FCS PC-3 vs. PC-5 – Fin Size Matters

This is sort of a review, sort of a comparison, and sort of some advice for fin choice in general. I say that because fins depend on you – your ability level, weight, height, etc. Even the size of your board comes into play. Keep all this in mind when reading on below…

 

The reason I am comparing these fins to each other as well as on their own is because of something I learned the hard way – fin size matters. Before I knew what I was doing on a surfboard, I rode almost exclusively the entry-level FCS M-5 thruster (medium size fins), and sometimes as a quad with G-X trailer fins. Down the road, I acquired the PC-5 thruster set and began riding this (same size as M-5 fins). Just in the last year did I finally try the PC-3 set and I can confidently say that these small size fins are the right size for me (I’m about 5’8” 140lbs).

It took me years to realize it but I had been riding the wrong size fins for almost my entire surfing life. Side note – I have found that keeping a journal really helps in all board sports to get your setups dialed in exactly as you like with things like fins, board dimensions, etc.

So, I rode “-5” medium size fins for a long time but they were too big for me. This hurt my progression and my ability didn’t improve that much because I could not make the board turn as fast or as hard. Switching to the PC-3 and the smaller fin size was like putting performance tires on a car – suddenly, I could get the most out of my wave-riding vehicle. This definitely gives me more confidence in the water.

 

Photo Jun 10, 7 02 58 PM
FCS PC-3 thruster | 5’3″ LIB x …Lost Puddle Jumper

 

The Review

These two fin models from FCS are arguably some of their most popular. They are relatively cheap, solid fins ($82 from FCS directly) with good response and drive through turns. Both feature what FCS calls “performance core”, and FCS says they are lightweight performance fins (can’t argue there). They are both sold as quad and thruster packages, but this review concerns the thruster versions.

Once I found the right size fins, the PC Series became my favorite fin. I have been riding them on a 5’3” LIB x …Lost Puddle Jumper – the PC-3 thruster is my go-to setup for this board. I can get so much power and response out of these fins, it really opens up the possibilities for me. Speed is definitely not an issue, but a quad is still faster with these as side fins. That said, the thruster is good enough to get barreled.

The PC Series material is definitely snappier than the old M Series I had been riding for years. The snap is more aggressive as well, so a hard bottom turn is essential if you want to get these to release a bit. That is kind of the fun of it though – you really have to lay into it sometimes. If you do it well, the rewards are priceless. This forces you to work on technique and perfect every step – the drop, your line, the bottom turn, etc.

That said, I could never get this out of the PC Series when I rode the PC-5 due to the size. The PC-5 felt much less responsive and much less snappy. Even if I laid into turns on these fins, I never felt the flex doing any work to help me out. That’s really why size matter when it comes to fins – when the size is right, the fins respond and you can actually feel the flex working. That’s how it should be.

Overall, I would recommend the PC Series fins for intermediate-advanced surfers who want something predictable and responsive. They are priced right and widely available. I would say these fins work best in rippable, punchier waves where you want to go hard off the lip – the snap and response really helps these fins come into their own here. Don’t be afraid to really lay into these fins, as they will respond.

Just make sure you have the right size.

Shred Season is Upon Us!

I’m back! After a few months of being busy but also being lazy, I finally have time to sit down and write something.

Well, we haven’t had much of a winter here in the east, but I think I’ve been out riding more this season than any other. Why? Well…it’s because I’ve caught the bug. I’m saying I can’t get enough of snowboarding. I just can’t help myself.

Do you suffer from the same condition? Maybe for you it’s a skateboard, a surfboard, a bike, or an instrument? It’s all the same to me. Most of us have a passion, and I’m dedicated to pursuing mine. If that’s you too, then you found the right blog.

I have been busy stacking clips this winter – edits are coming soon! To give you a small taste, check out this backyard video from when Winter Storm Jonas gave us a real taste of winter. Check back soon!

Music for Shredding // Pt. 3

For part 1, click here.

For part 2, click here.

