Sunday 13 February 2011

Simmer Slalom Fin Review - 34cm

This I will always think of as my first real fin purchase. Any windsurfer will know what I mean. We get fins with boards which are usually excellent, then we get a couple of extra fins out of the bargain box to extend the range of winds/sails that the board can use. In my first few years sailing cost was the issue and I would buy second hand fins, not designed specifically for purpose, more for a range of conditions. In other words freeride fins which are a lot more swept back.

After getting my first dedicated slalom board I knew I would need some true slalom fins. The reason I bought this one was due to Jim of Puravida Boardriders who gave me a good deal for it and the board. I could not find any reviews of the Simmer slalom fins. It is a G10 fin as opposed to carbon, I am still finding which will work best for me and understand that this aspect of fin design suits different people but gets them to the same top speeds.

My first session on it I made my best hour average speed, so clearly it was a good fin. I tried it off the wind and upwind, it does both with ease, allowing a lot of pressure from the back foot before any cavitation or spinout. In the event of spinout the fin seems to catch again, like a warning signal to stop driving it so hard. I would hazard a guess that this is the 'nipple' on the very tip of the fin that could help this happen. 

I have used this fin with several boards. The first being my Starboard Kode 112l, this comes with a Drake Freeslalom-swift 36cm fin. I found this stock fin would spinout at 28knots, both across the wind and off the wind. It is a freeride fin with quite a thick foil so not designed for full on slalom/speed. The simmer made a noticeable difference and got me within hundredths of a 30knot top speed on the board which is great for a big freestyle wave board. It has also given me a 24knot average mile over very choppy water.

The second board I have used it with is a Fanatic Falcon 105l (a loan from a friend/teammate over the winter) and 7m Tushingham x15. It has taken me to 32knots top speed, with a 5x10sec average over 30. I don't think I have span it out once using this board/fin combination. These simmers may well work out to be a competitor to the very expensive Techtonics that partner the falcons so well. I am hoping to get 35knots out of this combination before spring 2011.

Finally I have used it with my Mistral sl95, but this was while still getting used to the board and its difficult nature. I hope to use this combination a lot more in the future, as it will be the bigger fin for that board.

The finish on the fin is excellent, you can clearly see how 'uniform' the production process makes the end product. The only downside was that it needed a lot of sanding to get it to fit well into the box on the Kode, it now fits like a glove. I would call this a mid range fin with a lot of potential to compete against some of the top end fins. I suspect it was only a mid range price as they are very new to the market. If you are in the UK Pura Vida Boardriders stock them.

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