As you may recall I am testing the new curved fins from AU Fins on my paddle board. In my first paddle surf session with the fins I found the fins to be fast and grippy. The extra side bite was a nice surprise considering the hollow nature of the waves here.
A concern I had was the grippy feel of the tail. All said, I was looking forward to more time on the water to confirm and/or validate the performance of the fins.
For day 2 of testing conditions were bigger. We had solid shoulder high sets. Water was still a little bumpy with cross swell. Waves were the typical semi hollow beach break. I went out again on the NAISH Mad Dog (8’6” x 29”) SUP.
One of the things I noticed on day 1 was how the fins seemed to provide more side bite. Now I can say without a doubt this is the case. I felt confident putting my board anywhere on the face of the wave. This is such a huge advantage on fast, hollow waves for a couple reasons.
First in these conditions it is often critical to make tight and fast bottom turns. With the width of a paddle board this can be challenging as it is easy to break the tail loose right in the middle of the turn. Second, being able to ride high on the face puts you in a position to generate the speed necessary to make the close out type sections we deal with paddle surfing beach break.
In looking at the fins from above it is clear why (see picture below). The fins clearly extend outside of the rail of the paddle board. Overall, I really like this feature of the fins. I again found the speed of the fins good but nothing significantly more than my usual quad set up. Combined, the side bite and speed make these fins great for a paddle board in Florida conditions.
As for the grippy feeling, I still felt that there was some sluggishness as I tried to make my turns off the top of the wave. It almost felt like I had to use more force (push harder than normal with my legs) to rotate the board. By no means is this grip a show stopper for me.
Check out the picture below. I thought the water spraying off the fin looked peculiar as I initiated my bottom turn going left.
The forecast is calling for off shore winds which hopefully gives me the opportunity to see how the fins perform in cleaner waves (no cross swell, wind chop). Since I like the speed and side bite so much I may try smaller rear fins. Perhaps this will minimize the grippy feeling and loosen the tail up a bit. I will also give the fins a go on my NAISH Nalu Carbon Pro (10' x 28.5") SUP.
More to come...