SUP board 1 or 3 fins: which is better?
When you talk about "fins" in SUP sport, you mean the lower water support on the SUP board, which looks a bit like the dorsal fin of a shark.
The shark fin, which menacingly almost symbolizes the presence of a shark, is actually called a “fin”.
This article is about these Finns on the SUP board and not our northern neighbors, who only eat skyr with snow all day long.
But joking aside: If you have ever seriously researched a good SUP board, you have most likely come across this term.
However, the SUP market is already oversaturated and you are spoiled for choice.
Which SUP board is better? Which SUP fin to buy? What should you pay attention to? A lot of questions arise, all of which will be answered in this article.
A little thing in advance: Touring and racing boards are usually equipped with a single fin, while with an all-round board you are faced with the decision of whether to choose 1 or rather 3 fins.
SUP boards with 1 fin and 3 fins
Is there a difference if the Stand Up Paddle you choose is equipped with one or three SUP fins? In order to be able to answer this question correctly, you first have to look at how the fin (from a physical point of view) actually works in the water. The fin logically forms a water resistance, so three fins provide more water resistance.
A SUP board with 1 fin is recommended if you want to glide through the water as quickly as possible. Since more fins mean more water resistance, this point should be quite clear.
Here, too, the SUP board with 1 fin dominates, which stays straight and supple on the track. So you can paddle more on one side before turning to the other as the board turns slower.
When it comes to turning, you should opt for a SUP board with 3 fins. Since the area that generates the greater water resistance is now three times larger than on boards with a single fin, SUP boards with 3 fins are much more easy to turn. You have more grip in the water, so to speak.
As far as the tilting stability looks, the SUP boards with 3 fins are the leading team here too. Beginners in particular benefit from the more stable position on the water. The board with 3 fins tilts less easily: you sit in a firmer saddle.
Buying a SUP with 1 or 3 fins: What about SUP beginners?
These questions are not that easy to answer. Man is not a logical being. Everyone wants something they like best. Ultimately, the decision always lies with the buyer himself.
If you don't want to decide, you can also choose a SUP board with removable fins. Thus you can clamp the desired number of fins to the board for each individual use.
SUP with removable fins
SUP boards with removable fins have a large center fin and two side fins. In order to be able to find such a board more easily, it is best to use the search words "2+1 fin setup".
1 fin (middle fin)
If you have planned a longer tour and want to glide through the water as straight as possible, it is best to use only 1 fin. This option also guarantees the fastest possible movement through the water.
2 fins (side fins)
With this setup you leave out the center fin and only clamp the two smaller side fins to the board. This is particularly advantageous in shallower waters, because the board is less likely to touch down.
3 fins (2+1 setup)
If you are in a narrow river with a slightly stronger current, you should choose the 2+1 setup and use all 3 fins at the same time. This allows us to have the best possible grip in the water while maintaining high maneuverability.
About SUP boards with 1 fin
For racing, cruising and touring boards, 1 fin is usually the standard. Straight running and maximum speed are to be preferred here. Incidentally, such SUP boards have also been built a little narrower so that they are more streamlined.
If you choose an all-round SUP board, you can also choose one with 1 fin. In this case, too, the main concern for the paddler is that the gliding ability remains as true as possible to the track. The dimensions of an all-rounder are (as a guide) 320 x 80 x 15 cm, although many models deviate slightly from this value.
About SUP boards with 3 fins
If you choose an all-round board, you usually choose a model with 3 fins. This setup is most popular with SUP all-round paddlers.
Nowadays, most beginners (but also professionals) are increasingly choosing the 2+1 variant. The side fins don't always have to be smaller than the middle fin. In a so-called "thruster setup", the side fins are just as big as the middle fin.
With such a special setup you can master flat, deep, fast and slow flowing waters and always adjust your board to the conditions. With 3 fins you can also turn better and thus control the board better.
If you want to go a little faster, you just clamp the middle fin on it and thus no longer have a speed or directional stability handicap.
In this case, you are not spoiled for choice (in contrast to the huge selection of SUP boards). If you know 100% what you want, it's absolutely no problem and you choose either a SUP board with 1 fin for speed or a SUP board with 3 fins for grip in the water.
If you are still a complete beginner and don't really know what suits you better, you simply decide on a 2+1 setup and try out all the variants.