The year was 1981 when Simon Anderson changed the face of surfing. The heavy-footed Australian, sick of sliding out on the loose twin-fins of the era, had the ingenious idea of glassing in a centre fin and in turn creating the thruster set up, which changed the face of surfing forever. Anderson’s thruster set up added drive and control and revolutionized Power Surfing. Allowing surfers to go steeper and deeper.
In the last 10 years we have witnessed a massive increase in the popularity of quads, however the performance characteristics of quads are determined by the cluster or grouping, rather than the fact that you have 4 fins in your board. A Cluster of fins set closer to the rail and higher up the board (such as the quad set up on the Coreban Corby), will have performance characteristics similar to a twin fin. It will offer fast acceleration and fly down the line at high speeds – this will provide heaps of release out the tail, allowing for quicker manoeuvres. This would be an ideal set up for smaller and softer waves such as Muizenberg.
A quad set up with a cluster closer together and set further back towards the tail, will have the speed and acceleration of a twin fin, but offer the hold of a thruster. Allowing you to draw higher lines in steeper faces and more control at higher speeds. This set up is generally more suited to larger hollow waves, when speed and control are of the utmost importance.
Generally in your average board with a 5 fin set up, you will find a good balance of fins with the quads set closer to the rail for smaller waves and the thruster will be in place for bigger surf. Your fins can play up to 40% of your boards performance, so mix it up, try out a different configuration and see what works for you. See you on the water!