SETTING UP your board.

So often you just go on what the manufacturer says. That is normally, Mast Foot middle, Straps second whole from the front, Fins in the middle and the size that comes with the board.


But then you see a board like this, so many options for the straps. The Gecko has a power box for the fin, so position can not change but you have multiple strap positions. OR……………..


Where do I put the fins?The Simmer Style Quantum gives you multiple fin placements with a standard wave board strap layout.

These boards are a concept where you can change the setup to the type of sailing you wish to do.


So where do I start, well you need foot straps to stay on the board.



Everyones feet have a different width, you also have to think about the boots if you wear them and there thickness. The back foot strap is not such a problem but the front, it changes angle when you make them narrower or wider.

2 and 1 makes it narrower, 2 and 3 wider.


The width of the strap should be the width of your foot, I have mine on wholes 2 and 1. In 1). you can see that even with just my toes in the strap, it will stop my foot going sideways.

For the hight, your foot should go in far enough so the base of your toes are all the way through. The strap should be firm but not tight as in 2).

The back strap as in 3). is slightly higher as you need the centre of your foot to be over the centre line of the board. This is very important for wave riding.


Here the strap is set up as standard and you can see that in 1). the strap is much wider than my foot. To keep my foot firm on the board, the strap would have to be very tight. In 2). you can see that the foot can twist a lot still in the strap. If the foot twists, the strap goes tighter.


 When the straps are on the outside as on a slalom board, you will tend to have the straps tighter. 1). is firm and 2). is tight. If your feet are larger and you can have your heel right on the rail, you can have your feet further into the strap.


The spread of the straps will depend firstly  on your leg length, the longer your legs are the further apart your straps can be. But this is not the only factor which will govern the spread, we will be looking at variations as we go through the other settings.


Your front foot is your drive foot, so the front foot strap will be placed over the fastest rocker of the board. Many manufacturers only give you 3 wholes, some only 2. So the position is quite fixed to the design of the board. So the wholes are only to adjust the width.

The back foot is your command foot, so the placement will be on whether you are commanding the fin or the turning of the board.


On the gecko there are a large variety of options. For optimum drive, the aim is to have both legs straight and for the body to be suspended out perpendicular to the board.

1). The inboard setting is for manoeuvring. On the larger volumes, the position is more for learning foot straps, so they are very forwards. On the 112L, it is more to make it more wave/freestyle orientated where you will be using a smaller sail and fin. You will also see the natural hip orientation is a little bit more forwards. Due to the straps being further forwards, the board is planing on the hull. The top end speed is not so high but very good for early planing.

2). The straps come further back and out. Named the bump and jump position. To keep the board flat, you need more lift from the fin, so a larger fin is used. The front foot is far enough out to control lift from the fin, where the back foot is far enough in to control the board in the air. The spread is larger, so you may have to alter the position to get the spread comfortable for your hight.

3). This is the high speed position, The body is suspended further out to hold on to larger sails. You need a high speed fin with lift, that supports your weight being further out. The spread of the straps is much larger. The front strap is almost at the same level as 2). but the back strap is further back. This means that the back foot is over the leading edge of the fin. So you may have to adjust the front strap to your leg length.


On the Hawk or most slalom boards, you have positions 2 and 3 but the strap only goes in or out. So it is more about foot size? very large feet may have to be in position 2. Or sea state, if it is very choppy, you can not ride the rail high to keep your feet out of the water. So again you need to be in the inboard setting 2).


 The mast foot position has a lot to do with the sail size, type of sail, so where the centre of effort of the sail is. The rake angle you wish to have the sail and where the central resistance of the board is.

A). is showing 2 different sizes of sail and type. The mast foot is in the middle of the track and the foot straps in the back position. You will notice for example that in 3). you would have to have the CR right on the fin, so you can see that there would be a lot of pressure going through the back foot.

B). shows what happens when you move the mast back. In 1). the mast is more vertical.  The more rake you have the more back foot pressure you will tend to place on the board, the more upright the sail is, the more front foot pressure.


Mast foot position 1. is the factory setting, 2. back and 3. forwards. The most important thing is to allow the board to lift onto the fast rocker of the board. It may sound strange but sometimes it is better to have the mast foot back and the straps a bit more forwards. Sound familiar? Freestyle mode.

B). here the board has lifted onto the fast rocker and the spray will be coming off the board about level with the mast foot. 1. is holding the board there. 2. can also hold it there if you allow lift from the fin. This is the fastest position as you are creating less drag, I am always saying:- “Let the board run.” 3. is pushing the board back down, so you are always fighting the board wanting to lift.

C). Now the board is flying, the only part of the board touching the water is the fin, or the rail next to the back strap. Very physical. You can hold this position with the mast foot at 2. but every time you get to much lift from the fin the front of the board will fly into the air. So an option is to have the front foot further forwards, so it is your front foot holding the board. Back strap forward of the leading edge of the fin, so you are not driving the fin so much. Smaller fin. 1. is holding the board, so moving the mast foot a bit further forwards makes life a bit more comfortable. 3. When you can not come in to change settings, the mast foot in this position, makes it possible to sail. It is much better to come in and change fin first and then maybe the sail.


