Surfing/Which is the best fin? /Future vs FCS/Comparison of fin shape, material and weight

Surfing/Which is the best fin? /Future vs FCS/Comparison of fin shape, material and weight

You always use Al Merrick fins.
Do you use other fins?

I also use other fins. But I love Al Merrick fins.
That’s why I use Al Merrick fins in most conditions.


How do you choose fins?
Please tell me how to choose fins.

You won’t know which fin is better until you try it.
So I recommend using different fins.


However, it is better to have a basic knowledge of fins.
This time, I will tell you about fins.


What you can see in this article

You can get a basic knowledge of fins.

You will be able to understand how to select fins.

A personal review of my fins.

The area of fins

Choose a fin that fits your weight.
Basically, the larger the fin size, the better the stability and straightness.
As it gets smaller, it becomes more rotatable and manoeuvrable.

Large areaThe stability is high
Small areaLoose feeling

For beginners, especially those practicing take-off, choosing a larger fin will increase stability and improve stability.
It will be easier to take off. Also, for those with weak legs and women, choosing one size smaller makes it easier to move the board.

X-SMALL121lb (55kg) or less
SMALL121lb (55kg) -154lb (70kg)
MIDIUM143lb(65kg) -176lb (80kg)
LARGE165lb (75kg) -198lb (90Kg)
X-LARGE187lb (85Kg) or more

The base of fins(the surface in contact with the board)

Wide baseExcellent speed, straightness, and driveability
Narrow baseExcellent rotation

The angle of fins

The angle of the fin is looseThe resistance of water will decrease, so it has excellent rotation and ripping etc.
It is easier to take action and allows for tight turns. For small waves and waves without power.
The angle of the fin is strongIt will hold it at the time of turn, and it is possible to make a drivey turn and a smooth turn. For large waves and powerful waves.

Effect of different materials

Fins have a great effect on driveability, etc. due to the difference in flexibility depending on the degree of hardness and softness.

Flexible finsFlexible fins are highly flexible and easy to control, making them suitable for powerless waves and small waves.
It is also recommended for women, those with weak legs, and beginner surfers.
Hard finsThe hard fins hold the water even when speeding up with powerful or big waves.
Therefore, it is possible to drive with strong repulsion. Recommended for those with leg strength and intermediate and advanced surfers.

Which is the best fin system? Future vs FCS vs FCS2 vs Glass on fin

FutureIt is a type that is fixed with a single screw.
Easy to remove. Since the base part is firmly fixed, you can get a good feeling. Even with fins of the same design, there are many variations of various materials. You can check the hardness of the fins by the ride number. Manufacturers other than Future Fin officials have also released fins.

About ride number
FCSIt is a pioneer of removable fins. Secure the two places with screws. Compared to Future Fins, I feel that the fixation is slightly weaker.
In the old days, FCS was the mainstream. That’s why I have a lot of FCS fins.
Now that FCS2 has been released, older FCS fins are no longer available for sale. FCS2 fins cannot be attached to a surfboard with an FCS plug.
FCS2The fins can be attached and detached without using screws. However, it hurts when I try to put it on and take it off by hand. Therefore, I don’t like FCS2 very much. It’s a good idea to use a special tool for putting on and taking off, such as a “Finpuller”. If the fin hits the reef or body while surfing, there is a risk that it will come off. Therefore, when I use FCS2, I also use screws to fix it. (There is no goodness of FCS2.) Compared to FCS, the base part of the fin is fixed, so you can get a good feeling.
Even surfboards with FCS2 plugs can be fitted with old FCS fins using the infill kit.
Glass on finBefore FCS created a removable fin system, the fins were fixed directly to the surfboard. The fins are not replaceable, but they are fitted with fins that the shaper considers best. The base part of the fin is firmly fixed, so you can get a very nice feeling. However, there is a disadvantage that the fins are easily damaged during transportation.

Futures Ride Number movie

Are the fins for tightening screws different between Futures and FCS?

The two on the left are Future fin keys. The two on the right are FCS fin keys.
The lengths are different, but the tips of the keys have the same shape.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter which fin key you use.
You can tighten the screws with any fin key, whether it is a Future fin or an FCS fin.

A personal review of my fins.

I will review the fins I have. Fin ratings depend on the surfer’s taste.
Please read it as my personal impression.


Bellow is my information.

