Paddle Board Fins and When to Use Them

Paddle Board Fins and When to Use Them

If you are beginning to research paddle boards or even just purchased your first one, you may wonder about the black dolphin fin-shaped piece of plastic on the bottom of the board. Well, that is called a paddle board fin. If you are anything like me, you are or were, probably wondering, how important is having a fin. So stay tuned because in this post I'm going to answer the questions of, what is a fin, what is the purpose of a fin, and do you really need to attach it each time you said out on a paddling adventure?

What is the Purpose of Paddle Board Fins?

Fins play an important role in the sport of paddleboarding. They help to stabilize the board. Simply put, fins help you with two things - the maneuverability and tracking of your inflatable SUP. The number of fins, their size, and the shape of fins on a board can vary. For example, some SUPs have one large fin in the center of the board, like our boards from PopBoard Co., while others have two smaller fins on either side of the board. Wondering whether or not Size Matters, it does. The size and shape of the fins also affect the maneuverability and tracking of your paddle board. Most boards will come with 8 to 9-inch length or depth, fin. My preference is to have a 10-inch in length or depth, fin. Still being somewhat new to paddleboarding, I prefer more stability rather than maneuverability at this point.

What is paddle board maneuverability?

Paddle board maneuverability refers to the ease with which a board can be turned. The fin helps with the turning of the SUP by providing lift and stability to the back of the board. Simply put, the fin helps you with turning. When you want to turn, put your paddle into the water on one side of the board and lean your body weight into the turn. The fin helps with turning by giving you more control over the board. In rougher water, you can use the fin to have more control over your turns and avoid hitting any obstacles in your way.

What is paddle board tracking?

Paddle board tracking is the ability of a board to move in a straight line. The fin helps with the tracking of the paddle board by providing lift and stability to the front of the board.

When should you use paddle board fins?

Now that we know what fins are and what they do let's talk about when you should use them. In general, you should use your paddle board at all times, regardless of how skilled or experienced you are at paddle boarding. Some people will make the decision to go without in order to save time when setting up their inflatable paddle board. But don't be in a hurry to hit the water. This is a mistake I made myself when I first started board. I thought it would be a good idea or at least it wouldn't hurt me too much if I didn't use a paddle board fin since I was going to be in relatively shallow and calm waters.

What I found, on the other hand, was that it made my paddle boarding experience much more frustrating. While the board's fin adds to maneuverability it was the tracking that was most important to me. And if you recall from the definition above, tracking is the ability to keep the board on a straight line. Without the fin attached to the board, I found the back end of the board to be fishtailing to much. I was just like a car fishtailing on a wet surface. I tried paddle boarding twice without the fin and I've never attempted it since.

Your next great adventure awaits you!

As a general rule, you should always have your board's fin attached while participating in the sport. Fins give you better control over the board and help with both maneuverability and tracking. If you are new to paddle boarding, I would recommend using a fin at all times in order to get the most out of your experience. And even if you are an experienced paddle boarder, I would still recommend using a fin in order to have the best possible experience. Thanks for reading and I hope this article helped to answer some of your questions about fins. Happy paddling!

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