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The FCSII system makes experimenting fins setup a breeze

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Created by colas A week ago, 8 Jul 2017
colas
1982 posts
8 Jul 2017 3:37PM
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Small waves the last days, I thus experimented a lot of fin configuration... it just takes 30 seconds to change the fin setup on the spot (be careful not to drop the fin, they sink).

I am more and more found of the MR (Mark Richard) Twin fins for small wave conditions. By storing some trailers in the wetsuit (chest zip suits also are very practical to store fins in the pouch above the zip), or maybe a fanny pack, it is really interesting to compare different setups on the same spot at only minutes of interval.

I thus tested on my modern 9'3"x27" longSUP (Gong Moblog):

Only the twins: fast and loose, but can lack drive at the end of turns


Small rear fin (or a big trailer): one of the rears of the Gerry Lopez quad set: the reliable feel of the thruster with the added speed and playfulness of the twin


Quad version: smoother ride than a pure quad (rears have symmetrical profiles, and the boxes are close to the stringer), good for fast sections


The full MR set: twins + trailer. A very good compromise, most of the twin playfulness and speed with just enough drive


And last, my favorite setup for the day: asymmetrical setup with the trailer on the frontside (I am regular) for mostly frontside fast waves: faster than a thruster, good traction for max speed on fast sections, but no need to get too much on the tail for rollers and cutbacks so I wasn't killing all my speed on these small waves (waist high)

goodnightirene
VIC, 14 posts
9 Jul 2017 12:13PM
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Good post mate, I found this really interesting. I have a new board (7'9" stonkbox) and a couple of days ago it was pretty small and slack so I took it out with a bunch of different fins stuffed down the front of my wetsuit and a hex key up my sleeve. Tried all sorts of combos from no fins at all to a standard quad setup to a couple of massive keel fins with and without a darc drive in the middle.

I'm new to riding a box style board and on my normal ride (traditional shape deep JC) I ride two thruster style fins out wide with a trailer in the middle, best setup I've found on that board. But I was curious to see how the box would work with a variety of fins. I thought I'd love the twin keel fins as I used to surf a twin fin fish a lot before I took up stand up - but I didn't find that the feeling of that translated into the stand up board and I actually found it a bit stiff, maybe the fins are too big. Maybe I should have taken the darc drive out. Anyhow, I took the keels out and put two small thruster style fins in their place (with the darc drive still in the middle) and that sure loosened it up! Probably too much as the tail constantly slid out when I did any kind of cut back or even any kind of sharp turn off the bottom. Had to be super fluid pumping along the line and bottom turning so as not to lose it completely. A lot of fun spinning the board around and trying to control it on the wave though, huge rotation possible. Imagine it would be a nightmare in any sort of size though.

Just before I came in I took all of the fins out. The board has four channels in the base so I was hoping that would give me a tiny bit of grip when surfing finless (and I'm definitely not an accomplished finless surfer by the way!). I never got to find out though as I couldn't even paddle into a wave, the board simply spun on it's central point when I paddled as it had no rear grip at all. Impossible to pick up any speed on take off without ending up sideways on. I eventually managed it by kneeling and paddling with both arms to keep the board straight... And finally put just the darc drive back in which gave just enough grip to catch waves but not without fighting the board the whole time.

Have never tried FCSII but the futures were pretty simple to put in and out in the water with the hex key up my sleeve. As you say, don't let go of the fins though!

colas
1982 posts
9 Jul 2017 1:48PM
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goodnightirene, yes, finless is awfully difficult. Once you tried it you grow an immense respect to all who master it, notably Dogman in his last video. It is a superb training to refine your paddle stroke and general balance however.

On your box board, you may try the 2 keels in the aft position. It seems counter-intuitive, but on wide tailed boards, having the fins far back can actually be quite fun, as it allows to fully put the foot on the tail (against the leash plug) without the board entering the turn too soon (before having set the rail in the water) nor stalling: this way you can drive powerful tight arcs even in small waves. But it do not release the tail easily. And it may not be possible with future boxes if your rear boxes are not the same as your front boxes...

