Apr 14

Is it time for a fresh take on asymmetric boards?

Chris Jackson (CJ Surf Designs) was an early Black Project Fins adopter and has used our wave fins on his custom boards for a few years now. Working out of a small factory in Cornwall (UK) this boutique board builder makes some amazing designs and being free from convention he tends to push the limits more than most dare with their designs. He sent us this report with some interesting ideas about board design and asymmetric fin configurations.


“My inspiration for actually building this board came with the arrival of my new Hot Sails Maui – KS3 sails last autumn. The super responsive, tight turning, yet forgiving, direct and powerful nature of these sails instantly had me wanting a new totally wave focused board tuned to their new school performance characteristics. It also had to be extremely user friendly for someone with less skill than Kauli Seadi!

An asymmetric shape allows you to further optimise a board for use in the dominant conditions where you usually sail. They’re a lot of fun even if you sail only get to sail mostly onshore wind swell conditions but in classic cross off ground swell conditions they add a new dimension of performance.

Much can be achieved from this style of design. In this instance, for speed and control on the downwind, bottom turn side, the outline is drawn out with the wide point forward of centre and a narrow tail thus producing a longer, straighter rail line to engage into and through the bottom turn. This makes it easier to confidently set your rail at full chat, and provides excellent grip, speed and chop control through the turn. Whereas the wider more curvaceous side has the wide point at centre and a much wider tail creating more curve in the outline. This encourages a tighter turning arc due to the shorter length of rail engaged as the board is banked off the top.


I opted for a three fin configuration as I feel this gives the most varied tuning options and minimum drag. The side fins are toed in in such away that they align equally relative to the centre fin but differently from each other which balances them with the water flow and respective tail width and outline differences where the wide side fin is set closer to the rail.

Black Project Fins make some of the finest fins you can buy and I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been delighted when they’ve tested them. The designer, Tom Hammerton also had significant input into the design of the Hot Sails Maui – KS3 sail so it seems only natural to match these fins with the sails. I aim for just enough fin area to do the job required which means less area with high winds and small sails and more area with lower winds and bigger sails. Black Project Fins are very efficient for their size and I find I can easily go for smaller sizes than I could on my old fins. For straight ease and get up and go a large centre fin and small thrusters is probably favourite but as I’m more focused on looseness and wave performance with this board I’ve started with a compact spread of MiniEPIC 15.5 , plus a Thruster 10cm on the bottom turn side (similar to half a Quad set up) and a WaveMULTI 11cm on the top turn side for pivot and drive off the top. This gives quite a low surface area of 244cm2 and judging by my first outing with a 4.9m2 sail in pretty weak waist to chest high waves this works really well when fully powered but is a bit lacking in lighter winds. Depending on wind strength the next outing will be with larger side fins at 11cm and 12cm plus the 15.5cm, to give just a little more drive and area at 267cm2 but very little, if any, perceptible loss of looseness.



The difference changing fins can make should not be under estimated. If in doubt try a set a bit smaller than those that came with your production board because I think many production boards are biased towards being over finned to make them as instantly user friendly as possible to a wide variety of buyers.” Chris Jackson (CJ Surf Designs UK) Learn more about CJ Surf Designs innovative windsurf boards.

A unique feature of Black Project Fins is the ability to choose your fins individually, we are all different and hence we can all benefit from some extra fine tuning as Chris Jackson has done here. You are advised to check out our guides to setting up your boards and ask questions by getting in contact. We work with people around the world daily and use this knowledge and experience to help you find your perfect match.

More to follow…

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