Frederico Morais revels in the diversity of three fin enabled lines. Photos: Carlos Pinto
Depsite everything, three is still number one. The solution. Despite the recent proliferation of quads in more powerful surf, a myriad of other retrospective options, the three is still the go-to fin set-up for most surfers, on most boards in most conditions.
Sometime in the second week of October, 1980, Simon Anderson added a third fin to a twin, and changed the surfing world with a bit of fibreglass. Wanting more drive and hold than his twin fin could offer in over head surf, the well built then-lad from Narrabeen took a quiver of these thrusters as he called them to Hawaii, then went on the win macking Bells on them the following Easter. The surf world, on this occasion, caught on like lit petrol, although, perhaps not quite as quickly as popular lore has it. The 1982 year-end world ranking read 1. MR (2 fins) 2. Cheyne (1 fin) 3. Tommy Carroll (3 fins) 4. Glen Winton (4 fins). Diversity, anyone?
Thrusters combine a bit of everything; drive, stability manoeuvrability, they kind of go where you’ll think they will, they tend to join the dots better than other set-ups. Singles have looser less reliable arcs, twins can feel like cornering on bald tyres and while quads can tend to project you out onto the shoulder and not allow for as progressive banking turns.
Since: Simon Anderson, 1980
Why? Still the best all round performance set-up going.
When? 1ft to 40ft, onshore/offshore, etc.
Why not? Hard to think of an argument against thrusters, other than having a board that isn’t a thruster makes a nice change from the familiarity of three.