About Wevalien

Height : 5’7feet (174 cm)
Weight : 143 lbs (65 kg)
Age : about 50 years old
Level : Intermediate
Paddle power : normal
The volume of a surfboard that I think suits me : About 27‐28L

My best fin AM1 (M size) Future vs FCS vs Grass on fin

The best fin I think is AM1. AM1 is M size. (AM2 is L size, AM3 is L size)
Fins designed by Al Merrick. I think it has excellent acceleration.
It is easy to make turns with a large radius and turns with a small radius.
The turn is stable.
The area of ​​the fin in the middle is a little small and it is easy to turn at the top of the wave.
I love AM1. Great performance for big, powerful waves and small, weak waves.
I own a total of 5 AM1 fins. Even with the same template, the weight and flexibility will differ depending on the material. I will introduce them in my favorite order.
I think AM1 is a good fin for beginners.

Center 13.72 sq in (8852㎟)Base 4.34″(110mm) Depth 4.41″(112mm)
Side 14.89 sq in (9608㎟)Base 4.55″(116mm) Depth 4.52″(115mm)

The center fins and side fin were overlapped and the sizes were compared.
The bottom is side fin and the top is center fin. You can see that side fin has a slightly larger area.
It’s a small difference.
However, this slight difference makes the performance of AM1 extremely excellent.

 surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-AM1-onfin-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weight-al-merrick-hand-shaped-for-tyler-knox AIRCOR
The best I choose is glass on fins. This surfboard is Al meric’s hand-shaped surfboard for Taylor Knox.
It is described as AERCOR.
It is a very light fin. It’s firmly fixed to the surfboard and stable, and I can feel the bending of the tip of the fins. The surfboard and fins are integrated and it feels great.
The disadvantage is that it is bulky to carry and the fins are easily damaged. However, grass-on-fin has more advantages than compensating for such disadvantage.

future-fin-am-1-honeycomb-review-fragile future-fin-am-1-honeycomb-review-fragile-casefuture-fin-am-1-honeycomb-review-fragile-case
AM1 Honeycomb 7.09oz(201g)
My second favorite is the future fin honeycomb. Future fins have a ride number depending on the material and hardness of the fin.
The ride number of this fin is 6.1. With moderate hardness, it can be used comfortably in all conditions.

This fin is the one I think is the best, except for the glass-on fins.

The only complaint is that the surface is easily scratched. Just by stacking three fins and carrying them, the fins collided with each other and the surface was damaged. I don’t think that even if the surface is scratched, it will not affect the performance. However, I thought that I should use a fin case when carrying it. This fin case came with me when I bought the AM1, but I didn’t use it. From now on, I will use the fin case.
AM1 Glass Flex 8.14oz(231g)
My third favorite is FCS fiberglass. I feel that the bend is similar to the future honeycob.
It is an old FCS plug. It is designed to be screwed in two places.
It feels a bit weaker than a future fin that inserts the entire base of the fin into the surfboard. A fin that can be used in all conditions.
 surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-AM1-blackstix-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weightsurfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-AM1-blackstix-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weightAM1 Blackstix 6.66oz(189g)
The fourth is Futures Fins blackstix.
The ride number is 9.1.
It is made of a material that is soft and emphasizes acceleration.
It’s very light. The inside of the side fins has a V2 foil.
The inside of the fin is not flat but slightly curved.
I personally don’t like the feeling of this V2 foil.
Acceleration may be good, but I feel something is wrong with the flow of water.
surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-AM1-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weight-AM1 8.50oz(241g)
The last is a fairly old composite fin. About 20 years ago, when I bought a Channel islands surfboard, it came with it.
Moderately hard, I don’t hate the material.
However, it’s so heavy that I don’t use it much. Heavy fins don’t feel very disadvantageous when mounted on a large surfboard, but they become unbalanced when mounted on a small, thin surfboard.

My second-best fin MF(Mick Fanning model) M size Future

surfing-fin-review-furure-MF-mick-fannnig-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weightMF 6.70oz(190g)
This fin is a model of Mick Fanning.
It’s wonderfully smooth.
I’m very comfortable with this fin because I don’t feel any extra water resistance.
I think it’s very easy to control. Compared to AM1, the stability is inferior to AM1, but I think that MF is superior in terms of movement.

