If you have a stand up paddle board with removable fins, then you might be interested in learning how to get the best placement for them. You have some different options available to you, and the optimal placement really depends on the water conditions that you’ll be using your SUP in most often. Let’s look at the setups to help you determine what will best meet your needs.
Large Single Fin SUP Setup
A large single fin is the best setup for a paddler who wants their board to move in basically a straight line in the water. This will reduce the instability you might be experiencing from side-to-to side. With this set up, you are looking at a fit that is around 8 to 10 inches that is position back at the tail of the SUP.
With this type of setup, your board is ideally configured for racing, touring and flat water paddling since you will track better in the water with this fin position.
To achieve it, just attach the fin in the finbox with a nut and screw. It’s pretty simple. And, you’ll be able to slide that fin back and forth in the fin box, which is pretty neat.
If you prefer to use your SUP for a little surfing or in some white water conditions, then just position that fin at the board’s nose by sliding it forward. End result? Better maneuverability when turning in the water.
An important thing to note about the large fin is that some of them have serrated or sharp leading edges. Those ones are perfect for paddles who expect to be in kelp and weeds because the fin will be able to easily cut its way through.
3-Fin or 2-Fin SUP Setup
You usually see a three-fin setup, or thruster setup, on SUPs that are being used for surfing, but this setup is actually good for flat water tracking too. This basic setup has two smaller side fins (called “side bites”) and a long center fin that is between 6 and 8 inches.
A cool thing about the thruster setup is that you can easily convert it to a 2-fin operation by taking out the center fin. When you do this, you can still use the board for tracking on flat water and surfing.
More SUP Fin Placement Tips
I found a video online that is great for actually seeing someone else doing the fin placement. Check it out below and see if it help you.
Video: Installing the center fin and side fins on your stand up paddleboard.
You will probably have to just play with different fin placement setups and see what ends up working out the best for you. Most people start out with a single fin placed in the center of the fin box and adjust from there. Just get on your board and see what kind of feel you get from the setup. Then, make some adjustments (maybe around a half inch at a time) and see if performance changes for the better or worse. It is often just a trial and error method that ends up finding the perfect fin placement on stand up paddle boards.
If you are on a board that allows for a 3-fin setup, keep in mind that using more fins results in better control and performance.