I’ll be the first to admit that fins and the science behind it baffles me senseless!! Sure, like about 95% of surfers, I understand some of the basics. Like one can use different fin configurations for varying conditions (although this is an ongoing debate among surfers!). One might also understand things like extra drive from extra width in the base of a fin, the rake of a fin affects how pivoty it’ll be and things like more flex results in a more forgiving fin. Actually, it’s astonishing, if most were to be brutally honest, including myself, I’m quietly confident that most people don’t truly understand the differences between certain fin models or can even feel the difference.
I’ve seen people spend hours fretting over what configuration to use and when they eventually make their choice, they paddle out and can hardly do a bottom turn. On the opposite side of the story, I’ve witnessed surfers take out a plastic board with the basic plastic fins provided and totally dominate the line up, ripping, carving and slapping spins in the mix, regardless of the plastic stock standard fin!
There are so many models out there and some within only 1mm difference of one another, does that really make all the difference to yesterdays cutback or floater? Will the carbon core give you that extra edge over your pals when dropping into a solid 4ft wall? Will the colour red make you go faster!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret….even most of the pro’s don’t use the carbon cores!!! Check out some of the leading brands website to take a look. Most will opt for the basic performance core because they offer a more consistent flex pattern and a smoother response, not a jerky and stiff sort of feel. So going for the overpriced carbon fin might not be the way to go to improve your surfing.
Here are some of the solid facts that I do claim to know:
- Fins are hell of overpriced for what you're buying!Carbon is all hype…even most of the pro’s don’t need it
- Fins are really yucky for the environment and they are by far one of the most poisonous materials for shapers or fin makers to construct!!
So is there anyone out there trying to make a change? There are a few and we came across a grounded company hailing from the shores of Portugal, going by the name of Marlin Fins and they are producing recycled fins from reclaimed plastics.
Firstly though, with this current climate of hating on plastics, I was under the impression that plastic is on the down and should be banned at all costs!!
But here is an interesting quote I heard recently:
Plastic isn’t bad, in fact, it’s too good for it’s on good! It does what we ask of it and will keep on going long after we humans actually want to use it. It’s easy to make, easy to mould and has lower cost of energy to produce compared to a lot of other composite materials. The problem with plastic isn’t plastic itself, it’s that fact humans can’t be trusted with it to use it properly or to recycle it properly.
So with that said, I’ll be interested to hear others point of view on the subject.
But for now, let’s get on with it and let me introduce...
The company is in fact just one dude and he goes by the name of Jose. He’s a big friendly giant with a warm smile and a big heart. He hails from Portugal, in the Peniche area and he’s not a surfer! He is however a professional in his field, which is a world of plastic and it’s properties.
It will only take you 5 minutes to go through their entire website because he doesn’t feel the need to make a big song and dance about what he’s produced. How did he get into making fins you might ask? His daughter is a surfer and owns Peniche Surf shop. After spending hours on the beach watching his daughter over the years, he was saddened by the rubbish littering the shores and with his knowledge of plastics he figured he was in the position to make use of the waste plastics.
So he set out trying to make fins by using waste on the beach or from the garbage. Sadly the properties after remoulding from the day to day plastic was a little too soft. So he set out to find stronger polymers that were being wasted.
He found that the hard wearing plastics that get used in things like machinery or car engines( he was explaining that a plastic gear box will last longer than a metal one!!) was the way to go. So he set out to find waste or discarded bits that these factories or companies weren’t using.
He explained to us that it makes no sense producing fins with other materials as the recyclable option is already available and produces fins that will be perform at high levels.
Model Tested - Lagido Quad
Testing was mainly done at the Surfsnowdonia at the Wavegarden in Wales, 3ft to 4ft. I was working there for 2 months and got to test these fins a lot. It’s the perfect place to test gear and to shred a lot of waves!!
They went really good!! They do exactly what a fin should do and work well as an allrounder kind of fin. The template is as good or even very, very close to many fins already on the market….I’m fairly sure and confident that there’s a fair bit of cut and paste in this area with most fin companies.
They have a consistent flex pattern and have the right stiffness for real performance. I thought they might be too soft before getting a set, I was happily surprised.
Were they any superior in performance to my V2 PC quad FCS fins or the Moonrakerr 3D fins…in my opinion, not a massive difference to be honest. Ok, the V2 FCS fins had more drive which did help for speed, but then that could come from the wider base on the fin to the Marlin Fin.
Honestly though, this is a killer all round fin which would suit 95%….actually, scratch that, 100% of surfers world wide.
MF claim a polymer construction that is cheap, light, abundant, mouldable at low temps, easily recyclable and reusable.
The polymer he uses has very similar properties to fibreglass. It’s a higher quality than your usual plastic fins we see on the market with leading brands.
So why don’t some of the common brands use the same polymer… I reckon it’s all about the money. If they can produce the same model of fin in 4 different composites, they have a bigger market range. There’s no point companies making a plastic fin that will perform as their glass fins do, otherwise they cancel each other!
I don’t claim these to be the best performance fin on the market, but then again, they don’t claim to be!! They are a no thrills fin that will get the job more than done. I reckon these are a good purchase that is recyclable and won’t break the bank.
What’s really very cool about these fins is that no set will be the same in colour, so you’ll get a unique set of fins that no one else will have. The second awesome thing and this is huge for me, is that if you break a fin you can send the piece you have back to be remoulded into another set of fins. The third thing which sets MF apart from some leading brands is that you can buy a replacement fin without having to buy a whole set again!!
If you are a beginner/novice/intermediate or advanced surfer, then these fins will see you right and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because you can claim the eco approach.
Marlin Fins have a really cool range and we’ll be testing one of their 9inch Longboard fins in the coming weeks, so watch this space.
Massive thanks to Jose for your time and for making a difference.
Happy waves to all
Company: Marlin Fins
Product: Fins, Quad