North had faux future boxes and then switched to a new system and now Cabrinha have switched from real future boxes to a new the fin box system, that appear to be the same kind as North. How are they in actual use with genuine Future Fins?
Naish has been off my shopping list because of there funky non standzrd fin boxs.
My guess is that they don't want to pay for the future boxes. Sure they get volume deal, but I wonder how much they pay for one. Retail price for small time builder like me is 5-6 £ from UK. Each. That means I'm spending 24 £ on boxes for one board! And being in product design, I know they cost likely less than 1£ to manufacture. Companies hunt for the smallest savings in manufacturing.
For those who really care about this kind of thing...
There is a lot that goes into choosing a box. Cost definitely factors in, but there are production and performance benefits to balance as well. The cost of using branded boxes is significantly higher than other options and would lead to a significant price increase to the customer. You can bring the retail price back down by skimping in other places such as the layup or production method, but for each of those you're looking at other sacrifices to performance/durability (for example we could switch from a G10 fin to a cheaper, more flexible plastic fin to approx. balance the cost difference, but we feel that the performance benefit from stiffer, livelier fins more than outweighs any downside from different boxes). On top of that, for North in particular, there is a small lip on Futures branded boxes that is incompatible with the production method we use. We experimented with ways to work around this, but again you're talking about added costs to sand down a lip and clean inside the boxes.
For these (and probably other) reasons we have for years used a 'knock-off' Futures box. The problem we encountered with Futures boxes is that the single screw in front secures the fin really well but does nothing to control side-to-side wobble, so the fin/box tolerance needed to be very tight. When building our boards there is a lot of work done by hand, including the final layers of glass and epoxy. During this process it's pretty common to have small amounts of epoxy drip into the boxes even if they are taped off/covered. This results in hand sanding to the inside of the boxes, too little of which results in fins that don't fit, and too much of which results in wobbly fins and/or warranty issues if the boxes are sanded through allowing water into the board. Last year we developed our own finbox which we call the North Multibox. It has two side-bite screws like FCS, but the angles/width of the box means they are only compatible with Futures fins (as far as I'm aware the angled base vs angled box and differing widths means that you cannot make a box that works for both systems) We have found most Futures fins and our own fins fit perfectly in these boxes and they work well with our production methods. Last year was the first year of using those Multiboxes and I don't think I saw any warranty issues and I never heard any complaints about the fins/boxes so I think we did a pretty good job with it.
As far as Cabrinha switching fin boxes I do not know their logic in doing so, but I do know that for 2016 they switched surfboard production to the factory we have been using for years, so this may have something to do with it.