The best fin system for surfboards – Futures or Fcs 2?
”This blog on The best fin system for surfboards will really help you find The Best Surfboard To Improve Your SurfingLuke Hart
The Best fin system for Surfboards.
As a Shaper, this is a question I get asked a lot. What is the best fin system for surfboards?
The honest truth is there isn’t a right and wrong answer. Both are great options and i would usually advise people to stay with one so they can build there quiver of fins up for use across all of their boards. There is however, pros and cons to both which i am going to go through below. We can look at areas where both plugs could improve and I will give my opinion as to which fin system i believe to be the best.
Futures – the Pros:
The biggest plus with futures fin system has to be fact the majority of the base of the fin is locked into the board. This means there is little to no flex where it shouldn’t be on the fin. It also means you don’t have gaps underneath the fin that could potentially hinder the water flow comparative to say a glass on fin.
The next big positive with futures boxes installed in your surfboard is the actual integrity of the detachable fin itself. The whole base is connected to the box so there is far less weak point in the actual fin meaning technically the fins in futures boxes could take more pressure than that of Fcs fins given that they have a gap between the two points they are connected to the fin box.
Another positive to the Futures fin box design is how easy it is to take the fin in and out of the box, its super simple and you never feel as though the board is in danger of being damaged when you are taking your fins in and out.
Due to the patents on futures boxes, you can find cheaper costing alternative fins that will fit into your futures fin boxes. These fins aren’t necessarily worse quality than the real Futures fins but they can be a lot cheaper. So you have some great price point options when your surfboard has Futures boxes.
Finally from a manufacturing perspective the futures boxes are easier to install correctly. There is less skill involved with the install of a Futures box. The lip on the top of the box allows enough tolerance for a fin installer to make sure the box is sitting low enough in the board to enough the glass laminate securely holds the box in with out it being sanded away because the box is too high. This can be a problem in Fcs plugs especially for someone with little experience.
Fcs 2 Pros
The Fcs 2 box design is smaller than its counter part, this means that the box takes less space in your surfboard which means the flex in the tail of your surfboard will be less affected.
Another great point to note with Fcs 2 is that during install the Fcs 2 box takes less resin to stick into the board, saving weight and again flex properties of the board. The peanut esq shape of the Fcs 2 box, along with the hd foam housing the actual box itself, also means that the load of pressure from the fins is spread with out a sheared edge offering less chance that any damage internally in your surfboard will take place through repetitive use. So technically an Fcs2 box will work as intended for longer than a Futures box if both are installed correctly. During this time frame the Fcs2 box will be lighter and have less effect on the natural flex of your surfboard.
Fcs2 fin systems have an excellent range of own brand fins that cater for different price points and surfing niches. You can buy high quality real Fcs 2 branded fins for as little as £60 with the equivalent in Futures being closer to £90. The Fcs 2 range of fins is vast.
Fcs 2 boxes come with 3 options of boxes each having three predetermined angles with the box itself. This makes it easier for a board builder to accurately install the intended angle the fin will sit at when being surfed. Whilst ensuring the box is still as flat as possible to help making the lamination process easy and more uniform on close inspection. This is great for the shaper as he has a bit more control as to the fins you should surf to get the most out of your surfboard.
Lastly for the Pros of Fcs 2 fin boxes is the ease of routing out the board for the plugs initial install. The install process of Fcs 2 fin boxes is fast and easy to be accurate.
The cons of Futures and Fcs 2 fin boxes
These are my opinions only. Its important to establish now that although I think both boxes are great, neither are perfect. When it comes to the best fin system for surfboards you should get a grasp of the weak points too. Read on as i go through the negative aspects of both options and my final verdict as which box is my personal favourite.
Futures boxes use so much resin in instal and take away a lot of the boards curve during install because they are so long. For me as a shaper I hate that I am taking away foam and replacing it with heavy resin and plastic. Futures boxes are almost too strong for your surfboard. I know that sounds like a really silly complaint but here me out! When you install a futures box you are incasing the boxes in approximately 75% more resin than the amount you need to use for the install of Fcs 2 box. This affectively creates blocks of resin sitting in foam with very harsh edges. When you apply pressure to your fins through turns and general surfing use, you are pushing those harsh resin blocks into the surrounding foam. This can cause slight movement of the box within your board and in severe cases will cause cracking. To me, futures lacks a bit of intuitive design evolution which ultimately causes small sacrifices to performance of your surfboard whilst shortening the peak of the boards performance due to use over time.
Given the lack of tolerance with the sand-able lip on the Fcs 2 plug you can have issues with the mechanics of the plug, it shouldn’t be a problem if you install correctly but we are talking the difference between 0.5 mm from right and wrong and for a hand made product this can be very hard to maintain without issues. This can lead to cracking around the plugs and in worse case scenarios it can stop the fin from clicking into the box properly which results in more lost fins. This leads me on to the next flaw in Fcs 2 fin plugs! The click in click out system is irrelevant. you don’t need it! and it leads to all sorts of annoying fin losses and issues with install. If you put one screw in the back of the plug a lot of the issues i have with the Fcs 2 plug goes away. They tried to be clever when we didn’t need clever we just needed right. Hold on, I’m not quite done with the click in click out system yet…. Board builders get blamed for fins being lost when a lot of the time it was no fault of theres. If your fins aren’t properly screwed in you can lose them. Thats just how it goes. screw them in if you are at all worried or double check they are securely in the box prior to going out for a surf. The slightest bump in the car could have dislodged them which will lead to an annoying lost fin. I blame Fcs 2 for dangling the carrot of ease. *Disclaimer, I have only ever lost 1 fin and I never screw my fins in. – Lucky.
What do i think is the best fin system for surfboards currently on the market today?
The moment anyone crazy enough to read this entire blog has been waiting for…. The tension is killing me writing it, I can only imagine what it must be like to be the excited reader right now.
I prefer Fcs 2. I like the easy routing of the boxes as i find it more accurate, I love the fact the board is lighter and stronger than any other plug, and i am prepared to navigate the small tolerances during sticking the plugs in for the added performance I think you get from having Fcs 2 plugs in your boards. WSL doesn’t lie, all the best ride Fcs 2 and the titles prove it.
Sorry Futures, trust me it is very close. I have no problem what so ever putting futures in my boards on request and i do still believe they are a great product.
The real answer to all of this is a combination of the two boxes would be the ultimate product. peanut shape, hd foam incased , full base attachment with one screw for security…. Everyone is a winner. Sort it out guys.
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