Bringing Technology to Surfing and SUP – FSI

WG2 fin in a 2 + 1 SUP setup, Tybee Island, Georgia

WG2 fin in a 2 + 1 SUP setup, Tybee Island, Georgia

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Fin Sciences is bringing technology to surfing and SUP.  We make surfboard fins and SUP fins that make surfing and paddling more fun. We get rid of excess drag—that translates to easier paddling, better acceleration, more speed, better turning, and longer surf and paddling sessions!  Read more about why.

New small shortboard fins in a thruster setup

New small shortboard fins in a thruster setup

How it all works—the underlying science of our fin design—isn’t so mysterious.  We ignored folklore and traditional surfboard fin designs and used solid, modern science to create fins that are so unique, they’re patented.

WG2 for SUP and longboards

WG2 for SUP and longboards

You’ve probably seen some of the features we use in our fins, like winglets, used elsewhere these days. If you’ve ridden an airplane recently, probably you’ve noticed winglets on the end of the plane’s wings. Winglets are there because they reduce drag—and they reduce it a lot. NASA and Boeing scientists found that winglets reduce wing drag by 20 to 30 percent. Read article. Sailors know boat keels with winglets help boats perform better and win races.

Our fins produce a lot of hold and drive with less surface area, so you get better performance using a smaller fin than you usually use—smaller by about 20 to 30 percent.  A smaller fin means less skin-friction drag, because every square inch of fin you drag around under your board creates drag. Less drag means easier paddling, more speed, and longer sessions. Read more about how to pick the right size SUP fin. Our fins make surfing more fun too—you’ve got more drive through crappy wave sections or conditions, less stalling during cutbacks and bottom turns, and easier acceleration for better wave-catching ability. Easier paddling means longer sessions.

Our fins have a high-aspect ratio to reduce drag and increase lift—hold and drive.  (Read more about lift, drag, hold and drive.)  We use a foil section that inhibits stalling. Our fins also reduce drag with a bulbous forefoot (like on airplane tails) and a cutaway too.

The science of all this is proven. We didn’t just adapt an existing fin design, or paint graphics on the usual dolphin fin and call it new. We started with a blank slate. We studied and researched advanced foil, fin, and wing design, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, fluid dynamics, and physics. Then we tested some of the most advanced foil sections available. We combined a bunch of scientifically proven features in one fin design to make these fins go fast and turn well.  Sure, you can surf with drag.  We used to fly kites way back when with rags attached to the tails to keep the kite up and into the wind.  They flew.  But grandpa’s kites of the 1960s aren’t nearly as maneuverable as modern-day kites.

Dolphin dorsal fins look just the way they did generations ago. Over time, hydrodynamic science has evolved. Why haven’t fins? Why do traditional dolphin fins take the center fin like on a dolphin’s back and stick it on the tail of a surfboard?  Why do we use two dolphin fins—like in a thruster setup, where one is a double foil (symmetrical) and the other is chopped in half, with one asymmetrical fin on each side of the board?

FSI fin-tip flow shown in CFD image

FSI fin-tip flow

SUP racers and SUP race-board companies are increasingly looking to naval architects to design low-drag race paddleboards—to squeeze out even a few seconds of paddling time.  In a half-hour SUP race, even a one percent difference in time paddling could be as little as 18 seconds. Fins with less drag allow paddling fast, winning SUP races, and having fun.

First we created the Wavegrinder fin for longboards and SUPs.  Then we added shortboard fins to our line-up. We’re working on new SUP fins for downwind and straight-line speed, with kelp- and weed-shedding features too. Fin Sciences’ fins are different. We don’t try to be the last word on all this—we want to be part of the discussion. We encourage surfers and paddlers to try FSI fins against their favorite fins, and join the conversation.

We hope you’ll give our fins a try—even though they don’t look like your granddaddy’s fins!  Fin Sciences—dedicated to bringing technology to surfing and SUP.

:)  Please help us get the word out! Please share us with your friends!  :)