“I experiment with fins quite a bit and I am just beginning our fin development for 2017. It’s an area where North will focus more energy in the future for sure. In a nutshell, more swept back fins are more drivey and have more grip and hold. You would use a more swept fin on a board you want to do big high-speed, drawn out turns with and where you want control. On the flipside, a more upright fin is better for generating speed quickly and doing tighter snaps or pivot turns. Then of course there’s the flex. There’s a lot to be said about where and in which way a fin flexes, but to keep it short and simple, a heavy rider would ride a stiffer fin and a lighter rider a softer fin. Example: if you’re heavy and your fin is too soft, you will often overpower it and lose a lot of energy in your turns. It will have the effect of not feeling direct and responsive but rather soft and inconsistent.”—Sky Solbach, North
“I change around my fins a good bit. For kiting I use the Airush fins because they are really stiff. I like to use stiffer fins because they control speed and grip better when kiting. I change fin sizes depending on the board and the conditions. For the Airush Converse I use the AR5, which are the biggest fins in Airush’s range, because I typically ride the board in bigger surf. The larger fins give more grip for a faster bottom turn and are more predictable on the wave. For when the waves are smaller and messier I use AR3 fins with the Airush Cyphyer and Compact. The AR3 are a little smaller then the AR5 and have a smaller center fin, giving a little looser feel off the top. For strapless freestyle I sometimes replace the center fin with Airush Nub, which is a tiny center fin that makes the board really loose. The Nub is fun to practice Shove-its and Ola’s with. Or when the waves are small it gives the board a fun, skatey feel.”—Reider Decker, Airush
“I prefer future boxes. They seem to be a bit stronger for the torque you put on fins while kiting, as I have snapped a few FCS tabs. Also, because the fin doesn’t rest on the bottom of the board, seaweed doesn’t get stuck under the lip. You should play around a bit with size, shape, and stiffness. I prefer something pretty stiff. Also I generally ride a fin with less sweep, has less drive, but allows you to cut a sharper turn. As for size: smaller-sized mediums generally. If it’s super windy, or big waves, a bit bigger can be nice. Also I play a bit with a tiny back fin, but normally ride a matching thruster set. I have never really been a quad person; just personal preference, but I still end up riding a bit of everything.”—Evan Netsch, Cabrinha
“I have tested many fin shapes, foils and flexes. I have narrowed my fins down to 4.75 inch height by 4.37 inch base for my tri-fins and a 4.75 inch by 4.37 inch front fin with a 4.25 inch height by 4 inch base for my quads. I am using a foam core with carbon layup for the perfect flex. The resulting flex loads up and springs out of turns giving the boards a very lively feel. I am constantly testing and listening to customer feedback. I also have a great relationship with Rainbow Fin Company in Santa Cruz, California. We have been working together since the beginning of kiteboarding.”—Jon Amundson, Amundson
What fins do you like to use? Let us know in the comments below.