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Vektor Interview: Skegs on Your Bodyboard

Here is an interview that was done a couple winters ago by Equal Motion Magazine. I believe they aren't in action anymore, but they did a lot for the sport when they were. The interview is also viewable here:
- Ryan Arakawa

Company Profile: Vektor fins Oahu, Hawaii
Equal Motion Magazine

Winter 2007

Ryan: One of the obstacles with my company is the mentality of some bodyboardes. They identify fins with surfing and close their minds instead of seeking higher performance. I believe that if it works, it works, and that higher performance/advancement will only benefit the sport of bodyboarding.  Vektor Fin Designs can help bridge the gap between wave riders. “I bodyboard and surf. I don't believe in division just mutual respect as a wave rider.”

How did Vektor Fin Designs start?
Initially it started with my twin brother Blake and myself trying all kinds of fin templates and angles on our boards. It's crazy because it was like painting on a blank canvas with no instructor or instructions on how to do it. We would try one angle, ride it, learn, and then start again on another board (we have a closet full of boards). We just wanted to improve our performance and felt that fins were the next step in board design for drop knee. Vector Fins started with twin brothers Ryan and Blake Arakawa.
Who is involved in the company?
Blake Arakawa does a lot of research and development and is my main photographer. Phillip Harnesberger is my main test pilot. He has taken the fins all over the world and has really helped to confirm a lot of the concepts. I have a web designer/studio photographer/graphic designer, Mark Kushimi from Design Lab 5 that's done a lot to shape the visual side of the company. Conan and Steve from Island Fin Design are the best fin foilers that I've ever worked with. I primarily focus on developing the fins and other projects that will help improve the sport of bodyboarding.
Tell me about how fins on the bottom of the board change the bodyboarding experience?
The biggest benefits are speed and control. You will be able to control your board a lot more, which results in giving you more speed. It's insane how much speed you will feel. You may even have to adjust your timing to match your speed. The bigger and crazier the waves the more they will work for you. I feel that Vektor Fins will change the way we surf and take bodyboarding to the next level.
Anybody can just go out and buy some fins and attach them to their board. What makes what you are doing different?
Anyone may be able to throw fins on their board but is it made specifically for bodyboarding? How long would it stay in your board? Where would you position them to enhance your performance?
The difference between my company and others is 5 years research and development into these factors. The fins are designed for the way bodyboarders ride. Installation isn't as easy as it seems. Most companies have attempted it and failed. That's one of the reasons they aren't doing it now. Fin positioning is the most important element and we know how every inch and degree affects your ride in the water.
What is the science behind fins size, shape and placement?
Fin size is relevant to the size of the board, rider, and waves. Vektor fins are shorter than any surfboard fin and have an elongated base. The base was designed to give you a smoother transition from barrel riding to throwing your tail out. The placement of fins on the board can create a rigid line or a loose ride. Changes in half an inch increments have an affect on how loose or how much control you have. The key is to have a balanced placement that will utilize both factors.
Why aren't more bodyboarders using fins right now?
There is a mentality that if you use fins you are no longer a bodyboarder. I believe that wave riding is wave riding no matter what you ride. The more we draw a line on what we can ride the more we separate ourselves from advancing our sport and our performance. Another reason is that companies haven't put much interest in fin design so there hasn't been anything available to ride. Vektor makes high performance fins available on any board and customized to the way you ride.
Do fins help prone riders at all? If so, how? Obvious advantages are seen with fins on a sponge for someone who dropknee's, but is there any signifance for a prone rider?
Another reason why fins aren’t seen being used in boards is because Vektor fins are mainly designed for drop knee, but the pivot points are similar when doing maneuvers like spinners. I was surprised that I was able to do spinners without any drag and other maneuvers naturally with fins. If people want to prone and drop knee it will enhance their performance either way by drawing cleaner lines while still allowing a maneuverable ride.

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Last updated on: 10/30/09