As the years edge on, I undeniably get slower. My kids have all but passed me in terms of speed. First it was sprinting and then long distance running and next it was snowboarding… the list goes on. The only thing I have managed to maintain the edge over them is swimming and surf paddle power, although it is a very tenuous and disputable grip. In short, my days are numbered.
So, when this little product arrived at the office, I was more than keen to not only try it out, but secretly attach it to a board and somehow get it in the water without my kids seeing it. There was a reason for my secrecy.
On the day in question, acting very nonchalant, I made sure to have the fin facing the other direction as we made our way to the beach so they could not see it. I hadn’t told them about the Boost Fin. Amazingly, I managed to pull the feat off. The look on their faces as I pulled away was priceless, their little arms paddling as fast as they can, all whilst trying to figure out how I was trouncing them and nearly out the back while they were still battling the whitewash.
So, to answer the first question everyone has asked me since, does it work? Yep, it definitely works. And how fast does it go? Like I said, I left my kids in their late teens and early twenties behind in my wake. How fast specifically? The Boost Fin can reportedly reach a m a x i m u m speed of 17 kilometres per hour. If you consider world class elite 50m swimmers can reach speeds of 1.655 metres per second, and if you extrapolate that out to an hour (if it was possible to maintain that speed for an hour, which it is not) the speed clocked would be just shy of 6 kilometres per hour. So basically, you’re paddling 3 times faster than Ian Thorpe.
The glassier the conditions the more effective the Boost Fin is. In whitewash it takes a little time to get going but with that said, you do notice it. Many people would know of those days when your arms are tired and you have just come up from a duck dive, the water is turbulent, and it takes a little time to get going. Well, the Boost Fin speeds up that ‘getting going’.
It really is a paddle assist rather than a complete paddle replacement system if that makes sense. If you just lay on your board, you’re not really going to get moving at any great speed but with the addition of your own strokes, you feel the pace of your paddle pick up.
We tried it on a couple of boards from a mid-length through to a longboard and the bigger the board, the greater effect. The added propulsion assists with your glide. You simply turn the power on and off via a small device resembling a watch on your wrist.
Aside from the added paddle power you do notice it once on a wave. On the first day of testing, the waves were quite full and the midlength I was riding would have not only struggled to get on the waves, it would have struggled to stay on. With the Boost Fin, I got on the waves quite easily and stayed on, riding the waves all the way to the beach. On the second testing day, we choose a longboard and here you noticed its effect even more on a wave, particularly on a clean face. The board really did take off and literally motored across the face of the wave, linking up sections usually beyond reach.
OTHER SPECS OF INTEREST:
Power adaptor: You simply plug in your fin via a custom 100-240V wall charger and it takes about 2 hours to fully charge the battery. Once installed, you can even charge the fin on your board.
Installation: Is super simple. You fasten a little insert into your chosen fin system and then attach the Boost Fin to that. The whole set up takes less than 5 minutes.
Battery: Lasts for around an 1.5 hour surf session
Weight: It’s just shy of 1kg (0.86kg) so it definitely adds some weight but you’re not exactly going to be putting this on your high performance shortboard. Big wave gun, yep. Longboard, egg, mid-length and SUP. We imagine over time the weight of the fin will reduce with advancements in technology, which will only add to its appeal.
Leash: There’s an additional leash to attach to your fin to safeguard it should it fall off from being incorrectly installed. This is available as an optional extra accessory.
Fin adaptor: The Boost Fin has a range of adapters to suit almost any surfboard or paddleboard. The longboard adapter is supplied by default in the package. However, they have adapters for pretty much all of the fin box systems from FCS, FCS 2, Futures, Futures (Side Fin), NSP FCS, Soft Top, Flip Lock, Wayler, Slide-in and Stick-on Fin Box.
Verdict: It is going to most assist those who perhaps are recovering from an injury such as a shoulder reconstruction or like myself who are getting on in their years and whose paddle power is not what it was. It would also be beneficial to those surfing more remote breaks that entail a kilometre or twos paddle to get to.
Where to buy: Ben Buckler Boards has it here in Australia so you can skip the long international wait times and order through them for same day despatch