Thruster Wave Fin Tuning Guide

Windsurfing Thruster Wave Board Set Up Guide for Maximum Performance & Range of Use

This fin tuning guide will help you set up your THRUSTER windsurfing fins on your thruster wave board for more speed, tighter turns and bigger jumps giving you maximum performance in a range of conditions. The past few seasons have seen an explosion in the fins, types of fins and fin set-ups for wave sailors and recreational sailors to choose from. While this creates an almost infinite number of possible combinations and tuning options it also helps to create confusion. The result is that rather than make the wrong fin choice some riders might be encouraged to stick with what they know which might not be the best option for them. The aim of this guide is to empower you to make informed choices about your thruster wave fins and confidently pick and adjust your fins to best suit your needs. Always remember that we are all different, we sail in different locations, have different styles, different equipment, none of our situations are the same, do not assume that board manufacturers were thinking about you when deciding what fins to supply with your board. If in doubt please do not hesitate to contact us and I will be happy to give you some personal recommendations. This guide will focus on THRUSTER boards and how to get the right balance (a word I use a lot but one that is so important). Everything we do in windsurfing is about balance, about calculated trade offs. You can have more of this but less of that, while it is true that advances in technology mean that you can have more of this and more of that than before there are still choices to be made and this is where windsurfing gets personal. What I love about all multi-fin boards is the range of tuning options available; you can even take your thruster and ride is as a single fin. While this guide is specifically written for thruster owners it also seeks to encourage all riders to experiment with their settings. We are using a 2014 Fanatic 103 Tri-Wave as our test board fitted with 12.5cm front fins with a 17.5cm rear fin.

Size Suggestions for Thruster Wave Boards

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Thruster Set Up Basics & Advanced Tuning

When we are setting up a board we need to compare DRIVE & LOOSENESS (also known as PIVOT). In smaller waves you may want to have increased looseness (more pivot) so that your board fits into the wave better and creates a more snappy tighter turn. In bigger waves a more drawn out bottom turn will be helped by increasing the drive which the board delivers which helps to promote a confident and secure turn. In side-onside conditions, typically the beach breaks which many of us ride in we are often looking for more drive and early planning, this helps to get you out through the white water and up to speed ready for jumps. On the waves you need more drive as less speed is being generated by the wave compared to a faster cross-off reef breaks like we find in San Carlos for example. We have two main variables which we can change and I will cover a little about each while trying not to write a long thesis! Depending on the board you have you will either be able to adjust all three fins or just the rear fin (e.g. with Mini-Tuttle front fins as on JP-Australia, Quatro etc.) The ultimate aim of this guide is to empower you to experiment with the size and position of your fins so that you can confidently tune your setup for maximum results.

  • The size and type of fins 
  • The position of the fins 

Maximum DRIVE & Control

Back fin at the rear of the box and front fins at front. This creates a longer profile and helps to engage more water to generate more grip and DRIVE. This helps to promote earlier planning and longer more drawn out turns. This is probably too extreme for most people but may help if you are finding it hard to control your bottom turn in bigger waves and stronger winds or perhaps if you have too small fins for the day.

max drive

Lots of DRIVE

Back fin at rear of box and front fins in the middle, this is also the setup which mirrors those who cannot move their front fins. In this set up we have moved the back fin further back and left the front fins in a neutral position. This is the set up I would personally use in bigger waves (mast high and over) and when I am trying to get more control to boost (my often lacking) confidence! The wider setup helps to promote control and wider turns which helps you be in harmony with the wave. By keeping the front fins a center position we are not exaggerating the DRIVE feeling too much and we keep that LOOSENESS that we love from a wave board. Moving the rear fin back also helps to increase the speed of the board. If you are feeling that you need bigger fins on a particular day this can enable you to quickly adjust your set up without the need to change the fins.


Maximum LOOSENESS in Smaller Waves

Front and back fins as close together as possible. This set up helps to loosen up your board, by bringing the fins closer together a pivoty more skaty feel is experienced by the rider. You will notice less grip and drive but once on a wave the turning arch will be tighter and very LOOSE, you may find it hard when going upwind or sailing in a straight line as the board naturally wants to turn.

super loose

Very LOOSE without loosing DRIVE

For most people leaving the front fins in a neutral position and bringing the back fins further forward will generate a great balance. All boards are different and their boxes are in different positions, some have more overlap and some have none and this clearly influences your tuning. Production boards tend to have a smaller adjustment range and those with Mini-Tuttle front fins will only be able to tune the rear fin.

rear forward

Bigger fins for more DRIVE and control and Single Fin options

If you are looking to extend the light wind capabilities and/or benefit from having more power then bigger fins are going to help you. With the thruster boards you can achieve this in two ways. By increasing the size of the front fins you get more power and a more planted feeling, by increasing the size of the back fin you get more drive but keep a more pivoty feeling on the back foot. So in bigger waves I would choose to increase the size of my front fins it I needed more power and in smaller waves I would increase the size of the back fin to get that power but keep the turning radius tight. In really onshore conditions you can increase the size of both for maximum drive but this does limit your turning if this is something that you are looking for. Alternatively you can drop your front fins altogether and ride your board as a single fin for great onshore performance.


Final Thoughts

I want to return to the start if this post and remind myself and you the rider that my aim is to empower you to make your own decisions, encourage you to experiment, by getting things wrong we learn how to make them better. Over time you will become more confident, improve your sailing and ultimately have more fun. When we started Black Project we wanted to give riders the options to customize their fin set up to their unique set of characteristics, this is why we have a multitude of options which can be used to create virtually any multi-fin option

  • Rear Fin options: 14.5, 15.5, 16.5, 17.5, 18.5 & 20.0cm
  • Front Fin options: 10.5, 11.5, 12.5 & 13.5cm 

  If you would like your fin questions answered please contact us for personal support.

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