Without fins on your surfboard, you will slide around the surface of the water and find it extremely difficult to turn.
Surprisingly to most new surfers, your fins play a huge role in the way your surfboard handles.
Whether you use a thruster set up, single fin, quad fin set up, or any other combination, it is important to not only choose high-quality fins for your surfboard but choose a fin that suits your surf style while not breaking the bank.
The following surfboard fins are all top quality and budget friendly fins for any surfboard or surf conditions.
9 Best Cheap Surfboard Fins
- F2 Alpha Series X-Small (Our Top Pick)
- FCS M7 Natural Glass Flex (Best Budget)
- FCS 2 AM PC (Best High End)
- FCS 2 Carver Neo Glass (Our Top Pick)
- Project Blank Split Keel (Best Budget)
- Future F8 HC (Best High End)
Best Cheap Thruster Surfboard Fins
Future 2 Alpha Series X-Small (Our Top Pick)
Described by multiple websites as the “strongest, lightest fins on the market”, the Future 2 Alpha series are perfect fins for performance longboards with a tri-fin, twin fin, or 2+1 setup.
This lighter than honeycomb constructed Future fins are carbon and air infused which makes them light yet strong and flexible.
Coming in a set of three, the Future 2 Alpha series is perfect for a quick, budget-friendly way to get your extra small thruster setup ready to go.
|Side Fins||Center Fin|
|Size (XS)||75lbs – 115lbs||75lbs – 115lbs|
- Includes all three fins for a thruster setup.
- Makes use of air infusion technology and carbon fiber.
- Extremely high value for money.
- You will need to buy a separate larger fin for a 2+1 setup.
- XS fins are only suited for weights under 55kg.
Surfboard fins are often on the expensive side, even when looking at budget-friendly fins.
In most cases, cheap fins mean poor quality, but that is not the case with the M7 Natural Glass from FCS.
These fins are made to be cheap, durable, and fit a large range of surfboards and surf conditions.
Coming in a set of three, these are the best fins to set up a thruster board suited for most conditions while not breaking the bank.
|Foil||IFT (Inside Foil Technology)|
|Size (L)||165lbs – 200lbs|
- Can be used for a wide variety of surf conditions.
- Designed for a variety of surfboard styles.
- Fins are too small to use as a single center fin.
- Not ideal for optimum performance in specific conditions.
FCS 2 AM PC (Best High End)
Built with AirCore technology, the FCS 2 AM PC template was first designed by the legendary board shaper, Al Merrick, and has become one of the most popular surfboard fin templates on the market.
This three-fin thruster set stands out among other fins because of its ranked side fins which produce added speed and drive, while the smaller center fin allows a fast release when coming out of turns.
These fins are ideal for performance boards with large rockers and suit steep punchy beach breaks well.
|Size (M)||143lbs – 176|
- AirCore technology makes fins extremely light.
- Top quality fin template by a world-famous shaper.
- Ideal for radical, progressive surfing.
- Produce a lot of speed on smaller waves.
- Perfect for thruster or a four-fin setup.
- On the upper end of the price spectrum.
- Fins do not work well for single fins set-ups.
- Only suitable for FCS 2 plugs.
Best Cheap Quad Surfboard Fins
FCS 2 Carver Neo Glass (Our Top Pick)
Neo Glass fins are affordable yet are considered premium, top-class fins thanks to their long strand fiberglass and marine-grade polymer molding.
These fins will accommodate a large range of styles, but surfers who enjoy pushing hard into their fins to create powerful, drawn-out turns will get the most out of them.
Coming with five fins, the Neo Glass set is perfect to mix and match different fin combinations.
|Size (L)||165lbs – 200lbs|
- Includes five fins.
- Provide more hold when using a quad-fin setup.
- Ideal for heavier surfers who enjoy the loose quad fin feel.
- Not compatible with the original FCS and FCS Fusion fin plugs.
Project Blank Split Keel (Best Budget)
Keel fins are known for their speed, drive, and tight turning radius, and the Split Keel fins from Project Blank exceed all three of these categories.
As Project Blank is relatively new to the surf merchandise industry their products are cheap, but bring the quality that you would expect from all the top surf companies.
Specifically designed with small fast waves in mind, a quad-fin set up with these fins will give you a ride like never before.
|Side Fins||Rear Fins|
- Extremely good value for money.
- Keel fins are extremely fast and responsive.
- Works with Future fin boxes.
- Extra slide from Keep quad fins can make remaining stable difficult for new surfers.
Future F8 HC (Best High End)
Although they might be costly, you can expect nothing but the best from Future fins.
Made with Honeycomb construction, these fins are extra light but maintain their flex thanks to the hexagonal core.
This large quad-fin set is perfect for larger surfers that want the slide and drive that a four-fin setup provides.
The F8 HC fins use a neutral template which makes them perfect for most boards and conditions, providing the board and conditions suit your quad setup.
|Front Fins||Rear Fins|
|Size (L)||176 lbs+||176 lbs+|
- Suited for larger surfers.
- Honeycomb material makes fins light but does not sacrifice flex.
- Neutral template makes fins suitable for an array of boards and conditions.
- On the upper end of the price spectrum.
