SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) is an activity of sporting on the water and getting the indirect benefit of a workout. And, because you’re standing at full height on your board, you get a unique perspective on what’s going on beneath the water and out on the horizon.
Stand up paddleboarding is done using paddleboards. Your paddleboard is made up of three sections. The board, the paddle, and (even though they are the smallest) the fins – all of which play an important role in your board’s performance. Once you’ve attached your fin, these tips will help you optimize your board’s performance for whatever conditions you’re paddling in.
SUP fins setups
Your paddleboard can have different types of setups. They are explained below.
One middle fin is attached to the tail of the board.
It has 3 fins, one prominent fin, and two smaller fins that are also called side fins. The central fin is placed at the tail, while the side fins are placed on either side of the central fin.
This setup has four fins and is thus called Quad. It contains one main and 4 side or thruster fins.
How to install SUP fins
The addition of removable, interchangeable fins to your NRS inflatable SUP board increases its versatility and convenience. You can customize your fin setup to suit any type of paddling, from ocean surfing to fitness touring to river running. Installing fins on your stand-up paddleboard is a simple process.
Follow these simple steps.
- Insert the fin into the fin plate, curved edge facing forward.
- Insert it completely, tapping it with your hand if necessary.
- Then, while paddling, slide in the tethered locking tab to securely pin the fin in place.
- Please take out the locking tab and tap the fin out with your hand to remove it.
- A build-up of grit, debris, or salt crystals can make it difficult to insert and remove the fins; after each paddling session, wash out the fin plate and fin base with fresh water.
- Before folding the board for transport or storage, make sure to remove the fins.
- When folding the board, keep the fin plates flat in the fold.
- Bending the fin plates can make inserting the fins difficult, if not impossible.
- The design and length of your fins have a significant impact on how well your board performs.
Going out for a paddle without any fins on your board is a fun exercise. It will quickly become clear how essential fins are for tracking; keeping the board in a straight line will be difficult. Smaller, shallower fins are intended to aid tracking while also allowing for more excellent manoeuvrability.
They’re also ideal for shallow water, where a longer fin would catch on the bottom or rocks. Longer fins with a larger surface area improve tracking while providing more resistance to turns and are ideal for open water paddling.
Positioning of Fins
Most people are concerned about the position of the fin on the paddleboard. Before you do anything, you must decide the type of paddling you are going to do. Are you going to paddle through a curvy stream? Will you have to navigate a narrow river with many bends? Or Will you be surfing?
The centre fin on most modern stand up paddleboards is adjustable. Loosening the screw allows the centre fin to move forward and back in the fin box. A Three Brothers board will have an adjustable centre fin box as well as two removable side fins.
Your stand-up paddleboard will respond differently depending on how you position your centre fin. Moving your centre fin all the way forward generally makes the board more agile and easier to turn. This position would be helpful if you paddled in close quarters or negotiated around other paddlers, such as down a crowded river.
If you plan to paddle a longer distance, such as on a group tour, moving your fin backward will allow you to switch sides less frequently.
But when do I need to use my side fins?
Side fins, also known as “side bites,” are typically used for surfing, though some people will remove the centre fin and only use the side bites in flat water. Surfing with side fins allows you to carve more aggressively. This is a good time to check that your centre fin is all the way forward.
Once you know what will be your condition, you can set up your sup fin placement accordingly.
While the fin may merely look to be a pleasant adornment on your paddleboard, it actually serves a far broader role. In some cases, the fin will help guide the board, keep you straight, improve manoeuvrability, and even increase speed. So, whether you only use the middle fin or add a couple of side fins to make using the board easier, these fins can help you enjoy paddleboarding more.