Mason And Coco Ho Test Every FCS Fin Type And Configuration Under The Sun - Stab Mag
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Can fin systems 'unlock' a board? Mason and Coco weigh in. Photo: Ryan Miller

Mason And Coco Ho Test Every FCS Fin Type And Configuration Under The Sun

Because the average surfer has no clue what fins do.

Words by Ethan Davis

I didn’t spend four years studying Neuroscience at Sydney Uni to wind up at a surf mag as a low-rung writer for a bunch of salty half-brains. I did it so I could flex brain muscle over these folk so I could feel better about my student debt that I’ll never make enough money to pay off.

So, without further delay, let me educate you on how an experiment works and why surfing flips the script on which research methods should apply to the question of optimal fin choice.

Normally in an experiment you try to control as many variables as you can to infer a connection between the changing variable with a difference in outcome. Surfing has so many variables that it’s hard to run normal experiments on. 

Variables include wind, tide, swell, boards, fins, wax, water temperature. All of these effect the way surfing feels. Surfing is a touchy-feels game, and the fact that subjectivity plays such a big role in determining what good surfing is, makes it a tough thing to measure using conventional instruments.

Fins in particular are confusing. As a general rule of thumb, no fins mean you spin in circles and can’t hold a line, one fin is slower and less stable, two fins are fast but skatey, three fins are reliable and versatile, four fins have drive but are stiff, and then anything beyond that is just sci-fi. 

But the reality is even more complicated than that because fins can possess properties of rake, arc, flex and numerous other more granular qualities that can make all of those general principles redundant. Jake ‘The Snake’ Paterson, the 98′ Pipe Masters winner and SuperCoach swears by the ability of fins to unlock boards. He never lets his talent ditch a board until they have tested multiple fin templates.

To help with this complex dilemma, we asked Mason and Coco Ho to give us a hand. 

In the EAST, Coco and Mase had a full library of FCS fins to choose from. With the guidance of Paps, Mike Ho, and the consistent long running walls of Baja points as ground-zero for testing, they trialled dozens of fin types and arrays and picked their favourites (Spoiler alert: Mase is sponsored by FCS and most of their templates work!). 

I have grown up my entire life using plastic fins without much respect for their existence. But, hell after listening to Mase and Coco, I would almost go any buy a $180 pair of MR Twins. Almost.

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