GEARBOX fin systems with wood covers

Riley Balsa Wood Surfboards


$20.00 $90.00




The wait for a removable fin system that is light, strong, simple, easy to install, with some great contrasting or matching aesthetics. 

An unprecedented amount of innovation is currently occurring with fins and fin systems. Ranging from the simple to complex, tool-less fin attachment, to a wide range of other options.

Our choice was to go back to basics, with a system that is light, strong, while at the same time simple to install and easy to use. A design optimized for under the glass installation. The goal was to deliver a system that was both simple and familiar for builders to install, and surfers to use. Additionally, to be compatible with the wide range of dual tab fins that are currently available on the market.

GEARBOX, is as light as possible without compromising the strength. The unique patent pending design, delivers unprecedented strength for an under the glass system.

Current under the glass systems rely on the bond between the laminating resin and a plastic flange that surrounds the box. This is less than optimal!GEARBOX turns the flange concept on its head by placing the web of the flange lower down on the box, creating a load beam collar. This collar creates a flange shaped to form a cup on it's upper surface, a cover is then placed within this cup.

We select a cover material that provides optimal bonding to the resin system. The entire exposed upper surface of the cover allows the bottom laminate of the surfboard an optimal bonding area. The outer flange of the load beam encapsulates the cover. More important is the unique aesthetic created once installed in a board. Creates the appearance of a pin line around the outer perimeter of the box.

By separating out the cover from the collar, optimization for superior bonding becomes possible! Along with a number of aesthetic considerations.

The trussed load beam collar, saves weight while facilitating the dissipation of side loads. Additionally, the trussing allows the exposure of the cover bottom through the trusses. This exposed cover bonds with the underlying surfboard foam during installation improving the strength.

The result is a design, optimized with materials that provide good bonding strength! The standard cover is an expanded ABS material, sanded to enhance the bond with the surfboard resin system.

The high density expanded ABS utilized in the cover being stiff, imparts additional rigidity to the collar!

The design of the collar does not restrict the cover material, anything providing a good bonding surface is fine. For example, in a balsa wood board the cover could be balsa so that the box blends in with the surrounding wood. The design of the cover supports the application of inlays or overlays to its upper surface. Facilitating different appearances for the installation of the box. While a wide array of stylistic uses exist for the cover, the primary criteria is good bonding with the resin system. Covers are also available in a range of primary colors to provide further customization options!

The cover is also where the cant color coding dot is located. It is positioned on the outboard edge of the cover where it is easily visible at all times!

Once installed, GEARBOX is almost invisible!

GEARBOX employs a familiar screw placement, located on the inner side of the box, generating a locking force on the fin base. The fin bases have recesses onto which the screws land to help force the base into the slot.

A bridge in the center of the slot ties the two sides of the slot together to resist the lateral forces on the box.

The box's slot is compatible with dual tab fins, and with our own full length base.

To assist in the fine tuning of a board, the slot features 5mm (3/16") of movement forward and backward. Not only does this help when installing a fin, but it also facilitates control over the performance of the fins.

The two step install process creates a cavity with a shelf onto which the load beam collar rests. Providing better bonding to the surfboard foam. The complete routing system makes the installation process simple.

The GEARBOX fin system consists of six (6) different boxes. Five (5) side boxes, featuring different cant angles, and a dedicated center box. Load beam collar cover. Routing system. Router bit. Hex key. Solid base for the fin that has a circular cutout in the center. Designed for placement underneath the glass during the lamination process. Simplifying things for the laminator, and eliminating box installation as a separate task.

A unique patent pending load beam collar with cover, turns the entire top surface of the cover into a bonding surface. Truss openings in the load beam collar lighten the weight without sacrificing strength. Outline shape of the beam improves roll strength of the system once installed. Features a wide mid-section providing largest possible footprint, without impeding close to rail installation. 

Additionally, the trussing allows the exposure of the cover bottom through the trusses. This exposed cover bonds with the underlying surfboard foam during installation improving the strength. 

The design of the collar does not restrict the cover material to any one material, anything providing a good bonding surface is fine. For example, in a balsa wood board the cover could be balsa so that the box blends in with the surrounding wood, we also supply Paulownia, cedar covers and any other type of timber. The cover enables the application of various overlays, for example, carbon fiber, fiberglass, etc. Facilitating different appearances to the installation of the box. For instance, airbrushing the covers, or pigmenting when doing a color lamination. Allowing the boxes to blend in with the rest of the surfboard!

The outer flange of the collar provides an aesthetic detail by forming a thin pin line around the perimeter of the cover. 

Adjustment of 5mm (3/16") forward and backwards provided by the fin slot. Allows fin placement to be fine tuned. Designed to be compatible with all dual tab fins on the market. With a small modification ProBox fins can also fit in the system.

A bridge in the center of the slot ties the sides of the box together dissipating side loads. Helps to prevent potential spreading under loads, and further strengthening the box.

The fin base has a circular cutout in the center to fit over the slot bridge. Sized to accommodate fin fore and aft movement. The grub screws land on grooves in the base, applying both lateral and downward pressure on the fin.

A dam on the top, around the slot and grub screws, facilitates laying down the laminate by utilizing a low profile with an angled ramp. Later sanding of the board exposes the slot and grub screws.

GEARBOX 2 employs a familiar screw placement, located on the inner side of the box, generating a locking force on the fin base. The fin bases have recesses onto which the screws land to help force the base into the slot. Placement of screws for the center box are opposing.

Designed to be strong, small, and as light as possible, with a clean simple installation process. Molded from a fiberglass filled polycarbonate, provides the box with great strength and durability.

The boxes are all the same size and depth, so the installation is the same for all boxes.

Routing system provides many different installation methods. The primary process is a two-step one that creates a shelf on which the load beam collar rests. The routing system consists of three parts, that handle different installation options. Primary installation, lines the base jig up with the shapers marks on the surfboard. Position the bottom jig within the base jig, rout the slot for the bottom of the box. Once completed remove the bottom jig, place the top jig on top of the base jig. Rout the shelf that will support the box's load beam collar. This completes the routing operation. Once router bit depth has been setup, it is never modified to complete both of the routing operations.
FCS and all dual tab fins will fit these boxes. If you buy fins from us or make your own you can create a full tab to make it stronger that a dual tab fin.

The most popular angle is the 6 degrees.

 We can supply you with the install kit for 1 board or 10 boards. Contact mark@riley.com.au for more info regarding install and your custom wood covers for balsa, red cedar or western red cedar or paulownia or whatever can be custom made.

To match your wood boxes don’t forget your wood coloured leash plug.


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