Quillas de surf Quad-Fins VS Tri-fins

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Nowadays, quad fins have become very popular, every time we see more surfboards mounted in Quad, fashion or real breakthrough? In this article we will try to answer this question and explain the main differences between thruster and quad.

1. Anatomy of a Tri-fin

They are composed of 3 fins, two front and one central back. The two front fins are asymmetrical, the outer side is curved, while the inner side is flat or concave. The central fin is symmetrical, with both sides pumped, sometimes the same size as the front ones, sometimes smaller to allow the tail of the board to slide easily.

The central fin serve as axis of rotation to the surfboard. Invented by Simon Anderson in 1980, the way of surfing has totally changed, surfing has evolved towards shorter boards, which together with the configuration of three fins has allowed a new style of surfing, based on much more tithed turns and more radical maneuvers.

Nowadays, the thruster is still most used for the maneuverability it offer.

2. Anatomy of a Quad-Fins

Quad-fins consist of four fins, two front, identical to the two front in tri-fins, and two rear. Those two rear are quite smaller, with both sides pumped, sometimes symmetrical with a 50/50 profile, sometimes asymmetric with an 80/20 profile, and replace the central keel.

The overall surface of the fins is much more important, and this brings drive, speed and grip. It also provides more stability to the board, the board is more stable and easier to surf.

3. Which option to choose?

It is very complicated to give an answer, since between the theory and the practice it varies a lot.

In theory, we should use the configuration of tri-fins in waves for maneuvers, waves that allow many bottom turn and cut back, because they enhance the maneuverability of the surfboard.

We should surf on quad in fast waves with walls and barrels, for the speed and grip that this configuration of fins provides. We should also surf on quad in waves of poor quality and low power, with hybrids or fish surfboards.

If almost everyone agrees to say that in hybrid surfboards with a wide tail quad fins give better results, for shortboard it is not that obvious and it can vary depending on the surfer.

In my case, it’s been a year since I surf quad only. In my shortboard for good and powerful waves, I prefer to surf on quad even if the wave are not barreling. The extra speed and stability that gives to my surfboard allow me to surf better. And my hybrid board for bad waves also goes mounted on quad.

But I also surf with people with very good skills who prefer the thruster, or others that like me, who surf almost exclusively on quad.

In hybrid surfboards with a wide tail, the thing is quite obvious, we recommend that you mount it on quad. In shortboard for powerful and hollow waves with round tail, we also recommend quad fins.

For a multipurpose shortboard, the ideal is to order your board in tri-quad, with five sets of plugs, and buy a set of 5 fins, to be able to try both options, and see which one gives you the best result with your skill and the type of waves you surf.

Another thing is 100% sure, with five keels you do not surf … 4 or 3 keels, but not 5!

As you can see, surfing is not an exact science, it is clear that the quad is a breakthrough, but not all surfers make the same use of it. If you surf both quad and thruster or if you have already made your own opinion, leave your point of view in the comments.

We have also prepared a video to explain in images the difference between quad and thruster:

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