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Unlike other sports that require numerous pieces of equipment, surfing does not require too much beyond a board and some proper attire.
While this may sound simple, there are a variety of different features to choose from when selecting a surfboard, and it is extremely important to choose the right one for the type of surfing you want to do and the type of conditions you will be surfing in.
For example, the type of fins on the bottom of the surfboard have a lot of influence over how the ride will go because such features as the shape, number and configuration of fins, and the material they are made from can all affect the ride.
One such feature you will have to decide on is where or not you want the fins to be removable.
Removable fins are great for transportation and also allow surfers to try out different types of fins.
One of the leading brands who developed removable fins in FCS. They have a variety of removable fins on the market, and one of their most recent additions is called the Firewire.
Let’s go into an FCS Firewire Fins review to see how these fins compare to others on the market.
Surfboard Fin Features
First, it is important to understand the different types of surfboard fins and how they affect the ride before we continue. This will help you understand what you should be looking for in a set of fins.
There are two different types of fin systems for a surfboard: glass-on fins and removable fins.
Glass-on fins are laminated into the surfboard, so they are attached to the board and do not come off.
This type of fin system is advantageous because that it offers a smoother and more predictable feel during the ride.
Since the fins are not removable, though, they are more difficult to replace if they get broken and the board is a little hard to transport.
The other type of fin system is removable fins.
Boards that accommodate removable fins have fin boxes on the bottom of the surfboard where fins can be installed or removed using a fin key and adjusting a screw or small set of screws on the box.
The advantage to this type of system is that it is easier to travel with. It also makes the board more versatile because a surfer can try different types of fins without having to purchase multiple boards.
There are also a variety of different fin setups, meaning the number of fins and how they are arranged on the board.
There can be anywhere from 1 to 5 fins on a board, and the number is largely based on the type and shape of the board.
A surfboard with a single fin most common for longboards, but it can also be found on older shortboards or mid lengths.
A single fin is good for speed and stability, but maneuverability is more limited, so this setup is better for point-and-shoot surfing that doesn’t involve sharp or sudden turns.
A twin fin setup, also known as keel fins, has 2 fins. Boards with keel fins are easier to maneuver than a single fin, especially when surfing in small waves.
This configuration is most common on small wave boards.
A thruster configuration, or a tri fin setup as it is also called, is the most common setup for boards today.
The thruster setup is versatile in all types of waves, and it allows for vertical surfing and progressive maneuvers.
The quad setup with four fins allows for more speed than a thruster setup.
Since this configuration does not have a center fin to provide more control and pivot, it loosens up the tail of the board for a less controlled feel.
Because of this, a quad setup typically feels looser, which makes for a more fun ride on smaller waves.
A 5-fin setup is the most versatile setup of the ones mentioned because it allows the surfer to switch between thruster, quad, or twin depending on the surf conditions or style.
This versatility is making boards with this setup much more popular.
There are a few other alternative configurations besides the ones mentioned, but these are the most common setups for surfboards.
About the company
FCS was established with the goal of creating removable surfboard fins, which was still just an idea at the time.
FCS has been designing and creating new products for over 25 years, remaining at the forefront of surfing innovation.
One of the first sets of fins that FCS put out were the H-2 fins. These fins were revolutionary at the time because they were designed with a different geometry than any other fins on the market, and they had a much lighter feel due to the use of aluminum and fiberglass composite.
The FCS H-2 fins made quite an impression and ended up winning the Australian Design Award of the Year in 2005.
A few years later in 2008, The H3 Nexus fins helped declare FCS as the industry leader in fin development.
This next level of the H-series fins introduced TRICOIL technology with a multi-directional flex pattern that helped increase acceleration and control of the board during take off.
In 2012, FCS introduced the well-known FCS II System. This system made it possible to attach and remove the fins from the board in a matter of seconds without any screws or tools.
This system revolutionized the field because it showed the benefit of having detachable fins.
Since these milestone innovations, FCS has continued to work with new materials and templates to improve their existing products and create new ones.
This company has proven over the years that they are not only a company to trust, but one to watch.
FCS continues to bring better designs and products to the sport, and in the process, they have become the leaders in the surf hardware space. Their commitment is to improve the surfing experience from start to finish.
FCS Firewire Fins Review: A closer look
The FCS Firewire fins are a new template designed by legendary Dan Mann that just came out in 2020. While they are typically presented in a thruster set, the fins have some of the characteristics of a twin fin setup.
The fins are full-bodied with an XL side that helps provide great hold and drive off the bottom. They create an exciting ride.
The Firewire fins can be ordered as either a tri-fin (3 fins) set or as a tri-quad (5 fins) set. There are also single replacement Firewire fins available for purchase should one get damaged.
The side fins sit deep in the water, and they have minimal sweep and great pivoting capabilities.
The center fin is smaller, and the fins have a unique tip design. These features offer the projection of a twin setup and a lot of release through the turns.
The combination of the longer and shorter fins creates a stabilizing influence on the surfboard without restricting movement or feeling stiff or tight.
The quad set allows for smooth, controlled turns with a fast yet sturdy feel.
The fin design makes it easier to break the turning arc at higher speeds and pivot tightly with a good amount of control.
These fins provide a balance of speed, flow, and response.
- Conditions — These fins are ideal for a variety of conditions, but they are particularly useful in critical overhead waves.
- Board Types — The Firewire fins are designed to fit the FCS II Fin System. They are ideal for high-volume shortboards as well as hybrid models with wider tails and lower rocker.
- Material — The Firewire fins come in Performance Core + AirCore technology. The Performance Core fins are made with a multi-layer resin transfer molding process, and the flex pattern extends from the base to the tip, allowing the surfer to hold through a turn. The material is lightweight and versatile, so it can be used in different surfing conditions. The AirCore technology includes a polyurethane foam core that mimics the foil of the fin. This reduces the need for as much fiberglass during the RTM molding process, which allows for the fins to be lighter weight while still having good flex.
- Size — The Firewire fins only come in 2 sizes: medium and large. The medium support 145 to 175 pounds (65 to 80 kg), and the large support 165 to 200 pounds (75 to 90 kg).
Who are they best for?
As previously mentioned, these fins work well for overhead waves, so surfers that enjoys this would benefit from these fins.
Overall, these fins are very versatile and will work in a variety of different conditions. As a result, surfers in a variety of surfing conditions and even varying levels of experience can benefit from these fins.
These fins are also good for the surfer who is looking for a little more balance in the board.
The Firewire fins appear to be a fine addition to the FCS line of fins, and there is no doubt that even more innovations will be made as time goes on.
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