Wondering about the difference in feel between G10 (high-pressure fibreglass laminate composite material) and Carbon tails.
I think I read that KDmaui uses the windsurfing brand Tectonics’ cnc, and I guess windsurfers have much higher pressures on their fins, but then I think the thickness of foil tails and application is quite different.
I copied the below from a windsurf website.
G10 is easy to repair and delivers a good balance between price and performance, although it can be a little heavy, especially in larger sizes (from 40-45cm).
G10 is also by nature ‘forgiving’ in that moderately high levels of twist and flex help to deliver good control when overpowered. Speed freaks and experienced racers might find the slightly flexy nature a little ‘soggy’ and inefficient for their needs.
Carbon. The ultimate for stiffness and light weight performance, but with a higher price tag to match. Carbon delivers awesome lift, and allows for the creation of stiff and low twist fins often preferred by racers.
Carbon fins are not necessarily hard to control though - it all depends on the intended use of the fin.
The downside of carbon fins is that they are relatively more sensitive to knocks and minor damage.
I have the Unifoil G10 range and have ridden the G10 333 from Aus and all of them have been great, and I just ordered a KD Marlin also made from G10.
The carbon tails from Axis are fine. I understand the Unifoil progression tail is going to be carbon.
I wonder if the tradeoff is the same as for windsurfing? Possibly the tradeoff only becomes relevant at a certain level of performance?
Some other things. On the whole it seems like this is something that is an old conversation for windsurfers!
windsurf video - in extreme conditions and waves, prefers G10 as it is more forgiving. G10 still competitive for racing in rough conditions. G10 has lower longevity as flex increases over time.
Describes windsurf fins where twist increases lift with G10
With upright fins there is some advantage to be gained by allowing the fin to flex along the blade, whilst remaining tortionally rigid. The tortional rigidity ensures the angle of attack remains constant over the length of the blade, as it flexes. When the blade is flexed it resembles a J foil, which provides a degree of vertical lift (up or down), and when correctly raked this has a stabilising effect on the board trim angle, and can help to provide some vertical lift through light wind as long as the fin is loaded.
Obviously neither is better, just interested in the tradeoffs and design considerations for foiling where this is obviously relatively new ground.
Just curious but do the Unifoil G10 tails feel similar to KDMauis from materials standpoint? For some reason these Unifoil tails feel lower quality/fragile than the G10 surfboard fins my dad has. Made me wonder if they are actually G10 lol. I also know someone who has the G10 tails from a while ago that are a more transparent red color than the new solid red and made me wonder if they changed the material slightly
*fixed title lol
I will report back on monday on how the materials all feel relative to each other and some carbon tails
The Uni G10s are definitely more fragile than the KD tails. They feel more “plasticky” vs the KD tails which feel more like a surf fin if that makes any sense. Take it with a grain of salt, but I’ve seen a lot of broken Uni G10s and I actually haven’t seen any broken KDs.
Yeah thats the feeling I get from them also, I feel like this is part of why Unifoils dumping them now + new carbon wings
Marlin arrived, ship “Extremely Urgent” via UPS
I think the only immediately appreciable/obvious difference in hand is that the Marlin has a much finer trailing edge. Bending they feel similar. Durability will at best be anecdotal info at the moment I would imagine. The Marlin has a feeling of powdery brushed glass that reminds me of custom surf fins (smudges easily), and feels slightly heavier but it is 14" vs 13" shank. Thickness much the same at the centre but I don’t have verniers.
I think G10 is more dense and can be machined to shape rather than making a new carbon mould.
As an XXL dude, I think it’s not just the G10 material, it’s also the thickness of the material.
On my red Uni tails that are fairly thin, I can flex them a good bit assembled on the board standing on the beach. They are less stable for me surfing, in the same unstable feeling as a thin mast.
On my largest Kane (an old, very green 15” Kane Classic) it is near impossible to flex it.
Yes the Kane is thicker… But it might be a different grade of material somehow(?) than the red Uni?
“G10” might(?!?) somehow mean more than one thing. I don’t know. Just spitballin.
I’m good with carbon and G10 Kanes. I don’t use the red Unis. But, similar to skinny masts, at a certain rider weight you either don’t feel the flex or you prefer the faster speeds of the thinner gear.
Tectonics gives the impression that there is varying quality of G10:
Tectonics only uses the finest, hand selected panels of G-10 available on the market.
I did a Google search to see if there are different grades of G10. I didn’t find anything.
So maybe it’s just that the thin red Uni tails flex more than the thicker Kane Classic tails and the carbon Progression tail that I have.
Maybe Tectonics Maui just looks for consistent color?!? I dunno.
Tectonics g10 sources are so secret that I don’t even know them. It’s definitely stiffer than any other g10 I’ve seen. It seems to have a much lower resin content and feels less “Plastic” in my hand compared to most. Even though there is less resin it can still hold a very nice finish.
Dennis is super picky and will ship whole pallets of panel back because the quality isn’t perfect. We’re both really stoked on the panel we are using now.
It definitely makes a difference, especially for building front wings or pushing the tail aspect ratio higher.
Good to hear Kane. I believe you when you say Dennis sources “the best stuff” …
I come from the old windsurfing days. I moved onto whatever Maui boys were doing over the next 20 years. But back in the day Dennis’ Tectonics G10 fins for windsurfing were the sh*t… required to win.
Dennis knows his stuff. So cool that you guys got together.
The foil section on your Marlin has some cool stuff going on. Nice to have Dennis to turn your very specific ideas into reality at a high level of quality.
Also the difference in stiffness in your product matters at my size, I appreciate it!
Yeah Dennis’s nature as a perfectionist is amazing. Knowing that everything comes out exactly as designed with high consistency makes a huge difference for reliable testing.
The real advancements in my future tails will come more from understanding what people like, changes in foil geometry, and manufacturing techniques than improvements in my ability to optimize a design.
Tail wing shape is just a result of what is happening with the rest of the foil. As we improve the rest of the foil, the tail won’t have to work as hard and its drag can also be massively reduced. I think the next few years will be really exciting for gear advancement and you’ll be amazed how much better things can get!
Don’t listen to the people who want “front foot pressure” or who want to foil like snowboarding in powder. Listen to the people who want to surf waves top to bottom like a shortboard
I haven’t compared G10 vs carbon tails with similar shapes, so I don’t have an opinion on feel. However, the KDMaui G10 tails are definitely more durable than the stock carbon Lift Tails.
The carbon Lift tails have cracked at the fuselage connection which I don’t think is repairable. I cracked the Lift tails from rock impacts so I never asked for a warranty replacement.
When I smacked the KD G10 tails against the rock bottom, the tips and trailing edges got dinged and frayed. That type of damage is easy to repair; I end up turning my 13" tail into a 12" tail.
A delayed reply but coming from windsurfing background I can say that for high end slalom fins, carbon is almost universal now. I can say that the Tectonics fins are still pretty much the best G10 fins on the market and in the smaller sizes are still highly competitive. My general experience is:
G10. The material is uniform so changes in flex can only be applied through changes of thickness. Eg… thinner is more flexible, thicker is stiffer. Also G10 tends to degrade more over time and feel softer or less responsive with time. Very hard to make larger G10 race fins since the only way to make the stiff enough is to make them too thick and therefore too slow (probably why you don’t see G10 front wings). Generally G10 is only competitive in the smaller sizes.
Carbon fins they can change the layup to create different flex patterns. For example 2 fins with exactly the same thickness can have completely different flex characteristics with different layups. You can make them stiff in the base and flex in the tip, or basically do whatever you want. They also tend to hold their performance for longer, with top racers often keeping magic fins for years.
Now almost all racers use carbon fins in all sizes. Maybe some still use G10 in high winds, with small sizes and in rough waters. However for general use G10 is incredibly popular and probably makes up 80% of fins on the water, due to pricing and strength in impacts (you can always just sand them smooth again)
How this applies to foiling I don’t really know. CNC G10 is much cheaper/easier to produce and therefore the development will be much thicker, which is why I am sure KD tails are leading the way. However I suspect that as development plateaus carbon will dominate more.
Maybe an obvious question. Can you buy carbon plates and CNC carbon fins or must they be laminated?
I don’t really know. I am pretty sure you can, but then the carbon would be uniform, so you miss the ability to control/change flex patterns, which in the windsurf fins is where the real benefits are found.