[h=2]CUSTOM, SEMI-CUSTOM OR GENERIC PRODUCTION?[/h]
Welcome to the 3rd installment on our series on fin technology and theory, aimed at helping you make good choices about the right fins for you.
This final week's focus is on technology and quality - where the true cost of accessing high performance foils might surprise you …
ARE CUSTOM FINS BETTER/FASTER?
They can be for Pros who eventually find the magic shapes they like and need out of massive stacks of free fins - well, free if they're lucky, some custom producers charge over €1000 a pop and don't give any away to anyone.
Even then, these foils are mostly rider style, board type, sail type and water-state-dedicated.
E.g., for PWA-level, downwind slalom racing very specialized fins are used. (Most 'normal' riders largely reach across the wind.) These type of fins are critical on the amount of flex, twist, profile, outline and rake angle they have.
In short, they're highly specialized and for sailing overpowered, far off the wind at a very high skill level - and even then they need to match a specific board + sail + rider weight + conditions combo.
For wave use production fins are widespread and both G10 and the new trend in plastic fins can be generally trusted for their consistency, yet the methods of influencing that control/performance are limited as tweaks have to be made to the whole profile, not just sections of the layup or mold.
Reproduction of custom fins is very difficult, so even a 'magic' fin is hard to replicate. The simple facts are that, for 90% of people - quality mass production fins are much more reliable and consistent in performance.
TRUE OR FALSE: HIGH QUALITY FINS ARE EXPENSIVE?
Consider that your board and rig (value €3000+) are the most expensive piece of equipment compared to the Fin (€150), then the fin is the ultimate bottleneck as it's the turbo, drive train and tires of your board (chassis) and sail (engine) combination. Why compromise on early planing, top-end control, speed and windrange by not having the best fin for your board and sail combination?
The Good News: Select has a few fin lines with very good performance for a very reasonable price. For general Freeride and Freerace use the Select S1 Slam 'semi custom' is an excellent choice and rivals . many custom fins but with added peace-of-mind terms of consistent perfromance output.
For Speed and high-wind sailing the HotRod is both proven and super value-for-money.
Unique flex distribution means that Select fins levels of twist and flex are progressive - not just focused at the tip – and reduce the need for the levels of lift that much thicker foils produce.
Such levels of control over the levels of stiffness/flex are only possible because Select can specify fiber orientation and other material qualities can be consistently specified internally, unlike G10 or other methods that only allow external influences over behaviour through changes to overall profile or outline alone.
Select fins’ process eliminates compromises on optimal profiles.
• Reduced Drag
• Extra Top-End Speed
• Added Control On All Points of Sailing
• Precise Flex Control for Stiffer (Added Lift) Profiles from Thinner Foil Shape
Thanks for reading the series - happy sailing!