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Posted by Jeb Brinkley | 04.10.2024 | Learn To Surf, Surf News

Short Board Fin Setups

Choosing the right shortboard fin setups can be challenging and often times daunting. There are several different setups, each with its own pros and cons. This will take a quick look at a few different setups and hopefully provide some guidance on your next purchase!

Fin Setups:


Twin Fin Setup

Twin fins typically are used in small-medium sized surf or weak/mushy waves but can be fun all the way up to head-high conditions. They provide a fast/loose feeling, allowing the board to be very responsive and maneuverable. This can be a problem when it comes to bigger waves, where you run the risk of slipping out due to its lack of hold.

Thruster Setup


The thruster setup is one of the most common fin setups in the world. The thruster setup has two side fins and a center fin that are mostly the same size. This allows much more hold/stability and predictability than a twin fin, while still being very maneuverable. This is most people’s go-to setup for waves waist high and above because of its ability to balance speed and maneuverability. In small waves, this setup can be a little tough due to the added drag of the center fin.



A quad setup is a combination of attributes from a twin fin and thruster setup. A quad setup has two fins on both sides of the board positioned closer to the rails. This provides much more hold than a normal twin fin would and is much faster than a thruster setup. This setup is great in all conditions: in small waves the quad setup allows for more speed generation while in big waves (specifically hollow) a quad provides plenty of hold.  This setup can take some getting used to, as it has more hold than a twin fin but still a looser feeling than a thruster.

Quad Fin Setup


2+1 fin setups come in different shapes and sizes. For longboards a 2+1 setup has a large single fin in the center, with two smaller “side bites” closer to the rails of the board. This is to provide more hold than a traditional single fin longboard does. For shortboards, a 2+1 setup is a blend of a twin fin and a thruster. The two side fins are much larger just like the size of a normal twin fin setup, but behind is a small center fin, often dubbed a “trailer”. This setup can be used on more “fishy” styles of shortboards to provide the speed and looseness of a twin fin, while still providing hold similar to that of a thruster. They can be tricky to ride but are very fun in waist to head high waves.