Paul Gross on 4a’s ([email protected])


Active Member
Feb 16, 2004
Washington State - USA
fin comparison_edited.jpeg

(above) Greeough original... and ... a 1" thick base wood fin, foiled to a very thin tip... 1/2" Baltic Birch ply on both sides, with an 1/8" glass center...

Paul G and I had a an extended email and actual fin trade thing going on back in those early 90's Swaylock's days... At least until he retired from Swaylock's due to a dispute with makers and claimers of originality... It got pretty heated... At the time I was one of the Swaylock's Moderators as well as having private personal communication with Paul about fins and boards, so I got a deeper understanding of the story and the extent of the dispute, and finally how furious Paul was... No need to go into who the other players were... As has been said before, there's more than one side to a story...

I was experimenting with thick base fins on an 8'0" egg I made for myself... Rode a lot of good, clean waves at Westport on it... There were some good discussions on Swaylock's about the merits back then...Like here and now... Good topic...

The thick base difference was the smoothness of turns and the thin tip flex... I felt it worked best on a board in that 8' range... On my longboards it didn't feel as different... The thick base fins feel best when pushed hard enough to crack the glass on the faces near the tip of the fin... Part of the process...

Sadly the collaboration with Paul on a hollow wood board project involving Paul shaping and glassing one of his Simmons interpretations then sending it to me and I create a hollow wood replica of his... We got close to doing it, then the public Swaylock's fin dispute occurred and it resulted with Paul pulling all of his content off Swaylock's, then Paul and Gloria completely went off the grid... Again, this is one side of a story...

Have fun with your fins...!!!...

Redfin 1.JPG

(above) The fin I sent Paul...

Redfin 2.JPG

There are fin screw tabs front and rear on these... The base is snugged down flush with the bottom of the board...

Red Fin 1.jpg

(above) A less radical base wood fin on the 8'0" mentioned above...


(above) Variations on a theme...


(above) From Paul G...


(above) We were going somewhere with this...


(above) Names redacted...


(above) What we were talking about collaborating on...
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Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2015
PNW between here and there
recall the Sway's it's peak, Sway's a dynamic builders exchange....still recall Barnfields treatise on rail bands...Bill T's a huge advocate for the 1" thick single fin..diggin that 2+1, looks uber functional for the deep and steep


Active Member
Oct 19, 2008
Exit 0, New Jersey
During a stay in Long Beach in 2018 my friend had a fin that I believe he and Jeff Beck created that falls into this discussion. Sadly, I can't seem to find a photo of it. Thickest fin I have seen. As my friend is far beyond my realm of surfing ability and knowledge, I took his word on the exceptional performance of said fin. I regret not giving it a try.


Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2012
USA New Jersey
The only thick fins I have ever tried are the ‘glass in’ ABS polypropylene Yater template ones in so many longboards at the end of that era. I assume there is some advantage but what this entire discussion means is that like 99.9% of all surfers are using less optimal fins. Crazy huh?