Best Quad Fin Sets of 2023

Best Quad Fin Sets of 2023

Alternative surf crafts have grown increasingly popular over the past decade. Lineups once dominated by thrusters have since transformed into diverse ecosystems full of twin fins, single fins, bonzers, and more. The quad fin is perhaps the most widely used and versatile alternative to a tri-fin.

There are two main benefits to riding quads. The first is speed: quads generate more down-the-line speed and are faster off the takeoff than a thruster. Less drag without a center fin gives the board a more skatey feel. The second advantage is more hold, especially in bigger surf. When the board is surfed on rail, you have two fins in the wave's face as opposed to just one with a thruster setup. Some surfers argue that this helps hold a much better line in steep or barreling conditions. That said, let’s take a closer look at 2023’s best quad fin sets.

Small Wave - Fish Quad Fin Sets Reviewed

Average Waves - Grovellers & Shortboards Quad Fin Sets Reviewed

Big Waves - Step-Ups & Guns Quad Fin Sets Reviewed

A Brief History of Quads

Like the wheel or peanut butter on toast, we’ll likely never know who first glassed 4 fins to the bottom of a surfboard. Stories and claims go back to the 60’s, and a few shapers across the world experimented with them in the 70's.

Gary McNabb from Encinitas is often credited as one of the first prominent adopters of the quad setup in the early 80’s. Across the globe, Australian Pro Glen Winton rode quads very successfully on the world stage in everything from mushy beach breaks to Pipeline. However, the quad’s popularity never really took off in mainstream surfing up until the early/mid-2000’s. Most see quads current popularity starting when Santa Cruz shaper Stretch started working with Nathan Fletcher. Nathan put the quad back in the public eye by charging some of the biggest waves on the planet on a four fin setup.

Being able to surf quads well in both small gutless waves and big barreling waves is what sets them apart from other configurations. However, it’s important to note that based on where the fin boxes are relative to the rail and stringer will give you a good idea of what type of conditions the board will work best. Most small wave boards with wider tails, such as fishes, will have both the front and rear fins towards the rail (photo on the right). Conversely, a surfboard designed for larger barreling waves has the quad rears closer to the center (photo on the left). This type of design better holds the board to the wave while maintaining control. Below, I will break down Cleanline Surf’s best quad fins based on wave and board type.

Quad rears closer to the center
Quad rear fins towards the rail

Quads for Small and Weak Waves

Rob Machado Seaside Quad Fin Set

“Modern Surfing in a Classic Outline”

With small wave performance surfing in mind, Rob Machado designed this template to complement his award-winning Firewire Seaside model. The set features an upright, pivot-style template, allowing the fins to have a very tight turning radius. Riders will notice a quick response from the fins and the perfect combination of speed and control.

These fins are available in Futures (Bamboo and carbon) and FCS II (Performance Glass construction). The Machado Quads are ideal for any wide-tailed groveller but excel when paired with a classic fish outline.

Shop By Model

Rob Machado Seaside Quad Futures Fin Set - $160
FCS II Machado Seaside PG Quad Fin Fin Set - $150

Controller Honeycomb Quad Fin Set

“Twin Fin Speed with Added Control”

Controller Honeycomb Quad Fin Set

The Futures Controller Honeycomb Quads will bring your fish or hybrid to life, similar to the Machado fins. Designed specifically for use in wide tail surfboards, the Controller is a split keel quad setup built to fly. The combination of honeycomb and bamboo construction, a V2 foil, and a large surface area creates the perfect fin for generating speed and maintaining it through a sequence of turns. With the upright positioning of the quad rears, there is a skatey feel to the set, similar to a twin keel but with more control.

The Controller Quads are also available in Alpha construction at a lower price point if you're on a budget!

Shop By Model

Futures Fins Controller Alpha Quad Fin Set - $88
Futures Fins Controller Honeycomb Quad Fin Set - $150

Matt Biolos PG Split Keel Quad Fin Set

“Bite and Control”

Matt Biolos PG Split Keel Quad Fin Set

The Performance Glass Split Keel is a great FCS II equivalent to the Futures Controller fins above. A perfect choice for any wide-tailed groveler or retro fish, the name split keel literally came from splitting a twin fin in two. Matt Biolos took the outline of a large keel fin and separated it to turn a twin fin set into a quad. The PG Split Keel is an excellent choice for anyone looking to modernize their fish and get the loose feel of a twin fin with more drive in small surf.

