Plastic Fins and a valid Artistic License

So, when you get a new surfboard, it usually comes with a set of plastic fins thrown in. A lot of surfers promptly swap out these fins with the latest and greatest techno fin set up. For me, honestly, on the little tri fin setups, I only notice the difference when they’re missing completely. Other than that, well, I’m no aficionado or a Master of All Things Surfing like Ke11y Slater (YAY Ke11y!!!).
I keep my little plastic fins since they’re free with the board, can get beaten up, and can become a fun craft project.
Here’s my plastic white side bites that have seen better days:

SB3 Future Side Bites

I cleaned these up well, getting any wax, grime, etc. of of the fins as part of the prep. I decided I would paint directly on the fins with Sharpie markers after cleaning, but if your surface is really rough, you may want to spray an even coat of sealant on (cover the base with painter’s tape) to smooth the surface out. Let it dry sufficiently before proceeding.
To help me with some idea of what I wanted to do, I drew out a rough sketch in pencil over the fin. I wanted these to reflect colors in my board that’s getting shaped now, which really doesn’t have graphics, so putting graphics on the fins instead, I figured, would be fun.

Sketching out a trippy design in pencil

I used basic Sharpie markers. Some people prefer Posca Pens, which are harder to find, but I’ve heard are great quality. I also like the Paint Pens Elmer’s makes, but they are more like the paint pens we used in the 80’s. In fact, this whole project makes me reminsce back to high school painting on binders and shoes….so retro. Oh great, my memories are “retro” now.
Really, the fun in this is going crazy with designs, getting an autograph from a favorite surfer, etc. And it’s cheap and easy to do.
I’m going to spray some sealant layers on top of the paint to prevent saltwater from chipping off the paint over time. Again, I’m going to tape off the base of the fin so I don’t add any thickness from the spray, making it hard to reinstall the fin into the boxes.
Here’s my completed fins:

Get on the Funky Bus!

I could even see these mounted up as surf room art. Maybe it’ll get you to reconsider those plastic fins- don’t chuck them, just get creative.

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