Re: Pro-Tech Fins
Having one board will definitely help your surfing a lot (so long as its the right board!). You really learn what the board can do, what it can't, how to deal with different situations etc. If you havent already, read around this site as to what board you should be getting.
In terms of fins, trust me that at your level there will be no 'performance loss' from using Protech. When you can use the board to 85% of its potential (which will be at least a year of twice weekly surfing, and realistically more like 2+ years), then the choice of fins may impact on that remaining 15%. And I'm not saying that Protech fins 'reduce' performance by 15%; only that when you are at that higher performance level, you may notice a difference from different fins - which might mean one set is faster or one turns better or one works better on particular waves. There is no absolute measure of 'performance' - it differs from surfer to surfer and from board to board and what you actually want. At this stage of your surfing career you need to spend your effort getting to 85% performance rather than what happens after that.
So if you are buying a board and need fins, I would go with Protech. There is no downside and obvious upsides. But go with the stiffer performance fins.
If the board comes with fins and you dont want to buy a new set, sand down any sharp edges (usually the trailing edges and sometimes the tips). Severe injuries from fins comes through fin cuts when you hit the sharp edges; blunting them will make minimal if any difference to performance. Whack your hand against the fins and if they can cut your hand, keep sanding.
The majority of board related injuries are actually from the board hitting you after you fall off or when you get caught by the surf in the wrong place. Fin cuts can be extremely dangerous and worth thought, but are not that common. So pay attention to other safety aspects, like learning to fall, how to push your board away when you fall, covering your head, knowing where your board is before surfacing, how to duck dive/turtle roll, having a good leash of the right length. Etc.