I have been thinking about fin set ups for my flat water boards lately…..maybe that’s because I left the last decent fin I had sitting on the tailgate of my truck when I drove away at the end of a session recently. The result is that I lost the fin and have been using a recycled longboard fin for some time now, thinking that I would get a new selection of fins to try out when I had a new board to put them on. Well, with the exception of the lousy cold weather we have been having, I’m almost ready to glass a new 12-6 and figure the derelict beater fins I have been using need a bit of an upgrade for the new board.
A race I competed in this past summer also got me thinking about getting set up with a quiver of fins. I had the unfortunate experience of losing a race because I did not have a weed fin. I don’t get the chance to win many races in that I’m usually the oldest or nearly oldest racer on the water, so losing a race because of being too cheap to have a weed fin really did not feel too good….and especially since on two occasions in that particular race I bailed off the board in a darn cold Puget Sound to clear the weeds…. and STILL had to settle for second!
So finally, last evening I got hold of Chris Freeman of Black Project Fins and ordered three new fins to try out. The fins I ordered will cover everything from downwind, to glassy flat water to sloppy chop…..and also a weed fin to help prevent a repeat performance of demonstrating how to dive off the back of a SUP mid race to clear a wad of weeds off of the fin! If you want to check out Chris Freeman’s fins go to: http://www.blackprojectfins.com/products/sup-fins/race/
The fins are on the way from Hawaii right now and I should have them by the time this blog post is up and live and I’ll be offering up feedback on the performance of the new fins soon. What I already know about Black Project Fins is that they have been getting some great reviews from some really experienced paddlers I know so I don’t think I’ll be disappointed!
What should the choice be for an all around fin if you don’t want to invest in a quiver? I think the main question that a paddler must ask is about the conditions you will typically be paddling in. One of the reasons I decided to invest in a quiver is that I paddle in a lot of different conditions and types of water from beautiful clear Eastern Oregon high mountain lakes to marine estuaries full of stealthy sea grass just waiting for a fin to come along and hang up on! If you paddle estuaries that are prone to being clogged with sea grass then a weed fin may be the best choice. If you paddle in wind and chop , you might want a slightly bigger fin than if you mostly paddle morning glass conditions. If you paddle different types of water and conditions and spend some amount of time in grassy water, then a weed fin may be the best choice. You, the paddler need to assess the type of water you paddle and decide how you want to set yourself up when it comes to fin selection.