How to Correctly Install Your SUP Fin: Inflatables & Hard Boards

We’re not going to lie – most people have a tough first time installing their SUP fin. That’s why we’re going to give you a simple step-by-step guide (for inflatables and hard paddle boards) so you will have no problems securing your fin.

In addition to fin installation, we explain the 3 different ways to position your fin on a hard paddle board. Find out which fin position suits your paddling style below.

Paddle board fin installation

Installing your inflatable paddle board’s fin

There are no tools involved with installing your inflatable’s snap-in fin. No screws, no tools, no fuss. All you need is your snap-in fin and your inflatable paddle board.

  1. Make sure that your fin box’s lever isn’t pushed all the way forward and is not pushed all the way back. Make sure it’s right in the middle. Note: it’s super important to make sure the lever is in the middle or your fin won’t fit properly
  2. Grab your fin and place the knobby side in first.
  3. Apply pressure to your fin to make sure it fits snug in the fin box.
  4. Push the lever back (towards the tail) until you hear a snap.
  5. Once you hear a snap, your fin is successfully secure and you’re ready to paddle.

 

Installing your hard paddle board’s fin

To install your hard paddle board’s fin, all you need is your fin screw, plate and superbolt.

  1. Screw the plate until it reaches the top of the screw.
  2. Place the plate and screw inside the fin box (screw pointing up) and slide it all the way to front of the fin box (towards the nose).
  3. Insert your fin into to the fin box where a small pin is sticking out. Once you fit it into the box, slide your fin all the way to the back.
  4. Align the fin hole with the screw and push it down so it fits nice and snug (keep reading for a variety of different fin placements).
  5. Twist your super bolt screw and twist until your fin is secure to your SUP.

 

The 3 Methods for positioning your SUPs center fin (hard boards only)

For hard paddle boards, the fin box is big enough to give you freedom on where you want to place your fin. Do you position your SUP fin all the way forward, back or somewhere in between? There is no right answer because each placement has its benefits depending on what type of paddling you’re doing. Here are the three methods for fin placement:

1. Fin positioned all the way towards the nose

Best for: Surfing

Placing your fin all the way to the front of your fin box (closest to the nose) will make your SUP feel more maneuverable and responsive. Therefore, we recommend you use this fin placement when SUP surfing. You want your paddle board to be responsive when you’re going down the line in order to do cutbacks and for ease of catching waves. The trade off is that your SUP will not track well and your speed will decrease.

Paddle board fin placement

2. Fin positioned all the way towards the tail

Best for: Long distance paddle boarding or when you want to increase your SUP’s tracking

*Tracking: Your SUPs ability to naturally go straight

Securing your fin all the way to the back of your fin box (closest to the tail) will increase the stability of your SUP and your board’s tracking & speed. The trade off is that it will be slower to maneuver. This is a good placement if you’re paddling longer distances and want to maximize your tracking and speed of your board.

Paddle board fin placement

3. Fin positioned in the middle of the fin box

Best for: Any conditions where you want a mix of tracking and maneuverability

This fin placement will give you the best all-around SUP performance. It will give you control, stability and speed. This is the standard fin placement for recreational paddle boarding.  We recommend starting with this placement, then experimenting with other placements when you’re ready.

Paddle board fin placement

 

 

Posted in Gear Guides, Paddle Boarding Tips & Tricks
Douglas Robichaud - Marketing Coordinator at ISLE Surf and SUP. Originally from New England, secondarily from Encinitas, CA. I enjoy surfing, shooting film photos and driving my Volvo wagon on the weekends.