FCS vs Future Fins | Surfboard fins Guide 2021

Finding a good board design can take a lot of time and effort. You do need to understand the right approach and figure out a system to really push the experience to the next level in a powerful manner. At the same time, you also want to find the right fins. The truth is that good fins will help you maneuver your surfboard a lot easier, not to mention you get more stability.

Some people overlook the importance of fins, you shouldn’t because they are extremely relevant and they give you tremendous results. With that in mind, you usually have 2 main brands that you get regarding your fin box. There are the Futures or FCS, that's why the title of the article FCS vs Future surfboard fins. While they are both great, the truth is that you can go with either one or the other. So you really have to figure out which is the better option and what suits your needs the most. With that in mind, here are some of the things to keep in mind.

Methods you can use to select good fin systems

As we mentioned earlier, you will have fin boxes from one of the two brand: Future vs FCS. The manufacturer / shaper will usually have an agreement with one of these businesses. But if you get a custom board made or you want to create one on your own, you must find the right fin system yourself. That might not seem easy to do, but it will offer plenty of benefits and creativity all the time.

What you really need to focus on here is your height, weight and the wave types that you will face. Obviously not all fins will be able to work in any condition. So you must be selective, and it will offer you all the benefits and quality that you may need. That alone can be great and it will bring in the utmost results every time.

Some of the good brands are Shapers, Scarfini and 3DFins. They managed to show again and again that yes, you won’t have to overspend even if you want the best surfboard fins on the market. Thankfully, this gives you all the efficiency and support that you always wanted. It’s a great opportunity and one of those things that really push the experience to the next level in a powerful and rewarding manner. It just goes to show that the value itself is among some of the best out there.

Which brand should you go for? Ideally you want to study things like textures, styles, designs and focus on the box rather than fin. Innovation, availability and convenience are bound to become a very important factor. It really helps quite a lot, and you will get all the efficiency and support you need. It just pushes the boundaries in a powerful manner, and in the end you will appreciate the experience.

What are the differences between FCS and Futures?

It’s important to keep in mind that FCS and Futures both come in the form of a pre-fiberglass fix. That means you must add them to the board before it’s hot coated. There are 2 main FCS versions, the original one from 1995 and the newer one named FCS II that brought in some really good changes in 2013.

FCS pros and cons

The original FCS is the most common fin box out there. A lot of people use it because it’s affordable and it stands the test of time. The fact that there’s a new version and some people still use it definitely shows its amazing benefits. Plus, you don’t have to overspend. It’s also forward compatible with the II system. However, the downside here is that there are third party rip-offs that can be very hard to distinguish. Also, Will doesn’t offer support for the FCS II fins and futures.

FCS II pros and cons

What a lot of people like about this model is that you don’t have to use screws, the fins snap in with great ease. They have a strong box, and you can easily use them in a vast range of different situations. However, this is also a more expensive fin box option, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind. It’s popular, but not as popular as FCS, mainly because the price is higher.

Futures Box pros and cons

These fins bases are a lot more powerful than the FCS option, which is amazing in its own right. The price point is cheaper and the installation process itself is more convenient too. The downside here is that they are heavy due to the base. As a result, some users dislike them because they are not bringing in the stability and results some people might expect. It’s still a great option, but you have to know what you are getting into here.

FCS fin systems

If we have to compare FCS vs Future, the FCS fins are created with the idea of using 2 tabs secured to your board and you insert screws to ensure everything is stable. These were designed to be a part of the board construction instead of actively being in the foam core. Since they are screwed in, the fins won’t break or move to the sides. That really helps a lot, because you don’t want to worry about fins coming off. It just makes a lot of sense to use such a system since it has all the stability and features you need.

A lot of people lost their fins, so FCS II was launched to remedy that. The great thing about their approach is that they have a life-saving, rather unique take on the entire process. You just clip the fins to the board and you are good to go. There’s no need to use screws or anything similar to that. Getting such an approach is always worth it, because you receive a lot more convenience and the value itself is staggering every time.

In addition, you boost the streamline of your board, while also lowering the amount of drag that you are dealing with. It’s totally worth the effort, and the system itself is among some of the best every time. That alone can make a huge difference, and it will deliver all the efficiency and support you need.

The fact that you receive compatibility with the older system is a plus. You still need to buy a compatibility kit, that’s true. But you still get to have access to the features you want and a tremendous range of value and quality. It just shows that nothing is impossible and the payoff itself can be among some of the best every time. A lot of pro surfers are using this type of fins, so they are indeed delivering tremendous value and quality. With that in mind, it’s a great idea to use FCS fins, especially version II, since it’s so easy to use and adaptable that everyone will be able to enjoy it without worries.

Futures fin systems

On the other hand if we have to compare Future vs FCS, Futures is also rather popular among surfers. However, they come with a distinct approach that’s still good, but different in its own right. What you will like about the Futures system in particular is that it has a single tab system. You have an angle screw used for the fins. Every fin has a single case, so you do need a very good board connection.

As we mentioned earlier, these are also heavier, which can be a problem for some users. Because you need a firm connection, that also means there’s less flex. While this brings in more strength, it also means it’s a bit more rigid. Then again it’s also less likely to break, which is exactly what a lot of surfers are interested in.

