Basics of Single Fin Surfing

Today, it’s not surprising for surfers to have no experience with single fin shortboard as it is deemed as retro or outdated. They would rather ride a longboard any day.

So when some surfers line up and start ripping on a single-fin, high-performance board, people start to get curious. While a lot of surfers think it is quite as easy as a thruster or quad, single fins are far trickier and require more skills.

Image Source: Surfline

If you are interested in learning how to ride a single fin shortboard, there are a few things you need to know: how it feels to ride a single fin, understanding its design and style, how it relates to functionality, and what to watch out for when using one.

So how does it ride?

If you are used to a tri-fin thruster, riding a single fin may feel completely different and foreign. Making your own speed on the wave can be a challenge when using a single fin surfboard. Single-fin surfing teaches you to adapt to whatever the wave throws at you. It has a stable feel when trimming down the line and its hold is incredible. In a straight line, the single fin generates a lot of speed because lesser fin creates lesser drag.

Image Source: Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions

When riding a single fin board, your maneuvers have to be smooth, fluid and flowing. It punishes you when you move abruptly but presents great rewards for every smooth move. Sweeping, unbroken turns are to be expected on single fins, something multi boards are not capable of. It also improves your surfing skills and makes you a better surfer by forcing you to work on your form and style more, than just relying on the equipment to do the trick for you. If you’re aiming for a cleaner and more glide-oriented type of surfing, this board is for you.

Understanding The Single-Fin Surfing Style

Single-fin surfing offers a smooth and flowing style that is visually appealing. If today’s modern surfers approach the wave with bold and aggressive moves on their thrusters, the surfers back in the 70’s who used single fins were blending into the shape of the wave and its outline. Single-fin surfers mirror the movement of the water. It offers a surfing style that no other board can offer, but it is beautiful and is achieved with certain grace and fluidity.

Image Source: Stabmag

Who Should Surf A Single Fin?

Groms should spend some time on a single fin. After all, this is where all boards of today came from. Even experienced surfers who wish to improve and fine-tune their surfing can try single fins to give more focus on their form and being one with the wave.

Single-Fin Surfing Tips

How you ride will be greatly determined by your level of expertise and experience, but this should not stop you from trying something new. Here are some clips to help you better understand how to surf single fins.

Single Fin Surfing Clips

To keep you motivated, here are more clips of pros surfing on single fins like nobody’s business.

Alex Knost:

Kelly Slater and Rob Machado on Single Fins:

Single Fin Classic 2016: