Performance Core K2.1 FCS Surfboard Fins Review

by Fabiano on July 8, 2009

K2.1 Side FinThe K2.1s are a high performance fin for skilled progressive surfers.  The K2.1 design is nothing new to the surfing world. F.C.S. has had these fins around for quite some time with minor changes in template and limited options for materials over the years. Slater has renovated his K2.1 and he ended up his ninth world title with them, that’s a successful improvement at its finest. We’ve stocked up South Coast with these things for that very reason.

The new K2.1s are made out of the F.C.S. performance core fiberglass construction. The performance core fins are stiffer than their natural composite brethren, you know, those plastic feeling ones that look like they could glow in the dark. Now they are composed of a foam core, a fiberglass foil and a satin cloth for aesthetic amusement. This translates to a less forgiving fin but one that is more sensitive and able to handle more powerful waves without sliding out or over flexing while racing down the line for a beach break barrel. They are also much lighter due to the foam inside the fiberglass foil as to not weight down the tail of your board when you’re trying your best Slater impression to get above and beyond the lip on your turns.

Almost all high performance fins now are made with some type of foam core but that’s not what makes these blue and white beauties stand out. The real deal behind them is how their templates work with the flex patterns of the P.C. construction. Most thruster sets have the 3 fins shaped all with the same template and length but not this set, hence the name K2.1. The side fins have more surface area compared to a shorter trailer fin, so responds like a small twin fin plus a trailer fin to balance out the pivoting.

The side fins have a wide base to produce forward drive through turns and allow you to slam your rail into a gouging cutback with confidence that the extra surface area will hold your line. They have almost no rake making them stand straight up like the dorsal fin on a shark. The lack of rake lets your board change direction quickly like snapping a more vertical bottom turn up a wave when you need to do work fast or risk being pitched via a heavy lip into a reef head. If you’re thinking right now that’s too risky, these fins aren’t for you. If you‘re drooling on your computer at the thought of such an opportunity, then you‘re on the right track to qualifying for a set.

The trailer fin is about the size and template of an M3 fin; there is a bit more rake, but less area so when you submerge your tail the board will go into a controlled slide or quickly cutback without sacrificing all your speed in the process.  The concept behind having a smaller trailer fin is to make it easier to break free from a carve and perform a more radical direction change, welcome to fins free surfing. Combine that with the responsiveness of performance core material and you’ve got a recipe for some heavy hitting Young Guns style wave riding.

These fins are not going to let you make a mistake without paying a price. They’re used by a nine-time world surfing champion, they were meant for those with the skill and the sheer guts to assault the most angry of waves at their most critical points. If you don’t set yourself up for a deep bottom turn you can expect these fins to make your snaps feel terribly forced and lacking of all style. They have a very pivotal turning nature so you must surf them more vertically and use more torque from your legs if you want be able to connect maneuvers.

Surf them in hollow beach breaks or in more heavy reefs in the area to understand how they work. Don’t worry about getting stuck behind a section, the side fins have the ability to drive you right around it with some double pumping or if you‘re daring enough right over it with a floater. Now you’re probably thinking these fins are too technical to be practical but it’s a double edged sword that will sharpen any surfers skills to their own benefit. Yes they’re not forgiving, but after you have them dialed in you’ll learn to execute proper bottom turns that produce incredible drive up the face while that smaller trailer fin lets you crank through a turn with style and enough speed to fire off your next blow tail snap.

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