While the idea of fins is simple, the fin designs and options available to water-lovers are quite vast. When evaluating which fins will best meet your needs, keep the following questions in mind:
If a little fin is good, a lot must be better! As true as that statement sounds, it is actually quite incorrect. Fins are a sport-specific piece of equipment that can greatly affect how well you perform during your time in the water.
Recreational swimmers and snorkelers tend to fall into the "less is more" category when it comes to buying fins. The majority of swimmers and snor- kelers don't need the bells and whistles that many fins offer. Typically, a more basic fin design will meet your needs. The length of fin needed by swimmers and snorkelers is typically shorter than those needed by scuba divers and are definitely shorter than those used by free divers. If you feel like you are fighting your fins rather than being aided by them, then your fins are probably meatier than what you need. Pare downósimple is usually much better for swimmers and snorkelers.
Scuba divers tend to desire more fin features than do recreational swimmers and snorkelers. Scuba divers are frequently more aware of the propulsion power offered by their fins. Scuba fins tend to be the same length or slightly longer than snorkeling and swimming fins, which means they require more leg strength and power to kick effectively.
Free diving is a sport during which a person submerges to significant depths without the aid of an air supply. In order to help the diver to submerge and then surface on whatever air is in his/her lungs, free dive fins are designed to make the most out of each kick. They are considerable longer than swimming/snorkeling and scuba diving fins in order to move the diver the greatest distance with the least amount of kicks. Typically, longer fins offer more resistance, which gives the diver more bang for his/her buck, which is why freediving fins are so much longer than fins for other sports.
Water temperature can greatly affect the gear needed by divers. The gear you wear can be a factor in determining the fins you take into the water with you.
If you are in cold water, you will be in more exposure protection gear, including boots or booties. If you dive wearing boots (either neoprene or hard sole), an open-foot design fin is definitely what you'll want to wear. An open foot pocket accommodates boots because the heel strap wasp around the back of the diver's boot and can be adjusted to offer a comfortable fit. If you wear rigid-sole boots, the open-foot pocket will easily accommodate your boo's stiff sole and heel support. Rigid boot soles and heels also help keep the fin strap from slipping off of your heel.
If you are in warm water, you are less likely to wear gear that will protect you from the elements. Therefore, you are less likely to wear boots into the water. Without the need for boots, you won't need to wear open- foot fins. Closed-foot fins encompass your entire foot, much like a slipper. If the fin rubs against your ankle bone, it is too big or the wrong design for your foot. On the other hand, if your feet start to tingle while wearing your fins, they are too small.
Scuba divers are serious about their kicking ability and underwater thrust. Fin science has taken kicking to a new level. Diver fins now offer features like channels and split fin designs.
Channels help move the water across or through the fin, which allow the diver to move through the water quite rapidly. Channels increase the diverís speed because they offer less surface area resistance in the water. Additionally, channels (depending upon their placement) offer extra fin flexibility, which means the fin can bend further and move more water with each kick cycle.
Split Fin Design
The theory behind split fins is as the diver kicks his/her foot downward, the water channels through the split and creates a spring-like action that resembles the physics of a dolphin or whaleís tail. This action increases each kickís power and effectiveness while reducing the amount of fatigue that the diver experiences. Split fins are also very popular among divers who experience knee pain or have had knee surgery. The split fin reduces the amount of resistance felt by the diverís joints while offering a great deal of effectiveness with each kick.
Fins are a very basic piece of equipment, but that doesn't mean they are without need from time to time. Below are some fin-related accessories that will enhance your time in the water and extend the life of your fins.
If you have ever fought with rubber fin straps and lost the battle on more than one occasion, spring fin straps might be the way for you to win the war.
At the end of a shore dive, most divers begin ditching their gear when they are approximately waist-deep in the water. Fatigue and the juggling act that accompanies gear ditching can result in dropped fins. Safely clip your fins to your BCD with a utility strap.
Make sure the gear you pick up is yours - make sure the gear others pick up isnít yours. Use a waterproof permanent marker to put your name or contact information on your dive gear.
By keeping your gear organized and separated, you'll be ready to hit the water in a timely manner. Fin bags also keep your fins from damage.
If your fin strap breaks or is worn out, it is time to make a change. If you're on the beach without a backup, say goodbye to your time in the water. This simple piece of replacement gear is priceless when needed.
The last thing you want to do is find out on the beach or dive boat that something is wrong with your gear, and not have a way to fix the problem. By carrying a save-a-dive kit, you can still safely enjoy your dive or snorkeling adventure just like you planned.