Model name for the original tri-fin surfboard, designed and built by Australian surfer-shaper Simon Anderson in 1981. Anderson's board, made under his own Energy label, was soon being copied worldwide, and by late 1982 the tri-fin had replaced the traditional single-fin and the skittish twin-fin as the high-performance board of choice. Anderson claims the "Thruster" name was a nod to the multi-fin system's added thrust and drive, and wasn't intended to be a surfboard-as-phallus metaphor.

Nectar Surfboards in California was the first to market the tri-fin design in America, licensing the name from Anderson and billing it as the "3-Fin Thruster." "Kids these days . . . they just slide around," Nectar owner Gary McNabb said in 1981, noting how the twin-fin design was producing a generation of soft-turning young surfers. "The Thruster is meant to go forward, not sideways."