The Need For Speed

As a disciple of kneeboard surfing, don’t you just love how faaast you can go? The late drop that you make….then driving into your bottom turn, flying down the line…

it’s an excellent feeling. I think ‘cos we are close to the water it’s what magnifies the feeling. We’ve all seen pics, videos or been eyewitnesses of this speed in our kneeboard family. You can think about it all day. Each time you surf, putting it into practice – finding the steep part of the wave, the sucky section, the power pocket. 


When I got introduced to concaves in 1973 I can still remember my kb rising up the face and driving forward. By the way, that concave was in the first half of the board. Then we tried placing it a bit further towards the tail, flowing out of a vee.

So the concave was a single, from the nose thru to about 18” up from tail. Then it turned itself into a vee. 

In today’s boards, a single to double concave to vee is pretty common place. The concave bottom feeds water quickly through the fins, out the tail, then drives you rapidly through turns. How deep you make it really depends on what you want out of your surfing; where you are going to surf and, of course, ability.

It’s the speed we are looking for – without speed you cannot do very much at all – and the concave has contributed speed in my boards for so long that I couldn’t do without them.

You have to have the planshape sorted to suit what you want to achieve in your surfing.

Fin System

Recently I have had a great time with Hanalei fins. What a difference to your speed can a fin make, unbelievable, really! 

If you are totally satisfied with your bottom contour; your planshape length and width; 890-=0==-your thickness, rocker, etc.; then do not just chuck any old fin in there and think that will do. Because it won’t! 

We have so much variety out there at the moment – fins and finsystems have come a long way… a huge way… after being overlooked for ages.`1

A ‘Freak’ with new fins

I have a 6ft 2 x 24 x2 ¾ ‘Freak’ that I made for:- serious long paddles; getting into waves early; basically surviving beatings in heavy surf. It’s a fast, hard-turning model. However, its whole complexity changed by putting different fins in it. 

I mostly rode it as a trifin, which I originally made the ‘Freak’ to be. However I made this board as a 5fin, and have been riding it as a 4fin; first with Hanalei Qs in it and then the XPDs and… it’s gone off its nut!! [then i busted it in half]

The first time I used the Qs in it I was holding it back – I thought every time I turned it I was going to spin out!  But no, it went straight up, back down again, this way and that way… gliding, flowing… speed. Well, my gun was now a hot dogger – because of a change of fin. 

Once more… it’s that speed-need we love. Even if you’re going straight down-the-line; dropping and climbing; going faster and faster – that’s what some of us are happy to do. 

It’s such a bonus to have the Gearbox/Hanalei guys so basically stoked in kneeboard surfing. Credit to them for being so hands-on. Of course, they do fins for all genres of surfing, but I suspect they love kb riding ‘cos we are all so into and they like to see old guys go fast.

Have you noticed there are two types of runners ? There are those guys that – bang! – one step, and they’re into a sprint. Others need to wind up a bit, i think surfers are the same.

My thoughts are: check… study your wave before you go out ; surf each one as it presents itself. You maybe able to paddle hard and quickly turn into the steep part of the wave… run a little…. then drop and turn. It’s hard to predict, that’s half the fun. You just have to keep going hard at it; find the juice; go fast and go faaaaster. 

Without doubt we all look for this in each surf. That’s when you need fins that are going to speed things up, keep the pace, and increase it through your turns. In my opinion, the combination of the right planshape and a Hanalei/Gearbox fin system will satisfy your need for speed.

3 thoughts on “The Need For Speed

  1. At the stage where I am having a comeback on either a SUO or a KB. Rode shortboards for decades than a mal. To hard carting it around. So I’m chasing a KB that’ll catch waves easy and have speed. 90 kilos and 68 years. What do I need?

    1. Hey mate, I would suggest the Fresh Fish which should be excellent. Where do you normally surf and how tall are you?

      Regards NL

  2. awesome Amigo, muchas gracias for the very positive words about our fins and fin system. Really happy to be part of making surfing new and fun again.Yep, what difference a fin can make. Once again thanks for giving our product a go, and so happy that you are stoked with our brand. Gracias !

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