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We tried out Boost Surfing’s motorized surf fin, this is our firsthand review.
The Salt Sirens is based in Fiji, where we regularly see groups wealthy surfers buzz into a lineup with an army of jet skis, picking up their mate at the end of the wave and dropping them back at the peak. Meanwhile, the rest of us are left paddling with tired arms that barely have any power in them when it’s our turn to catch a wave. If only our boards had a motor…
Alex, the founder of Boost Surfing was inspired to create a solution after surfing with a shoulder injury and missing out on waves. Dmitri, his co-founder, helped him develop the idea into a motorized surf fin.
We got our hands on a Boost Surfing surf fin to review. This review is not sponsored, and all words are our own. Boost Fins purchased through our website will earn us an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
Table of Contents
What is the Boost Fin and how does it work?
Boost Surfing created a motorized surf fin that propels your board forward. The propeller is powered by an electric motor, and the controller is attached to your wrist. The fin has two settings, a ‘quick boost’ which gives your board a burst of power for two seconds, and a ‘long boost’ which propels it until you turn the long boost off. Their website claims it can reach top speeds of around 10MPH (we didn’t get a chance to test top speed… yet). The battery lasts around 60-90 minutes. If you download the Boost Fin App, you can customize the ‘long’ and ‘quick’ boost intervals. The fin attaches to your board with a sturdy adapter.
Short on time and want to know if the Boost Fin is worth buying? The Boost Fin is great for surfers who will be SUPing or surfing at a mellow wave where radical turns are not your top priority. The long boost option works exceptionally well at getting you from the end of the break back out to the peak, making it ideal for surfers with shoulder injuries and limited mobility. However, the fin does cause a bit of drag once you’re up and riding (especially on a performance shortboard). It’d be perfect for SUPing in flatwater or fat, slow waves.
Great for: Longboard and SUPing long, mellow waves like Waikiki. Surfers with shoulder injuries or beginners who need a little extra help getting into waves and are aware enough to mind the fin when they wipe out. The Boost Fin is a game changer from getting to the end of the wave back to the peak.
Not great for: Performance surfing at fast and/or heavy reef breaks. Surfing at crowded waves where locals might not be receptive to a motorized fin.
Our Boost Fin review in depth
Out of the box
Out of the box, the Boost Fin is a little heavier (2.7 lb 1200g) and larger (10.5″ long by 3.5″ wide) than we expected. Proportionally, it would fit well on a 9-10+’ board or SUP. It comes with the fin, a remote, charging cable, and a screwdriver that acts as the on/off button. You’ll also need an adapter depending on your board.
Setting up the fin is easy, as it’s installed just like your standard longboard fin. You’ll want to use the screws and screwdriver it came with to install the fin into the board as all pieces sync together. If we have one piece of feedback it’d be to set up the fin so it’s compatible with standard fin keys and longboard screws; and has an on/off button activated by an everyday item.
Using it is intuitive and simple. Simply push the ‘quick boost’ or ‘long boost’ option and you’re off.
The fin seems well-built and sturdy. We don’t think it’d break very easily. According to official specs, it has up to 800W of power and a max thrust of up to 20lbs.
In the water
We tested the Boost Fin on a 6’6″ singlefin shortboard at a glassy reef break. Most waves rolling through were shoulder to head high.
The ‘long boost’ option is extremely efficient–getting us from the boat to the peak with no paddling required. It also gave our local surf crew a bit of a laugh as the board buzzed past them without an ounce of energy spent. The long boost setting worked faster and better than expected, and it’d be great to have if you ever needed to battle a strong current to get back to the peak.
No paddling required.
You know those surf sessions where you wish for a buoy to hang onto to hold your position in the lineup, and it feels like you’re spending more energy getting into position than catching waves? The Boost Fin would be ideal for those strong current days.
As for catching waves, it takes a few waves to time the ‘short boost’ and wave itself. On a fast wave, you might be better off paddling without figuring out how to coordinate the Boost Fin. The button doesn’t always work on the first push (depending on where your wrist is). On a slow wave, however, you’d have plenty of time to turn on the Boost Fin and roll into the wave. A log or SUP would be the perfect board for the short boost option.
With Chantae being five months pregnant and out of the water, her husband and friends have stepped into be honorary Salt Sirens for reviews.
For shortboarders or high performance longboarders, you will feel the drag of the fin — it feels like a glob of seaweed stuck to the leash. Of course, this will limit your turns.
When you wipeout, you’ll need to take extra care not to hit the fin, especially if it is turned on and propelling away from you. Again, this is why we really see the Boost Fin in its place at a mellow break rather than a heavy one.
Our verdict: Should you get the Boost Surf Fin?
Do we think the Boost Fin is worth getting? Our editor is currently pregnant and happy to have the Boost Fin for SUPing during postpartum, where she could keep up with the rest of her friends on longer paddle sessions without tiring out. Surfers and SUPers with shoulder injuries will enjoy being able to catch more waves at breaks with long paddle-outs, especially if they don’t mind sacrificing performance.
We’ve seen older surfers on the Gold Coast of Australia use the Boost Fin to catch waves, and they didn’t seem to get any grief from fellow surfers. As long as you still follow general surf etiquette and don’t use your under-board superpower to snake waves, we think most people would be understanding if you brought the Boost Fin out into a busy lineup.
The jury is out as to whether this would be a great tool for absolute beginner surfers. Certainly it helps to paddle out from beach to peak, but the best way to get better at surfing is to build your paddle strength. We think having it in the whitewash when you wipeout could also be intimidating until you’re a little more experienced. However, it would work well for beginner SUPers looking to paddle in flatwater from day one.
As surfers, we’re always keen to try out the next latest and greatest gadget of the surf industry — especially when it takes away one of the most frustrating elements of the sport. What do you think of the Boost Fin?