If you’re interested in fin experimentation, the 5-fin set up is for you.
The 5-fin set up is all about versatility and options, and it’s one of the most common setups you’ll find if you look at new stock boards on the rack at your local surf shop.
What is a 5-Fin Surfboard?
Five fin set ups feature two rail fin boxes and one center fin box – depending on the board, you might fin all Futures or all FCS boxes or Futures/FCS on the side with a single fin box in the middle.
For most boards, the five-fin setup allows you to swap between a thruster and and quad set up. However, other 5-fin boards allow you to experiment with the full range of fin setups – singles, twins, thrusters, quads, and even a quad plus a nubster.
It all depends on the design of the board.
Should you use all 5 fin boxes?
With the exception of the guitar pick/nubby center stabilizer fin option on quad set ups, the 5-fin boards are not designed to be surfed with all 5 fin boxes occupied. Sticking 5 full sized fins in each box is going to create some unnecessary weight and drag.
5-fin sets ups are a great option for hybrid surfboards where you’ll be surfing it in a variety of waves and conditions.
The ability to swap out fin setups makes the board that much more versatile.
Trailer Fins/Guitar Picks
Trailer fins, or guitar pick fins, are designed to add a little more stability to your fin set up.
If your quad or twin setup feels a little too loose for you or you’re looking for more control and “thrust” a trailer fin can help add some more bite.
Adding fins to the bottom of your board adds drag, but it also adds something to generate speed out of turns.
Adding a trailer fin to your current set up will help if you feel your tail sliding out. This can be especially useful in bigger, faster surf.
What fin setups will a trailer fin work for?
Trailer fins are primarily designed to add an option for your 5-fin setup as a quad.
However, you can add a trailer fin to your twin fin for some extra stability too.
If you have a thruster and swap the center fin out for a smaller knub fin, you can actually loosen it up.
You’ve got the option to use a specifically designed trailer fins for these ends, or any small center fin can do the trick. You’ve got to experiment!