Plug In

Fins are a big deal these days. They can make or break a session. Or just plain break and ruin a session. But thanks to the surf scientists at FCS things are looking up. They've just launched two new fin plugs in an effort to give you the lightest, strongest and most high performance plugs ever: the X2 -- a stronger base plug for all boards -- as well as a special plug designed specifically for EPS surfboards and installed pre-glass job called The {{{Fusion}}}. We chatted with FCS brainiac Tyler Callaway who took us through the new system and showed why we'll be seeing them on our new boards in 2008.

The X2: The same fin plugs we know and love from FCS, but this time they're 40% stronger and still the lightest.

Tyler Callaway: "The new X2 plug is made out of the same mold as the original FCS plug, but it's a new material we developed with Dupont. It's 40% stronger than our previous P2 plug, and instead of being red, smoke or blue -- the three colors we were doing -- the new X2 plug an opaque grey color. It's what we had to do to make the material that strong. We tested it against almost everybody else's plugs and determined that this is the strongest out there. The way we test them is we'll build a board that looks like a water ski -- real narrow and long. Then we install fin systems and install them up and down on either side of the board and cut them into 8 inch "cassettes." Those cassettes fit machines we have. One is an impact tester, which is basically a giant pendulum swing weight. We use that to simulate you getting washed over a rock and see how strong a fin box is, and we determined this new X2 is 40% stronger against splitting."

"About three years ago when we launched the P2 plug we redesigned the plug and put all these teeth in it, which bonded it to the H-pattern. The H-Pattern is the cone of resin that goes from the bottom of board, through the foam into the deck of the board. It's an I-Beam, which ties the deck skin and the bottom skin together. With the amount of flex that these plugs still allow, we feel this is the most high performance system you'll ever use. You don't lose the flex like you do from having three or four long boxes, or even five, since a lot of people want things like a convertible (a board with five boxes for the thruster and quad option). Tri-Quad just doesn't sound right, so we're using the term convertible. A lot of people are getting really into these convertible boards because you can grovel and then you can put the three fins in when it gets a bit more juicy--perfect for traveling."

FUSION SYSTEM: New fin box specially designed for EPS boards which are put in the board pre-glass job.

Tyler Callaway: "When people look at the other bigger boxes, they automatically think, "Oh, that must be stronger," so that's actually been one of the main points we wanted to make with the new Fusion pre-glass box we did. It doesn't touch the deck because we designed it not to. With EPS, when you put a bit of resin in one spot it heats up and the EPS blanks melt at a lower melt point. Plenty of people have put FCS original H-patterns into normal boards, but its trickier, and there's more risk for the manufacturer. We wanted to develop a system that gives the benefit of FCS fin system for EPS boards because lets face it EPS is here to stay. For example, I got a call from Stretch yesterday, and he's almost all epoxy and been heavily using another system for a while now, because its been so much easier for him to install in epoxy, but he called me yesterday and said he was ready to switch back now in a major way now that we have this Fusion system."