Futures will only work with the branded fin boxes. The good thing here is that you can get replacements in case you lost anything or if there are issues. It’s important to take your time and really focus on bringing in the utmost quality and experience you need. If you go with the Futures fins, you are focused more on durability and performance. These are great fins, and just like FCS, a lot of pros are using them. So it’s all a matter of what gives you the most comfort and value. It still brings in great benefits and value, and in the end it’s a very enjoyable experience.

Which is the better option?

The truth is that every surfer has his/her own preference. And that’s because they usually get one of the two options delivered with their board. If you create it on your own or have the board custom made, then there are many things to consider, as we mentioned above. If you want a system that’s used all over the world, FCS might very well be your best bet. The model is used by most board companies and shapers. Plus, you do get proper shipping all over the world.

That means even if you travel often, chances are that you can get the FCS products shipped to you or you can even find them at a surfing store. That really goes to show the exposure they have and the true value coming from something like this. You will find some surfers that had issues with their FCS II fins falling out.

Since these are not screwed in, sometimes the simple clipping system can fail and that can be a problem. FCS II are costly fins, so dealing with this type of issue is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. If you still want to use the clipping system, then you must put a lot of force unto it, and it will definitely be something to take into consideration. But these are user-friendly, you get a very good experience with them and the quality as a whole is good. There are pros and cons for every product, and in this case the pros tend to outweigh cons. Obviously, that’s up to you to choose, so try to take that into account.

Futures are a good option because even if you bash them quite a lot, only the fins will actually break. FCS are less durable, which means they can break and sometimes you will even have a broken board. Replacing fins will cost less than board repairs. That means you need to understand the market and truly figure out exactly what approach you need to have and how to ensure that the system works flawlessly and in an appropriate manner. It will make a huge difference in the end, which is exactly what you need.

Granted, Futures are not as common as the FCS systems. In this case, the board options are not as diverse when compared to the FCS systems. Even if there are limits here, overall you will be getting a very good experience and quality, and in the end that’s the thing you want to focus on the most. Rest assured it will be well worth it in the end.

That’s the challenge when you want to buy good fins for your surfboard. You want something durable, reliable, dependable and also very professional. As long as you get that, you are fine and there are no worries. But you really have to know the right products you can buy, the overall return on investment you can get and compatibility. This can push you one way or the other, depending on the situation.


At the end of the day, FCS and Futures are great fins that deliver great value for money. You can study both options and choose based on price, workflow and performance. Obviously a proper test is needed, so you can see which one is the most comfortable. There are a variety of amazing options out there, so you will have no problem picking good fins. It all comes down to understanding the market and really taking your time to doing everything right. It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but the payoff will be well worth it! FCS vs Future: let us know what do you think about it!


Are futures fins better?

The future fins are more robust thanks to having the whole base inside the surfboard. At the moment of the impact, they usually break at the bottom. Moreover, this allows you to change only the fins and not the fin control system. Are they better? Most of the time, the answer is based on a personal opinion; Read the surfboard fins guide to understand how the shape of fins can affect your surfing.

Our futures and FCS fin keys the same?

No, they are two completely different standards, invented to have replaceable fins on the surfboard. Therefore even if they have the same end goal, how they achieve it is entirely different. That's why Future and FCS are not compatible.

Are FCS fins good?

FCS is the leading brand when it comes to surfboard fins. They are the pioneer of removable fins, and they are known all over the world. The quality of the fins is very high, and they continuously re-invent themself each year with new models.

Our futures and FCS fin keys the same?

Futures surfboard fins and FCS surfboard fins use the same type of screws, even if the FCSII system could be used without them. The answer to the question is definitely yes; FCS and Future surfboard fins use the same Allen key: 3/32 Stainless Steel Hex Key.

How do you know if it's FCS or Future?

It's straightforward to spot the difference; the Future has a single large base, the FCS and FCS II is split into two parts. Whenever you look at the FCS version 1, you see two little rectangles; on version FCS II, the "rectangle" gets far bigger.

Can you use FCS fins in FCS 2 plugs?

You can use FCS fins in FCS2 plugs because the FCS II Fin Control System is compatible with the previous version. If you're wondering what you can do with all that free space, you should purchase a surfboard fins infill.

Do you need to screw in FCS 2 fins?

FCS II Fin Control System don't need a screw, that the innovation on this system. Nevertheless, nobody denies you to screw your fins to the surfboard. Lots of people put it as a preventive method do not lose the fin.

Do FCS 2 fins fall out?

FCS II Fin Control System has been develop to be used without a screw and at the same time to avoid the breakage of the fin box. The strategy consists of releasing the fin as soon as it impacts another object to save the fin box. In conclusion, FCS 2 fins don't fall out; however, per design, it's easier to detach. Therefore a little impact could cause the loss of the fin.

What are the best FCS 2 fins?

If you don't know which FCS II Fins is the best, it's because you've to decide! Fins are based on your surfing style, your weight and your skill level! Read our surfboard fins guide to understand what would be the perfect surfboard fins for you!

What size is a futures fin key?

The size of a futures fin key is 3/32 Hex.

Can you put FCS 2 in futures?

No FCSII cannot be placed in the future fin box unless you don't want to lose your fin! FCS and FCS II are not compatible with Futures and vice-versa.

What does FCS stand for fins?

FCS stands for Fin Control System.