Knife through water – Black Project Maliko race fin review

black projectFins are often overlooked and yet are an essential part of your stand up paddle boarding equipment – without them, simply going straight would be an achievement! Just as with paddles, not enough emphasis is placed on fins – especially when speed and efficiency are required factors.

Black Project’s Maliko foil is currently being put to devastating use by the UK’s Ryan James (among others). With its swept back, weed defeating, minimum drag profile, the Maliko slices through the water and helps deliver an arrow straight ride. Lower quality fins can be extremely detrimental to tracking. When in any race situation the last thing paddlers want to be doing is fighting to keep their board on course. Ebven in recreational guise you can do without that unnecessary ‘swerve’. The Maliko’s beneficial attributes to this area of SUP alone therefore make it a worthy purchase.

Manufactured to an exceptionally high quality finish, Black Project’s fin isn’t just a SUP racers tool of trade. We used it in everyday touring SUP mode – which was quite revelatory. Few brands optimise skegs – attaching a better suited type, such as the Maliko, will transform your usual SUP sessions from placid to engaging. Even if you do own an optimised fin, having a wider range of choice and the means to switch up the feel of your sled is no bad thing. Owning one of these beauties will allow just that – and more.

In conjunction with a high end paddle (such as Black Project’s Epic Pro – also reviewed in this issue) the Maliko can transform even the most benign of boards into something more fulfilling. Take it to the race course and you’ll be rewarded with efficiency and F1 performance. The Maliko’s stiff nature will need to be taken note of during buoy turns (softer fins can sometimes be easier to pivot) but it’s not too technical to get to grips with – intermediates would be fine with a bit of practice.

Will the Maliko make you a faster paddler? Not necessarily as there are many other factors that affect speed and performance. But adding a premium fin to the mix, such as the Black Project Maliko, will boost the optimisation of your equipment and give you a fighting chance. Even if you’re not contemplating racing then adding the Maliko will enhance the quality of each ride – better tracking/glide, an easier board to trim and much less drag.

For yet more diversity, check out Black Project’s Tiger fin.

Price: £140


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