Longboard Fin Placement: Forward or Back?

If you have a longboard with a single fin or tri-fin setup, you can make minor adjustments that impact how the surfboard feels in the water, potentially providing you with more control or speed and making it more suited to your style.

But where should you place the fins in the fin box and how will those extra inches impact your control of the board?

Single Fin Placement

There are a couple of basic rules for placing a single fin on a longboard:

  • Single Fin Forwards: If you move your single fin toward the nose, the board will feel looser and should be easier to turn. However, it will be harder to control at speed.
  • Single Fin Backwards: A fin that is moved toward the tail of the board will sacrifice some of the turning ability, but what it loses in maneuverability it gains in speed and noseriding ability.

Most longboards have a standard single fin box that is very easy to adjust. It’s something you can do yourself by simply loosening the screw and sliding it until you get the right position.

What About Multiple Fin Setup?

The placement of multiple fins will have an even bigger impact on the board’s performance.

The difference between the center fin and the side fins, as well as where these fins sit on the board, can be adjusted to suit your style or the conditions, and this is true for a 2+1 setup, thruster setup, and more.

Use the following as a guide:

  • More Straight Line Drive:The fins should be placed toward the back of the board and spaced out.
  • More Turning Speed:Place the fins closer together and further up the board.
  • Balanced Turning and Speed:Find the middle ground between the aforementioned fin setups to maintain control and speed.

Summary: Longboard Fin Placement

The above rules on longboard fin placement should be used as a basic guide only.

The best way to determine how fin placement affects you is to try it out yourself.

Surf, adjust, surf again, and eventually, you’ll understand which fin positions are best for you.

It’s not just the placement that you need to consider. There are many different fin setups, from single fins to quad fins, and more.

The number of fins, as well as the size, will also give you more or less speed and stability on the water.

It’s one of those things that all surfers will learn in time. The more you surf, the more you’ll learn about fin type, fin placement, and other such factors.