Friday, October 14, 2005

Equipment - Fins

There are many different types of fins on the market. The choice that you make will be influenced by a number of factors including, the type of diving that you will be doing, how much you want to spend and whether you have any physical limitations.

Type of diving: if you will be diving in warm tropical waters then you would probably want to select a full foot fin. Cold water divers prefer to wear booties to keep their feet warm and generally use open heeled fins with the booties. If you are going to be doing both cold and warm water diving, then a good compromise would be to select an open heeled pair of fins since you use can them in both cold and warm water.

Cost: generally there is a relationship between the cost of the fins and how well they perform. The newer technology fins have undergone some very interesting changes. For example Scubapro markets split fins that look like they should not work, but work very well. Most manufacturers have a line of fins that include some kind of split fin/channel technology. The idea is that the split in the fins (or channels) help reduce the water pressure and resistance, yet allow you to kick efficiently. I do not want to delve too much into the theory of how they work, suffice to say that split fins have my hearty recommendation.

Physical limitations: If your knees have been injured due to a sports injury or some kind of accident etc. you certainly want to be careful in selecting the type of fins that you dive with. Fins make a huge difference to your comfort in the water. The newer, more efficient fins put less stress on your knees and allow you to kick more efficiently.

Consult your local dive store (LDS) about your specific fin choice, especially if you have some kind of physical limitation. Finding a good fit is important so that you can prevent or reduce cramping and excessive fatigue. Your LDS will be able to help you find a well fitting pair of fins.

Willy Volk from wrote an interesting post on open heeled fins versus full foot fins that include many links to excellent articles for more indepth research. See Willie's article here. Thanks Willie.

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