Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Multi-Fin boards - Will we see any around here?

So, any windsurfer who picks up a magazine or even glances at a computer screen will have noticed that multi-fin boards are everywhere (unless perhaps your brain is broken). Where as 3 years ago there were zero companies marketing multi-fin boards (aside from perhaps a few custom manufacturers and HiFly), now there are probably zero companies WITHOUT a multi-fin board in their production line-up. In this most recent wave/craze for multi-fin boards, it appears twins came first, followed rapidly by quads and perhaps thrusters and all sorts of variants. Certainly proud to say QUATRO was at the forefront of this development! I am sure there are different perspectives how and who led this recent industry push to multi-fins, and I am no expert... nor do I care to be.

I love this photo by the way:

Anyway, I am curious what Great Lakes and non-ocean sailors think of these boards. Very curious to see if they will start popping up here and there. What do you think? Do they have a place in our quivers or are they just too specialized for us to get our money's worth?

In most cases, I reckon it will be the lads who maintain recent gear who would be most intrigued and most tempted. In one regard, those individuals are the least likely to feel daunted by the risk, since they typically turn over their equipment every 1-3yrs. On the other hand, they gotta be worried a bit about re-sale given the questionable applicability to real-world/non-ocean conditions and how long this multi-fin trend will last. It may not be so easy to sell a multi-fin board, because of the conditions we sail for starters, but also due to changes in trends in the industry. I am in this category, for now.... Tempted, but very dubious... and my gear turn-over rate is dropping fast with these children who need to be fed.

On another note, Tabou has been producing a twin-fin freestyle line called the Twister. In one sense, one can certainly understand that in the drive to make a board work with the smallest fin possible (for freestyle trickery), the notion of twin-fin would allow those fins to be that much smaller (albeit with two of them). Does anyone have any experience with twin-fin freestyle boards? How do they compare?

Back to the wave boards. As I say, I am tempted. Recent days in quality waves at Sandbanks certainly have me pondering. One thing for sure, I wouldn't even glance at any multi-fin board unless, at minimum, it would perform reasonably well in on-shore and straight-line high-wind bump. Err, well, OK - I would probably glance at it, drool, then look away to something else.

For interest, just did a test of ~85L waveboards. Check out the article here. Gotta hand it to Boardseeker, they do some pretty good testing so far as I can tell.

The stick that appears to come out with top marks from the test is the Goya Quad, for quite a wide variety of user abilities and wave conditions. Its main weakness, unfortunately - straight-lining and B&J. Next in line, perhaps the Quatro Tempo - pretty damn good in all wave conditions, but also shining in top-end and B&J amongst the tested board. Maybe that is just my interpretation of the results, but hey, of course I am biased. Next in line, the JP Thruster.

So, testing indicates that maybe, just maybe, multi-fin boards can also work for high-wind B&J, admittedly probably the biggest use of smaller waveboards in this neck of the woods.

What do you think?

Hey there! If you like what you read, please support my interest in blogging by posting a comment or clicking links!


Catapulting Aaron said...


I've been fortunate enough to ride a bunch of multifin boards the last couple years. There are some that would work in flattish water, and others I would avoid. I can't provide specific detail since I'm sworn to secrecy for now, but if you want to shoot me an email I can let you know my thoughts about the various boards I've ridden.


drzone said...

Dan (from Windsurf Canada) was on a twin last week at Sherkston and was ripping some really nice snappy turns (and some longer ones too).
My brother has the Tabou twin freestyle, I sail it over the summer, equipped with 14cm fins, and it's an amazingly slippery feel in a straight line (feels like there is no fin underfoot). It slides out really easily and slide back in line just as easy. I can't comment on freestyle/wave riding since it was all bump and jump I was doing on it.
I agree with you that's one extra set of fin to buy and new gear to deal with. I have enough to learn with just the single fin for now !

Brian S said...

Some of us Great Lakes surfers, here in MI, have discussed these boards and would like to try them, but we've got weeds! The weed-wave fins don't work in Lake St.Clair at all. That alone has kept some of us from even trying them.

Fish said...

Thanks for the comments guys!! I appreciate the interest!

I imagine Aaron we'll see some of your input when the WSmag board test comes out?

Fathom - Yeah, the 2 or 4 fins is definitely worth some consideration as well. One would want to be damn careful with no ground-outs - you scape and damage one fin, you can't just sand down the one fin. You'd start sailing in circles. ;)

Brian - I guess that is another shortcoming - lack of versatility in the fin setup...

Nord_Roi said...

I've seen the RRD Freestyle Twin also, look sweet as all RRD.

cnckeith said...

You could probably write a 10 page article on the subject! here is my opinion. Having windsurfed for over 20 years now.. i have seen many lousy ideas come and go.. some of which i think contributed to the frustration level of people who bought into them..(remember cut away sails? fore fins? , Z booms? )So, i am very skeptical when a "new" fad busts on the scene. My personal multifin experience is limited to riding a few modern boards.. twins (mistral), tris (exocet), and quads(custom mark nelson) in ocean conditions.. and i'm old enough to have ridden a few of the Twinzer custom boards that were all the rage in the early 90's. And even a multi fin Gorge animal of the same time period. My somewhat of a cope-out answer is the multifin boards do have their place. In the right hands in the right conditions they allow the rider to do amazing things not possible with a single fin board. But having said that i believe that 90% of us aren't that person and don't sail in those type of conditions. A good single fin board excels in a wide variety of conditions providing a good level of performance when compared to a multifin board and even surpasses the multifin setup in some areas such as difficult light offshore wind combined with current on the inside. If you feel like you are in a rut and are considering buying a quad,twin,or tri... try buying a new CNC foiled fin (sized correctly for your board and sail) for your single fin board you may be surprised at the difference a fin can make. and you might save yourself some $ and frustration.

Fish said...

cnckeith - I totally agree with you. What we see here is marketing/consumerism doing its thing. We see something new and either want it or want to try it and try to find a reasonable justification for needing it.

I would love to at least try one. I can say with certainty that our single fins are fine, but my curiosity has been sparked! I think that can be said for a lot of people. Too bad we couldn't get a demo twin or quad out here.

Llewellyn said...

I've got over 20 years of windsurfing under my belt, from longboard racing up to world championship level to wave sailing. I spent a number of years sailing in Cape Town and now live in England where I sail a mix of freestyle, bump n jump and wave sailing, so a really mixed bag.

Earlier this year I bought my first freestyle board and I loved it. I then bought the new Quatro Tempo as my main wave board. I was blown away at just how well it sailed, how much more fun it was than a single fin, how easy it was to jump and how amazingly it rode. I have used it for jumping, riding and just messing about on, and in every way it is as good, or better than a single fin board!

Try one, especially the Tempo. It's the best way to know. For me, there is NO going back and I am about to get a smaller one for windier conditions! If you like the feeling of riding a freestyle board, you will enjoy the feeling of a twin fin, even if you don't have proper waves.

Fish said...

A great little video by Peter Hart about average sailors testing the Starboard Quad in flatwater. Interesting!