‘Bro, what type of fins do you have?’ FCS vs Futures fins has always been a heated topic of debate in the world of surfing. Well, we are going to do our best to settle that.
In this article, learn about the key differences between surfing with FCS vs Futures fins and the measure of difficulty for installing and removing both types of fins. Ultimately, we’ll help you answer – ‘Do fins make a difference surfing?’
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Difference Between FCS and Futures
For the average surfer, the difference between FCS and Futures doesn’t make much of a difference. Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of preference. With that said, there are a few key differences in the fin structure, installation, and performance. In the following paragraphs, I’ll explain these differences between FCS and Futures to help you answer for yourself the FCS vs Futures fins debate.
Now, unless you are purchasing a board with fins already glossed on; you will have to make a decision for FCS vs Futures fins. For starters, each type of fins has a different system for attaching to the board. With FCS fins, you have either the FCS fusion fins that attach with two small screws or the newer FCS II fins which snap into place without screws. On the other hand, Futures fins secure in place with a single screw. Overall, Futures fins are a little bit more user friendly and easier to install. I’ll get into more on how to install surfboard fins for each fin type in the next section
The main difference between these fin connection systems is how cant is built into the fins. What is fin cant? Cant is a measurement of how much a fin leans out towards the rail of the board. Generally, center fins have no cant, and side fins have a few degrees of cant. With FCS, fin cant is built into the fin box that holds the fins whereas with Futures; fin cant is built into the fins. Why is this important? With FCS, if your fins take on damage from hitting the ocean floor or reef, it can damage the fin box as well. However, with Futures – the damage is limited to the fins only. As a result, fin damage repairs can be more costly with FCS.
Finally, the last major factor in the debate of FCS vs Futures fins is performance. Due to Futures having cant built into the fins, the connection to the board is more secure. As such, some argue that there is less flex which results in higher performance with Futures.
In summary, the differences between FCS and Futures are small. Since FCS fins are more common and readily available, they will match up with more boards; making for a better choice when learning to surf.
How to Install Surfboard Fins: FCS vs Futures
In this section, I will share how to install surfboard fins for both FCS and Futures. To begin, let’s start with attaching fins to your board.
Installing FCS Fins
The following is how to install the original FCS fins:
- Identify the center fin and side fins. The center fin will be flat on both sides. The side fins will be curved on one side; the curved side faces out.
- To install FCS fins, simply insert them into the plugs on the board.
- Once the fins are flush with the board, use an FCS key to tighten the two screws (one on each side) until you feel the screws start holding the fins (do not over tighten).
The new FCS II fins are easier to install and do not require screws. Simply insert the front of the fin into the plug first so that it engages the tab of the fin. Next, push the back of the fin into the board until it clicks into place. Easy!
Installing Futures Fins
Now, follow these steps to install Futures fins. Note that an FCS key is compatible for installing and removing both Futures and FCS fins.
- Put the heel of the fin into the plug first by sliding it back.
- Push the front of the fin all the way in until it’s flush with your board base.
- Using a fin key, tighten the single screw at the front of the fin (do not over tighten).
How to Remove Surf Fins: FCS vs Futures
Next, I’ll cover the process for how to remove surf fins for both FCS and Futures.
Removing FCS Fins
- Loosen both screws until the fins have space to slide out
- After fully loosened, just pull your FCS fins straight out, it’s easy.
Again, for removing FCS II fins; it’s easier. Simply apply pressure to the top of the fin, lift and roll it out.
Removing Futures Fins
- Screw the single screw at the top of the fin nearly all the way out.
- Push down the top of the fin and each fin should begin to pop out.
To summarize, the difference between installing and removing FCS vs Futures fins is not huge. For both the original FCS and Futures, the same fin key can be used. FCS original fins require two screws while Futures only one. However, the FCS II does not need screws and is the easiest fin system to install/remove!
FCS vs Futures Fins Bottomline – Do Fins Make a Difference Surfing?
Bottomline, the difference between FCS and Futures is not that great nor will the type of fins you choose have a massive impact to your surfing. If you are looking for an edge with performance, go with Futures. However, if you are looking for a fin set up that is more common on boards across the globe, go with FCS. Unfortunately, this still leaves the debate of FCS vs Futures fins as a bit of a stalemate. As long as you aren’t surfing without fins, you’ll be carving and hacking away happily with either choice.
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