Shop By Model

FCS II MB PG Split Keel Quad Fin Set - $160

Quads for Average to Good Waves

Futures Fins Rasta Honeycomb Quad Fin Set

“Favorite for Quick Maneuvers and Smooth Transitions”

Future Fins Rasta Honeycomb Quad Fin Set

The Rastovich is a great pick for any performance shortboard for small to medium-sized waves. Designed by free surfer Dave Rastovich and now made in Honeycomb construction, the Rastas are lightweight with a medium flex pattern. The Rastovich has proven to be Futures' best-selling quad fin with its all around performance capabilities

Shop By Model

Futures Fins Rasta Honeycomb Quad Fin Set - $150

FCS II Performer PC Quad Fin Set

“Reliable All-Around Fin”

The performer series of fins have been FCS’s bread and butter since the 90’s, so it’s no surprise that the Quad version is a great, predictable fin that works in most boards and conditions. The flex pattern in PC fins extends progressively from the base through to the tip, helping the surfer maintain drive and hold through a turn.

Shop By Model

FCS II Performer PC Quad Fin Set Medium - $145
FCS II Performer PC Quad Fin Set Large - $145

Futures Fins Stretch Honeycomb Quad Fin Set

“Helped Spark the Four Fin Revolution ”

From the quad master, Nathan Fletcher, the Stretch Honeycombs are unique for their cambered foil (on the inside of all four fins) and their beak tip on all four fins. This one-of-a-kind design was developed for better flow and release. We’ve found these fins to work on almost any surfboard and come alive in large and powerful waves.

Shop By Model

Futures Fins Stretch Honeycomb Quad Fin Set - $140

FCS II Harley Quad Fin Set

“Designed for Performance Longboarding and Bigger Hybrids”

FCS II Harley Quad Fin Set

Designed by World Longboard Champion Harley Ingleby, the Harley Quad delivers maximum speed and drive for powerful surfers. It works best on a performance longboard or performance SUP but could also be great for a larger surfer on a smaller board. This versatile fin is light and can be used in a variety of different conditions.

Shop By Model

FCS II Harley Quad Fin Set - $146

NVS Album Apex Series Futures Quad Fin Set

"Silky Smooth Surfing in All Conditions"

NVS Album Apex Series Futures Quad Fin Set

The NVS Apex Quad was designed in collaboration with Matt Parker from Album Surfboards. This quad set is well balanced and works in everything from pumping powerful waves to smaller playful waves depending on the board they are used in. They are a bit more raked out and work best for silky, drawn-out turns on wide-open faces, yet they will still hold when conditions turn on.

Shop By Model

NVS Album Apex Series Futures Quad Fin Set - $120

Quads for Big and Powerful Waves

Futures Fins Pyzel Padillac Quad Fin Set

“Designed for a Pyzel Padillac at Jaws”

Future Fins Pyzel Padillac Quad Fin Set

The Pyzel Padillac Quads are a must-have for any big wave charger. This quad set is specially designed to pair with the Padillac gun. The pivot template has 80/20 foils on the front fins and 50/50 foils on the rear fins for the ultimate hold in large or powerful surf. Produced in solid fiberglass construction, the Padillac quads are the perfect choice for daredevils looking for that once-in-a-lifetime wave.

Shop By Model

Futures Fins Pyzel Padillac Quad Fin Set- $140

Futures Fins Billy Kemper Quad Fin Set

"When Conditions Get Serious"

Future Fins Billy Kemper Quad Fin Set

Designed in collaboration with 4 time Peahi winner and perennial big wave charger Billy Kemper, these fins have undergone rigorous testing in some of the world’s scariest waves. These upright fins feature 80/20 foils on the front fins and 50/50 foils on the rear fins. This creates the perfect combination of hold, speed, and maneuverability in pumping waves.

Shop By Model

Futures Fins Billy Kemper Quad Fin Set - $160

Futures Fins Paddle Quad G10 Fin Set

“Tested in Heavy Conditions at Mavericks and Nazare”

When the waves are bigger than your house, the Paddle Quads are the universal “go-to” fin set. This fin set pairs best with your biggest boards, featuring 4.5” fronts with 4.0” rears. Made from epoxy resin and compressed fiberglass, the G10 Series features Futures’ engineered tow foils designed to reduce cavitation through highly efficient water flow, resulting in reduced drag, increased control, and maneuverability at extremely high speeds. The G10’s won’t let you down because of their premium-grade industrial fiberglass with a higher cloth-to-resin ratio, resulting in a stronger and stiffer building material.

FCS just released their Nathan Florence Big Wave Quad Fin Set from the same G10 material if you're looking for the FCS II model.

Shop By Model

Futures Fins Paddle Quad G10 Fint Set - $200
FCS II Nathan Florence Big Wave Quad Fin Set - $290

Other Fin Blogs We've Written

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are no limitations to what a Quad setup can handle. They not only make small mushy surf fun, but they are also trusted in the biggest surf on the planet. Whether you’re looking to add some get-up-and-go to your groveller or get some extra hold for that next trip to Indonesia, we have a quad fin for you!

It’s important to note that these are only the top QUAD SETS. Most shapers construct boards with five fin configurations, allowing surfers to experiment with quads and thrusters. We carry an assortment of Tri-Quad sets that have quads not listed in this blog. You can check out our 5-Fin sets here.

If you have any questions, you can always drop a comment below, call us at 1-888-546-6176 or send an email to