Do I Need A Fin On My Paddleboard?

Do I Need A Fin On My Paddleboard?

No matter what paddleboard you buy, borrow, or rent, you’ll notice that they all have a slot for a fin to go. But what is the point of it? And why do some boards have more than others? In this article we will explain a few bits about the fin, and why it is important.

a large fin and two small ones on a board

What does a fin do?

Having a fin in the water helps you to keep the paddleboard to track in a straight line. Making it slower to turn means you’ll find paddling forwards a lot easier. If you didn’t have a fin then you may find that with each paddle stroke, you begin to spin around. The improved tracking makes life a lot easier, and far more enjoyable.

How many fins do I need?

This really depends on what you are doing on your paddleboard. If you are having a gentle cruise around the local lake or canal, then just a single fin at the middle of the back of the board is perfect. If you are taking to the surf or whitewater, then a set of smaller fins at either side of the back of the board. Whether its 3 or 4 fins, and what size they are depends on what you want to get out of them. Take the time to have a think through your paddling plans and make sure you get your board set up right.

single fin that is shorter on a paddleboard

How big should the fin be?

Generally speaking, the larger the surface area the more stability the fin will provide. As the SUP rocks side to side the fin has to push through the water sideways. So the larger the surface area the harder it is to push through the water. This helps with both stability and also the forward tracking of the board. 

Will I still be able to turn?

Yes! Having a fin or fins won’t stop the board from turning. It may slow that turn down, but that is how it improves your forward tracking. The bigger the fin, the slower the turning. So find a middle ground to suit your paddleboarding plans. 

person attaching a fin to a paddleboard

So there you have it, some basic info to help you pick the right fin for your paddleboard. Picking the right fin for you can help accelerate your paddling and make you adventures bigger and better!