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Quick Summary of our fins and their intended usage.
Pro Model – Excellent Flat Water Fin. Also ideal for BOP and Downwinders This is the fin our Team Riders fin of choice
Hybrid – This is the perfect all purpose fin. Works pretty well in all conditions. This is the best choice for most paddlers.
Voyager – Same as the Hybrid in a different construction
Elite – Rough Water Fin. Excellent tracking and stability in nasty conditions. Might be over-kill in light/moderate conditions
This fin is based on our Gladiator Hybrid template. It shares the exact same dimensions and surface area. The only real difference is, it is made from a High Density Molded Composite, instead of fiberglass. The advantages of this construction are, its lighter weight, more durable, and less expensive. The downside is, we only make it in one color, smokey gray with white screening. This fin does have slightly more flex than our fiberglass fins, which relates to the tracking ability of the fin, although so far in the tests we have done, no one could tell the difference between the two. While these fins don’t look quite as pretty as our handmade fiberglass fins, you will not find a better fin anywhere for this price. It also comes standard with our new “Click It” system, which means totally screwless installation, and should work in any standard fin box. Need more convincing? This also happens to be the fin our Team Rider Shane Perrin set the Guinness World Record on, for most miles paddled in 24 hours on flat water.
This fin was designed in conjunction with several of our elite racer team riders, who are realizing that as boards get better, and their stroke technique improves, they can get by with smaller fins (which means less drag). The Pro Model Race Fin is considerably smaller and lighter than the Hybrid or the Elite Model. It is the ideal fin for flat water races, or races with a lot of buoy turns. If you are looking for a fin that still tracks well and has as little drag as possible, this is the fin. Our team riders are getting 8-10 strokes per side with this fin, as opposed to 10-12 with the Hybrid, and 12+ with the Elite. For races with rough water, or a lot of wind, the Hybrid or Elite are likely the better choice, but if you find yourself doing a lot of flatwater races, you need this fin in your quiver.
The Hybrid Race Fin is slightly smaller and more refined version of the Elite Racer. It excels in BOP style races, where maneuverability for buoy turns and wave catching is of the utmost importance. The tracking of this fin is still excellent, but we were able to increase maneuverability of the fin by reducing height and surface area, resulting in a “looser feeling” than the Elite or the Keel style fins. If you are paddling in flat water conditions, such as a lake or calm harbor, this fin is ideal for you.Some of the Elite class racers who started on our Elite Fin, have begun migrating to the Hybrid for these reasons. This fin is also becoming a favorite among downwinders, as it offers great tracking, but still offers the maneuverability they need to move from swell to swell.The Hybrid is also a good option for upgrading the stock fin on your “Surf” or “Fun Shape” all around style boards, between 10’6-12′. More often than not, this is the fin I ride when going for a paddle, as it is versatile, and can handle almost any condition, and does a great job at shedding weeds. If you can only have 1 fin in your quiver, this is the one to get.
The Gladiator Elite race fin is ideally suited for ocean or choppy water conditions. Its length, template, and surface area really help stabilize the board, and hold course in rough waters. In addition, the Gladiator Elite is possibly the best tracking race fin on the market. (see below for customer feedback)In case you are not really sure why that matters, better tracking helps you in two ways:1) The less time you have your paddle out of the water switching sides, the more stokes you can take, which translates into better overall speed.2) Reducing the yaw of the board (zig zagging from side to side as you paddle) will result in a straighter course, which means less distance traveled. As you have probably heard in the past, the fastest way to get from one point to another is typically a straight line.So as common sense would dictate, if you can make your board go straighter and keep your paddle in the water longer, you will go faster over the course of a race. On top of its racing performance, this fin also sheds weeds really well. The Gladiator Elite is consistently one of the top selling race fins available.
“Got my Gladiator Hybrid fins yesterday, used It on a new board today in Huntington Harbor and it tracked insane and bouy turned in a snap!!
Thanks Larry this one’s a winner!” Bill Kho – Dana Point
“Larry the Gladiator kicked ass yesterday. Conditions were flat with a 10 kt wind very little current. Took 1st place in the elite 50 plus yea I know the other 50 plus racers were slowed down by their O2 tanks! Also forgot to tell you about what happened at the GCSUPC two weeks ago. Somewhere along the race course in the Gulf Coast… SUP Championship I hit something and lost the plate and screw. Finished the 9.2 mile race placed 5th in the elite 50 plus men div. drove back to NC and trained for a week before I realized I had lost it. THE FIN HAD NOT MOVED! Maybe I should ran race without a plate and screw more often:).” William Pope – Wilmington NC
“Hey Casey – Got the fins today. The water on Puget Sound was like glass today. … Took them out and found they track ten times better than the original fin. No more having to correct direction every five to six strokes. With the new fin, you can concentrate on your stroke and not worry about keeping on track. The fin makes a huge difference and it makes me wonder why the Bark Dominator didn’t come with that fin in the first place. Well worth the price. BTW – the fin design is really cool looking.” Remick Merry – Seattle Washington
“Casey the fin was amazing! Straight line paddling and very easy to corner. Not to mention it stabilized the board more. Its the perfect fin for this board.” Chris Stephan – Florida
” This fin works better than it looks!! It stabilizes the board, and the scallops in the back allow it to break loose in the corners. Another piece of functional art. Hand made in the USA!” Chris Stephan to Larry
“Larry, ran the Gladiator on Sat at the GCSUPC. Cut 20 mins off my time from last year!” William Pope- North Carolina
“I just wanted to put my $.02 in about the Gladiator fin that started the thread… the tracking on the Gladiator is a great improvement over the downwind specific fin (Ninja) I was using before. I am able to keep my line much better than before with a cross wind and/or a head wind. For paddling in conditions with constant wind change, the Gladiator is a great choice, especially since it won’t get caught up on river weed as well… also, since we don’t battle a lot of side current here (Austin) the more surface area isn’t a problem…Great fin all around!” David Bain – Austin
“I require two things of my fins… good tracking and good weed-shedding. Anything beyond that is extra. These fins make my boards track better than any other I’ve used. If I’m changing sides less, and dragging less salad, then I’m going faster.” Beau Whitehead – Seattle
“First I’m a firm believer in Larry’s race fins after getting the Becker but then he sent me the Gladiator fin and everything changed. The fin still has the tracking power of a keel but is much looser and to me the best part of the fin is how it made the board ( 14′ Bark Dominator ) seem alive. What I mean is with the straight keel the board tracked well but felt like it was glued to the water and stuck in a rut but with the Gladiator fin it feels like the board has life. I’m able to adjust without much effort and going downwind it felt like surfing again with the ability to move the board around to adjust for the bumps. The larger of the the Gladiator fins (Gladiator Elite) is great in side chop because of its depth keeping the board from being blown around, such a great design can’t wait to get my hands on the small version (Hybrid).” Chris Hill North Carolina