I have a retro-style Al Merrick round tail single fin (6'9"x21"x3"). As I usually surf thrusters I don't know much about single fins and I was wondering what size fin I should use (it came with a 7.5"). I plan on using it in mushy waves up to head high.
Asked by Pete from Oregon

photo of Matty Chojnack


Nick Carroll replies:

A 6'9" single fin in mushy underhead waves? I dunno, Pete. Might be worth trying it in slightly overhead hollow point waves, and hunting the tube. But be that as it may...

Generally, you'll find the single fin appears to move slower through turns. In fact, what's happening is that it doesn't project through turns as far as a thruster or twin-fin. You can make up for this by adjusting your style and timing, placing turns only in the more powerful parts of the wave. You can also make a difference by using a range of fin sizes. Try a larger fin -- not longboard style, but up to 9" -- set further up the fin box; this will help you run a turn a little further with less pressure. A smaller fin set well back will promote acute angled turns, stalls and tube rides (the single's specialty!). Don't be scared to try some weird stuff, too: The old Cheyne Horan Star-fin is killer, if you can find one.

In any case, you will find a distinct difference in performance, and you'll probably gain a new appreciation for your other equipment in the process. Good luck!