surfing fin size
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Fin Size Chart: How to Pick the Right Fin Size

Picking the right fins is crucial to making the most of waves, and when it comes to fins, size matters. Learn all about it with our guide.

surf fin

Since their conception in the 1940s, fins have revolutionized surfing. They have allowed surfers to have more control, stability, power, and thrust, depending on their picks and preferences, and therefore, they have expanded the category of surfable waves.

The many benefits fins have and their types aren't limited to surfboard-riding either. Many body-surfers, especially those who are in the beginner stages, also get a pair of swim fins to have more buoyancy and control in the water.

However, both body-surfers and surfboard riders face the same problem when it’s time to purchase fins. Which fin size should they get? Are the surfboard fins standard, or does your weight matter? And, if you’re a body surfer, should you just go buy swim fins the same as your shoe size? Are the fin size charts fin brands are advertising on their websites reliable?

Well, let’s try to answer all these questions, put your mind to rest, and have your cart close quickly when it’s time to shop.

Picking Fins for Your Surfboard

long board surf

There are a couple of considerations to make when picking fins for your surfboard, and no fin size chart can help you respond to all these considerations.

What are these considerations? Let’s find out together.

Fin Box of Your Surfboard

First, you need to check out the fin box(es) on your surfboard. What’s the setup? Is it a 2+1 (2 small side fins and one large central fin) or thruster (2+1 with same-size fins)? Is it a quad (4 same-size side fins) or bonzer (more than four fins that might be set up in experimental ways)?

Needless to say, when in the market for fins, you’ll need to look for ones that are compatible with your fin box setup.

Your Weight

The volume of the surfboard you get depends on your weight. It’s no different when it comes to fins, either. That’s when the size charts recommended by the fin-makers prove important. However, these charts are not standard. Moreover, the unit of measurement of a company based in the United Kingdom will be different from the one in the United States. So, you’ll need to take all these into account.

That being said, you can rely on the charts of the best and most preferred fin brands, such as FCS and Futures Fins, which are as follows.

FCS Fins Size Chart

XS: under 120 lbs

S: 120 – 155 lbs

M: 140 – 175 lbs

L: 165 – 200 lbs

XL: 190+ lbs

Futures Fins Size Chart

XS: 75 – 115lbs

S: 105 – 155 lbs

M: 145 – 195 lbs

L: 180+ lbs

The Type of Wave

longboard surfer

All these different fin types and designs are unsurprisingly suitable for different wave conditions. Of course, these will be specified in product descriptions in online shops, and you probably have surf-passionate people around you who can make the right kind of recommendations.

Still, we can give you a general idea about which type of fin is good for what kind of wave. For example, if you want to make sharp turns in small-wave conditions, go with fins that have tighter arcs. If you want to take your turns slowly, fins that have more rake will be a better friend to you and your surfboard.

Picking Swim Fins for Body Surfing

surfing fin body surfing

Of course, as Kelly Slater points out, body surfing is purer and more fun when it’s performed without fins. Only then can you establish an unmediated connection with the ocean. However, expecting beginners to master this particular art without fins may be a bit unrealistic, if not downright cruel.

Unlike surfboard fins, you do the wearing with swim fins, too, which complicates the charting a bit. Yet, the idea is quite basic, and almost all fin brands will have more or less reliable charts on their websites. These charts will be based on the size of your feet. Moreover, there will be different charts for men and women. So, make sure you check out the right one before your purchase and subsequent checkout.

Still, as with anything wearable, purchasing without trying might cause complications. Not that we are foot fetishists or anything like that, but every foot has its characteristics, and they might not all be comfortable.

Having said that, DaFin’s, one of the best swim fin brands around, size chart for feet for the United States is as follows:

DaFin Size Chart for Men

XXS: 1-2

XS: 3-4

SM: 5-6

MD: 7-8

ML: 9-10

LG: 10-11

XL: 12-13

XXL: 14-15

DaFin Size Chart for Women

XXS: 2-3,5

XS: 4-5,5

SM: 6-7,5

MD: 8-9,5

ML: 10-11,5

LG: 12-13,5

XL: 14-15,5

XXL: 16-17,5

Wrapping Up…

Whether you’re riding a surfboard or body-surfing, picking the right fins will surely elevate your performance to new heights. We hope that our guide was of help. See you on the next wave!

Written by
Jeremy Dean
surf coaching