Buying a longboard: single or modern tri-fin?? and more...

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tz779's picture
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I am a late 60's - 70's surfer, grew up on single fins. Now i have 3 tri-fins, and an old Skip Frye single-fin egg.


One of the three-fins, a Midget Smith 6-10 rides perfect. great board. i have a 7-6 G&S "Magic" model, 70's design with three-fin setup. Board sucks, will NOT turn, especially backside. would removing the outside fins help here?


I am looking for a longboard (due to my advancing age - not so quick to my feet anymore sadly). I am reluctant to go with a three-fin modern longboard. How do they differ from single fin longboard?


Can the outside fins on a three-fin longboard be removed and get single-fin performance or feel? I'm looking for a used board otherwise i'd just get a single fin new, but cost is a consideration, therefore, i may have to consider a used three-fin setup.....


I searched the forum but could not find this discussion anywhere - maybe someone can direct me to the link so we don't have to re-hash it here? thanks in advance.


Surfboard history of my surfboards:


1967 9-0 G&S  standard, 9-0 Skip Frye, 8-10 Hotcurl, 7-4 Midget Farrelly, 6-0 Bob White (now WRV), borrowed 8-10 Gary Propper V-bottom ("Wedge") the best longboard i have ever ridden (the Bob White was crushed when my friend's van rolled over with our boards on teh roof, hence the loan of the Hobie from my friend dave, who inexplicably asked for it back after 15 years, and he lives in Hartford CT!?), 6-6 Natural Art thruster, 6-10 Midget Smith, 7-0 Skip Frye egg, 7-6 G&S modern Magic. i still own the last four listed.


-rob, cape cod mass 


 


 

reverb's picture
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...in my opinion, a thruster lboard is the example of marketing and a misconception of the design...

if you really like to go with 3 fins, a 2+1 is better suits better.

StAugustide's picture
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Of course this is just my opinion but i think longboarding is all about style and glide. I see no real need to have three fins on a longboard. I am all about drop knee truns and tip time. If I feel like going vertical I will climb on a board that is built for that purpose.


Your Walden Magic should be a great board for what you are after. Try some different fins and see if you can't loosen it up. Just out of curiosity what size fins are in the Walden? If it has standard fin boxes you could retrofit a 10" center box to give you a 2+1 setup like reverb suggests. If it has an adjustable fin box I would go to a 7.5"-8" cutaway and move it forward in the box. 


T

tz779's picture
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i agree on longboard riding. going vertical is not my idea of riding a longboard either. snappy turns (a v-bottoom is great) and noseriding is it. Plus a head dip or two. So the idea behind 2+1 on longboards is to give shortboard performance or maneuvering?? That's askiing alot from a longboard i think.....


The "Magic" is a Gordon & Smith,  7' 4" long. This board will not "drop in". it just kind of hangs at the lip and is verrrry slow to drop in. if you do get to the bottom of the wave, it just stalls right there, no speed at all. Then you die. Of course, these waves are only 4 feet. It's like the inside fin won't release and allow the board to drop?


, a 1970 design, wide point just forward of center, also like a "Super Gypsey" of the same era. Another close template is the Dewey Weber "Ski".  The three fins i have are all the same inexpensive FCS ones that came with the board: 4 1/2 base, 4 1/2 depth, and 4 1/4 rake. They flex about 1/4" off a vertical plane. The FCS setup is not adjustable. Thanks for the comments.


-rob

DropkneeSL's picture
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I'm 5'10" and 170 pounds, 61 years old. Once the waves are solid 6'
with larger set waves, I prefer a more performance-oriented (racier
outline, more rocker, more down rails, overall thinner, lighter glass,
less length [9', for me]) with a 2+1 setup (3-3/4" side bites, 7-1/2"
cutaway center).  When the waves are smaller than that, I usually ride a
9'6" single that's got a bit softer rails (but not all the way to
50-50), a bit fuller a template, less rocker and a bit more thickness.  I
also have a totally retro 9'8" single noserider with a kicked tail,
otherwise VERY flat rocker, a wide concave nose and 50-50 rails.

What
you should opt for will depend  on what style of surfing you want to
do. There are basically two "schools" of long boarding now: the more
retro, classic, graceful "gliding" style based in the 60s (exemplified
among younger guys by surfers like Tyler Hatzikian etc.) and the more
performance-oriented, "go-for-broke"  style of guys like Terry Simms,
Taylor Jenson, Lance Hookano or Colin McPhillips, etc..