Tardy
1562 posts
9 Jul 2017 2:32PM
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ahhhh.you like your big side grabs colas....i remember the old surfboards ,MARK richards as twin fin s,he always had big fins ,I found twin fins lacked speed and drive ,but great in small messy surf ,where you where just going with the wave,they are great for doing 360's.

I only like quads now ,medium surf ,7 front 3 or 4 rears .

great to have some 2 's or smaller in the rear sometimes,
to slide around .

I remember KELLY slater saying he used two different size fins on the front ,set up as a thruster
depending if he was riding a right or left ,i think 5,on one side and 6 on the other side ,

give that ago,

colas
1982 posts
9 Jul 2017 3:57PM
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I grew up surfing twin fins, but when I tried the first thrusters, I realized that how much the thruster helped my backside surfing, so never went back. I only replaced the rear fin by a small trailer in weak waves.

On SUP, I got hooked by the positive drive of the C-Drive. Alas, they are not available in the FCSII system, and it is hard to come back to FCS1 once you have experienced the simplicity and the tight fit of FCSII. I guess I found in the big Twin fins the drive I missed from the C-Drives in small waves.

Also big twins complement well the high volume of a SUP compared to a shortboard: I can put my 125 liters 6'10" on the rail in weak waves, and the MR locks the rail in position even if the thick rails does not dig as deep as a shortboard. The result is that in effect, you are now riding on a very narrow and round "hull" (the rail itself), with an impressive decrease in drag (as there is no drift), resulting in a insane boost of speed in turns, as if you were on the frictionless rails of a rollercoaster. With a normal size quad fin set, the slight drift would prevent this "afterburner" effect. But perhaps it is due to my 100kg, lighter riders do not need such big fins, just big (size 7 or 9) front fins...

Tardy
1562 posts
9 Jul 2017 4:29PM
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makes sense .
.9 FINS,yeah thats big .
I Used 5 fronts and 6,5 rears on a 10' sup .worked well.
9,1 IS My biggest board now .

i also play around with fin s ,i just wish my boards had future fin click in s rather than grub screws .
I think they will faze them out soon .as the click ins area a far better system /totally agree with you.

colas
1982 posts
Monday , 17 Jul 2017 12:50AM
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I think I have found my favorite FCSII fin set: I am lucky to have a FCS shop close to where I live, and from time to time I go drooling on all the fins there. I stumbled on a new Al Merrick FCII Twin fin + trailer set that intrigued me as it has a very specific foil, with the main thickness nearly centered (most FCS fins have the thickest part quite forward), upright, and a small tip on a wide base, with a heavily raked trailer.

This seems designed to work at speed (foil, tip), with low latency in turns (outline), and drive (trailer). Of course I bought them, and used them on my boards in designed-for-thruster boxes.
So far I have only had weak waves, but the result is amazing: They seem looser than the MR, and more controllable (less ankle pressure) in turns, and smooth your backside surfing.

They are quite expensive, like all signature FCS fins, but I could see myself having only one set for all my boards, inserting them and removing them is so easy...
I might get a 2nd trailer to test with 2 trailers in a quad setup for bigger conditions.

Kami
1165 posts
Monday , 17 Jul 2017 3:08PM
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Playing around with fins is a good curiosity...but as some of them are wider base than original ones already thought by the board shaper, those wider base fin should be pull inside the rail to be very effective . For exemple of the MR or MRx fin size template, fins plugs would be pull in the rail and pull back to the direction of the tail. You might give a good balance of looseness and drive to your board in that exemple.

See the last post about Twin fin's from Scott of SMICK board, that is an other very good exemple of how to set fins on a board.

colas
1982 posts
Monday , 17 Jul 2017 4:52PM
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Kami said..
but as some of them are wider base than original ones already thought by the board shaper, those wider base fin should be pull inside the rail to be very effective


That's what I thought too, and why I didn't try it before: I though the front boxes on boards designed to be a thruster or a quad would be too forward to work well, especially I didn't like my tests of a Simmons shape with a quad setup. But it seems that these modern twin fins sets are designed to be used on thruster boards, and they work actually quite well.

The good news is that a 63 kg guy bought this set after having seen my review, and they seem to work great also for him on a 7'2" "Tomo" SUP too (the Gong Mob).



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"The FCSII system makes experimenting fins setup a breeze" started by colas