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The Ultimate Guide to Freeride Fins

11:34 17th July 2013 by Amy Carter

Want to buy a new freeride fin, but not sure which one will suit your needs or what to look for? 

The fin is one of the most important items for any windsurfer and can completely change the feel of your board, if you’re not 100% happy with your board or want to adapt it for different conditions upgrading your fin could be the answer!

Pio Marasco from MFC joins Boards to answer all your freeride fin questions and provide you with the ultimate guide to your next fin.

What fin do you need?

What fin do you need?

How racey or freeridey should my fin be?

It depends. There are different types of freeride fins. We call them Freeride or Freerace. The freerides are designed more towards a better manoeuvrability, while the Freerace are totally coming from the RACING design and shape and more speed oriented.

What determines this?

Rake angle, profile and outline.

MFC Freerace fin,

MFC Freerace fin – straight.

MFC Liquid, freeride fin

MFC Liquid, freeride fin – swept back.

The Freeride has a little more rake angle (towards the back) to allow easier manoeuvrability and handling. The profile is always on the racing/fast direction and the outline is not very extreme. The fin needs to be very easy to control for every type of customer. This is the biggest challenge! Design a fin that every sailor will appreciate.

A Freerace fin has a straighter rake angle, the profile is very racing oriented and the outline is also more extreme to allow to reach high speed.

The shape/outline is a very important part of the fin design. It determines the surface area of the fin and consequently together with the profile generates the necessary lift for the board to reach planning ability, speed and upwind performances.

What sort of fin is easier to gybe?

A swept back fin is easier to gybe. The more swept back or more rake angle the fin has, and the easier it becomes to manoeuvre (to a certain limit).

The straighter rake angle, the more the fin will plane early and go better upwind. But the straighter fins in high wind generate more lift, so the sailor has to learn how to handle it.

Want easy gybing?

Want easy gybing? Go for a more raked back, freeride style fin.

Why do I get spin out and what fins will help reduce this?

The spin out, or cavitation, comes from some air that forms close to the profile of the fin.

This can happen at high speed, when you are landing a jump, or when you are following another sailor pretty close.

Also, spin out happens when you have too small of a fin compared the the board/sail size. If you are using a small fin on a big board and a big sail, putting pressure on your back foot will increase the spin out possibilities as you do not have enough surface to push on. This will create air close to the fin that will generate the cavitation and you will lose control.

How do I know if my fin is too big?

You will have too much lift.

You will start to lose control very quickly, the nose of the board will start to lift and all of the board will follow as soon as a gust of wind hits the sail.

You can sail overpowered and with a little bigger fin but you have to be a very powerful and  an expert sailor. When this happens the common mistake is to open the sail. You have to be strong and keep your sail closed, keep sheeted in and try to push the board down to gain more control. If you open the sail you will totally lose control.

How do I know when to change my fin down or up?

More wind, smaller fin and smaller sail.

Less wind, bigger sail and bigger fin.

Sail size and fin size go very well together.

You need lift to be able to start planing. If you have 15knots of wind and you are out on your 120ltr board and a 7.5sail and a 30cm fin, you could have some problems early planing. and control. The fin is too small. You will push with your back foot…the wind will hit the sail, it seems you are going to plane….but oppps…here the SPIN OUT comes. The fin is too small and cannot handle the sail power and our back foot pressure. This is a common problem.


Different fins will change the feel of your board…

Different boards will obviously suit different styles of fin, can you give some advice on this?

Yes. A wave board requires a wave fin, a freewave a freeride fin …and so on.

But you can use a wave fin on a Freewave board if you want more manoeuvrability from your equipment. This will increase your ability to make moves, but it will slow down your top speed.

You can also use a Freewave fin on your freeride board to increase the manoeuvrability.

Well….you can’t have it all…☺. This is a normal rule. We cannot make a fin that has all these characteristics.

Should a heavier rider use a different fin compared to a lighter rider?

Yes, he needs to. Heavier riders need to use 2cm to 4cm longer fins then a normal sailor. This is why we really do not have fin charts on our website. Everything matters from the board litres, sail size, your weight.

We receive many emails from customers that ask for help on choosing the better fins combinations for their boards. I personally respond to everyone…We consider standard weight up to 80/85kg. Then you start to become an heavier sailor.

The gear that a 100kg guy uses in strong winds is definitely good in very light winds for a 65kg sailor. The reason why is the board volume and the sail size.

The 65kg sailor will be able to fly with light winds since the board will float more and have more lift, but as soon as the wind will increase he will have problems in controlling the board due to his body size.

If I have two sizes of fin for one board, so I can get more range from a board, how much difference should there be between the two?

The best thing is to keep it in between 4cm to 8cm max. You can have a good range like this for freeride/freerace. Let’s say your weight is 80kg and you could have a 32/36cm for strong wind and a 42/46cm for lighter wind condition.

MFC is imported into the UK by Zero Gravity, find out more here.

Still have some questions on what fin style to choose? Use the comments below to ask any questions and we will get them answered for you. 


  1. Ron Daniel

    I weigh 73kg and I am currently using a 32cm freeride fin on my Fanatic XRay board with a 6.5m2 sail in 10-20 km/hr winds offshore in the Caribbean. I think my fin is too small and wish to upgrade. What would be the ideal length for learning to do non-planing gybes and would 50cm be too long?



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