In researching which sup fin I should get I found it difficult to find good unbiased reviews, it seemed like most “pros” just used the fins that came with their boards and suggested those. I also struggled with getting a good visualization of their fins compared to what I knew. I hope you find my thoughts and images I have added below helpful. This article is probably most helpful if you are looking at purchasing your first fin that doesnt just come with your board and the Ray is a contendor. If you have a box filled with fins for every condition you likely wont find my review here helpful at all.
In these images you’ll see the Project Black Sup Ray Fin by itself and a side by side of fins that may have been included with your sup. The FCS fin is a standard 7″ fin and the other fin is the standard plastic fin by Bote that is included with your typical Bote board. As you can see in the above the Ray completely dwarfs the much smaller FCS fin however is comparable in size to the larger Bote fin, only the more raked end of the Bote fin stands out.
There is a ton of information on fin shape theory however instead of a full fin tech explanation here I would suggest checking out the Black Projects, they did a solid write up likely better than I could ever do (click here). A skim through their few pages should put you in a good place to understand just about everything you would ever need to with fin shapes.
This is an image of the fins stacked so you could get an exact visualized idea of the surface area and shapes of these fins. The Bote Fin is at the bottom of the stack, The Black Project Ray in the middle and the FCS 7″ sitting on top. Here you can see a more exaggerated view of the rake/trailing part of the Bote fin.
I hope these images have helped to offer you a better idea of the scale and scope of these fins when compared.
First Impressions / My thoughts after just several miles
Due to the construction of this fin (carbon fiber) compared to the other fins shown (plastic) I found a noticeable quicker “hold” while balancing on my NSP Sonic(14′ x 24.5″). Typically when I would lean into a hard stroke, I would seemingly feel my board “lean” slightly more before feeling the fin start to grip, I attribute this to more fin flex from the others. (I have not tried this fin yet in my Bote Traveler or my Bote Rackham yet but I would expect the same as far as balance aid is concerned).
If you struggle a little bit with balancing on your board the Black Project Ray fin could certainly offer you some aid in that department (especially if you are using a smaller fin like the shown FCS or any other race/flatwater fin).
The next major difference I noticed with this fin is I was able to coast easier, for longer and turn much quicker than with my Bote fin. The writeup I linked to above gives a great explanation of why that would be however keep in mind this is a comparison of the Carbon Fiber Ferrarri of SUP fins compared to a Plastic Geo Metro. This fin was a noticeable upgrade in every category however, it is also a costly investment. If this fin is within your means to purchase I could not suggest it enough.
Check out my button link below to go straight to the specification of this fin on the Black Project website. I am in no way affiliated with the Black Project company and simply wanted to provide pictures that I would have found helpful when fin shopping.