- Large, deep fins may hold too much for lighter surfers.
Best Cheap Longboard Fins
Future Tiller (Our Top Pick)
With a modern twist on a classic single fin template, the 8” Tiller is one of the best longboard single fins available.
The large base of the fin ensures that you hold your line and remain stable, while the sharper, thinned-out tip adds responsiveness when moving from rail to rail while making turns.
Produced by one of the best fin-making companies in the world, the Tiller fins are perfect for a single fin or 2+1 on your longboard.
- Future produces the strongest fins on the market.
- Thinned-out point provides more speed and agility when turning.
- Perfect for single fin or 2+1 setups.
- Long base helps maintain stability.
- On the expensive side for a single fin.
- Added speed in turns does not make the fin ideal for learner surfers.
FCS 2 Connect SF (Best Budget)
Using Soft Flex material, the 9” longboard fin is flexible, soft, and ideal for beginners.
Perfect for single fin use or a 2+1 setup, the FCS 2 Connect SF offers a combination of drive, speed, and stability on a large array of longboard designs, thanks to its neutral template design.
These fins are made easy to use as they do not require a fin key to insert or remove, and they can be used in most existing longboard fin boxes.
- Soft flex construction makes fins safe and ideal for beginners.
- No fin key is required.
- Compatible for 2+1 setup.
- Ability to adjust your fin position in the box mid surf.
- Extremely budget-friendly.
- These fins have no clear cons.
FCS 2 Harley PC (Best High End)
Performance Core (PC) fins are made using a multi-layered resin transfer molding process that progressively extends from the base of the fin to the tip.
This design, in combination with the light material, helps you maintain drive and hold while turning in a variety of conditions.
Used by World Longboard champion, Harley Ingleby, this fin may be expensive, but with its keyless insertion and removal, ability to adjust mid surf, and lack of a plate and screw, the price is easily justified.
- No fin key required.
- Small single fins add more release to longboards.
- Works with most existing fin boxes.
- Fin position can be adjusted mid-surf.
- Shorter single fin does not hold as well when on a larger board, and therefore may feel loose.
- Pricey due to the Harley name.
Must Know Surf Fin Definitions
To know what fins will best suit your needs, you will need to be familiar with a few terms to better understand exactly what you are buying.
- Template: The outline of the fin.
- Area: The amount of area inside the template.
- Base: The widest point of the fin (where the fin connects to the surfboard).
- Depth: Distant from the tip of the fin to the base.
- Rake: The angle at which the fin is tilted backward.
- Flex: Flexibility of the fin for side-to-side movements.
- Foil: The contours that run along the fin.
- Toe: The angle the fins are pointed in towards the stringer.
- Cant: The angle the fin leans towards the rail.
What to Look For When Buying Surfboard Fins
It is important to be honest with yourself when buying new fins for your surfboard.
You should strongly consider the size of the swell, the angle of the waves, the size of your board, the fin setup you would like to use, and whether you will be trying to generate speed or maintain it.
Keep in mind that the more rake the fin has, the more control you will have while sacrificing drive.
The less sweep your fins have the tighter your turns will be, which is best for punchy beach breaks and steep waves.
Greater sweep is ideal for longboards and rolling waves where slow long turns are favored.
Finally, the flex of the fin will affect your speed generation.
The greater the flex, the more “whippy” your board will feel, but it will be easier to generate speed.
Less flex will maintain speed better while adding to your surfboard’s control.
Other aspects to consider include:
- Fin Depth: Longer fins hold in the water better and therefore provide more control in turns.
Shorter fins feel more “loose” and are best for spin-like maneuvers.
- Base Length: The longer the base, the faster your board will be able to move, however, fins with shorter base lengths are capable of making sharper turns.
- Cant: The greater the cant of your fins, the more playful your board will feel, and the more responsive it will be during turns.
Boards with little to no cant (90°) will have more drive, stability, and speed, but be slower to turn.
- Toe: Fins that are “toed-in” will have better responsiveness but feel looser.
Fins with little or no toe angle will feel more stable and faster due to less friction but respond slower when on the rails.
- Foil: A flat inside face of the outside fins creates a balance of control, speed, and looseness, while a curved or concave inside face maximizes lift and minimizes drag, which is ideal for speed generation.
What Are the Different Surfboard Fin Setups?
Although the list of surfboard fin setups goes far more in-depth than the short description below, the following table will help you gain an understanding of the most common fin setups.
|Number of Fins||Description|
|Single||1||One large single fin near the rear foot area, usually used on large surfboards.|
|Twin||2||A single fin on each rail on the surfboard.
This is a common setup for fish boards.
|Thruster||3||Three fins of the same size. One on each rail and a single fin at the tail.
This is the most common fin setup.
|2+1||3||The same as a thruster setup but the tail fin is larger than the two side fins.|
|Quad||4||Two fins on each rail. The rear fins are sometimes larger than the front fins.|
When most people start surfing they don’t give much consideration to the fins on the surfboard that they are buying.
Everyone thinks about their surfboard size but fails to realize the significance your fins have on control, drive, stability, and speed.
It’s important to choose fins that best suit where you will be surfing, the board you will be using, your size, as well as your surf style.