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The complete guide to setting up a surfboard

setting up a surfboard

If you’ve just bought a new surfboard, you need to spend some time getting it properly set up before you can take it out into the waves. If this is your first surfboard, then you might be a little bit lost with where to start.

We’ve put together a complete guide on how to set up your brand new surfboard. Make sure that you follow each step carefully and set your board up the right way. 



The first thing you need to do is make sure that your finds are properly set up. Different fin configurations make a big difference to the way you surf. Of course, you’ve probably already decided on this when buying the board. 

When installing the fins, you have two systems to choose from. These are FCS2 and Futures fins. Both are good options, but they each require a slightly different method of getting set up.


Installing FCS2 Fins

FCS2 fins use a simple, screwless design. These fin systems made by FCS allow you to simply pop the fins into place. To install FCS2 fins, you can do the following:

  • Start by making sure the fin box is clear and clean of any dust, sand, or debris.
  • Insert the front part of the fin into the fin box. Move it around to ensure it's as far forward as it can go.
  • When the front part of the fin is in place, you can softly pivot the fin. This should be done until the back section of the fin is perfectly lined up.
  • Pop the back part of the fin into place. You will feel it firmly click into position.

It’s that easy. When putting fins into your brand new board, make sure that the board is lying on a soft surface so that you don't leave any dings or marks with the pressure you’re applying. Fins can also be pretty sharp when you’re pressing them into position, so you might want to handle the fin with a piece of towel or T-shirt folded over the fin.

Also, never apply too much pressure to the fin. If you feel that you have to force it, then it's probably in the wrong position. All it needs is a bit of pressure, and it should click into place fairly easily.

fitting fcs fins

Installing Futures Fins

Unlike FCS2 fins, Futures use a screw system to hold the fins into place. Yes, this requires an extra tool and some screwing, but getting the find perfectly fitted is really simple with this approach. Here is the process of installing your Futures fins:

  • Again, make sure that the fin box is clean and clear from any debris. Your board should also be comfortably positioned on a soft surface.
  • Make sure that the front screw is completely loosened so that it does not stick into the fin box.
  • Place the fin into the fin box, putting the back notch in first. The fin should easily fit into the box without sticking up out of the box.
  • Tighten the screw until the fin is firmly held in place.



Adding a tailpad to your board needs to be done carefully. Once the tailpad is on, you don’t want to go through the effort of removing it and repositioning it.

There are loads of different tailpads to choose from. The most important thing is that you choose one with a shape that matches the tail end of your board. Then you can decide between things like a raised or flat foot arch, the type of grip pattern, the size of the kicker, and the colors and design. 

Once you’ve chosen the right tailpad for your new board, you can do the following:

  • Make sure the surface of your board is completely clean and free from any wax, sand, water, or dust. Wiping the board with methylated spirits is a good idea.
  • Position the tailpad in the right place and make sure it's perfectly lined up. Lightly mark the edges with a pencil.
  • Remove the film on the bottom of the tailpad to expose the adhesive layer. Carefully line the tailpad up with your markings, and lay it down on the board.
  • Press down from the back of the tailpad to the front, making sure that the pad is completely stuck down without any air bubbles. Once it's fully flat and in place, try to leave the tailpad on for 24 hours before surfing.



Once you’ve chosen a leash that’s the right length for your board, attaching it is easy. First, make sure that the leash string is not too long and that it doesn’t overlap the board. Loop the leash string through the leash plug, and thread the end of this through the loop to make sure it’s firmly in position. 

Then secure the velcro strap of your leash to the leash string. Make sure that all velcro is properly stuck down. Give the leash a slight tug to check that it’s held firmly in place.



Finally, you can wax up your board and get it in the water. Take your surfboard wax, and draw lines at a 45-degree angle from the tail pad to about ¾ up the length of the board. You should be making lines from the rail to the stringer. 

Now make lines that overlap from the other side of the board to create a checkered effect. Then you can lay the wax flat on the board and gently rub it in small circular motions. Continue to do this over your waxed area until the surface of the board is coated in waxy bumps.

mr zoggs sex wax


Now your surfboard is all set up and ready to hit the waves! These processes may be simple, but you need to get them right if you want to set up your board properly. Putting a little bit of extra effort into setting up your surfboard will make a big difference in the long run. If you cycle down to your local break then getting a surfboard bike rack may be a good idea. Happy surfing!