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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow FINSIGHTS: Longboard House "Squirrel Tail" Design by Mike Mann
FINSIGHTS: Longboard House "Squirrel Tail" Design by Mike Mann PDF Print E-mail
By: Chip Bock   
Saturday, 10 May 2008

A taste of Chip's
I have been surfing for most of my life. Like all of us, the search is not just for the magical perfect wave, but also for that magical perfect ride, that perfect equipment set up that makes every session better than the last, the set up that will lead you to nirvana whether you are in Hawaii, Figi, California or Lake Michigan; from 2 ft wave heighs to double overhead

Surfing’s circle of the soul is complete when, and if, you find that magic set up. It brings confidence and pure pleasure knowing that you have exactly what you are going to need when you paddle out; regardless of whether the conditions change.

I have found my equipment “Holy Grail”, and Nate at SUPSURFMAG convinced me to share it with my stand up paddle brothers and sisters.

It is called the “Squirrel Tail” Cutaway fin. It was created by the Longboard House and was designed by their own local Mike Mann.

I have been surfing this fin on my nose riders, high performance long boards and everything in between for the past 10 years. It has proven itself in 2ft to 12ft, beach and point breaks, reefs and sandbars. It works equally well in a 2+1 set up as it does as a single fin. It is available from in 1 inch increments from 7 – 10 inches in a variety of colors.

The shape may look strange and certainly does not look like a “competitive tool”, but that all changes when you make your first drop, step out on the nose or lay your first cutback. The STC has won countless contests throughout the world and the podium is no stranger to those that have uncovered this gem.

ImageEver wish you could take your SUP down a perfect face, power off the bottom, lean slightly back…stall, set up and fly into the next section and then at the end of the ride, with complete style, just spin the nose up and over the shoulder to paddle back out for another liquid run? The Squirrel is your answer.

I can’t tell you over the years how many of my friends (and strangers) I have lent a STC to (all the while hearing that there is no way a single fin will change the way a board handles); only to hear “Holy Sh--!” after their first kick out.

Here is what a STC will do for your stand up paddle surfboard, or any other surfboard:

  • It will knock 3ft off of the performance handling length of the board (a 10’6” will handle like a 7’6”)
  • Deliver snap and explosive speed off of your turns (be prepared to feel your SUP accelerate like a rocket)
  • Head to the nose at ANY time and feel the tail stay put (even allowing you to pump and glide down the line from the nose)
  • Turn, set a line and accelerate at a moments notice on the biggest waves (even when you may be late)
  • Add glide and turning freedom you could only dream about

ImageWhy does this funny fin work you say?

This fin works purely by its design.

The very narrow base (where the fin meets the board) allows water to “release” when you want the board to change direction quickly (and I mean lighting quick; can you say 360’s).

This same low drag at the fin interface to the board is what makes it so fast down the line (ever noticed the dimensional keel ratio of modern sailboats built for speed; small where it meets the hull for speed and quick tacking, large at the bottom for stability and drive).

The large “ball shape” at the bottom of the fin is where the stability, drive and holding power comes from on heavy bottom turns at speed and when you are hanging ten over the nose.

The narrow neck with the large ball shape at the end also allows the fin to flex and snap you out of your turns with tremendous acceleration; but with your complete control. Think of a dolphin’s tail when they “whip” it and how the snap of that large rear fin thrusts them forward at incredible speed. 

The STC has it all and the best part is that it is in ONE fin.

ImageFor most boards it works best run all the way forward in the fin box and in most cases you will never need to move it. The only minor adjustment to this is based on the relationship of the side bite fins to the center fin box on a 2+1 set up. You may not simply be able to just run the fin all the way forward, you may have to line it up in relation to the side fins. See the photo of my 2+1 set up in my C4 Waterman 10”6” vs. the box placement of the 2+1 set up on one of my McTavish longboard as an example.

Sizing: Everyone has their preference, but the Squirrel Tail can actually be run smaller than expected without losing performance. I run an 8” in my 10'6” C4 Waterman SUP 2+1 set up; a 9” in my 9'8” single fin Nuuhiwa; an 8” in my McTavish 9' high performance boards 2+1 set ups and 9" or 10” in my 12' single fin Laird stand up paddle surfboard. I will be experimenting soon with a 9" and 10” in my 14' C4 Waterman Vortice race stand up paddleboard for down winders with the next swell, but I have not had the right conditions yet.

So, the secret is out.

See you in the line up (somewhere),



For more information  about this fin visit:

To get your own Squirrel Tail, CLICK HERE.

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