of what works best.) The setup that works best for your style of riding might be your buddies' worst nightmare. The "best" fin is a durable, perfectly symmetrical foil that mounts flush to your board and doesn't move around (and is the size and shape that works best for your particular style).
Take a look at what other riders are using: The spinners are generally using smaller ramp-style fins that are forgiving on landings, while aggressive riders generally go with bigger fins for solid tracking on cuts and for stability on landings. A good rule of thumb is to start out with something large enough in the back to provide board stability (for getting up and learning to turn) and then go to smaller fins as you learn to use the board edge more (for making surface tricks easier). Eventually, you will probably move back up to a bigger size, once you have controlled slides dialed and want better high-speed tracking for sticking your landings. The key is to find a happy medium for the kind of riding you do; use something that provides solid tracking, but can still be broken loose when you want. If you get the chance, go out and try some different sizes and shapes. Experiment until it feels right!
What can you expect from fins in '98? Word has it that there are some new designs on the drawing board, and these designs might revolutionize the wakeboard fin industry. You'll just have to wait and see. ...
For now, rest assured that the fins you see here work fine and won't limit your potential.

Rainbow
Manufacturer Claims: Established in 1968, Rainbow has been the leading manufacturer of fins for surfing and windsurfing for nearly three decades. Rainbow has stood apart from the competition by combining individual craftsmanship with technology to produce superior products. Using the highest quality G-10, and direct feedback from the best boarders in the world, Rainbow has brought new levels of performance and durability to the consumer. Rainbow fins are hand-machined to a progressive hydrofoil and have a concave base designed to mount flush when tightened with either thumb screws or Pro-Locks. All models are uniquely manufactured toit either a single-screw with indexing pins, or a double-screw setup. With the company's million-plus fins of experience, you can rest assured that Rainbow Fins will be of the highest quality and performance.

Type: A-Tac (Triangle)
Model Name: Rainbow Fin Co. A-Tac
Construction: G-10 Epoxy w/ easy universal stud system available
Sizes: 2.5, 2.0, 1.5
MSRP: $19.95
Warranty: Mfg. defect
Info.: 408-728-2998, West; 407-777-5936, East
Spec and range of use: The ultimate big-air fin. Designed with a larger, more aggressive profile so you can push hard and rely on the fin's power to accelerate and boost you over the wake.

Type: Ramp
Model Name: Rainbow Fin Company Ramp
Construction: G-10 epoxy w/ easy universal stud system available
Sizes: 2.0, 1.75, 1.5, 1.25
MSRP: $19.95
Warranty: Mfg. defect
Info.: 408-728-2998, West; 407-777-5936, East
Specs and range: Rainbow's most versatile fin. The smaller sizes are best suited for surface tricks, while the larger ones work best for landing difficult maneuvers or where stability is important.

Type: Surf Style
Model Name: Rainbow Fin Co. Surf Dog
Construction: G-10 Epoxy w/ easy universal stud system available
Sizes: 2.5, 2.0
MSRP $19.95
Warranty: Mfg. defect
Info.: 408-728-2998, West; 407-777-5936, East
Specs and range: The high-performance fin for carving and huge air. Very popular with professional riders. The Surf Dog is generally used on both ends of their boards.

Connelly
Manufacturer Claims: Connelly's wakeboard product line is vastly improving for next year with all kinds of new board designs, graphics, bindings, fins and bolts. Every single aspect of the line is expanding and improving. The company says its epoxy-filled fiberglass fins provide super strength and durability. Additionally, every fin has three threaded holes that work for either one- or two-stud designs. Each Techno fin comes with a Techno Bolt (Techno bolts available in red, blue, gold, or silver). Techno Bolts for fins and bindings are also available separately. The fin kits come with two bolts, two washers and two anodized caps. MSRP is $6.95 for the fin kit. The binding kit comes with four bolts, four washers and four anodized caps. MSRP is $13.95 for the binding kit. The caps are anodized; red, blue, gold or silver.
Type: Ramp Model Name: Techno 1.5, Techno 2.0 Construction: Epoxy-filled fiberglass for super strength and durability. Every fin has three threaded holes for one- or two-stud versions.
Sizes: 1.5 and 2.0 MSRP: $15.95 Warranty: 2 years Info.: 800-234-7547 Specs: The most versatile fin. This fin offers solid tracking and stability. Surface tricks are still easy. A great combination fin.

