The sport of surfing took root in ancient Polynesia. Surfboards were used as a means of transportation, as well as for fishing and sport.
Not only were early surfboards much heavier and more cumbersome than they are today, but they didn’t have fins, either. In fact, Hawaiians were surfing without fins for hundreds of years and there are still some modern-day surfers who choose to go sans fins.
So, what reasons would you have to surf without fins, is it something that you should try, and what sort of benefits do they provide?
Can You Surf Without Fins?
You can definitely surf without fins. There is no doubt about it. What you should be asking is, why would you want to?
Fins give the surfer more control and prevent the board from sliding out from under them. Fins also provide a lot of drag which means you may be able to achieve greater speed and easier gliding without them.
How Do Fins Affect Surfing?
Fins give you more control, preventing the board from sliding out. They create drag and are a little more forgiving, allowing you to switch on autopilot and tackle waves that you would otherwise need to avoid.
The varying fin setups, including single fins, 2+1, Thrusters, and more, allow you to adjust the levels of drag, control, and speed.
Do Surfboards Need Fins?
They don’t need them and it’s possible to surf without fins, but it adds a welcome level of control that is beneficial to beginners and intermediates.
What is the Easiest Board to Surf On?
Traditionally, surfers rode a board known as an Alaia, a type of round-nose square-tailed board often made from koa wood. These boards were ridden by early Hawaiian surfers, including many of the pre-modern legends that helped to make the sport of surfing popular in the United States.
The problem with these boards is that they are much heavier than fiberglass and foam boards and the lack of fins makes them hard to control. There are still some modern surfers who switch to Alaia boards to connect to the sport’s roots, but they’re definitely not beginner-friendly.
Finless foamies are arguably the easiest finless surfboards to ride. They are durable, relatively inexpensive, and buoyant. It’s still not as easy as riding a board with fins, but it should be easy than riding an Alaia.