How to Take Fins Off a Surfboard

by Eric Cedric
Surf boards have between one and three fins on the bottom.

Surf boards have between one and three fins on the bottom.

There are usually one to three small fins at the base of a surfboard. These act as stabilizers and keels so that a surfer can control the board. The fins are susceptible to damage, in which case it is often necessary to remove a fin to replace or repair it. This is easily done with a minimum of tools.

  1. Place the surfboard so the fins are exposed. Placing it on a flat surface like a workbench gives access to the fins.

  2. Brush off the areas around the fins to expose the hex screws locking the fin onto the board.

  3. Remove the hex screws with a hex wrench and pull the fin off the surfboard. If the screws are locked on due to salt erosion or metal lock, spray lube onto a rag, dab it around the hex screws and try the wrench again.

Items you will need

  • Hex wrenches
  • Cloth towel and small mallet (optional)
  • Lubricant (optional)
  • Rag (optional)


  • Different sized fins give the surfboard different capabilities. Switch out fins to experiment with your board and its performance.

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images