Boardseeker found themselves stumbling around a whole hoard of new kit at West Witterings in the UK recently. What we saw was colourful selection of some of the most advanced toys out there. We only have to think back 10 years and it is incredible how much the kit has developed.
When we really considered what was available and how the prices faired up, it really did seem amazing how board prices have not soared even higher. Looking around other sailing sports you can see the costs rocketing well above the rate of inflation. Don't get us wrong, we are not saying we like the increase in board costs but before any riffling complaints come firing our way, be sure to check out your next demo day and really take a close look at all the gear.
One such item that might throw a spanner in the realms of logic is that of the brands who are producing a board with 5 fin boxes. A surprisingly new concept to modern day windsurfing, 5 fins might appear to pass the borders of speculation to slightly over the top. Unfortunately this logic got us into a little bit of trouble when we strongly questioned the concept with UK Brand Manager and international Tabou/Gaastra rider Ross Williams. In fact it lead to a heated debate over several beers in the pub that evening, the result of which was a clear reasoning for why 5 boxes is a viable option for a windsurf board, and, we have to say we were sold on the idea.
In our best attempts to convey this hugely informative conversation over to you we've since caught up with Ross Williams to get his top 5 reasons why 5 fin boxes should be in your quiver, over to Ross...
Perhaps the most obvious reason is the clear ability to have several fin options in one board. The 5 fin Tabou Da Curve allows the user to adopt one of the main two options, quad or thruster setup, in just a matter of seconds. Further to this, those who still wish for a looser feel can easily place in just two fins for the twinfin option or a small fin in between for the trailer layout. Finally the classic, more traditional windsurfers can be content with just a single fin.
This is perfect as it allows us to try out so much all on one board, meaning less is more for the end user. Or just as important is the fact that those getting into the sport can now purchase one board model in different volumes but have that variation through fin choice. This certainly makes the board prices suddenly much more attractive.
CHOOSE YOUR STYLE
With so many different fin options it is possible to tune your riding style to the conditions that are laid out for you on any given day. If you want to be sticking close to the pocket of the wave then the quad setup allows you to push tighter turns much more vertical for that more surf style. A perfect example was when Kauli won the PWA Cape Verde event a few years ago on the quad because he was able to ride the waves with much more surf style, keeping right in the critical section of the wave and launching huge aerials off the latest of hits right underneath the lip.
My personal opinion is that there is no right or wrong about riding a wave, you choose how you want to do it on that day. Competition might direct you to a certain way but if competition is far away from your mind and you want to go out and just slide the board along the lip of the wave for as long as you can then that's what wave riding is about to you. Where board shapes are now so closely related and construction is really optimised it seems that fins are perhaps one of the greatest variables now. For a pro, their lives are great, they can have custom boards made for each event they go to should they wish and they can opt for any fins they want on any shape board, their variables are somewhat larger than the everyday windsurfer, that's why the 5 fin box has developed, it's allowing every windsurfer out there the chance to have a board that works at any spot they visit any time of the year.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEIGHT
When multi-fins first arrived on the scene there was quite a bit of trial and error going on. Some production runs would appear much heavier than others, then the slot-box was introduced to save weight and it couldn't really withstand the strains of windsurfing so there was much hesitation amongst the brands.
However, naturally with time the latest developments in slot-box materials and the screws utilised have become much much stronger and still light weight. It's pretty fair to say that these days the slot box is as strong as the US box and is more than capable of withstanding the every day forces of windsurfing. As a result the weight of a board is kept within the reasonable margin and thus the 5 fin boxes have become yet even more attractive.
Many often question the construction, asking if the board is weaker because it's been chopped around a bit to fit the 5 boxes in. The truth of it is in fact the opposite. The boards are stronger due to the extra reinforcements but also due to the fact that having multiple fins means that one supports the other. So should you have the very unlikely event of running aground in your excitement to escape that huge closing out beach break bomb, then the chances of keeping the board relatively intact are much higher than perhaps a single fin.
The other side of it is again the developments in materials, where slot-box's used to adopt the small delicate fiddle FCS keys, which would snap or just round off, they now have much stronger screws which you can use any of the classic windsurfing branded screwdrivers for.
If you really need another reason then Ross Williams is more than happy to chat further with anyone who has any queries, just leave your questions in the comments below, but we love posting videos here on Boardseeker and we think this covers the fifth reason pretty good.