So this brings us onto Fins.


There are so many different shapes on the market but what does a fin do? It gives directional stability, lift (which is transferred into drive) and grip.

1). Vertical slalom/race fin. Mostly these fins are shaped for high speeds, made in G10 for stiffness or carbon for controlled flex. The base of the fins are not so wide, going to a narrow tip. The overall chord/thickness is thin, meaning the fin only has lift at speed.

2). Fast free ride fin. The chord will be thicker for earlier lift. There is a little bit more rake back and curve to give a more forgiving fin.

3). Manoeuvrable Free ride fin. This has more curve so will have less lift, so they tend to have a thicker chord. Due to the curve, the tip will also flex more, giving you warning of spinout or reduce the effect of being over fined.

4). Classic free wave fin. Wider base for low speed lift, with narrow swept back tip for control at speed. I prefer this style of fin in G10 as the glass fibre versions are to flexible.

5). Old style wave fin. Wide base with thick chord, thin swept tip with flex.

6)Freestyle fin. Ok this is one of my customs but they mostly only give you grip at high speed. Small, thin and stiff.

7)/8)/9). Are Tri fin fins. Classic small swept back wave fins. These are in glass fibre, so very flexible.

Fins on a Quad tend to be a bit more vertical as the fins are more inline.


How do you choose what size of fin to use?

Sail size can be a factor but that is normally in relation to the board type as well. Board width and tail width. As a general rule the wider the board and tail, the larger the fin. The points of sailing you are sailing on, up wind down wind you will need larger, when only sailing on a reach it will need to be smaller. Up wind jumping bigger. In board straps, smaller. Front foot drive, smaller, back foot larger. Choppy water larger, flat, smaller. There are many factors and this is only for a single fin.

Freestylers, tend to use very small fins. This is due to the flat water and speed they are going, but the trend is to go a bit larger now, around 16/18 cm. They need more grip to get higher for the multiple aerial rotations.

So now we move onto the multi fin wave boards.


And here you see a board that has all the configurations.

1). is for single fin and quite often it will be a US box to give a larger variety of positions. The size of fin depends on the size of board but will tend to be around 22/25 cm. Fin towards the back gives you more directional stability, forwards more manoeuvrable. When it is a slot box, there is not much adjustment. This set up is for when you need speed and long turns, very big waves for example. Also it can be very useful when the wave face is very choppy as you can use a larger fin.

2). The position of these boxes change quite a lot, depending on what style of board it is. On this board it can be used as a Twinzer, just 2 fins. When the board is a thruster/Quad, they may be further forward and further out, with a little bit more angle of tow in. Fin size tends to be around 15/17 cm. In Twin the board is fast and loose. On this board it can also be a Twinzer/Quad, where you place small fins in 3). to give more grip and drive in the tighter turns. In that configuration the front fins would be around 7/8 cm.


 3). Thruster boxes. The boxes are smaller as the fins tend to be smaller. On this board I do not call it a thruster set up but a Tri fin as the boxes are quite close to the centre fin. So this means I would run the three fins nearly the same size, say 16.5 cm centre and 14 cm sides. This gives you a powerful set up for soft waves, where you can drive off the back foot. If you would like it looser, you could run a trailer setup. 15/17 cm sides and 12/13 cm centre. When there is more distance between the centre fin and the side fins, it is a thruster. So 17.5 cm centre and 13 cm sides. This gives you fast down the line turns. You could even go for the single fin setting with a 22cm and 8 cm sides for big waves.

As stated before, I do not call the placement of boxes 2). a true quad as they need to be closer to the rails and have a bit of tow-in. Like that you would run say, 14.5 cm back and 9 cm front. Quad is for tight powerful turns.

One thing to look out for is the size of the side fins. I use smaller than usual in Thruster and quad set ups as I am light and in the front side turn, when the fin is to big, you get to much lift on the rail, making it hard to do powerful tight turns.


The slot box fin system is a very convenient system and easy to adjust. The main problem with it is that the adjustments are very small. This is fine on the quad setup but I think it is better to have a US box on a Thruster setup.

 1). is my favourite setting on the Quad, the fins as close together as possible. The fins work together to give lift and grip but the board is loose.

2). when using the same setup on a thruster, the board is very loose, especially on the Stubby. Nice for slower speeds but I would not recommend it for high speeds.

3). changing to a more normal fin with more curve and wider base, helps to give the board more directional stability.

4). Here I have moved the normal fin back to get more drive from the tail. I do not like the tip of the fin being so close to the tail, so in 5). you can see the Maui Ultra Fins I use work better.

6/7). shows the standard 3 finger distance of the fins, so forwards loose, back directional control.

8/9). Take the fins to the other end of the boxes, you can see that on a thruster you have a larger spread. You need to do very large high speed bottom turns (big waves) you have the option. You can see with the quad, there is not so much difference, saying you can alter the direction control slightly but this board wants to turn tight.


Which ever way you set up your equipment, think, try and use the settings that make you feel the most comfortable.

Once you have found that setting, it will normally transfer to all boards, only needing fine tuning for various conditions and board type.

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