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Old 30th May 2007, 01:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 35
Default Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

WHY??????? would a company that makes market leading boards, provide such low quality fins?

My 75cm fin from my Apollo is bent 3mm to port.

My 60cm fin from my Hybrid formula is twisted.

My 44cm fin from my Isonic is wider on the starboard side.

Has anyone else had similar fin problems? or am i just very very lucky?
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Old 31st May 2007, 03:06 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 126
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

Early last year, the 34 cm fin supplied with my iSonic 105 started delaminating after 3 outings; on top of it, that fin could not take any loading (and I am only 78 kgs!). I believe that the delamination issue was corrected, but not the inability to take any load. SB/Cobra have made some really good fins in the (not too distant) past, but recently most of the fins stink. I think that one way to force SB to address this very frustrating issue woud be for consumers to refuse taking the boards with the fins suppied, and demand a discount from the retailers. The retailers would surely end up doing the same thing, and SB would have to either force Cobra to improve the quality of fins, or stop supplying fins with their boards, and would pass the savings to customers, who could choose the fins they want. Since HyperSonic days, I have normally kept the original fins in the garage, saving them for the day when I will resell the board.
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Old 31st May 2007, 03:47 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 329
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

I do totally agree.
Fins supplied with my old 2003 Hypersonic were ugly square things. They were changed the following year with Curtis designs, only made of junk and bent sideways. The Drake pro supplied with my '06 Sonic 95 looks nice but feels unreliable at speed and since I put the real thing under my board (Deboichet) it just waits for resale time.
I think is important to supply good, tested and selected fins with the board in order to give everybody the expected performance right from the start; but if this can not be accomplished for any reason, then it's better not to supply any. Just think if sailmakers were supplying sails together with OEM carbon poor masts with bends not matching the luff curves.
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Old 31st May 2007, 11:05 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 239
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

The Drake 40 fin on my Aero 127 was actually useless. I won't really use it anymore as it doesn't do anything well. The 32 weed fin that came with the board seemed ok, but the fitting to the box left a little gap that would not only catch but also trap seaweed so it's useless in my (weedy) area. Hmm.. Generally the fins on my smaller boards (Carve 111 and S-type 115) have been too small so I rarely use them at all. On my bigger Carves they were quite okay.
I really doubt if boards (except for beginner boards) should be sold with any fins at all. If the dealer could keep a range of fins it would be very nice to choose for ourselves. We could also save a little $$$ if we could buy boards without fins and maybe use the ones we have already (I have more than 10 fins in my quiver already). When we buy a rig all the parts are optional. Only beginners will buy a complete rig.
Why not optional fins and straps on boards??
Very few formula sailors (on competition level) I know use the Drake fin on the formula boards. Other brands like Fanatic don't bother to deliver their race boards with a fin.
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Old 1st June 2007, 01:00 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 329
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

Ideally manufacturers should deliver boards with good fins, tested to work well with the boards.
Unfortunately very often fins are not quite up to the board's level; either because of build quality and materials, or because they are not a good fit for the board.
This is even more true when considering top line boards like the iS or PA or Extv or Formula. Customers of such boards usually can appreciate and deserve top fins. Well at least Starboard has very good fins going with the wave boards.
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Old 1st June 2007, 09:49 PM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 9
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

Hi Geo,
I find your comment above interesting since in a previous post on advising me regarding the Hypersonic, you had this to say :
"Oh, just another point to think about: take a look at the fins; the 111's Drake/Curtis stock fins can be used on other slalom boards also, while those 105's odd square Drake stock fins are totally useless on other boards. So if the 111 comes with both its stock fins (34 and 42) in good shape, that is something to take into account. This can be a real point in deciding."

Yet above you mention that "Fins supplied with my old 2003 Hypersonic were ugly square things. They were changed the following year with Curtis designs, only made of junk and bent sideways."

I`m just curious as to why you`d say that these fins would be a positive selling point for the Hyper, as they can be used with other boards, yet you say they are complete rubbish in this thread ?

I`ve only sailed the board a few times since getting it (no wind, it`s winter here), but so far have not had ant trouble with spin-out or any other fin issues, despite my heavy-rear-foot style of sailing..

