By: Andre Langedyk
Being a long boarder, I’ve noticed that there are quite a few creative boards out there with stunning artwork, but there’s a limited amount of creative fins, all shapes and sizes but nothing different.
Having no idea how a fin is made, thanks to YouTube and various other internet sources, I managed to create my own fin. Being a shortcut type of guy, I’ve shaped my own fin by using an old broken fin, filled it up with fiberglass and resin until I got the shape I wanted. My introduction to fiberglass was quite itchy!
Realising that there might be weak points in the build-up areas in the fin I created, causing it to be too weak to surf and endure the pressure on the fin, I made a two-piece mould from fiberglass. After numerous attempts and failures, I managed to get it right. This was a new challenge on its own.
It was quite educational learning about PVA, release wax, gelcoat, fiberglass and resin types. After successfully achieving the aforementioned, I could never get a perfect clear fin as the bubbles get trapped when the two pieces are put together. So to create a fin with colour and to hide the minute air bubble, I used colour pigment in the gelcoat. This came out nice but it also limited to the initial idea of creating something different, which brought me to the below end result as illustrated. Education number two, how to airbrush! Once again, thanks to the internet!
I airbrushed an acrylic base coat on the fin and then created the artwork on it using airbrush and acrylic paint and stencils. Once I was happy with the end result, I clear coated the fin with fiberglass resin. After a few coats of clear resin, the fin is then sanded with 6 different grades of sandpaper and then polished with burnishing compound.
Although I make a few plain fins and some others, I’ve only included the below fins as they were the most challenging and the best result with my limited knowledge in the art of fin making. All the fins below have been done in the last six months and being used.