Slalom fins are the tyres that shoe the Formula 1 boards of our sport and racers cherish them with an almost unhealthy obsession! A good slalom fin can decide races, contracts and ultimately world championship titles. With so much resting on such a relatively small bit of kit, we decided to ask a selection of the world’s best racers and Rick Hanke of Maui Ultra fins for their thoughts on slalom fins and wrap up with a buyer’s guide to some of the latest designs on the market.
Words Ross Williams, Kurosh Kiani, Antoine Albeau, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, Maciek Rutkowski, Sarah Quita Offringa, Pierre Mortefon, Matteo Iachino & Dietrich ‘Rick’ Hanke (Maui Ultra Fins) // Photos John Carter
Originally published within the September ’17 edition.
Your fin makes a huge difference, if you have a bad fin then you are not going to go fast, but the fin is just one piece of the puzzle. If you have an amazing fin combined with a bad mast it can limit your speed. A decent mast, a strong boom and the right sail and board all put together right are essential, that is when you can tell the difference from a top quality fin. There are a lot of people going the same speed, so those tiny fractions are what count. A decent fin needs the right outline, shape, depth, core and strength so it doesn’t snap. You need a stiffness that suites your style of sailing and your weight. The profiles are very important, core length and percentage where they bend. There are lots of things to play around with just with the fin. In Formula racing I spent $1800 on a fin because I wanted to be fast. That fin helped me win the European Worlds and a world title so it was worth the money. That was from a guy in America called Dave Kashy. Now I am using predominantly F-Hot fins. I do the development with Steve in the UK. We have some awesome fins now, the ones I use and race on people can buy as well. I don’t have any secret fins. My fin quiver is priceless. It goes in my special bag and I pack them carefully. If you have a good fin you tend to keep hold of it until you are absolutely sure you have a better one.
“ My fin quiver is priceless. ” ROSS WILLIAMS