Type: A-Tac Model Name: Techno Pro 2.0, Techno Pro 2.5 Construction: Epoxy-filled fiberglass for super strength and durability. Every fin has three threaded holes for one- or two-stud versions.
Sizes: 2.0 and 2.5 MSRP: $15.95 Warranty: 2 years Info.: 800-234-7547 Spec: The one the pros ride, Techno Pros are known as aggressive fins you can push hard and not worry. This style fin is preferred by Zane Schwenk.
Type: Surf Model Name: Techno 2.5 Construction: Epoxy-filled fiberglass for super strength and durability. Every fin has three threaded holes for one- or two-stud versions.
Sizes: 2.5 MSRP: $15.95 Warranty: 2 years Info.: 800-234-7547 Specs: Old Reliable. This style fin has stood the test of time. A design borrowed from the surf industry lends outstanding tracking and stability. This style fin is preferred by Parks Bonifay.

Sik Fins.
Sik fins are the latest development out of Florida, and Sik is the first company to introduce Hydro-Grooves. Each fin has a precision diamond-cut groove foiled into the sides with a pinpoint accuracy of five-thousandths of an inch. This greatly increases lift and acceleration. Sik fins are manufactured using high strength G-10 and T-10 epoxy. T-10 is Sik's newest creation, and is a super-strong, titan

ium-based resin. SIK is also utilizing laser cutting technology for precision foils. Sik fins are made with compressed composite and solid carbon sheets. They are available in any color, and Sik has a two-day turnaround for orders up to a thousand fins. For more information contact Buddha Bonifay 904-322-1307. Look for more information upcoming issues.

Jobe
Manufacturer Claims: After countless hours of on-the-water testing, experimenting and reshaping, Jobe says it has designed the ultimate fins. All the Freeride and Surf fins provide power, performance, value and uncompromising durability. If you're a sick rider or just learning to rip, Jobe promises to create the perfect combination to match your style and needs.

Type: Ramp Model Name: Freeride Construction: Carbon-reinforced, high-modules injection-molded process. Each fin is secured by a single thumbscrew bolt. The fin can be installed and changed easily, without the use of any tools. Sizes: 1.5, 1.75, 2.25 & 2.5 MSRP: $14.99 Warranty: Limited lifetime Info.: 888-jobe-ski (toll-free)
Type: Surf Model Name: Surf Construction: Carbon-reinforced, high-modules injection-molded process. Each fin is secured by a single thumbscrew bolt. The fin can be installed and changed easily, without the use of any tools. Sizes: 2.5 & 3.5 MSRP: $14.99 Warranty: Limited lifetime Info.: 888-jobe-ski (toll-free)

Neptune
Manufacturer Claims: Spoiler Fins are the most effective bolt on performance enhancer you can buy, according to Neptune. The Spoiler shape offers riders a more efficient fin than is currently available on the market. The Flat Fin is shaped to give riders the maximum amount of surface area at depth and a correct foil shape. Greater surface area at depth creates a grippy fin. The water that flows closest to the bottom of the board is turbulent and doesn't offer as much purchase as deeper, less turbulent water. The Spoiler Shape maximizes this grip potential by having more surface area in clean water. Spoiler Fins are made of a composite glass that is stiffer and stronger than plastic or nylon fins. A stiffer fin is faster and more effective in the water. Spoiler Fins are hand-built to meet the demands of riders everywhere. They look good too. The Spoiler Fin Line is growing and will offer two additional shapes for 1998.

Type: Ramp
Model Name: Spoiler
Construction: Glass composite, one- and two-stud versions available
Sizes: 1.5, 1.75, 2.0
MSRP: $16
Warranty: One year
Info.: 800-248-5564
Who's
Riding
What?

Darin Shapiro
Board: Hyperlite Shapiro 141
Front: 2.5" surf style
Back: 2.5" surf style
Mfg.: Hyperlite Carbon Fins

John

ny King
Board: O'Brien Buzz 140
Front: 2.0" ramp style
Back: 2.0" ramp style
Mfg.: Rainbow Fin Company

Hunter Brown
Board: Rusty Ultra 54"
Front: 2.5" A-Tac
Back: 2.5" A-Tac
Mfg.: Rainbow Fin Company

Shaun Murray
Board: Hyperlite Signature Series - 137
Front: 2.5" ramp style
Back: 2.5" ramp style
Mfg.: Hyperlite Carbon Fins

Andrea Gaytan
Board: Full Tilt Super Model 134
Front: 2.0" A-Tac
Back: 2.5" A-Tac
Mfg.: Rainbow Fin Company

Ryan Seibring
Board: Liquid Force Best 140
Front: 2.0" ramp style
Back: 2.0" ramp style
Mfg.: Rainbow Fin Company

Figuring Out Fins
by Peter Jaunich
?HELP?
by Tom James
Photos: Heather Lee
Inside Hyperlite's honeycomb process.nt: 2.0" ramp style
Back: 2.0" ramp style
Mfg.: Rainbow Fin Company

Figuring Out Fins
by Peter Jaunich
?HELP?
by Tom James
Photos: Heather Lee
Inside Hyperlite's honeycomb process.