Photo: JP Van Swae

Photo: JP Van Swae

Fun SUP Fins

Larry Allison Gladiator Hybrid

There's a reason the Gladiator Hybrid is the most popular SUP fin Larry Allison makes. It's designed to handle a variety of conditions, from flatwater racing to open-ocean downwind paddling and gives paddlers a nice middle ground between tracking, speed and stability that will give you fantastic performance in all these realms. If a middle ground fin isn't for you, the Gladiator also comes in a Pro Model, for flat water paddling speed, and an Elite, for rough water paddling stability. Pick your poison. They're all good.

Makani Fin Company KAWA

Makani Fins designer Louis Genest spent 13 years implementing CAD systems in the aerospace and automobile industries before turning his attentions to fin making. It shows. The KAWA is a light, sharp, deadly race fin that was mathematically confirmed by NASA equations to have a lower drag foil than previous prototypes. That means greater paddling speed, fewer paddle strokes and longer glide. It tracked well, shed weeds like a sea monster and was ultra-speedy during our tests. A fine buy for any SUP racing aficionado.

FCS 3D Red Tip

The first thing we thought when we saw the Red Tip was, "How could that possibly work?" Then we rode it. The unique, hydro-foil-like tip creates really nice lift and drive–you can actually feel the tail of the baord riding higher in the water—as you head down the line. It gives you extra speed over flat sections amd also holds well in deep rail turns, while still releasing predictably in more vertical situations. This fin worked best as a 2+1 in longer boards, adding some flair and fun to otherwise predictable sessions. It belongs in your standup quiver.

Futures Fins Colin McPhillips 2+1

These fins are for ripping. Three-time world longboard champ Colin McPhillips knows how to turn with the best of them and these signature fins are what he uses to do it. The thruster set is a subtle 2+1 (the center fin is slightly larger) for increased drive and hold with the classic thruster feel. These fins excel in good, powerful waves and the smaller size of the fins allows you to come off the bottom hard and put them through the lip while the medium flex feels natural under foot. A good choice for SUP surfers looking to get aggressive.

This gear review originally ran in our Spring 2014 issue as “Fins for Fun.”

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