Paddle Board Fins - All You Need to Know

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022 by Goosehill

Table of contents

Are paddle board fins universal?

What is a fin box?

How many types of fin boxes are there?

How to install a fin?

1. Are paddle board fins unversal?

No, there are a lot of different types of paddle boards using different types of fin boxes, so the paddle board fins are not universal. 

2. What is a fin box?

A fin box is the part which secures the fins on your paddle board. With a fin box you can change the fins to suit the SUP activities you are doing.  

3. How many types of fin boxes are there?

Below are some of the most common types of fin box you’ll find on the market.
1.US fin box
2.Slide-in fin box
3.Dual tab box
4.Snap-in lever box
Other than the fin boxes list above, some SUP brands might have their own types of fin boxes. Below we will introduce to you two of the most common types of SUP fins on the market.

US Fin Box The US fin box is the most common kind of fin box out there, which makes it the best choice for experimenting with different fins. You can find all sorts of fins compatible with a US fin box. So it’s easy to find a fin that suits your needs. A fin that’s compatible with a US fin box is secured with a bolt and nut, which ensure the fin will stay in place at all times. But be careful not to lose the bolt and nut. Some fins might also require a screwdriver to tighten. Slide-in Fin box Slide-in Fin boxes are usually found on inflatable paddle boards. 

Unlike the US fin box, the fin for a slide-in fin box is very easy to install. Just slide the fin into the box and secure it with the peg that it came with. The downside of a slide-in fin box is that the selection of fins is limited to some basic shapes and sizes. Slide-in fins are usually made of plastic but they perform just fine and usually cheaper than a fin for the US fin box. 

The US fin box is the most common type of fin box and it allows you to adjust the performance of the board by changing the fins. If you want to tweak the performance of your board, consider buying a paddle board with a US fin box.

4. How to install a fin?

Installing a Screw and Plate Fin
 1. With the plate loosely secured on the end of the screw, set it into the space in the middle of the box. While the screw is sticking up, you should be able to move the plate where you need it. Another option is to set the plate without the screw into the space and move it around using the tip of a Phillips screwdriver.

2. Move the plate to the front of the fin box (toward the nose of the board)

3. Line the metal dowel up with the space in the middle of the fin box and set it into the track. Note that the fin should curve with the point toward the back of the board. 

4. Set the end of the fin with the screw hole into the fin box and line the plate up with the screw hole. Insert the screw and tighten it up until it is snug, but do not over-tighten.

Installing a Quick-Release Fin
1. Line the metal dowel up with the hole in the center of the fin box and place it into the track. Note that the point of the fin should be aimed to the back of the board.

2. Push the end with the roller until it snaps into the fin box channel. Below, you see that if the fin is at the front of box on a Paddle North Board, you can easily slip the roller into the slot in the middle of the fin box. Quick-Release Fin Install The immediate worry that many have about a fin that snaps into place via pressure is that it could come back out; the beauty of the universal fin is that it requires pressure from the direction of the bottom of the board and toward the nose, which is not the directionality that cruising through the water will apply. 

3. If the fin box allows for movement, pull the fin to where you would like it to sit in the fin box.

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