One fin? Two fins? Three, four, five? They each have different strengths and weaknesses. But there's a lot more to fin choice than the number of fins, and it can make a huge difference in your board's performance. It took a trip to the Futures Fins factory in Huntington Beach earlier this year for me to fully understand that. We flew down from Portland and got a tour of the factory.
Yes, they actually make the fins right here in the US. It is actually cheaper to make the fins here than in China because of high freight costs and quality control issues. While showing us around, they explained how important quality is to them. The fin has to be the perfect size or it won't fit in the box correctly. They check every fin for that. If the fin is the wrong flex, it makes a big difference to the surfer. They have a dryer to remove temperature and humidity variations when making the fins. And if the box isn't sealed properly, water can get into your board. They pressure test the boxes to make sure that won't happen. They have also put a lot of effort into making sure that even their standard fins, the ones that come with a new board, are made very well.
But, there are still reasons to get other fins. To be honest, I've never even thought about buying fins other than the ones that come with my board. But, there are so many factors that can make a huge difference in your surfing. Are you a big guy riding weak waves? Or a small guy surfing a heavy reef break? Doing some research and finding the right set of fins for your size, riding style, and wave type can mean the difference between making the bottom turn and pulling into the barrel that you paid all of that money to travel to indo for, and sliding out on that same bottom turn and getting sucked over the falls.
To learn more about all of the different elements of fin design and to look into what fins might be right for what you need, check out the futures fin school here. Or, stop into the shop and we can answer your questions about the fins we have in stock.