KA(Kolohe Andino model) M size FCS2

 surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs2-CA-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weighKA 7.01oz(199g)
This fin is a model of Kolohe Andino.
It is made with the balance between drive and pivot turn in mind.
I can use this fin for agile movements.
It is easy to turn with a small radius.
I use this fin when I want to make a precise turn.
But when I want to make a big turn, I prefer AM1.

Old standard fins G5/ M5(M-size) / M3(S-size) FCS

These are standard fins.
Demonstrates stable performance regardless of the level of the surfer.
It can be used in all wave conditions.

surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-m3-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weightM3  7.37oz(209g)
I think the M3 is a slightly soft fin. Soft fins are easy to control even if you can’t move accurately. It is a good fin for beginners. M3 is a slightly smaller fin. Therefore, it does not fit my weight. It doesn’t take my weight on the turn. The surfboard tail moves loosely. I don’t like this feeling.


The center fins of M5 and M3 were overlapped and the sizes were compared
This is setup for small radius.
Side fin M5 / Center fin M3

M5 7.12oz(202g)
I think the M5 is a slightly soft fin. Soft fins are easy to control even if you can’t move accurately. It is a good fin for beginners. M5 is a little bigger than M3. The size is M size. This fits my weight. Supports my weight during the bottom turn. Produces excellent acceleration. It can be used with both large and small waves. This is my favorite fin.
This time, I was surprised to weigh it! The M5 was lighter than the M3. It’s strange, but it’s a fact.

The center fins of M5 and M3 were overlapped and the sizes were compared. The bottom is M5 and the top is M3. You can see that M5 has a slightly larger area. It’s a small difference, but it has a big impact on riding.

I sometimes use only the M3 center fin in combination with the M5 side fin. Since the center fin is a small M3, it is easy to make turns with a small radius.

surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-m3-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weightG5 8.64oz(245g) 
I like the size and shape of the G5. But I don’t like this G5. Because the material is glass. It’s very heavy. If you attach it to a surfboard with a thin tail, the tail will be heavy and unbalanced. It’s also very hard and not flexible at all, so it’s difficult to operate. Also, it doesn’t feel good to ride.
which-is-a-best-fin-fcs-g5-comper-weight-of-finsG5 6.66oz(188g)
It is G5 that I used a long time ago. In the old days, when you bought a surfboard, it came with a G5. Fins that have been used for a very long time. I think G5 is slightly harder than M5. A fin that can be used in all conditions. 
This time, I was surprised to weigh it. It is a fairly light fin. I think it’s one of the best fins.

F4 Future

which-is-a-best-fin-future-vs-fcs-f4-comper-weight-of-finsF4 6.17oz (175g)
F4 is a standard fin. Demonstrates stable performance in both powerful and weak waves.
Light fins keep the surfboard in good balance. It’s not too hard, not too soft, and gives a very good feel. It is a very easy-to-use fin. However, at my weight, it feels like the area is a little small. Therefore, it is easy to make a turn with a small radius. I often use this fin on small or middle sized waves.

EA(Eric Arakawa designed) FCS

 surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-ea-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weightEA 5.89oz(167g)
EA is a fin designed by Erick Arakawa. It’s very light. Light fins keep the surfboard in good balance. I think the design is good for big waves. You can control the surfboard stably even in big waves. Very hard fins with no flexible bends. I think surfers need the skill to have precise control. I use this fin on big or strong waves.

H-2 FCS S size three-fin setup/five-fin setup

H-2  Ultra-Light Epoxy
Weight 5.15oz(146g)  
Area 12.40sq in (8,000㎟)
Base 4.02 “(102mm)
Depth 4.41″(112mm)

H2 is a fin with a very special shape. Made of a very light material. I wasn’t thinking of buying this fin myself. Because it was a very special shape. However, when I bought the surfboard, the shop staff gave me this fin for free. The size is small so it doesn’t fit my weight.
It’s a little thick. In my personal opinion, it feels loose. I have easy control over the surfboard, but I find it difficult to make big turns. 
To be honest, I didn’t like this H-2. If the size is medium rather than small, I might have liked it a bit more.
However, I bought another set of small size H-2 fins that I didn’t like.
I had something I wanted to try with this fin.
I wanted to attach this fin to all five fin plugs. Each one is a small fin and it is very light, so I thought that I could make a new surf by installing five. This is not the usual way of thinking. But surfing is something to enjoy. I really enjoyed this experiment. I will inform you of the results of this experiment.
With 5 fins, the takeoff is very stable. No matter how the surfboard is tilted, multiple fins will catch the waves.
Since there are 5 fins, straightness is high. The turn was a little difficult. There are 5 fins, so I needed leg strength when I turned. I’m very tired.
As a result of the experiment, it was a failure to install 5 fins. However, it was a very fun experiment.

