The surf media has written thousands of pages on the various attributes of surfboard design, but much less attention has been given to the part of the surfboard that actually steers it. Fins are an essential part of what makes surfboards work, but we have only recently begun to explore their potential, in terms of design, materials, and other features. For the most part, the fins on today’s surfboards are pretty much exactly the same as the fins that were on boards 30 years ago—whether you are riding single-fin longboards, retro twin fins, thrusters, or quads.

That’s all about to change with the release of FCS’s new H4 fin. This futuristic set of fins combines progressive, intuitive design with space-age materials and technology engineered by a Swiss company to produce the most efficient flex patterns in the fin market. The H4 blends a traditional fin outline with a hatchet-style tip on the side fins, creating extra drive and speed while simultaneously providing for release at the exact point that surfers want it. Meanwhile, the unique, elliptical shape of the center fin lessens drag while providing control and predictability through turns.

The process used to create the fins is just as high-tech as the design. The fins are built with high-density, uni-directional carbon fiber, making them not only strong and light, but also fast. Meanwhile, the internal composite material on the trailing edge morphs under load, giving the fins drive and pep through turns and allowing them to be pushed hard without compromising control. Finally, a robotic construction process with camera-assisted quality control ensures a high level of accuracy and standardization so that you can be confident about your fins quality and reproducibility.

When all of these high-tech elements are combined, the result is a fin that is elegant in its simplicity. The H4 is custom-built to one specific purpose—to elevate modern surfing to the next level. Whether you are a professional surfer on the world tour or an everyman shredder out for his after-work session, I think we can all appreciate that.