Summary of types and characteristics of paddle fins
The size and shape of the tail fin can affect the cruise, speed, stability and steering of the paddle. Those who play with the paddle a lot may notice these nuances. Trying to fine-tune the paddle by changing the tail fin may make you different performances in paddleboarding. Among them, the following points are what you need to pay attention to:
1. The shape of the rudder
There are many different shapes of caudal fins on the market, but there are generally three common ones:
1. the swept back
The advantage is that the swept fin makes it easier to draw a straight line by moving the center of gravity of the fin back, and because the tail fin has a larger surface area, it also makes the paddle more laterally stable, which belongs to the long-distance fin.
The downside is that it will be a pain if the rower wants to make quick turns, it won't be the fastest tail fin due to its size and more drag.
Suitable Type: Long Cruise/Line Racing Board
The upright caudal fin is the opposite of the swept-back caudal fin, with most of its area remaining above the caudal fin. It will create less drag and be faster in water due to its smaller area.
The advantage is that this fin shape is more suitable for paddlers who want to paddle and turn quickly.
The disadvantage is that it is not suitable for walking in a straight line.
Applicable type: racing board
3. the general all-round fin
This is the most common type of tail fin, probably used by 80% of paddles. It combines the swept type and the upright type with each other, providing the best choice of two types of fins, and it can be regarded as an all-round fin.
The advantage is that the shape of the tail fin is suitable for use in surfing and generally calm water, especially for beginners.
The downside is that it doesn't work with more performance class expert racing paddles.
FIT TYPE: A full range of paddleboards are available from cruising to surfing.
In short, in one sentence:
A larger tail fin will improve tracking and stability;
Smaller tail fins will improve speed and steering maneuverability.
The position of the caudal fin
In many cases, we will find that the size of the caudal fin slot may be much longer than that of the caudal fin. This is because different positions of the caudal fin in the caudal fin slot will have different effects and bring different experiences. Then we are installing the caudal fin. When, where should the caudal fin be placed in the caudal fin groove?
1. The tail fin is at the head of the board
Better for: Surfing
The advantage is: the tail fin is close to the head of the board, which will make your board more flexible and responsive, making it easy to catch waves. Therefore, it is recommended to use this type of installation while surfing. But the disadvantage of this method is also obvious, that is, it is not very good to walk in a straight line, and the board is easy to drift sideways.
2. The tail fin is at the tail of the board
Better for: Long cruising paddling
The tail fin is close to the tail of the board to increase the stability and speed of the board, but it is just the opposite of being installed at the head of the board. This installation method is more suitable for walking in a straight line, so it is often used in straight-line racing or long-term paddle cruises. But that means it turns slower, and if you need to paddle long distances and want to maximize your cruising speed, you can mount the tail fin at the end of the deck.
The disadvantage is: it is more suitable for walking in a straight line, the steering takes a little effort, and if you want to turn faster, you need your body center of gravity to step back to achieve the effect of fast turning.
3. The caudal fin is located in the middle of the slot
Better for: Any situation that requires compatibility with cruise time and flexibility
This is the most common installation method and the most versatile way to use it. It is compatible with stability and speed. If you are not sure which installation effect you need, it is recommended to install it in the middle.
The number of caudal fins
1. Single caudal fin
It has only one middle caudal fin and is dominated by a large caudal fin, which is usually used for paddling in flat or still water. While reducing the number of tail fins, it perfectly reduces drag and adds extra speed. But because there is only one tail fin, the stability is not very good, which means that the rower needs to have a better balance.
2.2+1 tail fin
It is a large central caudal fin, plus two smaller lateral caudal fins. Compared to a single fin, a 2+1 fin has a clear advantage in overall stability, but increases drag and reduces speed.
3.4+1 tail fin
It is a large central caudal fin, plus four smaller lateral caudal fins. The middle tail fin is used to stabilize the board and control how the water moves under the tail of the board, and the side fins are used to guide the water and prevent your surfboard from sliding sideways. More suitable for advanced paddlers looking for a good balance of stability, speed and maneuverability, may be slightly difficult for beginners.
4. Other factors
1. Tail fin weight
Generally, the stiffer the tail fin, the more power, driving force and speed it will produce, which is one of the main reasons why carbon fiber tail fins are used as premium high-end tail fins.
2. Profile and Fin Thickness
Thicker fins are slower than thin fins, however thin fins will have a smaller profile and likely not be as rigid as thicker fins, which is why many thinner fins are made of carbon fiber of.
3. Tail fin size (total surface area)
The total surface area of the tail fin has a large effect on cruise, tracking, stability, steering and speed.
A tail fin with a large surface area keeps the tail from sliding sideways with each stroke, keeping the paddle in a straight line. Therefore, the larger the tail fin, the better the lateral stability.
But at the same time, the greater the surface area, the greater the drag when turning. As a result, it steers more slowly and with more effort.
Likewise, less surface area makes steering easier, but reduces stability, especially in wave conditions. At the same time, the smaller tail fin has less resistance, making it faster and easier to row in the water.
In short, in one sentence:
Large fins are slower but more stable;
Finlets are faster but unstable.