Lovin’ the Nubbin

We were lucky to have a mini swell last week that surprised the hardened Summertime locals, who had already embraced the coming June doldrums. The timing for this project, then, couldn’t have worked out any better, since I ended up with trial run conditions.
I have a 7’0″ funshape that’s set up as a tri-fin. I’m not a teenager, so I don’t ride little chip boards, but I’m not very big, either, so a funshape can be a bit of a bear to turn when I want to go a bit faster.
A friend noticed, and suggested I consider getting a small center fin to replace the regular one I’m using in the standard Future setup I have in it now. They’re ones that came with the board- I’m no aerialist, so fancy carbon, honeycomb, gold flake, sting ray skin, Mick Fanning approved, etc. fins are out.
I went to my local surf shop and the owner made the same suggestion, and showed me a fin called the “Nubster” or the “Nubbin”. There’s actually a couple of types of these! (Be careful when searching “nubbin” on the interwebs- apparently, it means other things. *Shiver*). The shrunken center fin facilitates the turning ability and loosens up the board. Ok, whatever.

From surfstationstore.com FCS “Von Sol” Nubster

The price is interesting too- $30 bucks! The store owner then admitted, “Well, sometimes….I just cut down a fin myself.”
Bing! A crafty solution! Here was my version.
I had three plastic center fins that I wasn’t using that were Futures.

I was going to free draw a design, so I did a Goldilocks, and picked one that wasn’t too thick, have too much rake to work around, blah, blah.
I went with this one:

So I grabbed my pencil, a piece of cardstock, and traced the outline of the fin, excluding the base that fits into the board:

Next, I freehanded a shape that kinda looked like what I saw in the surf shop and online onto the cardstock’s drawing within the boundaries of the current outline of the fin:

I cutout the new shape and used it to trace onto the plastic fin:

I then took my fin to the scroll saw to cut the shape out. If you don’t have an electric scroll saw, you can use a coping saw instead. The plastic cuts fairly easily- a standard blade works just fine.

Getting ready to cut
After the raw cut
Next, I used the grinding wheel on the side of my saw with a sanding disc of 100 grit to get the main edges cleaned up.
Before sanding raw edges

Grinding wheel

After that, I clamped the fin into a vise and began fine tuning the edges by hand with sandpaper. I didn’t mess with the sides of the fin, only the edge, to get it smooth and to give it a nice sharp (well, somewhat sharp) edge. I used 150 grit to shape it, then 220 to smooth it out. I really didn’t need to get finer than that, since it was just plastic.

Fin in the vise
Looking from the trailing edge- it’s a little thick up front, but it’s “experimental”!

Here it is installed in my funshape:

I may try making another in an even lower profile in the future, but I was conservative this time. But during this past week using it, it does seem to make the board easier to turn! Maybe it’s in my head, but it does seem looser.
Or maybe it was just the Hennigan’s.

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