SUP fins are your main source of directional stability. They help keep your stand up paddle board tracking straight and true. Fins can affect glide, by adding to or reducing drag. And they also contribute to maneuverability. Your overall SUP performance can be tuned massively by changing fins types, angles and positioning. In short, they’re a super important part of your setup – even if you don’t tweak, and mess about with them (although we highly recommend experimenting).
Keeping the above in mind it should go without saying – paddlers need to look after their fins. Plonking your SUP down heavily on hard ground can damage them. Some fins are designed to be flexible and malleable, but even so, we’d suggest taking a little more care. Of course, you can replace SUP fins easily. But you don’t want anything failing whilst you’re out for afloat.
One part of your fin set up that gets overlooked are the screws. Screws for fins come in various shapes and sizes. Some iSUP designs aim to do away with fin screws completely. Which is all well and good until the security mechanism fails. If your stand up paddle board fins have screws then avoid overtightening. We see this a lot. Paddlers ratchet down the fin screws for both centrally located skegs and side bites until they overtighten. This can strip the screw thread – both in the actual box (in the case of side fins) as well as the bolt itself. You can also round off heads making it impossible to remove them unless busting out the power drill. This is also particularly common with side bite grub screws whereby the allen key head rounds off.
SUP fins should be tight enough to secure them in place. But not so tight you cause damage. Screwing to thumb tight is best practice. Test the fin’s security before going afloat. If you have to give screws another small turn then do so. Clean your screws and bolts of crud regularly as well. Sometimes a dab of additional lube will help keep them turning freely.