We have to say, we’re extremely proud of this fin box. We’ve worked long and hard for the design to come to life. When we were creating the one-of-a-kind design, we had you in mind. We wanted to give you the versatility and functionality to be able to switch between different fins with our SUP boards. We didn’t want you stuck with just one type of fin for long.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE
Engineered Performance is at the core of Honu. We’ve basically made it our mission to go after the most cutting-edge designs, construction methods, and materials. And if it’s currently something non-existent, we don’t shy away from designing and taking matters into our own hands. It’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it.
From day one, it has been our pursuit to put out only the best SUPs to suit the different lifestyles of our community. And since we’re always looking for ways to improve and upgrade our SUP boards...
One thing we realized was lacking in the SUP market was a fin box that was versatile enough to fit more than one kind of fin. We searched high and low for a fin box that would fit both a standard 9” fin as well as a touring fin, but we just couldn’t find any. There were none available that would allow the fin to be adjusted forward or back.
You may be thinking, “Well, what about the standard US fin box?” You’re right, the standard US fin box can fit both a standard 9” fin as well as a touring fun. But the problem with this type of fin box is that it takes up a very large area of the board—an area that cannot be folded or rolled up.
What are we implying? A standard US fin box is a good choice if you’re looking to switch up your fins from time to time, but note that packing away your board is more difficult with this type of fin box.
So the process of looking for “that” fin box continued on... but to no avail. It was during this time when we had that light bulb moment of designing our very own fin box instead! A fin box that was 1) versatile enough to fit more than one kind of fin but 2) conserved space; does not take up a large area of the board.
BUT FIRST, DOES THE IDEAL FIN BOX EXIST?
When we first started developing our Evolution range of boards in late 2019 through mid 2020, we were looking for a fin system that would be compatible with standard fins. That is, the US fin box standard. Like what we said above, this standard provides the most opportunity to mix and match fins, while also being incredibly strong and reliable.
But then again, the main issue was that full-size US fin boxes for inflatables created a footprint that was 350mm or longer. The impact is that the boards are harder to fold or roll up and get stowed into a bag.
The alternative is to use a proprietary fin system that is made especially for iSUPs. These have a much shorter footprint, meaning the board is easy to fold, roll up, and store. But the downside of this is that there is virtually no choice of fins. And in many cases, they are not very robust.
Some are better than others, but in the end, we decided to go with the Bravo fin system. And our boards with this fin system have worked very well. We have not had a single broken fin box, or fin for that matter. Just a few missing screws and retaining clips.
SO WHY CREATE THE HONU 185 FIN BOX?
Even though our boards with the Bravo fin system have worked very well, we were still dedicated to the ideal of having a fin box that would fit standard 9" fins but not have too long of a footprint. And so around March of 2021, we went into design. The design goal was centered around the following:
The result? Honu 185 Fin Box.
The name 185 is a reference to the track length. The overall footprint of the design is just 275mm. This is 50mm shorter than the leading brand used on high-end boards.
Finally! A fin box that is 1) versatile enough to fit more than one kind of fin 2) yet conserves space; does not take up a large area of the board, 3) plus is incredibly strong and durable.
Our Honu 185 Fin Box combines the features we love in the US fin box standard and in the Bravo fin system, and it also closed the gap of what we found to be lacking in those two fin systems.
So I guess the ideal fin box does exist. :)
The design process started at the 3D modeling stage. This stage went through several iterations to continually reduce the footprint. Once we were happy with the concept and felt 90% sure it would fit the FCS fin system, we progressed to casting the mold and completing the “first shot.” The “first shot” is a single unit made for testing to check to see whether anything needed adjusting before going to full production. We made just one small change to the track insert during this stage.
Once we were happy with the fit, the next stage was destruction testing. And boy was that fun. We wanted to see what kinds of force the shape and material could withstand. We did this by static drop tests and compression tests. We were blown away by the results.
While some people question the lengths we have gone to develop a fin box that was 50mm shorter than one we could buy off the shelf, to that we say... the details matter!
Honu paddleboards now come with a fin box that is just as compact as your everyday run-of-the-mill proprietary fin systems but compatible with industry-leading FCS fins or any other fancy fin our paddlers might prefer. Easy to install, dead-easy to replace... and absolutely unique to Honu.
You’ll see the Honu 185 Fin Box in our newest board, the Fairlight, on our upgraded Byron ’22, plus the rest of our 2022 boards. Watch out for it on our upcoming Bondi ’22 and all-new Sorrento.