If you haven’t already looked at parts 1 and 2, you should do that. I wasn’t planning on doing another music post but lately I’ve discovered too much good music to keep it to myself. The songs in this post are all over the map but the one thing they have in common is that in my opinion, they’re all really good tunes. They’re also all electronic, but I’ve really been digging that lately.

Lemaitre is a producer from Norway. He has a bunch of great songs out there, and Continuum is probably his most popular. That doesn’t mean it isn’t sick though. If you like it also check out the song Keep Close.

Madeon is another sick producer, based in France. Stay Awake is an awesome track that really gets me pumped and focused. This isn’t your average, repetitive dub step track. It’s actual music. Ellie Goulding does the vocals on this track as well which makes it even better. Check out Technicolor and You’re On for more tracks from Madeon with a similar vibe.

Synchronice is yet another incredible producer. He’s based in New Jersey. Maybe I’m biased since he’s a good friend, but every new track he comes out with blows me away. His remix of Taking Over by Favright is no exception….damn it makes me want to dance. Synchronice also did a sick remix of Dazzle Me by Oh Wonder which you should definitely check out. The piano melodies in this track get stuck in my head all day. If you want to check out one of his original songs listen to The Only.

And finally, here’s a track from Washed Out. This guy is a sick chill wave artist and all his songs have that super relaxed vibe. I think Feel It All Around is actually the theme song for Portlandia, if you’ve seen it. If you dig this song check out Eyes Be Closed for a similar groove.

There you have it! If you have any suggestions or comments, leave one below and let me know.

Herb Neumann: Low-Key Legend

Herb Neumann might not be a guy that most skaters know, but anyone who knew the man knows how important he was to skateboarding. Herb was more than just a low-key local legend in North Jersey, he was a great skater, innovative creator, and most of all a friend and mentor to myself and others. Herb passed in November 2014 after fighting cancer for many years. The news was tough. Without Herb, skating would be different and so would be my life, and the lives of my friends. He gave us all a lot and for me, that keeps his memory alive in my head every day.

I bought my first skateboard from Herb. I bought my first longboard from Herb. For years I went to his shop, called Skatewerks, and bought stuff from him. Over time, we became friends just through talking at the shop. My friends also got to know him better and soon we would all go there together, buy some wheels or something, and just talk about boards. One day Herb let us join him for a little skate session. The hill was small and only a few blocks from the shop, so like he would do, Herb simply closed the store and went skating. We followed him down the hill. At the bottom you have to turn 90 degrees either left or right, and we decided on left. All of a sudden there was a pickup truck in front of us. My friend and I both tried to slide but didn’t have the skill at the time. His board got totally run over and mine ended up stuck under the truck’s rear tire. Herb meanwhile had gone through the corner with no issues and skated back over to us worried that our parents would never let us near him again. I will always remember this day because it scared the shit out of me, and it made me realize how bad I was (and how good Herb was) at skating.

A while later (when we had more skill) Herb showed my friends and I a massive, smooth, consistently car-less hill close to our hometown. Since then we have skated this hill almost as our go-to, and have even held slide jams there. This hill is a dead end from the top, so at the bottom is the critical 90 degree turn onto the cross street. I will never forget driving Herb’s car down the hill behind him as he bombed it carving deep, then stuck the chicane and smoothly made the critical right turn at the bottom. His style is something I’ll never forget. He inspired me to try his line a few weeks later – full bore bomb, through the corners, then to the right at the bottom. I slammed on my head hard trying the final turn, to the point where my full-face chipped and cracked a little. I have never tried it again, but something tells me I need to now. This memory of Herb is just another reminder to me of what a great skater he was, and how much he loved to do it.

herb board

This photo is of a commemorative board that Stimulus made in Herb’s memory. Only 50 were made I think, but I’m still gonna ride mine. The board’s graphic is one of the steezy-est photos I have seen. Herb could shred like nobody else. This board is just another thing to remind me of Herb and what he gave to me. Lately I’ve felt more inspired. I’ve had more of a desire to skate, surf, snowboard, and to push my limits in general, and I know that comes from Herb’s memory. He was always pushing himself and skating no matter what, and that will stick with me forever.