Surfboard Fin Setups: The Basics

A lot of us struggle when it comes to choosing a fin setup. It’s definitely one of the questions we get the most: How many fins should I have on my board? The truth is that it really depends on what style of surfing you’re after. 
Image via Fin for a Fin
There are many different shapes, sizes, types, and configurations of fins. Whatever you’re looking for - we’ve got your back. First, let’s figure out how many fins you need for your board. This is known as your fin configuration - how many fins you have and how they’re set up on your board. 
For now, we’ll stick to the basics. 
Image via Surf Nation
First of all, you could set up your board with one fin - this is great for longboards and fast, simplistic surfing. This setup affords you control, stability, and comfort. We typically recommend a single fin for smaller or larger, “fatter” waves - but it’s definitely not the most controlled configuration for beginners.
Click here for one of our single fin recommendations:
Twin fins - or a Dual Fin Configuration - will give you more freedom and maneuverability for a shorter board and smaller waves. For choppier surf, you’d be better off with the twin fins. For small to medium surf, you can get a lot more control out of this setup than with the single fin. 
Image via Surf Science
The most common setup we see out there (and what we often end up recommending) is the Thruster or Tri-Fin. A three-fin configuration can be found on a ton of different types of boards. You’re really getting the best of both worlds here - the thruster will have you covered in a wider variety of surf. You’ll have that stability and control with the fun wiggle room of a twin. Plus, if you have a Tri-Fin setup, you can always mix it up by removing one or two fins to try out a twin or single configuration. Personally, I’ve fallen in love with having three fins on a lot of my boards.
Right now I'm rocking a set of these - click the image to check 'em out! 
The 2 + 1 configuration is a lot like the Thruster. The main difference is that the Thruster has three fins of equal size, whereas the 2 + 1 has a larger center fin and two smaller ones to the sides. This offers better control, stability, and lift for those of us wanting to cruise around on our longboards. I’d recommend this mainly for longboards on small to medium waves. 
Image via zaksurfboards
You could also try out a quad-fin configuration (which offers speed and agility in smaller surf) or mix and match with a five-fin setup ready to be adjusted on your board. You wouldn’t be surfing with the five fins (easy there, killer) but you could have the option of any of the above setups and change your fins based on the surf and how you’re feeling that day. 
Keep in mind that your setup is personal to you and your board. We can generalize about what configuration is right for you, but trial and error might lead you to changing up your gear. & When you’re ready for more, we’ll be here. Feel free to reach out to me with questions via
Alright, so now you know what configuration you need. Now what? 
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