Tech Talk: Fin types on a kite surfboard


Welcome back to a brand new series of Appletree tech talk videos! We’re going to go a little bit deeper into the topics that we talked about in the first series and we’re going to go through a lot of questions that we’ve got from you guys. About fins, about surfboard constructions, about how to choose a surfboard, a kiteboard or a foil board. And this season we’re also going to talk a lot more about foiling and wing foiling, so enjoy!

What fin type to use on a directional kiteboard?

Today we’re going to talk a little bit further about fin types, specifically for kite surfboards. Most of the fins out there are designed for normal surfing. Which causes a bit of a problem, because when you’re kite surfing the speeds are different and the power transfer is also a bit different. But unfortunately we have to deal with the fins that are out there. We talked about quad vs. thruster fins in kite surfing last year. In this next video I just want to go a little bit deeper into different fin types on a kite surfboard.

Can the type of fin change the performance of your board?

A lot of people sent us questions after the video about quad vs thruster fin setup. Like “I got these fins with my board and it feels terrible” or “it’s too stiff” or “it’s too loose, how can i change this?”. 

Roughly you can divide (kite) surfboard fins up in three categories:

1. The first category is the standard fin design 

This fin is a balanced kind of design. This fin comes usually with your board or you buy a set of these balanced fins. If you feel your board is a little bit too loose and you’re missing that control in the bigger surf you could decide to go to a more raked out fin. 

2. The second category is the raked fin design

It looks really similar to the balanced fin I just had. The main difference is that this fin has more of a swept tip, it’s thinner and it’s longer. This will give you more control at high speeds. You will lose a little bit of the playfulness that a wider fin has. If the fin that came with your board, or your standard fin, is a little bit too controlled and you want to have a bit more playfulness and a bit more looseness in your fin, you could go for a more pivot style fin.

3. The third category is the pivot fin design

The pivot fin has a broader base and a broader tip. It’s more upright. You can see the difference between the raked fin, with a more swept tip and this pivot fin, that is way more upright. It will give you that playfulness and looseness. 

Of course there are many many more fins, but most fins fall into one of these three categories. 

Fin types on a kite surfboard or a directional kiteboard

Do kite surfboard fins really matter?

We see a lot of kite boards out there that come with one type of fin. So a kite company has one type of fin that they supply with each board. If that’s the case with your board, it’s a very good idea to look into upgrading your fin set to a different style of fin that matches your style or your style of board. It can make all the difference.

Don’t even try plastic fin sets

Unfortunately some boards also come with really really crappy plastic fins and our advice is to immediately upgrade those. Don’t even try them. The plasticky fins are okay for normal surfing, but when you’re kiting you’re putting so much pressure on the fin that the plastic is too soft and it cannot cope with the forces that are put on that fin. 

Which fin type can handle the forces of kitesurfing?

We always advise going with at least a honeycomb style fin, or even one which has a lot of carbon reinforcements. I know these fins are a lot more expensive than the plastic ones, but it’s a really important upgrade for your kite surfboard. It’s also the reason why at Appletree Surfboards we sell all our boards without fins. We could easily supply plastic fins with each board. But we decide not to, because there’s so many different fins out there and we really want you to to use the board to its optimum.

We are here to help 

Always feel free to hit us up if you have more questions about what fin type might match your kite surfboard. Even if it’s not an Appletree board, you can always send us an email. We’re always happy to answer!

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