High
performance single fins will tend to draw longer lines.  More retro
single fins with 50-50 rails will tend to do slower, more pivotal turns
instead of carving: you throw your body weight into the turn and wait
for the board to come around in response. If you want to noseride, a
single or 2+1 with a bit flatter rocker will do that better than a
thruster: you need some fin depth back there to hold the tail in while
you're on the nose.  The tail of a thruster with a lot of rocker will
tend to bust out and side-slip in that situation. A single will also
trim through soup (and maintain forward momentum better) than a
multi-fin board (especially a thruster).

Multi fin, performance long boards tend to
generate speed via a succession of turns (more like a short board).  Retro singles do it more via
trim.

A high-performance, 2+1 longboard in the 8'-9' range
will make for an easier transition from your shortboards than a similar
board over 9': that longer rail line just fits into the wave differently.
One thing I notice at the beach is that a lot of people riding 2+1
longboards seem to use what, IMO, constitutes too large a center fin (in
terms of both depth and base).  When you add sidebites to the equation, you can reduce the size of that center fin.  Since fins create drag, I try to get
away with the smallest ones I can while still "getting the job done".

You'll have to experiement to find a happy medium.  A long, wide,
50-50-railed, thick, flat, square-tailed, single-fin tanker will catch
waves like a mutha but will probably feel stiff and sluggish to you
(given the equipment you're on now). When I got back into long boards
after years of short boarding, I started on an 8' Yater pintail single
with a full template and gradually moved up to 9'0", where I settled in
for years.  Now (at my advanced age) I'm most comfortable on a 9'6"
single unless the waves are pretty big and/or hollow.

For us older guys (who started out on long boards) a lot of enjoying "the glide" or retro/cruising style is nostalgia.  If you started on shorter boards during the late 60s, it may not appeal to you.  On the other hand, there are lots of young kids these days who dig it.

nj_surfer's picture
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Perfectly put. I wish they were my words (of wisdom).

StAugustide's picture
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Whoops! Guess I should have read more carefully.


No matter. DropkneeSL said it better than I could have. I still say that If you dropped a different box in the G&S you might completely change the ride. I have done it successfully to a funboard a friend hated. Turned out to be a much better board. Rides it now with tiny little side bites and a 7.5" cutaway. 


Though I grew up on thrusters in the late 80's through 90's I fell in love with old school loggin after I shaped my first board which happened to be a 9'4" 50/50 railed longboard. It is also beneficial that in here in North Florida my 10'8" flat rocker log lets me surf almost no matter how small it gets. When it gets steeper I have different boards for that.


T

tz779's picture
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Thanks for the info, i have found a 2+1 Ricky Carroll locally for cheap money so i may give it a shot (what i really want is a replica of that '69 Gary Propper v-bottom, but at $1100. it may have to wait).


About the 7-6 G&S: i went out today in chest high waves. So, i drop in, am making a turn hard on the rails, just touching the face with my fingers, and then the board just slows down. no drive. it seemed to be doing well in the turn (enough speed). but as i started to come out of turn and start heading out from under the breaking section (transition off the rails)  it just slows - so much that wave closes out on me, or i punch out thru the whitewater. my guess is that the outside fins, which are same size as center fin, create too much drag? as Dropknee said, try to get away with smallest side fins as possible, and go with a bit deeper center fin for some control. this would be closer to a siingle-fin setup as i could get before putting a new fin box (i am a great woodworker but not sure how good a glasser i am to put a fin box in). it may look a bit funky when i'm done...


thanks agian for the comments..


-rob        

kokua's picture
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    Howzit tz779, One of the things I see as a difference between a 2+1 or thruster set upand a single fin board is the rails in the tail area. A single fin usually has softer rails and a 2+1 or thruster will have a harder rail starting just before the rail fins. With the single fin you want that roll to the board so you can turn it from the middle of the board where the other fin set up is for being further back on the board for your turns. Just my 2 cents. Aloha,Kokua

Aloha, Kokua

DropkneeSL's picture
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The guy can throw a log around with style, hang toes and knows his fishies, too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcZTWy36O30

DropkneeSL's picture
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And the more "progressive" or "high performance" approach:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tnD98oEwZI

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