We recently did a downwind paddle when the waves and wind weren’t properly playing ball. A lot of cross chop was kicking in , the wind was a bit sloppy and the waves had no speed or depth to them so all in all the Jimmy Lewis M14 was struggling to maintain pace in less than good conditions. Some of the wider boards had a better time of it and maintained speed but for me it wasn’t fun.
It got me thinking about how I could improve the boards performance but firstly I had to consider what was not quite working on the day.
- We’ve got swell but not particularly powerfull or steep so it was easily missed.
- With the cross chop it was very easy to get knocked off course as you just started getting going and the board would squirrel around.
- Drooping into the wave in front bringing you to a sudden halt and then being off balance as you had already stepped back to raise the bow.
90% of the time this particular board works great for me but on this day the balance of conditions and factors was off so I needed to address this. And I couldn’t let an old guy beat me.
What I needed to achieve with a fin was
- Directional control
- Pace and increased drive
We spoke with the Rainbow Fin Company and they suggested the Pivot Grande with bamboo core. This fin came to us as a 10.25 inch fin and super light. Stunning looking with a blue outer ridge and then then bamboo middle so looks wise it is a stunner.
Being a pivot fin it gives a very easy turn feel but very controllable and smooth.
Being slightly deeper on the horizontal plane it was particularly stable, especially when sinking back into lulls.
Having the extra body area you would think it was purely a nose-riding style fin but to be honest it really suited well to the lesser windy downwind paddles many of us do.
If I was looking to tweak it I would want something slightly narrower and longer which would lead me towards the Futures Downwind fin.