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Quads and thrusters- when to change

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Created by peguin 2 months ago, 13 Sep 2017
peguin
WA, 178 posts
13 Sep 2017 9:45AM
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Wondering when people change their fin setup in good conditions.
Up in N WA been surfing a reef break,very clean fast waves over head high. Final took out a board I've had for a while into these conditions. Tom Carrol loose leaf, 116l comes with quad fins. Only ever used thrusters boards at this break and I admit never gelled with quads on surfboards as to stiff to turn and find them too grippy on windsurf. Anyway back to sup quad and after several waves I find I cannot turn the board even with my foot jammed against the pad and don't get any feeling from the board or wave. The speed is ridiculous immediately, I even bounced down the wave face when I came off trying to bottom turn. From my view I seem to only have back 1/3 of the board in the water.
Switched to thruster fin using same fronts as quad and I bottom turn, top turn with ease, 2/3 of rail engaged and I can feel the board, wave. Speed is matching the wave speed.
So wondering how other folk go with quads in such conditions? Is just my style (do like bottom to top hard turns) were my fins to big, or is it in those conditions thrusters works best.
I'm a 80kg rider board was 116l 8'8 loose leaf with tc fins.

markmc
QLD, 26 posts
13 Sep 2017 11:57AM
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i find the same as you, people says quads are meant to be quicker and looser, i find them harder to turn on surfboard and on sup, maybe just my style or lack of. so i stick with the thrusters.

Loz79
QLD, 430 posts
13 Sep 2017 4:31PM
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I use thruster 90% of the time and very rarely quad. I find quad best when you have a lot of room on the wave say a long spilling point break where you can draw your turns out with lots of speed to come back into the power. Thruster for me in beach breaks when you want to surf bottom to top and only have a small pocket to stay in. I turn heavy on my back foot and find quad not as grippy as thruster, i dont notice the speed difference that much to be honest but i just feel much more secure dropping in late with thruster than quad...Just my thoughts with the fins and boards i ride, im sure others will tell you different and carry on a bout fin size and board shape etc....im 74kg surfing a deep 7'6 x 26 x 4 and a deep 7'10 x 27.5 x 4....

Piros
QLD, 4820 posts
13 Sep 2017 4:52PM
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Here's my quick take on it. Quads are great and pumpy down the line but do more of a shopping trolley turn , compared to a thruster which pivots better letting you stay closer to the pocket and keep you speed. The only time I like quads better is on wide tailed boards , gives way more hold.

colas
2206 posts
13 Sep 2017 3:22PM
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Note that there are different quad setups:
- the one where the rears are doubling the fronts: rears positioned on the rail, close to the fronts. The PSH were set up this way. Kind of splitting twin fins.
- the ones where the rear quads are actually the central fin of a thruster, but splitted in two. Positioned thus to the rear, and closer to the stringer. This is called the McKee setup, and is now used by most SUP brands.

I will only speak of the mckee setup, I never used the other setup, but I read that they can easily make the board track if you use the wrong kind of fins for the board and your style.
However, from the pictures the loose leafs seems a kind of an hybrid: basically a split twin setup, but with the rears a tad more to the aft.

- by default, quad fin sets are geared to back foot riders, because they enlarge a lot the total surface of the rear fin. This is what you experienced. The solution is to tweak the rear fins, using smaller ones (less power on the rear foot) and ones with symmetrical (50/50) foil (that smooths the rail-to-rail transition). I like for instance the FCS2 Gerry lopez rear fins. This way you can have a good compromise: the speed and hold of a quad, the control and vertical surfing of a thruster.

- The shopping trolley turn that Piros describe is the feeling of floating (the board yaws uncontrollably) when the board goes flat in between turns. It may or may not happen, it depends a lot of the board shape. If it happens, a nubster or a small fifth trailer fin will help.

- Basically if you want speed, especially out of your turns, go quad. If you want to be able to tighten your turns and burn off excess speed easily, for instance to stay close to the pocket, go thruster. As kelly says: quads for tubes and fast section, thruster for turns.

Here is for instance a setup I like a lot (I am a front foot surfer): Al Merrick twin fins fronts for extra power and squirt in turns, and small symmetrical gerry lopez rears for control and looseness in turns. For some reason, this specific board doesn't need a 5th fin, but I had similar ones that worked better with one.

