Learning a thing or two about surfboard fins, by talking to a robot...

Is ChatGPT actually Salty Sam from your favourite boardstore?

Have a read of the below, not just to get some insight into what you should be pressing into your sled, but just how creepy it is to know that the machine is telling you tings that are actually pretty correct...

Human: How is the surf where you are today?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don't have a physical body or senses, so I am not able to experience the surf or weather conditions. However, I can provide you with information about surf reports for a specific location if you provide me with the name of the place.

Surfing Robot Eric Joyner

User: Ok, sorry, I should have known that.

ChatGPT: No need to apologise! I'm here to assist you with any questions or tasks you may have to the best of my abilities. Is there anything else I can help you with?

User: Can you help me to select the best fins for my current surfboard?

ChatGPT: Of course! I'd be happy to help you select the best fins for your surfboard. Here are a few things to consider when selecting fins:

Board Type: The type of surfboard you have can influence the type of fin setup that works best. For example, a longboard will usually require a larger fin setup than a shortboard.

Wave Conditions: The size and shape of the waves you'll be surfing can also impact the type of fins you need. Bigger waves typically require larger fins for added stability and control.

Your Surfing Style: Your own surfing style and preferences will also play a role in the type of fins that work best for you. Some surfers prefer a looser feel, while others prefer a more locked-in feel.

Fin Material: There are various fin materials to choose from, such as plastic, fibreglass, and carbon fibre. Each material has its own unique characteristics and can affect the performance of the fins.

Based on the above factors, here are some general recommendations for fin setups:

Single Fin: Ideal for longboards and retro-style surfboards, offering stability and control in smaller to medium-sized waves.

Thruster: A versatile setup that includes three fins, providing a balance of speed, control, and manouverability, works well in a wide range of wave conditions.

Quad: Featuring four fins, this setup offers more speed and responsiveness than a thruster. It's a great choice for fast, hollow waves.

Twin Fin: This setup features two fins and is ideal for surfing smaller, less powerful waves. It provides a looser feel and more maneuverability than a single fin.

Ultimately, the best fins for your surfboard will depend on your personal preferences and the conditions in which you'll be surfing. If you're unsure, it's always a good idea to consult with a local surf shop or experienced surfer to get some additional advice.

PS: This is what it looks like when T&C Rider Koa Yokota shows you his fins...

Koa Yokota Surfing

User: Ok, great. I am currently riding a mid-length twin fin surfboard. A Town & Country, 6'8" Pin Byrner to be precise. I surf fast, sand bottom point breaks, which range in size from waist high to double overhead. I am looking for a fin that offers allot of drive. What would you recommend?


Pin Byrner T&C Surfboard

ChatGPT: For a mid-length twin fin surfboard like your Town & Country Pin Byrner, a good option for a fin set up that offers a lot of drive and speed would be a keel fin set. Keel fins are typically larger and more upright than traditional twin fins, which can help generate more speed and power through your turns. They work well in fast, down-the-line waves, like the sand bottom point breaks you described.

Here are a few keel fin sets that could be a good fit for your surfboard and surfing style:

Futures Fins Rasta Keel: These fins are designed by world-renowned surfer and musician Dave Rastovich. They feature a classic keel fin shape with a modern twist, made with a honeycomb construction for a lightweight and responsive feel.

FCS II Modern Keel: These fins are a popular choice for mid-length twin fins, offering a balanced blend of speed, drive, and maneuverability. They are constructed with a lightweight and durable composite material.

True Ames Greenough 4-A: These fins were designed by legendary surfer and shaper George Greenough, known for his innovative designs and revolutionary surf films. The 4-A keel fins feature a unique, asymmetrical foil that provides exceptional speed and hold in both directions.

Ultimately, the best fin set up for you will depend on your personal preferences and how the fins feel with your specific surfboard. If possible, I would recommend trying out a few different keel fin sets to see which ones work best for you and your surfing style.


User: What about if I was after better turning ability, and less drive?

ChatGPT: If you're looking for better turning ability and less drive, a twin fin set up with smaller, more upright fins might be a good option for your mid-length surfboard. Twin fins with a smaller surface area and a more upright profile will allow for greater maneuverability and tighter turns, while sacrificing some of the drive and speed generated by larger keel fins.

Here are a few twin fin sets that could be a good fit for your needs:

Futures Fins AMT (Al Merrick Twin): These fins are designed to mimic the traditional feel of a twin fin set up, while providing added drive and control. They feature a small center fin and a larger, more upright side fin for improved turning ability.

FCS II Modern Twin: These fins are designed with a more upright profile than traditional twin fins, which provides increased maneuverability and responsiveness. They are made with a durable composite material and are compatible with the FCS II fin system.

True Ames Greenough 4-A Volan: While the Greenough 4-A fins are designed as a keel fin set, the Volan construction with a smaller surface area might be a good option if you're after better turning ability. They have a unique, asymmetrical foil that provides exceptional speed and hold in both directions, with a more upright profile than traditional keel fins.

As with any fin set up, the best option for you will depend on your personal preferences and the type of waves you'll be surfing. It's always a good idea to experiment with different fin sizes and shapes to find the set up that works best for your surfing style.


User: So helpful, thank you! Do you like Futures and FCSII?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don't have personal preferences, but I can provide information on the technical aspects of different fin systems. Futures and FCSII are two of the most popular fin systems used by surfers worldwide.

Futures fins have a unique, single-tab system that uses a small, lightweight fin box with a specially designed keyless mechanism for quick and easy fin installation and removal. Futures fins are known for their strength and durability, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit different surfers and wave conditions.

FCSII fins also have a unique, tool-less system that allows for easy and quick fin changes. The FCSII system uses a dual-tab fin box with a specially designed slot and tab mechanism for secure and reliable fin attachment. FCSII fins are also available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, with a variety of materials and construction methods to suit different surfers and wave conditions.

Both Futures and FCSII are well-respected fin systems used by surfers of all skill levels and styles. The choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference, the type of surfboard you have, and the types of waves you'll be surfing.

User: Again, thanks for your advice. You should open a surf shop!

ChatGPT: You're welcome! As an AI language model, I'm just here to provide information and assist with your questions to the best of my ability. However, if you have any more questions about surfing or anything else, feel free to ask! 

Surfing Robot Eric Joyner

Artwork by Eric Joyner - go check it out