YU (Ueda Yoshinori designed) M size Future/FCS

The YU fin was designed by Yoshinori Ueda, a famous Japanese surfboard shaper.
The area of ​​the tip of the fin is small. The center fin is smaller than the side fin.
(This is the same concept as Al Merrick’s Fin AM1)
Fins that are easy to control. It feels a little loose.
I think it’s easy to change direction when off-the-lip.

Center 13.12 sq in (8465㎟)Base 4.18″(106mm) Depth 4.45″(113mm)
Side 15.41 sq in (9478㎟)Base 4.49″(114mm) Depth 4.54″(115mm)

 surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-yu-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weight-grassYU Grass, hand made
Weight 9.13oz(259g)

A long time ago, I made a custom order for a YU surfboard. The fins that came with the surfboard. Made of handmade glass. Very beautiful shape and color. However, it is a very hard fin. I need precise control of my surfboard. I use this fin on big or strong surf days. If this fin is a more flexible material, I think it can be used in all conditions.
Since it is an old fin, unlike the current fin, there is no hole in the base part for weight reduction. Therefore, it is a very heavy fin.
 surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-yu-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weight-carbonGYU-X Performance core
Weight 5.60oz(159g)

It’s a very old fin. It is made of carbon that was released by FCS at that time. It’s extremely light. It’s much lighter than modern fins.
Carbon fins are very hard. Does not flex at all. If it’s this hard, I don’t think it will fit any wave. I hate this feeling. Currently, this type of carbon fin is not on the market. I imagine it was probably bad reputation.

Sunny(Sunny Garcia model) L size FCS

surfing-fin-review-future-vs-fcs-Sunny-Comparison-of-shape-and-material-and-weight-carbonSUNNY Performance Core
Weight 5.99oz(170g)
Area 15.75 sq in (1061㎟)
Base 4.61″(117mm)
Depth 4.66″(118mm)

A model of Sunny Garcia, a great Hawaiian surfer. Sani Garcia is a big surfer. The area of ​​this fin is large. Designed for large waves and strong waves. It’s a big fin for my weight. I need leg strength to use this fin.
It’s a very old fin. It is made of carbon that was released by FCS at that time. It’s extremely light. It’s much lighter than modern fins.
Carbon fins are very hard. Does not flex at all. If it’s this hard, I don’t think it will fit any wave. I hate this feeling. Currently, this type of carbon fin is not on the market. I imagine it was probably bad reputation.

K-nubster center keel(FCS) / Dark-Drive(Future)

I love thrusters. I’m sure it’s the best performance on every turn.
I hate quad settings. Since there is no center fin, the tail is loose.
Off-the-lip in the vertical direction is also difficult.
The following small fins are for center mounting in addition to the quad setting.
It’s a small fin, but the tail doesn’t loosen.
However, when the surfboard is tilted too much, the center fins come out of the water and the tail becomes loose,
just like the quad. This gives you both thruster and quad feel.

K-nubster center keel 0.52oz(15g)
I think it became famous because it was used by Kelly slater in the game.I bought it because I thought it was a very good fin because Kelly could be used in the game.
It’s very light. It’s very small, but it doesn’t make the tail loose. I hate quads, but with the K-nubster I can enjoy surfing.
Normal setup




What to do if you can’t remove the Darc-Drive
Darc-Drive 0.84oz (24g)
It has the same effect as K-nubstrer. It’s very light. It’s very small, but it doesn’t make the tail loose. I hate quads, but with the Darc-Drive I can enjoy surfing.

Darc-Drive is used as a center fin. Originally, one is enough. But I bought two. This is to experiment with what happens when used as a side fin.

Normal setup
I hate quad settings.
Therefore, I don’t have quad fins.
The side rear is a combination of AM1 honeycomb and Blackstix.

