Before the release of the Whisper Fin, conventional thinking was most skiers prefer a fin setting somewhere along the spectrum of “Long / Shallow” or “Short / Deep”. The number of possible combinations of fin depth, length and distance from tail are nearly infinite as are the number of theories about how it all works. The Whisper Fin and the recommended methodology that comes with it adds a distinct third ski setup dimension. The Whisper Fin instructions introduce the idea of “Bindings Forward / Small Fin”.
I am not going to try to regurgitate the official theory of “Bindings Forward / Small Fin” as I would surely mangle the details. What I will say is that for a portion of the skiing public is it going to be extremely successful. Below is my version of how it all works.
Many skiers who prefer a traditional Long / Shallow setup do so because they need more tail slide before the apex of On Side. The Whisper Fin achieves something similar with less surface area as opposed to a shallower traditional fin. Bulletproof On Side turns were the first thing I felt with the Whisper Fin.
With no other adjustments the Whisper Fin does not have enough surface area for stable Off Side turns. This is where the logic of “Bindings Forward / Small Fin” starts to make sense. By shifting the bindings forward the amount of fin surface becomes less critical at the apex of the Off Side. With more of the surface of the ski providing additional grip the lack of fin surface area is fully compensated for. If you read the Fin Whispering web site ( https://finwhispering.com/
) you will find the official theories about the tradeoffs and benefits of taking grip from the fin and then compensating with bindings forward.
With the Whisper Fin set up with Bindings Forward / Small Fin some additional effects become apparent.
1. The ski automatically built surprising amounts of additional angle into the wakes
2. Margin of error was significantly increased – the ability to scrap out a pass was increased.
3. The attitude of the ski was often more constant in and out of the turns.
Will this fin improve your skiing? Yes – No – Maybe. Unfortunately there are no silver bullets in water ski gear and no two skiers like the exact same thing. I strongly suspect that skiers who ski 32 off or less are very likely to love this fin and setup method. The increased forgiveness and newfound angle into the wakes will mean more buoys. Many of these skiers will also be relieved to find instructions to successfully set up their fin & bindings with nothing more than a tape measure.
Skiers who run 35 off or shorter and are calm and ride the middle of the ski through Off Side may also enjoy the benefits. Skiers at this level or above who are aggressive and front foot heavy through the Off Side turn may find that they cannot find settings that are a balance between controlled tail slide at apex and excessive grip into the wakes.