Cheap Surfboard Fins: Good Deal or Big No-No?

If you’re looking to save some money on surfboard fins, you’ve got 2 main options:

  • Buy cheap new fins.
  • Buy used fins from more reputable fin brands.

What’s the better choice? That depends.

Read on to get some more guidance on the matter.

The Truth about Cheap Surfboard Fins

There are so many cheap surf brands out there. You can find low costs on everything from leashes to traction pads to bags to wetsuits, and of course, fins. That’s what we’re here for.

Most of the cheap surf brands have a similar marketing message when they describe the brand. Usually something along the lines of:

  • We cut out the middleman.
  • We don’t do sponsorships.
  • We don’t focus on marketing.
  • We want to bring you surf gear at the lowest cost.

While this may be technically true, what all of this really means is that their fins are manufactured in factories in China or Taiwan for really, really cheap.

Don’t believe me? Head over to alibaba or aliexpress and search for surf fins. You are bound to find 1:1 matches of all the cheap brands mentioned above for a few bucks per set.

So what does this all mean? It all this necessarily a bad thing?

No, not necessarily. Some of the factories producing these fins are actually pretty skilled. Others, not so much.

And at the same time, some of the more well-known fin manufactures can make some crappy fins too.

For a lot of surfers, especially beginners, cheap fins are going to work just fine.

Common Issues with Cheap Surf Fins

However, you should know what you’re getting into when you buy a set of cheap surfboard fins. Some common issues include:

  • Too much flex due to poor construction methods or materials. Many cheap fins are made of plastic/fiberglass composite that typically makes for a pretty crummy fin in terms of responsiveness.
  • Improper fit in the fin box.
  • Weak bases and broken fins.

If your cheap fins don’t fit quite right, it’s not a deal breaker:

  • If the base is too big, you can sand it down.
  • If the base is too loose, you can add a carboard or paper shim.

For a number of reasons, the quality and durability of cheap surfboard fins is often hit or miss.

Do your surfboard fins make a difference?

The short answer, yes.

Different fins make a difference as to how your surfboard performs and feel underfoot.

However, if you’re just getting started or are still honing your skills, you’re probably not going to notice.

Focus on the fundamentals and worry about tweaking your fins as you get better.

When does it make sense to buy cheap surfboard fins?

Buying cheap fins make sense in a number of scenarios, including:

  • You need a back up set of fins that you can use in a pinch.
  • You’re still learning how to surf.
  • You’re looking for a SUP fin for just cruising around.
  • You need a soft fin to use with kids.

Cheap Fin Brands: What are your Options?

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Some of the most popular brands for cheap surfboard fins include:

The quality of cheap surf fins is often hit or miss. We’ve got some tips below to help you determine if they’re right for you.

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