Black Project Fins Type S - Interview Tom Hammerton
Answers: Tom Hammerton, Designer, Black Project Fins
Not so long ago I posted a preview of this new findesign and had afterwards a short facebook message from Chris Freeman who suggested I fire away some questions for Tom Hammorton about the new speedfins, and  we speedsurfers always like to know more about new things ;)

1) The Black Project Type S 29 and 32 Type S fins look like being perfect for World Cup speed surfing. Are these also made for GPS records on flat water, or is there something additional planned to use for GPS speeders (who mainly surf on flatter water)?

The Type S is definitely good for World Cup Speed. It is a real world speed fin (rather than a pure canal fin) and can handle a wide range of conditions. The Type S was developed on Maui in quite challenging conditions. Basically speed sailing involves sailing through heavy chop and surf hunting for small patches of flat water between the waves. So I developed a fin that has a lot of control and is super stable with great acceleration. It is a true speed fin as the proprietary laminar flow foil is designed specifically for very low drag at low angles of attack found on a deep broad reach. For most people this fin will work best for them in most conditions.

I have put the 26cm to the test with a very over powered 7.3 weather and never had any control issues and recorded 36 knots in pretty rough conditions (29cm would have been correct size).

I am however working on a new asymmetric fin specifically for very high speeds and super flat water. This fin may only be available as a custom order item as there are not that many people who can really get the most out of it. I might do a moulded carbon version if there is enough demand. The Type X with not be sold by length but by a speed rating; 40, 45, 50+ knots!

Type S in finbox
2) With the given rake and outline I guess the profile is very speedy yet not to thin, something like @ 40% thickest point and 9.5-10% thick at the base. Did I guess right and could you tell more why you chose such a profile?

That is classified - but you are fairly close! The foil is optimized angles of attack associated with speed runs where it maintains laminar flow over a large portion of the chord. It is not prone to laminar bubbles and can go to a very high AOA before stalling (spin-out) so you can be confident it won't mis-behave. In simple terms it is designed for broad reaching and user friendliness and can be sailed back upwind relatively easily. The current foil is the result of 3 years of development and is very well refined.

3) Finish of fins this is a HOT topic for gps speedsurfers, especially trailing edge is often not that great. Now the Black Project Fins have this print on the trailing edge, I am afraid the trailing edge is not that great finished (round thick), please tell me this is not the case??

Type S
The trailing edge is square and 0.4mm thick. I did some protos with thinner TE but they were extremely fragile and showed no benefit. Don't worry it is the correct thickness! The "paint" adds virtually no thickness to the fin - this has to be seen to be believed. I don't have printed graphics on my fins because screen printing disrupts the flow and causes an early transition.

4) What about one foot off versus length for the Type S fins? 

I don't really look at that. Total wetted area, loading and water state are the most important considerations. I know some people want a simple answer but there are no shortcuts to speed. The system as a whole has to be balanced and work together, so single specific number does not really mean that much.

5) Do you have anything to add about the Black Projects Fins for speedsurfing, maybe how the Type R fins perform for speed?

Type R
The best performance for the Type S is reaching 125 degrees or deeper off the wind. For a tight course the Type R will be better suited. It has a thicker foil and a much wider (but not as deep) low drag bucket and has optimized performance for angles 80 to 110 degrees off the wind. Between 110 and 125 degrees it is a bit of a toss up and the faster fin will depend on the type of board. Martyn Ogier used the Type R almost exclusively on the Speed Tour as it was better suited to the less than ideal conditions and tight courses that the events were held in.

I think the best selling point of the Type S is that it just gives you total confidence. For a start it is durable, I have hit coral heads and turtles without doing any damage beyond some fine scratches. It is easy to sail with great control and won't let go unexpectedly. And of course when you catch that gust you know you are just going to take off in a massive burst of speed!

Erik Loots

Erik is windsurfer for 10+ years. In his daily life he is professional in construction dewatering, advisor, troubleshooter. Erik likes adventures, explore and to challenge himself. During his life he is trying to get the best out of it and have respect for the earth, nature and future generations. The modern world is about sharing, in this blog Erik shares his experiences, selfreflection and lessons learned.


  1. Very nice interview with much of detail.

  2. I have to agree about durability, I have hit the same rock near where I launch twice and barely even scratched the fin. I have also run aground in shallow sand without a scratch. I hit that same rock with a select S11 and destroyed the bottom 5cm of fin.

    I am really happy with mine, and now have 6, soon to grow to 10