We sometimes hear from customers after they have broken the fin tab (the thin part that you screw into). There are a number of causes for this, with one constant: impact.
Fins do not magically break on their own. Force needs to be exerted upon them in order for a break to occur.
There are certain common situations that threaten the integrity of your fin and fin box.
The most common situation that causes fin and fin box breakage is laying your board on the ground with the bottom side facing down (while the fins are installed. The weight of your board is resting on the fin(s). Now imagine if your child or dog is running around and jumps on the board. That pressure will cause the fin(s) or fin box to break. The simple solution is flipping your board over so that the bottom of the board and fins are facing up. (Our Heat Warning also recommends turning your board over.)
The second common occurrence is that people jump onto their boards (or dismount) in too shallow of water. The same applies to riding your board onto the beach. This causes your fin to hit the ground under water and exerts too much pressure on the fin and fin box. Note that even beach sand can cause impact damage. (Imagine playing beach volleyball – it doesn’t hurt as much to dive for the ball in sand as opposed to a hard gym floor, but it still doesn’t feel great!) The solution: make sure that you are in at least 2 feet of water before hoping on or off your board!
The third, and final, common occurrence is hitting debris or underwater hazards – even at slow speed. This includes branches, dead heads and rocks. Keep an eye on the depth of the water you are paddling in, as well as noting any debris your fin(s) could hit.
Now, of course you’re probably wondering why fin tabs break so easily upon impact? The fin tab is designed to break when pressure is exerted on the fin or fin box. If the tab didn’t break, the impact on your fin would cause severe damage to your fin box. While it can be frustrating to break a fin, it is certainly better than breaking the fin box and having to deal with a$200-$300 repair.