Testing of the new curved fins from AU Fins on my paddle board has continued into day 3. Based on my paddle surf sessions with the fins thus far I found the fins to be fast with extra side bite. My only concern has been a possible sluggish feeling and concerns pivoting my paddle board on tighter turns. On day 3 my objective was to flush out the sluggishness and try the fins on a bigger board - my NAISH Nalu Carbon Pro SUP.
For day 3 of testing conditions were clean and consistently in the stomach to chest range. Waves were slightly less hollow than our usual beach break. With offshore winds the waves were so good I ended up doing two sessions on day 3.
In the first session I started on the NAISH Mad Dog SUP. I changed the set up by putting the AU fins in the front and the NAISH S 3.5 fins in the back. The S 3.5 is an inch smaller than the AU rear fins. I wanted to see if this helped the board pivot. I thought it would also help tell me if the cause of the sluggish turning was the curved fins or the bigger rear fins. In the end the turning did not seem to improve with smaller rear fins. The culprit appears to be the curved front fins or perhaps I should go even smaller with the rear fins.
Don’t get me wrong. The turning issue is not huge but noticeable. I even switched to my Starboard Carbon Pro (8’5” x 29”) with a quad set up for a couple waves for a quick comparison. To my surprise I did not notice a big difference in speed or turning.
For the second half of the first session and the entire second session I used my NAISH Nalu. I started with the AU fins on the front and kept the NAISH S 3.5 fins in the back. I never changed this setup. I had the speed, side bite and turning I needed in these conditions.
For some reason I like the AU fins on my longer board (10.0’) as compared to the shorter NAISH Mad Dog (8'6"). I had a blast in the screamer sections of the waves as they hollowed out near the shore. The side bite and speed made this possible.
I think it is easy to start over thinking the performance impact of a fin setup. By now my surfing may even have adapted to the AU fins. My sense is that my first impressions were probably the most accurate assessment of the AU fins. That said, my final assessment is as follows:
(1) The speed is there but not significantly more than a normal quad fin set up
(2) The extra side bite is the big performance feature I like the most
(3) Your paddle board may not pivot as tightly as it would with a traditional quad fin setup, so be prepared to go with smaller rear fins
Last, I am going to keep the AU curved fins on my NAISH Nalu Carbon Pro for the side bite and use the NAISH S 3.5 fins in the rear to keep the tail loose. This paddle board and fin combination felt perfect for our east coast surf conditions.
Thanks for reading.