History of Marine Plywood Surf Fins


In 1934, Surf pioneer, waterman & innovator Tom Blake was inspired by a boat’s keel and proceded to put the first “fin” onto one of his surfboards in order to help control the board’s motion. From that day forward the evolution of the “surf fin” began.

The Wooden “Duel Fin”

Bob Simmons elevated the surfboard fin’s design, first working on single fins, and then experimenting with “duel fin” surfboards. These “Simmons” shapes had two fins made of wood which resembled “half moons.”

Early 1970’s
“Modern Keel Fins” Emerge

“Modern Keels” emerged as an result of Steve Lis’ experimentation. As an avid kneeboarder, Lis came up with his progressive “fish” templates and united his boards with twin keels resembling those of Simmons’ designs, but was more specifically influenced by Bear Mirandon. These new keels were outfitted with updated shapes and foils.

Late 1970’s
Speed and Fluidity

The new “keel” fins and fish shapes inspired an array of professional surfers such as Jeff Ching, David Nuuhiwa, and Reno Aberilla.This new trend also influenced renowned shapers such as Skip Frye and Terry Martin who advanced the movement and created boards known for their speed and fluidity.

Retro Resurgence

Retro shapes reinvigorate the surfing scene and guys such as Dave Rastovich, Tyler Warren, and Ryan Burch dislpay the ability of twin keel designs.

Marine Plywood Fins Now

True Ames is providing the surfing world and especially craftsmen with top notch –  perfectly foiled marine plywood fins which have proven to transcend time and provide surfers with that iconic and effortless feel. Our fins have positive buoyancy as well as that classic aesthetically pleasing look, which is sure to meet your standards.

Wooden Surf Fins, Machine Foiled, Hand Finished, Cedar and Bamboo

This is a short clip showing the process behind creating our new wooden fins. These fins are machine foiled and sealed with one layer of glass making the glass-on process so easy. Cedar and Bamboo are ultra light and these wood fins also have positive buoyancy, they float! The best part is that we make them here, in house


Wooden Surf Fins: Machine Foiled

The Tyler Warren Bar of Soap fin is designed for the small Twin fin “bar or soap board” These boards typically come in sizes 4’11” to 5’3″ and are super wide and compact…Much of Tyler’s inspiration in designing the “Bar of Soap” came from his experience riding two of Richard Kenvin’s Hydrodynamica Project boards: The White Pony and Casper. Both of these boards were inspired by the hydrodynamic planing hull surfboards created by Bob Simmons 60 years ago. Check out the wood fin selection

10″ base x 4 5/8″ depth–These wood surf fins are machine foiled to perfection. The cedar grain gives these fins optimum flex / stiffness. To make these easier for you to glass them on, there is one layer of glass on each side. Wood fins also have positive buoyancy, they float! The best part is that we make them here, in house.