A great SUP fin choice for high performance stand up paddle surfing.
The 8.5" Ezi Trim is a great SUP fin choice for high performance stand up paddle surfing. The depth of the fin noticeably improves nose riding on stand up paddle boards while its reduced area gives the board more maneuverability and greater speed. The notch towards the top of the SUP fin improves the flex characteristics in the tip, which provides more forgiveness in tight arc turns.
Longboard Fin Configuration / Single SUP Fin Configuration
The single longboard fin configuration was the original fin configuration for surfing back in the day. Before this, they actually used boards without any fins, which had little control at all of course. Youd find people dragging a toe for steering. Scary! While youll rarely see a single fin configuration on smaller surfboards today, a good number of longboarders use a single fin configuration (which is why its termed a longboard fin configuration). A lot of basic SUPs come with a single fin configuration.
In a single SUP fin configuration, the fin acts as a single, central pivot point. The longer (from front to back) and the deeper the single fin, the more drag but also (in general) the more control youll have. If you have a really wide, deep fin, it can start to inhibit turning, which is great for flat water paddling but not so ideal for performance standup paddle surfing. The more upright the fin is the tighter the turning radius you will have when stand up paddle surfing. The more raked the fin (the more angled/arched back), the more control you will have at high speeds.
About SUP Fin Selection
Whether you stand up paddle board on flat water exclusively, or stand up paddle surf exclusively or somewhere between the two, its a good idea to give some thought as to how SUP fins might be able to improve your performance and enjoyment. In flat water SUP paddling, the most important thing paddlers are looking for is better tracking and stability. If you dont think your SUP fin choice matters, try removing the fins some time and see how miserable the experience becomes. On the other extreme spectrum of the sport in standup paddle surfing, SUP fin choice is perhaps even more important as paddlers are looking to improve speed down the line, the feel and feedback thru your turning arc, rail-to-rail transitions, stability in turbulence, and even SUP nose riding. With removable SUP fins, you can change your set-up for different uses such as flat water paddling one day, SUP surfing the next, and SUP downwinding the day after.
When it comes to SUP surfing, there are a dizzying array of SUP fin configurations to choose from including a longboard single fin set-up, a classic 2 + 1 SUP fin set-up, a thruster fin set-up, a twin fin set-up, or a quad fin set-up. Not all boards allow the flexibility for multiple fin set-up configurations (high-end standup paddle surfing boards typically do), so your choices might be limited in some cases.
The bad news is that many new SUP boards (especially in the lower-end of the market) come with pretty basic low-performance fins just thrown in as an afterthought. Its worthwhile considering an SUP fin upgrade. Often times with one small change, you can dramatically affect the performance of your stand up paddle board.
FCS, which is an acronym for Fin Control System, is the pioneering company in removable fin systems. Before the 1990s, most surfboard fins were an inseparable component of a surfboard. The fins were glassed right to the board. There were removable fins as far back as the 1960s, but it wasnt that common and there was no standardization so things werent really interchangeable. So to a larger degree, whoever was manufacturing the board was also making the decision about fin configuration and fin selection. FCS came along in the early 1990s and separated these three pieces by creating and popularizing a standardized FCS fin box. Suddenly board manufacturing and fin choice and fin configuration selection were largely separated.
FCSs standardization of fin boxes made removable fins commonplace. This changed a number of things. First off, it allowed for massive advances in fin design and performance as companies were tinkering with new materials and various designs. Secondly, it allowed surfers to use one surfboard (the control factor in this experimentation) and change their fin configuration to find out what they liked best. They could even use different configurations for different conditions. Lastly, it made surfboards far easier to transport with the fins removed, which was no trivial event. Manufacturers and retailers were able to store and transport boards much easier, and with much less risk of breakage.
In large part due to FCS, the variety of fins available is almost overwhelming and surfing performance has made great strides. The market for SUP fins is really just in its infancy (as R&D production cycles can be years in the fin industry), but be sure that FCS fins will be at or near the forefront of what is to come in the advance of SUP fin design.