GONZALO COSTA HOEVEL
I’d say a decent fin is almost more important than the sail or board sometimes. It can make an average board sail much better. We are all now working hard on our fins. Chopper fins from Ludovic Jossin are very good; I used those fins in Sylt last year and came second. Pierre Mortefon is using them as well and he is flying. The same thing happened with Carpenter. This is a Polish brand, when they came out only Steve Allen had them. He gave a couple to Bjorn and that helped him dominate that season. They were the only two that had the fins. It was a secret, so they had an edge. Everybody started getting the fins and suddenly we were all up to their speed. Most of us like to keep a check on all the new brands and trends and always hope that we will find an extra gear on the race course. All the other equipment we use is hard to change really, so the fin is one of the variables that can make all the difference. My mind is constantly thinking about fins. All through the season we can buy new fins looking for that edge while with the boards and sails we have to use the ones we have registered. I spent 450 euros on a Carpenter in Fuerteventura last year. I paid the money because it was there and I thought it could be a decent fin and in the end I did not like it. I bring around thirty fins to an event. I am sponsored now and still have fins I have paid for. I did not bring too many fins to Japan and Korea because we often only have light winds there but in Fuerteventura I would bring ten small fins as well. Every time the wind changes at an event you will see the racers scrambling for different fins. If the wind goes down you could be on a bigger fin that gives you more tracking or keeps you on trim through the lulls. Maybe when you hit a gust a fin will keep you on trim, some fins are more reactive and you hit a gust and you explode. You need to sense all the time what is going on with the wind. The start can change between upwind and downwind, so a fin can make a difference there also. A fin may be the same size but have a little more twist to give you grip and upwind speed. Then you will have an advantage. The guy that is on it all day thinking about these things is the guy that in the end will have an edge and get a good result. If you just stay with one set of gear and don’t change to adapt then you will have no chance at PWA level. The guys that are on it are the guys who will be on top! I try to keep my fins clean and wash them with fresh water. Guys take them home every night! They are precious so we take care of them a lot!