Retro Hatchet Longboard Fin
When it comes to riding single-fin longboards, there are two main types of fins that are used—pivot fins, which are relatively wide, long, rigid, and upright; and rake fins, which are typically narrower and more flexible, and sweep back to a tapered tip that is well behind the trailing edge of the base of the fin. Both of these fins have their advantages and disadvantages.
Pivot fins provide a ton of stability and hold when you are on the front 1/3 of the board, which helps keep the board from spinning out while noseriding. The trade-off is that they are pretty bulky and unwieldy, which makes them difficult to maneuver. That isn’t to say that they can’t be turned—in fact, their name actually refers to the “pivot” style of turns that are typically used with these fins. But when it comes to fast, aggressive turns, putting the board on a rail, and quickly maneuvering into position, the pivot fin definitely makes some sacrifices in the name of stability. This makes sense, of course, since pivot fins are typically used with dedicated noseriders, which are boards that are built to go slow and anchor themselves in the pocket while the surfer dangles their toes in space.
Rake fins still provide that classic single-fin feeling and provide some support while noseriding, but they are built to turn. The drawn-back tip, narrow profile, and increased flex help these fins support more aggressive, carving turns and “snap” through maneuvers so that you come out of turns with added speed. The trade-off, of course, is that their smaller profile doesn’t provide as much stability while on the nose as a pivot fin does.
For those who are looking to bridge the gap between a pivot and rake design, a hatchet fin might just be the answer.
Shaped somewhat like a pivot fin that has a chunk cut out of the bottom half of the trailing edge, the hatchet fin maintains its width and stability at the tip, supporting noserides and keeping the board from spinning out in steep, deep pockets. However, the cut-away section at the bottom of the fin reduces surface area and rigidity, allowing the fin to be turned more aggressively. In addition, hatchet fins tend to be oriented in a slightly more drawn-back fashion (although they don’t have the classic “rake” shape). This adds to the maneuverability without sacrificing hold in the pocket.
While pivot fins and rake fins are both specialized designs intended for specific styles of riding, hatchet fins are a compromise between the two and can be thought of as a sort of moderate, utilitarian option for a single-fin longboard. If you want to noseride and turn, and don’t want to have to swap out fins between sessions or overthink what you have under your board, the hatchet fin is the answer.