Jim of Tropical Blends Surf talks about the different type of fin box that they have on their surfboards and why they use such. He also explains to us the importance of fins and how they affect performance on any watercraft.
He says that you don’t have to necessarily change the board if you’re not satisfied with its performance, and that the fin is a really cheap way to change the board.
Tropical Blends Surf puts a huge emphasis on fins and has on a display a variety from different manufacturers.
Man: You mentioned before about the fins, there’s a specific fin for…?
Tropical Blends: That’s a really good question. We had options when we had these boards built and I actually listened to the manufacturer and there was quite a bit of back and forth about it. The first batch of boards I got, I tried a regular surfboard fin in it and I found that the regular surfboard fin is not quite deep enough for this box. So if we just taker any fin of the rack here and we go to put it in the box, you’re going to see that it actually goes down below where it is supposed to. It does not sit in this box properly. That kind of threw me off when I saw it because I was really concerned that most surfers are going to have to use there surfboard fins on this board. So I went right back to the manufacturer and I asked what’s the scoop here. And take a pause for a second and I’ll show you the reason here…
Tropical Blends: …now this is a standard surfboard box. This is the way they are made and if you look at it, it’s actually two pieces. The frame goes around the edge here and you actually got a bottom – you can see how it is welded on to the plastic. It’s a plastic weld. So this bottom piece is actually welded on to the sides here. Now when you put a fin in this, and you lock this down in to a surface, right? It wants to work this way, right? It you got this all down, the place where you’re going to have the most potential for a problem is right along this seam. What we found was that the seam splits and you actually get water in to this board and you don’t even realize that it’s happening and then we start to see the lamination around here and what’s the cause. The cause is the box. So basically, what the manufacturer convinced me of is that we use a windsurfing box, which is about an 1/8 of inch deeper than this. It’s actually manufactured as one piece. It’s one piece. Based on having a much larger fin in this board and having more stress on side to side, we actually decided that the windsurfing box would allow us to have fewer problems in the long run. Now what we did for that is we had custom fins made and windsurfers have a huge variety of fins to choose from as well. But we do have custom fins for these boards. The trade off was, for us, you either get a warranty with this box or you don’t get a warranty with this box. I go with the warranty every time.
Tropical Blends: At first I was a little put off by this, a little bit confused. But once I actually looked at it and the manufacturer came and explained it to me, it makes good logical sense. This is an area where you need really solid components.
Man: I think they have had problems with boxes on some of the epoxy, regular surfboards too.
Tropical Blends: I think there’s no doubt in that. No doubt. That’s why I said you’ll start seeing effects of water leakage that doesn’t show up necessarily right next to the fin. It could be right here somewhere that you’re seeing a delamination from the water getting under, heating up, causing gas.
Man: And the foam in these and other epoxy board are especially absorbant too.
Tropical Blends: This particular material, I want to say it’s a closed-cell EPS. It should not… the water will get in but it won’t be absorbed by the cells. It actually moves between the cells and the airspace that’s there. So you can drain it out and it doesn’t mold and cause all kinds of problems. But the bottom line is let’s keep the water out in the first place. So like I said, you can see quite a bit more volume in this board as far as thickness but the rail again you got a very hard edge along the rail of this board. You can see that edge is very strong. And actually the rail is relatively turned down and kind of hard all the way along. You get a lot of more serious edge, more maneuverability based out of this, as a result of this edge.
Man: You use windsurfing fins, you can do that.
Tropical Blends: Yeah, but it’s got to be the old school ones because nowadays they make these ones that are very pointy and long and kind of racing fins. They do have other ones as well but like I said we have manufactured our own. You see that this box is a little bit deeper. This is called the tang. You compare these two, you can see that one is a just a hair more. About an 1/8 of an inch actually. So this is just a little deeper. So then when you put this in the box, it actually fits in the box where it is supposed to be. So that’s something that, I don’t know if everyone has thought of, but I know that this particular manufacturer has had his challenges and learned this quite a while ago, that we really need to stay away from this style of box. I’m going to ask him to send you one of these so we can have one to actually hold in our hands.
Man: How about the other boards? Do they have this type of box?
Tropical Blends: All the boards that we manufacturer, all the ones that come out of our manufacturing facility.
Man: Oh this is the same manufacturer? All of these, just different shapers, the same manufacturers?
Tropical Blends: Exactly, just like the others guys will do where we have a multitude of… basically a stable of shapers and designers and one manufacturer that manufactures the different lines.
Man: Is there any difference in the two side fins or they’re the same as a regular surfboard?
Tropical Blends: They’re very similar to a regular surfboard, yeah.
Man: Is this optional or…?
You know it’s optional. With that particular board, the 10’0” I would suggest riding the side fins together with the center fin. But like the 10’8” or any of these others, you can ride it as a single fin and it some cases, depending on the individual, it actually feels better to ride it as a single fin. We talk about old school and new school and we got sort of the same conversation going there. It’s a matter of how it feels to you, you’re the end user right.
Man: Many boys prefer the single fin.
Tropical Blends: Yeah, so you put a single fin on it, it feels normal to you. With that side, you don’t have to have it there.
Tropical Blends Surf Stand Up Paddle Board Fin Talk Video - Part 1 [7:16m]: Download