Soft tops tend to get a bad rap in many lineups. They often come with the connotation of the clueless novice and the mass-produced mega-storms. However, soft top surfboards can be extremely rippable under the right feet, and they can be versatile and fun in the worst of conditions.
That said, the fin setups on soft top surfboards leave much to be desired.
Many soft top surfboard fin systems have soft plastic fins that are affixed to the board through the deck with plastic, threaded screws – either through the base of the fin or a fin box. A lot of the time, it seems like the fins that come on these boards are only there because that’s what a surfboard is “supposed” to look like.
If you have a soft top surfboard, much of your fin experimentation will likely have to be done through home modifications that mess with the shape and size of your fins.
Catch Surf offers a few different fin designs for their soft tops, which fit into their fin boxes or are screwed through the deck.
You’ve also got some single fin options for your soft top, which are attached to the board either through the existing fin screw holes or by creating new ones.
Fins for soft tops are going to function the way fins do in general.
If you’re looking for more stability, drive, and the ability to dig into carves and turns, try adding some more fin to your board. This could be attained by installing a larger single fin on your soft top.
If you’re looking for a balance, you can try different combinations of larger and smaller fins. This can be achieved through kits or by modifying the fins yourself. You can try trimming down your board’s rail or center fins to get a totally different feel for your board.
If you’re looking for more release and the ability to slide around, the less fin the better. You can try surfing your soft top finless, removing some of the fins, or cutting down some of your fins.
The soft plastic fins on soft top surfboards lend themselves to really easy modification if you’re so inclined. They even get a different feel after they’ve been sitting in the sun a bent or softened up for a while.