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Whisper Fin Review


Horton
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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.

 

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@Horton Do you think that the whisper fin is $300 better? For the 32 off or less skier, you can buy a good amount of coaching for that money. Being a collage skier myself, I can get a few days at a ski school for $300. If you were me, where would you put your money?
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@Horton In order to discover the difficulty in finding a setting that is a balance between controlled tail slide at apex and excessive grip into the wakes, does that mean that you personally are one of those front foot heavy, aggressive 35 off short line skiers or was that potential issue learned from other skiers using the Whisper Fin?
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@SkiJay the 5 pro skiers can can ride a 2x4 and still collect prize money. A skier of that caliber can make just about anything work.

What a pro skier does with a new product does not impress me. It what the working amateur skier does that raises my eyebrows and goes humm.

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@richfoster I’m aware of how the pros want that edge. I see it everyday when there at the tournament. I also know some of the people using the fin. What we don’t know is did they have to change there binding placement? If it works for them great.

I have also talked to others in another area who have had the same result as what was in the review.

No offense taken.

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@jakecuz23 good coaching before almost any fin, binding, rope, handle, or ski.

 

@bsmith yes. For ME to get enough grip at exit of On Side I found settings that gave me huge angle and awesome turns but was too extreme/quirky when hunting for a high score.

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Thanks for your balanced input, JH. It is good to know how it works between 38 off and 22 off. How your reviews are = Excellent. You start it and that makes us all think more.

@ballsohard seems less of a "breakthrough" and more of a "slight improvement" That is a comment that could apply to a lot of us. I think with new gear it is worth experimenting. this group will be de-facto arbiters on whether it's worth it or not. It's like a new restaurant where you try it and like it, then you will go back, and it may become a regular, if not great, than OK won't go back but it's OK.

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@Horton Question for you: As you continued testing of the wf, I read that you started using calipers rather than the "1/2 turn" type tuning instructions provided with the fin. Did you continue to follow the tuning flowchart at that point, or did you resort to more traditional fin tuning methods?
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@Horton Thanks John for stepping up and giving the WF a rip because for many of us 300$ is out of budget to take a test drive. A couple of questions

-Did you feel more acceleration from ski?

-Did you feel less Drag?

-How much forward binding movement are we talking about to compensate for the small fin area and forward fin.

 

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As often happens I learn something right after I publish a review. @SkiJay encouraged me to try one more set of numbers after I had the review done. I now have 3 sets on these numbers. 2 of the 3 sets on with the new settings are the best practice scores I have run this year. (The third set might have been just too soon after the 2nd.)

 

On rides 1 & 2 I ran very comfortable 35s and then ran 4 or 5 @ 38. For me at this time of year that is pretty good. On ride #2, I ran 5 @ 38 but looking at the video I am frankly embarrassed at how bad the skiing is. I am conflicted because the skiing is ugly but the score is above what I expect this time of year. My assumption is that there is something about the fin & set up has created a huge margin of error.

 

 

I do not totally understand what is going on here but this is a fun pass.

 

I can't believe how bad I screwed this up and still got 5.

 

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@Steven_Haines I put the whisper fin as soon as I just started running 35s this spring and only have a few sets with a stock fin so I don't know how to answer your question.

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@skibug Deeper and longer

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Horton, sounds like you are learning through the experience. I had to dump my own normal ideas and just go with it, and so far I am really happy with the process. It is important for skiers when implementing the whisper fin to try to ignore conventional thought and stay true to the guidance offered thus far by Jay. Conventional is one thing the fin is not! But one thing for sure, the fin has made a huge positive difference for some skiers. I really like mine, and the fin and setup is helping me move my skiing in a technical direction that I have wanted to go.
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First set on the WF today. Problem was 15-20 mph winds. No one else would ski, but I managed to squeeze a set in anyway. First thing I noticed was the ski became extremely STABLE. There is always apprehension when trying something that appears to be radically different. Fear not, this thing was stable as a rock. "NO" bad tendencies whatsoever.

 

I set the fin up exactly to the numbers Jay posted on his web-site for a 68" NRG. I figured that would be my base line. After a couple passes to get use to it, I found it tracked really well, turned fine on the offside, but the onside was a little school bus like.I only had a Driver for one set, so to be quick, I just added a couple washers to the left side, which gives me a depth differential of .032.... That seemed to work fine, the same as it did for the CG Fin.

 

Next set Monday, I will try a smaller wing and shallow the fin a little, but keep the depth differential. This is where the fun begins, searching for that sweet spot.

 

PS: I believe the name of the fin should change from Whisper Fin to the "Screaming Demon." The whole time I skied it, it made a loud whistling sound. No one has ever mentioned this before, but it was loud. My Driver said, that fin must be fast, because he thought a Police Car was trying to pull me over !!!!

 

 

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@Gashley .... I don't know if this is just a characteristic of the NRG or universal. I hope others will chime in on this. After my post, I reviewed a Video of today's set, and sure enough, you could hear it on the Camera in the boat.

