At A Glance
Fin technology has been rather stagnant, well, at least for the last 20 years or so. I recall the early days of windsurfing and the amount of experimentation that was going on with fin design. These days for surfboards, it's usually three or four and sizes from small through to XL. Of course, you can look deeper at the rakes and profiles, but they largely follow a tried and tested format.
Along come Quobba from Western Australia to change all that. This is the bit where the record would scratch, and the music would stop at the party as they walk in. By using computer fluid dynamics, or CFD for short, they were able to model a fin that would be more efficient than the standard fin shape. The result is something as weird as it is wonderful.
It was thought that most of the turbulent flow from a fin was around the tip, but in 2005 Anthony Livanos discovered it was actually around the base of the fin. This is where Quobba has concentrated its efforts. By reducing the turbulent flow, they can make the fin more efficient, giving you more speed and projection through the water.
They have developed the Caudal Keel, the large bump at the front of the fin, and the Chop Stopper, which is a small wing just above the base and venting below. All of this combines to spin the water as it moves across the fin, as well as creating a high-pressure area at the front of the fin.
Sizes: Mix Set Single Tab, Mix Set Dual Tab, Large Single Tab, Medium Single Tab
On The Water
So does it work? Well, no need to take our word for it! Head to the website to see testimonials from pro surfers and kiters alike; there is a lot of buzz around this technology. Our experience started with trying to get the fins in the Duotone fin boxes, they fit just fine in the multi-box, but we needed smaller grub screws for the rear screw as it was sticking out too much.
Quobba is quite strict about the right set-up in order to get the fins working. In the box, you will find spacers and a fin key, and the idea is to get the fin sitting perfectly in the board to maximise the potential. A grub screw sticking up is only going to influence the water, so with that fixed, it was time to get wet.
What were they like? Different, that's for sure, and in a good way. You can push them really hard, and this generates a lot of forward drive in the turn and feels like they are rails too. The base is really stiff, with a little flex in the tips, and this makes the board feel more locked in and like you can push it endlessly without worrying about losing grip. All that force is translated into forward speed.
We tested a mixed set of fins, which consists of large side fins and a medium middle fin on a Duotone Session. This is our go-to big wave board as it cuts through the chop, and when it's big here in Wales, it's usually stormy and pretty messy. They definitely felt smoother, and we ran them back to back with the standard Duotone offering. While using the Quobba fins, the board felt more planted, and the chatter you often get was smoothed out.
It's a hard thing to quantify on the water as it's more of a feeling, and no two waves are the same. We rode the Quobbas and then the standard fins, and we could feel a difference, but when we went back to the Quobbas the increase in performance really stood out. When we went back to the standard fins, it wasn't for long, and we've not taken the Quobbas off since.
The Quobba fins were smoother, fast, and offered plenty of grip. It takes a little bit of setting up, which will depend on the board and box configuration you have, but taking the time to get them set up properly will yield the best results. We're fans. We'll be running these for the rest of the winter storms, that's for sure!
This review was in Issue 97 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Quobba Fins kitesurf
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!