If these fins are really so bad, what would you recommend I change them for. You also mentioned in the Hyper thread that it`s not much use trying different fins on this board, so a) am I stuck with what I`ve got, and b) are they really so bad, will they limit the boards performance etc ??

Looking forward to your comments.

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Old 1st June 2007, 10:18 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 12
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

My experience is somewhat different. I have never had a Drake fin that was defective, delaminating, assymetrical etc.

Prior to 2006 model year however, I agree that the usefulness of the supplied fins was dismal. However, in 2006 and especially with the 2007 model boards, the supplied fins are very much improved and work very well. I use the 23cm wave fin in the 2006 P-Acid 80, the suppliied fins in the 2007 iS122, and the new FreeSlalom Swift fins in the S-Type 93 and 104. All the newer fins work very well and do everything as advertised.

Perhaps the new materials and designers that Starboard are employing have made the difference in the quality of fins. But let's remember, specialized fin makers put a lot more time, efort and testing into one specific product. Wouldn't one expect that those fins would be somewhat superior to the fins supplied by a board company?

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Old 2nd June 2007, 03:54 AM   #8
Ian Fox
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 533
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

Hi All,

This is always an interesting discussion, and yes it's been around before (maybe a few times), and yes, more importantly, there are always a number of different perspectives and viewpoints.

First up, if a customer has a product with a valid manufacture defect, then obviously the warranty system is in place to deal with that.

Definitely, along the way of producing a large number of fins for a very wide range of models over many years, there have been a few misses. Some caused by manufacturing issues, some because the spec of the fin was so not ideal to the board and some because the riders expectation (or use of the product) did not match the design intention.

There's no doubt performance of the board can be changed and potentially improved by using more specific and higher performance fins, which also are typically rather expensive.

The fin/s supplied with the boards are in general quite a reasonable solution, especially for average use, and the cost adder (and thus saving if deleted at manufacturing level) is not massive, which tends to weigh in favor of continuing to support the majority of the market's preference for a complete "package", rather than board only.

Of course, not everyone (esp on this page) will agree with that - and we wouldn't expect everyone too either.

Customers always have the option of negotiating with their dealer at purchase over a customer "specific" request or preferences like fins or straps.

Cheers ~ Ian
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Old 2nd June 2007, 04:44 AM   #9
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 329
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful


it's quite obvious. You can use the Curtis type fins that came with the '04 HS on other boards with some success; while those supplied with the '03 model are useless on different boards. The HS seemed to me to be very little fin sensitive but other boards, and expecially slalom boards, are different.
So in the end my answer is obvious. If and when you feel you need to change, change. Otherwise use the supplied ('04) fins. They will work on the HS, and they can also work on other boards. If you'll decide to change, I can not suggest anything for the HS as I don't have experience with the HS and other fins. For different boards, I am happy with the Deboichets I use on my S95 and they are worth their cost.


if price difference is really small I agree with you that it's reasonable to supply the boards with useable fins. But it would be better to supply them with suitable ones. I am not convinced that even a good slalom fin has to cost much more than an cheap one. And by sure if I have to evaluate based on the public list prices of the Drake Pro fins, then it would be much much much better to sell the iSonics with an equivalent discount.
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Old 2nd June 2007, 07:30 AM   #10
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 639
Default RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful

Hi Ian,

You answered the charge very well, and I believe, very honestly. It's awfully hard to be 100%, especially since we all don't feel the same and have the same needs.

Nevertheless, the finless option, as mentioned by others above, does have a significant degree of merit to warrant serious consideration. It should be noted that the buyer's strength in negotiating a buying decision doesn't necessarily include easy alternatives. With immediately local retailers in a small area, I'm sure that some room to move might be very possible. Yet, in remote locations (with no local shops), especially in cases where you might not be a regular customer, the chances of agreeing to less than production package can be quite a bit tougher.

Maybe brands should mix the game up, particularly with high end models. In other words, formally promote a balance between the "board only option" and complete packages. That way retailers could realistically balance their order requirements without being stuck with product (fins and/or straps) that some folks don't want. Looking at your side of the spectrum, the company can better know and address how to organize and plan subcontractor fin manufacture.

If one was to consider the positive side of the game, and it was found that the company did make the best fin, I'm sure others, even outside the company's mainstream just might want your product. Thereby opening the door to a more premium pricing schedule. Folks always pay more for the best.
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