On this page you will find news, updates and articles regarding safe practice of open water sports in general. This also includes useful information about water safety products, open-water rescue skills and techniques, both for SCUBA and free diving, surfing, bodyboarding and much more. No matter which extreme water sport you currently practice, we have you covered right here!
The importance of thrust and comfort…fin selection for the right water sport.
Choose your fins wisely…I’m serious.
You use bodyboard fins and bodysurfing fins for surf breaks. Just as dive fins are for diving, and pool training swim fins are just for that, training. Getting those mixed up can lead you to real trouble.
Loosing fins in dangerous surf, getting cramps while snorkeling or, worse even, diving, or not maximizing your performance during swim training, these can all be attributed to wearing the wrong type of fins. Following is a basic primer for fins, their advantages, and what makes them ideal for the activity they were designed for.
Bodysurfing / Bodyboarding
Choosing the right pair of bodysurfing/bodyboarding fins is really important. Correctly choosing your fins will help you acquire the necessary speed to take off a wave. For bodysurfing, this is really all the equipment you will need.
Bodyboarding requires a bit more equipment like a leash and skegs (optional). In my experience, I have tried two brands of fins which I can tell you about. There are others, but 5 are the market standard: Churchill Fins, Viper Fins (which I will mention here briefly), Duck Fins, Da Fin and Hydro Fins.
Please note that by clicking on the links for both Churchill Swimfins and Viper Swimfins, you will be taken to Amazon.com where further details on these items may be found, including their respective pricing. I have used these products and I am very satisfyed with their performance. In regards to deepdiving fins and training swim fins, also appearing below, I confess I have not tried either one of them, having only good references of friends who have used them and praised their performance. If you decide to purchase any of these items by clicking into the Amazon.com link, please also note that I will receive a comission as one of their affiliates. Thanks in advance!
Churchill Makapuu Swimfins
These fins have been around for as long as I can remember. I bought my first pair back in 1979 and had them for at least 15 years, giving them intermediate use. They got me through my first waves in Rincon, Puerto Escondido and Pascuales. Designed by legendary waterman Tom Morey, Churchill Makapuu Swimfins give you maximum speed and stability in the water. The fin design remains a pretty unique feature of these fins, patented by Tom Morey himself. The design provides both power and comfort for long swims and surf sessions. Best of all, the fins can handle all conditions and can be worn by beginners and advanced boodysurfers / bodyboarders alike.
Acceleration is name of the game with Viper Swimfins. Their uniqe tapered tip design, and 5 inch blade, makes them a favorite among bodysurfers / bodyboarders, open water swimers, and lifeguards all over the world. I found them to be very maneuverable and reviews on their acceleration prowess were all true. However, I did find them a bit stiff and heavy, several times causing blisters. But nothing a sock couldn’t fix. To date, I still have these fins and I use them regularly. Great product!
These are also great, high performance bodysurfing / bodyboarding fins…
For further details go to finbin.net and check their website. No affiliate prompt here. Just good ol’ information to know a bit more about this and other related products.
Snorkeling / SCUBA Diving
Snorkeling is practiced on the surface of the water. Light and basic are the main features of snorkel fins. Thrust (propulsion) is not a priority here. They are typically full footed and are closed at the back part of the heel. Another characteristic is that since most snorkeling is practiced in warm weather, these type of fins do not require insulation, like their larger dive fin counterpart. Large, cumbersome fins are not efficient for snorkeling.
For recreational diving up 150 feet or deeper, in case of technical dives, the dive fin should offer good propulsion with least amount of effort. The more strained the dive, the faster the diver will consume compressed air, which results in shorter dives. Since heat-loss is a major factor in SCUBA diving, proper fin insulation weighs heavily on safe, responsible SCUBA diving. Dive boots and socks are mainstay accesories for recreational and tech diving. Also, in contrast with their surface cousin, dive fins have an open heel fin that when used in combination of dive socks and boots make for safer more comfortable diving in depths lower than 30 feet. While closed foot design is available, open heel design provides better thrust and comfort.
For free divers, close heeled fins are the fin of choice. Two advantages make these fins favorite among free divers: streamline design and snug, secure fit.
Since freedivers don’t have any breathing apparatus, depending solely on their lung capacity, fins of this type must guarantee increased power, streamline design and reduced drag. So what should you look at when selecting free diving fins? Blade length, stiffness and material. Some fins may seem a bit exagerated on their length but for experienced freedivers, longer blades are specifically designed for deeper diving; they offer much greater thrust. This is essential during ascent since near-surface black outs are a real danger for freedivers. Just as important, long blades offer ease of exertion during descent. Less energy means less waste of oxygen, which results in longer breath holds.
Pool Training Swin Fins
If you have ever had the opportunity to watch a profficient swimmer, or better yet, a swimmer training for a college meet or national competition, I am quiet sure you were blown away by the speed and apparent ease in which, with a few strokes, they are propeling themselves across the pool, literally slicing the water effortlessly.
It is a spectacle to be both enjoyed and appreciated. Proper technique and the right swiming equipment for training plays a huge part on the swimmer’s chances for success. I think we can all agree with that. What equipment they choose depends on what their training goals are: increased speed, recovery, loosening up or focus on a certain technique. Correct selection of the right training fins should consider the following criteria
- The fins you choose should, above all, feel comfortable. This is really key since you will be spending a considerable amount of time wearing them.
- The fins you select should allow you to make improvements in your top strokes.
- They should help you work on your weakest and most inefficient stroke.
Whether you’re aiming to acquire the best bodyboard fins in the market, or simply a pair of standard, closed heel snorkeling fins, or your goal is more ambitious, like veturing into deep wreck dives or going to the extreme, free diving to depths of 30 feet or beyond, proper fin selection is crucial for enjoying safe, responsible practice of your favorite water sport.