Experiment 1
Darc-Drive on front side fins + AM1 on center fins.
The thruster settings are very good. However, the side fins act as resistance to water, hindering acceleration. With a single fin, there is no resistance to water and a smooth feel can be obtained. I have used a normal short board with only the center fin. However, with thruster fins that were not originally designed as single fins, the tail will be loose. Therefore, I came up with the setting of center fin + Darc-Drive.
I will tell you the result of the experiment. The tail wasn’t as loose as the center fins only. However, I didn’t find it attractive enough to continue using this setting. Experiment 1 was a failure, but this experiment triggered me to buy a Bonzer fin surfboard, the Bonzer 5 Shelter from Channel Islands.

Experiment 2
AM1 thruster setting + Darc-Drive on the side rear. 5 fin setting
The result was not very good. The 5-fin setting enhances straightness. However, the turn became difficult. The Darc-Drive is a small fin, so I expected it to work well with this setting. However, the experiment was unsuccessful.

Two experiments were unsuccessful. However, it was a very fun experiment. I think it’s very important to have fun in surfing.

What to do if you can’t remove the Darc-Drive
Here’s what to do if the Darc-Drive gets stuck in the plug. Due to its small area, it is difficult to grab and remove by hand.

(1)Use a small screwdriver to remove the fins using the principle of leverage.

(2) If it still does not come off, hook the leash string and remove it. Alternatively, wrap the adhesive tape around the fins and pull.

The ultimate solution when the base of the fin is wide and gets stuck in the plug.
Before installing the fins, sand the base of the fins with sandpaper.

Vector 2/3 Future

Vector 2/3 Weight of one side fin 2.46oz (70g)

It consists of the side fins in the image and the center fin (hatchet) with a special shape.
However, Hatchet hit the reef and came off and was lost. Therefore, there is no image.
The hatchet has an elongated shape. Due to the small area, the tail became loose and it was difficult to drive. I can still use it on small waves, but I was scared to use it on big waves.
The side fins have a twist. I feel that it is easy to control the turn. However, I feel the resistance of water to the twist. So I don’t really like this fin.

Rainbow fin (RFC) model unknown Future

Rainbow fin(RFC) model unknown 8.46oz(240g)
RFC specially shaped fins. The model name is printed under the RFC logo, but the characters are not clear and cannot be read.
The fins are greatly curved. The inside of the fin has a large dent.I find it difficult to accelerate. The inner part of the fin is easier to accelerate when it is flat. Even on the turn, I feel the resistance of water to the fins. I don’t think it feels so good. Therefore, this fin is not currently used.


Bonzer 6.5” 6.77oz(192g)
This is True ames Bonzer 6’5. It came with the Bonzer Shelter I purchased. A fin for Bonzer, which has a different shape from a normal single fin. It feels like cutting a wave with a butter knife. It has a smooth and comfortable feeling.

JC (Jhon Carper designed) Future

which-is-a-best-fin-future-vs-fcs-jc-jhon-carper-comper-weight-of-finsJC 7.83oz (222g)
JC is a fin designed by Jhon Carper.It came with the JC surfboard I purchased. It has excellent acceleration and I feel that it is easy to make big turns. Performance is good, but for my weight it’s a big fin. Therefore, control requires leg strength. If it is a little smaller, it can be used in all conditions.Since it is an old fin, unlike the current fin, there is no hole in the base part for weight reduction. Therefore, it is a heavy fin.

DL Power base


Power base DL 7.58oz(215g)
I love glass on fins. The base part of the fin is firmly fixed, and the tip part of the fin bends moderately. There is a ridge made of resin to secure the fins. I feel that this raised shape gives a good feeling.
The power base is removable, but it reproduces that part. To use this fin, you need a surfboard with a plug dedicated to the power base. I don’t have that surfboard. However, I used it by attaching it to the surfboard of the FCS plug. However, although it can be installed, unlike the FCS fins, the entire base part touches the surfboard, so the base part damaged the surfboard. The fin design and materials are very good. I am happy with the feeling close to on-fin. Fins that can be used in all-round waves.

K-fin(Kelly Slater model) FCS

which-is-a-best-fin-fcs-k-fin-kelly-slater-comper-weight-of-finsK-fin 6.98oz (198g)
This is the first Kelly Slater model released long ago. Made of composite. It is a material that is not too hard, not too soft, and easy to use. Fins that are easy to control. It can be used in all-round wave conditions. Personally, I feel that the driveability is a little higher than the G5.

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