|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
A taste of Chip's
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.
Ever 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
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
- Deliver snap and explosive speed off
of your turns (be prepared to feel your SUP accelerate like a
- Head to the nose at ANY time and
feel the tail stay put (even allowing you to pump and glide down the line from
- 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
does this funny fin work you say?
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
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
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.
For 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
So, the secret is
See you in the line up
For more information about this fin visit: www.longboardhouse.com
To get your own Squirrel Tail, CLICK HERE.