SUP Beginner Tips,  Tips

Paddleboard Fins

Should I own more than one fin?

If you’re like me you like to go off the beaten track which typically leads to shallower water, creeks and rivers that have their own challenges. Most of those obstacles are around your board’s fin(s) with shallower water and sneaky rocks or logs waiting to snag your fin and launch you off your board! 

I’ve damaged a fin and worse, taken a dip in cold water (check out my cold weather paddling post)!

I’ve also been that idiot to take off my fin to try and help the situation…felt like I greased my board making it swivel side to side!

Paddle boarder carrying board by water

The Purpose of Fins:

Stand-up paddleboard fins are an essential part of the board. Without fins the board starts to turn radically with every stroke making it pretty pointless!

Fins help you “track” (move forward in a straight line). 

They also affect speed, stability and how easily you can maneuver.

 Fin System:

Not all boards have the same type of fin system

My experience is with 1 removable centre fin via a US Fin Box which gives you flexibility in changing out the different fins to optimize your board and adventures! Especially since the US Fin Box is the most common type of fin boxes.

The US Fin Box is a channel for a single fin to slide in and be secured with a nut and screw (see my photo below).  There are also snap-in fins for US Fin Box. 

Fin Placement:

Fin placement is determined by what type of paddling you’re doing. 

A fin closer to the tail of the bard will track better and be better for touring, racing and flatwater paddling.

Finds pushed forward to the nose will turn more easily which will be better for surfing and white water.

My Fins:

FCS 9” Touring 

River Fin 4.6’ 

  • TPU Plastic
  • Sloped
  • Flexible
  • Doesn’t get banged up as easily
  • Comes in black or yellow
  • Retailers:
    • VAMO (10% with code: PaddleAdventurer) VAMOS also has a 3″ flexible fin
    • Amazon

My take on the 4.6′ River Fin: 

Considering the size (4.6′) I was surprised how well my Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3 2020 tracked.

Of course nowhere near my stiffer and larger touring fin but I wasn’t worried about damaging the fin or getting snagged by a log!

9′ touring fin vs 4.6′ river fin visual size and feel.

4.6′ fin good to go in the US Fin Box on my Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3

  • Very flexible.
  • Size and shape comparison to the larger touring fin.


Buy a bright bag to store your fins! Especially if they are a darker colour and have pieces to them.

I was paranoid about leaving my fin behind as it always camouflaged into the grass. Plus I didn’t want to lose the plate and finger bolt!

A bright bag to store my fin(s) helps keep you organized and help ensure you leave with everything you came to the launch site with! 

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