K4 Fins – Bubble freestyle 20cm fin review
If you’re keen on a spot of slidein’ ‘n’ spinnin’ then chances are you’ll be a freestyler. Spock, flaka, culo or chachoo – these are the moves that you either aspire to or are nailing every time (hats off if you’re the latter).
Whatever your level you’ll need the right tools for the job. First, the correct rig set up and second you’ll need a decent freestyle board. What many forget though is the fin. It’s no good wanting to be a rubber man contortionist with a 52cm slalom skeg jutting out from under your board – nope, you need a dedicated trixster foil. It just so happens that K4 Fins have just the fin(s) in mind. Tez Plavenieks got hold of a Bubble signature 20cm freestyle to put through its paces – over to him…
Firstly let’s get one thing straight – I’m no world class freestyle sailor. Sure, I can do a few moves but I’m hardly going to be challenging the likes of Gollito or Kiri for the title. But I do enjoy sliding on my windy kit when there aren’t any waves kicking about.
Your fin makes all the difference – whether you’re just starting out on your spinning journey or if you’re at the stage of going for more advanced moves. A proper freestyle skeg will help you stomp those tricks.
Out of the box
Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers needs little introduction. One of the most recognisable faces on the circuit, Bubble is an awesome freestyle sailor – and he’s no slouch in waves either.
Bubble’s signature 20cm K4 freestyle fin is a bit like the gent in question’s Mohawk – yellow, bold and upright with a relatively narrow tip. It looks the business and is ready for action straight out of the box.
Onto the water
Once inserted into the slot it was time to launch. For me, the 20cm Bubble fin is perfect for those less than ideal days. 20cm is actually quite big for freestyle with most choosing 18cm as an average size. And yet at 82kg I still need a bit of help in terms of getting planing when the breeze is gusty and 20cm is perfectly fine for stomping moves.
When I tested the Bubble I was either on a 6m or 5.3m and the extra power in the sail combined with lift created by the wide head meant I was up and running in no time. As a gust hit I found a little pump of the sail and a slight push against the K4 would switch the afterburners on.
It’s important to note, particularly if you’re moving onto these types of fins for the first time – don’t push against it like you would a slalom skeg – you have to ride very much off the front foot to avoid spinning out. However, to get planing, it’s perfectly fine to give it a little encouragement.
Spin it to win it
The grip and upwind performance of the Bubble signature skeg is impressive to say the least. Having swapped my stock JP fin for the ‘mellow yellow’ I was surprised at how much extra oomph I got. The Bubble is also adept at keeping you going through lulls. Obviously, having the correct rig and board combo does a lot of the work, but fins help as well!
Heading into moves; the K4 kept the board composed while I set myself up. As I say, I’m not the world’s best freestyler and my lack of skill necessitates I take fractionally longer than a pro windsurfer would. A lot of modern fins tend to overpower once on a broad reach but the K4 keeps the board tracking true and sitting flat.
Spinning into a spock or vulcan is incredible fun as the Bubble fin releases just when you need it to. On exit, assuming I hadn’t crashed, the skeg grabs back at the water, grips, and it’s off we go again. Compared to previous fins I’d tried in this size the K4 wins hands down.
Even the staunchest trickmeister sometimes fancy a bit of a blast and I can happily say that with a dedicated K4 freestyle fin sailors will still be able to accomplish this.
It’s testament to Thorpy and Bubble’s design that this foil works when just straight lining. It keeps on truckin’, as long as you don’t exert too much back foot pressure, even in the choppiest of water. Taking a breather and indulging in a bit of burn ‘n’ turn sailing is super fun on the Bubble K4 – then it’s time to return to whirling and twirling.
The Bubble 20cm K4 freestyle fin surprised me. Coming from the mind of one of the UK’s best trixster’s I expected it to be a full on high end performance product and not for the lesser experienced. However, I can happily say I was wrong.
If you’re of a move orientated bent then K4’s range of freestyle fins will no doubt work for you. For those moving down from traditional freeride skegs; going for the 20cm version first will give you enough blasting and straight line performance to not frustrate while you learn the tricks of the freestyle trade.
Well made, durable, distinct looks and a sensible price point all add up to make the K4 Bubble freestyle fin range some of the best on the market. If you’re a hardened pro or newbie freestyler then you’d do a lot worse than getting yourself one of the beauties.
Tez Plavenieks is a freelance writer who loves windsurfing, SUP, surfing, snowboarding, drums, art and beer. If he’s not out sliding sideways then you’ll find him producing articles, stories and content revolving around his passions. Check out more at www.tezplavenieks.com