SunovaBouy
110 posts
13 Sep 2017 8:35PM
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Cool tips and options !!

Ive a Flow 8'7 that's been set up as a Quad since buying it a few months ago, my Speeed 8' 10 is stuck as a thruster and I'm well used to that (even put smaller fins in to make it a bit more loose) so really ought to try the Flow out as a thruster when our waves reappear in our Autumn (not long now)

Slab
785 posts
14 Sep 2017 5:01AM
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A lot must depend on the board itself and placement of the fins....I have large quads ..Gerry Lopez.... on my JP 8 8 widebody x32 and it turns on a dime. The front are BIG and the rears smaller 50/50.

Tardy
1780 posts
14 Sep 2017 12:52PM
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That's a great question ..and doing my head in at times too.

i would say its up to what board your using .

my x32 Hokuas are very loose ,so I always use it as a quad to give it some direction. The right size one s of course .

My raptor ,you just can't use it as a thruster ,too wide in the tail .the first ones came out with a middle fin
box ,then they got rid of it ,it just did't work on such a wide tail .

i would say ...maybe I'm talking bull .a narrower tailed board is suited to a thruster set up .

Then I think it's up to you ,what and how you ride your board ...

i think the size of the fins are just as important ..

I don't like big fins at all..medium or small for me ...

MickMc
VIC, 321 posts
14 Sep 2017 5:12PM
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I personally like quads (medium or small but never big) when the waves are smaller for a faster skatier feel, but anything over head high I like the grip of a thruster. Now I say that because I'm not real heavy and so maybe the quads actually have too much grip and I find it hard to turn the board or bury the tail at speed. Or maybe I just lack the necessary skills. I'm actually leaning now more towards a centre fin that is a bit smaller than the sides in my thruster setup. Of course it all depends on the placement of the fins and how you like to surf. No real right or wrong answer here. Different people on the same board and fins will get different results. I reckon the ratio of the volume of the board to your weight and the fineness of the rails also plays a big part. It's fun to experiment!

peguin
WA, 178 posts
15 Sep 2017 3:18PM
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thanks guys for the reassurance on fin setup. Its a fast steep wave so I'll be keeping the quads tucked away for other breaks. But colas comment makes we want to try just the 2 side fronts and a nubster. Do love twin fin waveboards for windsurfing.
I've a gulliver vbox 2 and i love that as a quad with nubster and don't find it unwilling to turn, completely the opposit and love its skateboardness. But never surfed it at a break with very fast speed. Cheers again

Tardy
1780 posts
15 Sep 2017 3:46PM
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Select to expand quote
peguin said..
thanks guys for the reassurance on fin setup. Its a fast steep wave so I'll be keeping the quads tucked away for other breaks. But colas comment makes we want to try just the 2 side fronts and a nubster. Do love twin fin waveboards for windsurfing.
I've a gulliver vbox 2 and i love that as a quad with nubster and don't find it unwilling to turn, completely the opposit and love its skateboardness. But never surfed it at a break with very fast speed. Cheers again



Hey peguin .
i was out yesterday with 12 other prone surfers with medium quads on a flow 8'7 .5 foot .reef break .
i was making more waves then them .it was super fast so no radical moves just down the line .whoo
2 of them come up to me and comments on how fast I was as well as another spectator ...I didn't really
realise .that I was fast ... But hey I'll take the compliments ..I was the only stand up.
i know alot comes down to the board as the flow is 30% faster than the x32's but I'm glad I had the extra grip and drive off the quads .
yeah give the twin set up ago with a little rear fin ...should be loose .and nice on a slower wave .


colas
2206 posts
15 Sep 2017 4:04PM
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Select to expand quote
peguin said..
want to try just the 2 side fronts and a nubster.


It can work, but if you feel the board seem to bog down at the end of turn, stopping instead of accelerating, it means your rear fin(s) is too small for the board and conditions and front fin boxes setup.

I encourage you also to try an asymmetrical setup: put a single trailer fin in the frontside rear box. This way you keep drive in bottom turns, but add looseness in top turns, great in weak small waves. I only tried it in frontside waves, could be interesting to see if you need to reverse the setup for backside waves or keep the same.

slowpoke2
QLD, 14 posts
17 Sep 2017 10:20AM
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Quads when it's fast and you got big drops.



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"Quads and thrusters- when to change" started by peguin