Now that I’m a little older, and a smidge wiser (no comments please), I’m really enjoying the process of riding alternate craft. Taking the seriousness out of my preconditioned performance mindset has opened a whole new world of fun and wave riding options. And I’m still in the process of detangling the lines, and of course trying to rid myself of the curse of scoring each wave as I kick out down the line. Life’s not all a contest, I get it. I think.
I’ve been riding two different twin fins over the last year or two. And I’ve never been more excited about surfing head high, fun point break waves in years. One has been a regular twin with stabiliser (swallow tail with winger) and the other has been the twin keel (more traditional plan shape with exaggerated swallow tail). The trick, I’ve found is to not try and surf your twin fin like a thruster. No rocket science in that statement I know, while all the purists all let out a little giggle. Oh, the audacity! But it is an easy trap to fall into. Trying to belt each wave like you would on a ‘normal’ board is counter-intuitive when riding a different fin configuration like this. Especially when you come from a competitive surfing background and you’ve ridden high performance boards for most of your life. Yes, I was a late bloomer and I’m still dealing with it.
The lines, the speed, the change of direction, the subtlety of foot placement and pressure all combine to give you something very special and unique. Something you just don’t get from a regular thruster.
One of the bonuses of being involved with a surf accessories business is using and testing the product. As we prepare to launch RYD in Australia later this year, I’ve been digging through a few of the sample boxes. I found these twin keel fins (pictured) and immediately threw them on the Go Fish twinny I have in the shed.
From the very first wave I rode with them, I felt a little something extra in the board’s performance. The wider base of the keel gives the fin a little more area, and that seemed to add some extra drive and hold. It’s always tricky to find the perfect foot placement through your turns as the twin fins react a little differently. Sometimes you’ll feel a moment of drift through the carve or even off the bottom, which is part of the flair the twin fins bring, but push a little too hard and you’ll spin out... until you find the right foot placement... and the right fin.
This particular keel is made of a honeycomb composite, giving it a unique combination of drive and flex. I don’t profess to be a fin guru, but if you push against these fins near the tip, they flex and spring back quickly. And when that happens on a wave, a happy little reaction is going take place between the water, your fins and the board you’re riding. That reaction is going to put a smile on your face as you feel a little extra twang in your turn. That’s the thing about riding a twin fin, you often come out of turns with more speed than you went into them with.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad surf on a twin fin, they just seem to bring an element to your surfing life that takes out the seriousness, ramps up the fun and leaves you wanting to ride them more. Now I’m not about to paddle out in a button up shirt and grow a beard, but I am going to keep this template near the top of pile, and twin fins are going to be a high priority in my quiver. These fins seem to do the trick across the board, and that’s all a non-fin guru needs to know!
So, what’s the moral of the story? Don’t be scared to try something new. Don’t be a creature of habit like me and miss out on years of alternate board and fin fun. That doesn’t mean I’m turning my back completely on regular equipment, it’s more a horses for courses kinda thing, but we’ll save that story for another day.
Brad Bricknell is a keen, former pro surfer living in Australia. Apart from writing, he heads up RYD Australia and is the RYD Global Brand Director.