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It's Feature Friday once again, and this time around I've got a new favorite fin for all of our Longboard advocates. The Peanut 9.75" by JJ Wessells and Captain Fin Co. is a very unique longboard fin, and I must say, this is in the running as a personal favorite. But then again knowing me, my opinion will change next Thursday.
It's hard to categorize the Peanut as a pure pivot fin because of the rake (allowing deep powerful turns that 'performance' fins give you when turning), this fin is designed for noseriding first and foremost with how large it is in length and base size.
When I moved to Encinitas/North San Diego, it was apparent that I needed to get a longboard in my collection once and for all, after fighting the notion for as long as I could remember. I went for the 9'7" Ladle, and found that I really do enjoy flexy, midlength fins for more of a controlled feel up and down the wave face and quick movement, but I wanted to try various pivot fins and how they affected the board performance wise. Basically I was a newbie to noseriding and wanted to learn more by experience of 'feel'.
My first attempt was the Mason Dyer Jetson D-Fin (see picture), which is a gigantic old school style fin meant to really hold your board in place and slow the ride down and set a line. Being used to the shortboard techniques of mobility, "turning and burning" to catch waves last second, I found myself needing to really take my time when taking off with this fin, setting up in the right place and requiring a big bottom turn off the tail. It felt so stiff to me! It also made me super nervous at a crowded peak like Cardiff, since I am so used to being able to maneuver quickly, the board was much slower than I was used to. While that really helped me with timing on when to approach the nose, I learned that this was not the style I wanted to emulate. I wanted to feel more nimble up and down the wave. I still wanted to try noseriding, but the D-Fin just wasn't doing it for me in terms of maneuverability... on with the search for my perfect longboard fin. I know it's out there.
Enter the JJ Wessells Peanut, which has me trending back in the right direction, even after one surf on it. I tried this one on my Ladle the other day in Cardiff, and found myself being more mobile than the D-Fin ( but not as agile and flexy as I ultimately desire). It felt really good holding the board down and setting a line, and I could also crank a big turn off the tail for some bigger carving. Being at a wave such as Cardiff which is somewhat predictable to read, the fin allowed my board to hold its position when I needed speed, and gave me the freedom to move a little quicker to where my eyes were spotting to go.
This fin, explained by JJ as being the best in 'down the line point break style waves' like Rincon, Malibu, Swamis, and Chowers. It felt nice to loosen up the board (relative to the D-Fin) while still having the weight in the tail to practice creeper 5's and hang tens.
Any sort of dumpy or unpredictable beach break will be too fast for this fin to really perform the way it is supposed to. If you're more of a beach break surfer, I would steer towards a fin with a narrower base and more rake to get the board moving and not feeling like too much pivot. We're recommending this fin in longer longboards 9'6" to larger size longboards. Really any type of longboard that you want to have the ability to creep on the nose, but still deliver turns and get some drive.
I would recommend this fin in our Ladle and Log models, and anyone looking to get a unique feel out of the Ultimate in 9'6" or bigger.
This fin is a great addition to the collection for those who like a combination of noseriding and vertical movement.
Watch the vid below, JJ oozing style at Chowers riding his signature fin.