Rotating Fin System "Surfboard Trucks" Thruster
6'3" 15 x 21.5 x 16 x 2.625
I made this one as simply a test platform for a new fin system that an online acquaintence, Dave Blake, has developed. The boardI put the system in is very similar to my MR-style twinnie. I thought about using a more typical thruster template for this application, but in the end I decided it made more sense to use a template and rocker I am already familiar with and enjoy riding, to better make a direct comparison. The only changes I made was to make the tail a squash instead of swallow, and to soften the rail a little. Everything else is the same as my twinnie. I did white opaque on the bottom/rails to hide the white finboxes. The pinlines were just for fun.
The fin system allows the side fins in a thruster configuration to rotate from parallel with the stringer to a "normal" position of 1/4" toed-in towards the nose. This very noticeably reduces the amount of drag caused by the side fins when the board is being ridden straight, while maintaining the benefits of a toed-in fin during a turn. It uses the water pressure generated by riding the board to push the fin into whatever position is most efficient for whatever type of motion is occurring.
I generally don't ride tris, as I don't like the way they feel when you do anything but turn them. They turn great, but I always felt like the brakes were on as soon as I stopped going rail-to-rail. As described, Dave's system seemed to have the necessary qualities to fix that particular problem for me.
Indeed, it did.
In a word, it was FUN. The kind of fun that leaves you smiling all day long. As I said before, I'm not a thruster guy. This was far and away the best session I've ever had on a Trifin. Actually, one of my two best sessions of 2006.
It was easy to find the sweet spot on this board since I've been riding one so much like it, so I knew what was going on with the very first wave I caught. I caught it, quick pivot to go right, then just rocketed down the line. I honestly could not believe the sensation of acceleration, it threw me so much I almost forgot to turn. But turn I did, layed it down into a deep backside carve, then snapped back around and was flying down the line again, just like that. It was really neat, to tell the truth. And it wasn't like you could say "ok, now the fin is toed in, now it is straight, toed out, etc...". The fins just seemed to be doing whatever needed to be done at that particular moment. Nothing felt odd or forced, it rode very naturally. If I wanted to straight-line it down the face, it was off like a rocket; if I wanted to crank a turn, it was only limited by my abilities; if I wanted to chop-hop a mushy section, it was making drive where I needed it.
Great system, great fun.
The set I tested were from the prototype run, and Dave is currently making some last-minute refinements before making his first larger-scale production run. Production models should be available soon. Visit Dave at http://www.blakestah.com/fins/