 

I also have moved my bindings all the way forward from previous posts that recommended that. To improve the onside turn the differential depth seemed to cure that. To be fair, this has been a characteristic of the NRG, and I had to do the same thing with the Stock Fin and the CG Fin to improve the onside turn.

 

Even with only one set on the "Whisler Fin" I can unequivocally say, both the CG and the WF Fins are far and above better than the Stock Fin in every aspect. You can't go wrong with either one, and I am grateful for both the Adam's and Jay for giving us these advanced products.

 

 

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@Ed_Johnson I tried to use only a tape measure and the markings but checked it with calipers. They do not have any posted #'s for the 65 but mine were almost the same as the 66. I left my bindings, SS with R style, in the same spot for first set and bindings forward for 2nd skiing 28's and 32`s. Haven't cut to 35 yet this year. Planning on increasing DFT by a 1/4 turn and see how it goes. I may add the washers as you suggest and see if on side is better. Just switched to SS and R style from double boots so I am still adjusting to that as well. Let me know how it goes for you since we have a similar set up.
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I’m a bit surprised that both of you obviously decided to not follow the included fin tuning process and went directly to move bindings forward. Glad it seems to work out for you though!

 

I have now 6 sets on the WF, try to follow Jay’s tuning guide and am still not happy. The ski is fast and stable, casts out nice and wide, my onside turn is sharp and all, but the ski stalls on my offside turn. Increasing DFT doesn’t seem to help. (Did that after every set now.) I’m almost tempted to just go ahead and move my bindings forward as you both successfully did. Although as I understand Jay’s instructions, that should mainly increase tail support!?! I’m pretty sure I need more tip engagement on my offside, rather than mess with tail support.

I’m on a 66 KD Platinum BTW and yes, my fin is loud too.

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@DavidN, If by "stalled" you mean "isn't finishing the turn," then either there's not enough tip in the water through the end of the turn, or there's too much tail support. You are correct in that moving the bindings back would help this. But since the goal of this setup philosophy is to establish how small you can run the fin, I'd reduce fin area before moving the bindings back.

 

But first, I'd recommend using video to establish if the ski isn't finishing turns because there's not enough tip in the water, or if despite good tip engagement, the tail isn't smearing enough. If there's not enough tip in the water, is it your inbound move, or can the fin be moved forward without causing tip grab? The flowchart at: https://finwhispering.com/whisperfin-tuning-flowchart/ can help walk you through sorting this out.

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@SkiJay

Exactly. Ski isn’t finishing the offside turn. There’s just not enough tip in the water (have no video yet, but observations from boat crew). I just finished the 7th set on it with another 1/4 turn added to DFT - still the same.

And yes, as you suggested, I’m using your flowchart since set #1.

Maybe I already started the whole process with the binders too far back?

I checked the recommended start settings on your website and most of them show binding positions waay more forward than stock.

On my 66 KD I started @29.125, which happens to be the exact same # that Terry recommends for his pro setting with a std fin.

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@DavidN, The KD's design (rocker, bevels, shape, etc.) give the tail of that ski more traction than most skis on the market. That's why if you compare factory binding recommendations across brands, you'll notice that KD recommends mounting the bindings further back than most. Terry's binding settings are based on the water breaking about 6" from the tip. Do you have this much tip in the water prior to offside balls? If not, Terry's binding setting will make your ski turn like a bus.

 

The reason for this is that moving the bindings forward effectively makes the tail of the ski longer, giving it more surface area and a longer moment arm from the bindings to the fin (giving the fin more leverage). That will reduce smear and cause incomplete turns. My best guess In the absence of video, is that you can move your bindings back 1/8", and reduce fin area a quarter turn counterclockwise on both top adjusters and moving it forward half turn clockwise.

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Hi guys fell into the trap of normal fin tuning pm,d Skijay behind the scenes took the leap and went where I was directed and what a difference This fin is the real deal best 2 4 side ever Lff on a 69.5 Vapor Like @Ed_Johnson noted distinct whistle once your on the money Running 32 off this early in the cold UK season is really really good for me Thanks Skijay
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@paul413ski....By the way, what ski are you on? What numbers did you start with and then what did you change too and the difference it made?

 

Took my second set on the ski and after the other day, the ski just felt way too stable with the stock numbers. Those were Depth 2.530 Length 5.750 DFT 1.960 W 7 degrees.

Wanted to really free it up so changed from stock wing to a smaller wing, added DFT and went shallower and shorter.

NEW NUMBERS: Depth 2.497R 2.465L Length 5.728 DFT 1.980 Smaller Wing @ 7 degrees.

 

Holy Bat Sh*t, it's a different ski. Coming around the turn to line up it was hunting L to R, like a race horse going to the starting chute. I knew I was in for a change. Definitely faster, turned better, and it was way ahead of me. I thought the onside turn was going to break my neck it was so quick. My Driver said "that was some aggressive skiing." I told him, it wasn't me, it was the ski. I was behind all the time....I also said I might have to de-tune this a little. His answer was, no way, get use to that, 28 looked like 38... LEAVE IT ALONE !!!

 

 

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