FCS vs Future Fins | Surfboard fins Guide 2024

Selecting an optimal surfboard design can be a time-consuming and painstaking process. As a surfer, it's crucial to grasp the right strategy and determine the fin control system best suited to your objectives. Concurrently, it's also important to select the correct fins based on variables such as your weight, surfing expertise, and the type of waves you'll be encountering! The fact remains that selecting the ideal fins can significantly improve your surfboard handling, enhance stability, and accelerate your progression!

The significance of fins is often underestimated; however, you should not ignore their crucial role, as they can contribute to remarkable improvements in performance. Typically, you will encounter two primary systems: the Futures Fin System and the FCS (Fin Control System). In this article, we will delineate the differences between FCS and Future surfboard fins. Although both systems have their merits, the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. You'll need to discern which system is more compatible with your unique needs and preferences. Here are some points to consider...

Choosing the Perfect Fin Systems: A Guide for 2024

As we mentioned earlier, you will have fin boxes from two systems: Future or FCS. The manufacturer/shaper will usually agree with one of these businesses. If you want a custom board or aim to build one, you must choose the right fin system yourself. That might seem challenging to do, but it will offer plenty of benefits and creativity all the time.

You need to focus on your height, weight, and the wave types you will face. 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 you may need. That alone can be significant, bringing in the maximum results every time.

Some good brands are Models and Surf, 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 you have always wanted. It’s a great opportunity that pushes the experience to the next level in a powerful and rewarding manner. It shows that the value is among some of the best.

Which brand should you choose? Ideally, you want to study textures, styles, and designs and focus on the box rather than the fin. Significant factors are bound to become innovation, availability, and convenience. It helps quite a lot, and you will get all the efficiency and support you need. It just profoundly pushes the boundaries, and in the end, you will appreciate the experience.

What are the differences between FCS and Futures?

It’s essential to remember that FCS and Futures come from a pre-fibreglass fix.
Before hot-coating it, you must add them to the board. The original FCS version from 1995 and the newer one named FCS II, which brought in some disruptive changes in 2013, constitute the two main FCS versions.

FCS pros and cons

The original FCS (Fin Control System) is one of the most widely used fin boxes, favoured by many due to its affordability and durability. Even with the emergence of a newer version, a significant number of surfers continue to use it, testament to its enduring benefits. Additionally, it offers good value for money and is forward-compatible with the II system. 

FCS II pros and cons

Many people like this model because you don’t have to use screws; the fins snap in easily. They have a strong box, and you can easily use them in various situations. However, this is also a more expensive fin box option, so that’s something to consider. It’s popular, but not as popular as FCS, mainly because the price is higher.

The biggest cons are the monopoly that FCS build around the FCSII standard; Only FCS can produce FCSII fins making the other brand unable to sell fins with the exact Fin Control System.

Futures Box pros and cons

These fins bases are much more potent than the FCS option, which is impressive in its own right. The price point is cheaper, and the installation process is more convenient. The downside here is that they are heavier due to the base. As a result, you will get your board to weigh a few grams more.

FCS fin systems

When comparing FCS to Future, the FCS fins are created using two tabs that are secured to your board, and you insert screws to ensure everything is stable. These fins were designed to be a part of the board construction instead of being actively embedded in the foam core. As they are screwed in, the fins won't break or move to the sides. That helps because you don’t want to worry about fins coming off. Using such a system makes great sense since it has all the stability and features you need.

Many people damaged their Fin Control System, so FCS II was launched to remedy that. The great thing about their approach is that they have a life-saving, unique take on the entire process. You clip the fins to the board and 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 streamlining of your board while lowering the amount of drag you deal with. It’s worth the effort, and the system is among some of the best. That alone can make a huge difference and 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 access to the features you want and a tremendous range of value and quality. It just shows that nothing is impossible, and the payoff can be among some of the best. Many 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 enjoy them without worries.

Futures fin systems

On the other hand, if we compare Future vs FCS, Futures is also relatively 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, particularly its single tab system. You have an angled screw used for the fins. Every fin has a single case. Therefore the fins stay perfectly fitted inside the core of the surfboard.

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

Futures will only work with the branded fin boxes. The good thing is that you can get replacements if you lose anything or have issues. It’s essential to take your time and focus on bringing in the quality and experience you need. If you go with the Futures fins, you are focused more on durability and performance. These are great fins; like FCS, many pros are using them. So it’s all about what gives you the most comfort and value. It still brings in significant benefits, and in the end, it’s a delightful experience.

Which is the better option?

The truth is that every surfer has their 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, 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. Most board companies and shapers use the model even if Future is expanding quite a lot after the monopolisation of FCSII from the FCS company.

Even if you travel often, you can get the FCS products shipped to you or find them at a surfing store. That shows their exposure and the actual 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, the simple clipping system can sometimes fail, which can be a problem. FCS II are costly fins, so dealing with this issue is a problem that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. If you still want to use the clipping system, you must put a lot of force into it, which will be something to consider. But these are user-friendly, you get an excellent experience with them, and the quality is good. Every product has pros and cons, and in this case, the pros tend to outweigh the cons. That's up to you to choose, so try to consider that.

Futures are a good option because only the fins will break even if you bash them quite a lot. 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 must understand the market, determine what approach you need, and ensure that the system works flawlessly and appropriately. It will make a massive difference, which is precisely what you need.

Granted, Futures are less common than the FCS systems. In this case, the board options are less diverse than the FCS systems. Even if there are limits here, overall, you will be getting an excellent experience and quality; in the end, that's what you want to focus on the most. Rest assured, and it will be well worth it in the future.

When you want to buy good fins for your surfboard, that's the challenge. You want something durable, reliable, dependable and also very professional. You are fine, and there are no worries as long as you get that. But you must 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.


FCS and Futures are great fins that deliver great value for money. You can study both options based on price, workflow and performance. A proper test is needed, so you can see which one is the most comfortable. There are many fantastic options so that you will have no problem picking good fins. It all comes down to understanding the market and taking your time to do everything right. It’s not easy to achieve, but the payoff will be well worth it! FCS vs Future: let us know what 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?

They invented two completely different standards 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. FCS is 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.