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With more and more surfboards coming out with five fins, there is a dilemma for surfers who are looking to buy a new board. “Which should I buy? Thruster or the quadboard?” unfortunately, there is no solid answer to this question. Both are good. It all comes down to what you want to achieve with your board. In this piece, I will tell you why you should buy a quad. The surfboard fins play a critical part in the performance and handling of your board. From experience, fins account for more than a third of your board’s performance. Changing your fin configuration will literally change the performance of your board.
In the previous article, Why ride a shortboard? here are five top reasons, we touched on the science of fins lightly and so today we will expound more. The quadboard is like a middle ground between the thruster and the twin fish. It gives you more line speed while reducing the drag added by the centre fin in the case of a thruster. In place of the drag, you get better manoeuvrability that you would normally get with the twin fin surfboard.
After reading Fin setup and Sizes by Redzsurboard, I realized that the magic is all in the setup of fins. If we take the rear fins for example, the closer they get and the further back they move, the more your board rides like a thruster. The further apart they get and the closer they move to the front, the more your board rides like a twin.
Sample fin setup on a quadboard
Why you should really consider a quad surfboard
The quadboard compensates for the misgivings of the thruster and the twin fins. Surfing is about speed and control. This precisely why the quadboard is ideal. They can give you the balance of both. You can take to the hollow, heavier waves and also the gutless smaller waves depending on your fin placement on a quad surfboard.
On a day when the waves are small and gutless, having your quad surfboard with your rear fins closer to the rail and further up will lead to a loosening up board. This will give you slightly quicker manoeuvres not to mention easier sliding the rail around. On top of great handling, you will get more speed through the flats given that there is no centre fin to bring drag. During days when the waves are hollow and huge, going out the your quad surfboard with rear fins pushed back and closer to the rail gives you extra speed and better hold in the face of a wave. This means you get to take higher lines on extortionate waves, enjoying the additional hold of two fins on the rail.
Again, you gain more speed due to the lack of a centre fin to add drag. This will be useful when riding barrelling waves that don’t offer much turning room.
Incredible shot of a pinterest user riding a quadboard
Also worth noting is that quad surfboards are a little bit quicker off the gate than thrusters. With quads, as soon you are on your feet, they will get you instant down-the-line speed and thus you don’t have to keep paddling to drive your board.
Quad surfboard offers more speed when compared to thrusters. The elephant in the room is, thus, “can you handle the extra speed?” if you cannot handle the speed, you will find yourself enjoying only one turn in before you wipe out in disgrace. When this happens in front of your friends, you better have some incredible surfboard color schemes for the cameras!