The Surfing Legend's Innovative Black Tip Fin
Posted by DAVID KELLY
Randy Rarick, a surfing legend known around the world, has surfed in more countries than anyone else in history, represented Hawaii in the 1970 World Contest, and helped form the International Surfing Professionals and run the Triple Crown.
His contribution to surf culture continues to this day, both on Oahu and abroad. At almost 75 years of age, he continues to paddle out on the North Shore on legit days and is an innovator in a variety of forums. One of his contributions to the surfing world is his self-designed Black Tip fin.
Randy recently visited Hawaiian South Shore to drop off a few new sizes of his innovative fin and shared with us his inspiration behind its development. He has been getting fins from Island fin design for years in his own templates.
However, he wanted to make one with more flex and have a couple of different sizes, so he worked with FUTURES to help him develop a fin that fit his needs. The key to this design is the tip flex inherent in the Black Tip.
It has the carbon in the tip, then a gap, and then carbon again in the bottom two-thirds of the fin. What this does is give you extremely good tip flex, without the tip of the fin breaking down, so the flex and snap are sustainable. The fins are also light and thin because of the use of the carbon, so they are as high tech as anything on the market.
Randy drew inspiration from kneeboarder and surf innovator George Greenough and the concept of tip flex in fins. When fins have flex, they load up during turns and then give you an extra bit of spring as you come out of your turn.
However, to get that much flex, you typically have to foil out the fins so much that they eventually tend to break down and lose the snap in the tip. Meyerhoffer came out with his "Surforward" fin a few years back and Randy used that for a while, and really liked the flex capabilities. But the template was a bit too narrow for Hawaiian surf. So he went back to his standard template, but approached FUTURES to use their technology to make it, adding the flex characteristics that met his needs and desires.
Randy's Black Tip fins come in four sizes: 7.5", 8.5", 9.0" and 10.0". The 7.5" works really well as a 2+1 setup in small and mid-range boards. Randy rides a 7'10", and it holds in great with the FUTURES SB 1 (side bite fins).
That setup handles anything up to six foot Hawaiian, yet still gives you the signature snap out of turns that the Black Tip provides.
On his longer boards, Randy uses the 8.5" as a single fin (and also with side bites sometimes), and it makes your board extremely loose. He has loaned it to dozens of longboarders and they've all had their minds blown at how much looser it has made their boards. Because of all the feedback from them, Randy decided to make a couple of bigger versions for big boards and tankers. The new sizes, 9" and 10", is now available at Hawaiian South Shore.
The development process for the Black Tip fin took years, with FUTURES spending time working on prototypes with Randy, having three or four different versions. The fourth one, they finally got it right. They went with that one and first released the Black Tip with FUTURES around two years ago. Randy continues to influence the surf industry with his innovations, and his Black Tip fin is an excellent addition to any surfer's quiver. Here at Hawaiian South Shore we are pretty excited about anything that Randy does, so we decided to carry his fin.