The quality of the diving equipment that a diver owns makes or breaks their diving experience. Therefore, choosing the right equipment is of utmost importance. Most divers will swear that the most important diving kit elements are a mask, a regulator, and fins. There is a reason why scuba fins are a part of this list. Fins help you navigate through the water. Without them, you cannot possibly glide and swim smoothly.
Choosing the right fins is necessary. Therefore, we have come up with certain points that you should consider while buying a pair of scuba fins.
What Is the Need for Scuba Fins?
Scuba fins help in better movement to your feet underwater like what engines do to a car. Since our feet are not webbed and are not designed to propel the body through water, fins solve it. They help the human body to be propelled through water at ease.
Scuba fins’ design helps transfer energy from the entire body to the feet so that your kicks help the body move underwater as fishes do. With a proper pair of fins, you can adjust your speed, direction, and all other necessities through your legs. This leaves your hands practically free for photography or examination.
While fins are good for snorkeling, they are of utmost necessity for scuba diving. There is no way for you to navigate deep water and control your movements without a proper pair of fins.
Factors to Evaluate Scuba Fins
Below are some of the main factors that go into evaluating the quality and usability of scuba fins.
Thrust is the amount of propulsion the fin gives your body with every kick that you perform. Thrust depends on the stiffness, length, and overall design of the fin.
A single beat is a single kick that you have to perform to create thrust. Beat rate is the frequency at which you will have to kick to get the right propulsion.
Stiffness is self-explanatory. It is the hardness of the fin material. Stiffer fins result in better thrust, but they also require more energy to be exerted.
The ability for a fin to float on water has become a new trend in the current time. The buoyancy can affect your swim. They make your body float towards the surface.
Proprioception or bite is the way you can feel the water with every kick. This helps you have full control over your movements since you are aware of your feet’ positioning.
Your fins’ size and weight is an essential evaluator since you will have to carry them around for most of the time. Scuba gear is mostly heavy. Suppose you can cut down on the weight of the fins. You’ll feel better. However, heavier fins generally have better thrust due to more stiffness.
Type of Fin and Blade
The fin-type and the blade that is used on it are a wider topic of discussion. They will be better explained in the next sections. Fin type and blades affect all the above-given factors that go into evaluating scuba fins.
Different Kinds of Scuba Fins
There are two types of scuba fins that you can choose from – open heel fins and full-foot fins. Both types of fins have their applications. Therefore, you must analyze your requirements before choosing a fin type.
Full-foot fins are just shoes that have fins attached to them. You have to slip them on like shoes, and you’re good to go. This allows the small blades to take full energy from the feet and does not lose comfort and flexibility. They are also lightweight due to the lack of straps and buckles.
Full-foot fins are most common for snorkeling and warm water diving. This is because most warm water destinations attract usage of as little gear as possible. Full-foot fins are helpful there since they do not require you to wear a neoprene bootie.
Open Heel Fins
Open Heel fins are the preferred choice of scuba divers. They provide maximum grip since the foot is kept in place with the help of adjustable straps. When diving in cool water, there is no option to not use these fins along with diving booties.
These fins generally have larger blades to provide better thrust. They are also generally heavy-duty and heavier than full-foot fins.
Blade Types for Scuba Fins
The blade type that will best suit your scuba fins should be decided according to various factors. These factors include your swimming style, the weight you’re comfortable with, the amount of thrust you want, etc.
These are the least expensive and the most popular fin blades. Snorkelers generally use them due to their easy kick ability. They could be made both flexible and stiff.
These blades are unique due to their still side rails and flexible center. You can get the best of both worlds with this blade type.
The split blade allows huge power with less effort and shorter kicks. They are great for when you’d want to speed through the water while scuba diving. They have negligible thrust, though, which is disadvantageous in strong current situations.
Divers who like to have full control like long blades. They are the most popularly used blades by scuba divers. They are great for spearfishing and scuba diving.
How to Choose the Right Scuba Fins for Yourself?
Multiple factors go into choosing the right fin according to your needs. By now, you know about all of them.
The question that now arises is – how to put all these factors together to choose the perfect pair of scuba fins? That is a question that has varied answers for various divers. But here is a small rundown on how to choose the right fins for yourself.
If you are buying scuba fins for snorkeling, you do not require too hard a fit. This means that full-foot fins will work best for you.
Paddle blades are great for snorkelers since they have an easy thrust and low beat rate. You don’t need too much power in your feet while snorkeling anyway since you’d not be underwater.
Lightweight, flexible, and buoyant fins work best for snorkeling. They will give your feet the ability to swim perfectly but will also not drag you down.
Shallow Scuba Diving
If you are a beginner or are planning to go on a shallow scuba dive, you will need fins that are easy to wear and remove. You will also be required to have good performance and control over your body and dive.
Full-foot fins with channel blades seem to be a good option in that case. They will be lightweight and will give a good thrust. However, the beat rate and stiffness are not too much, which allows you to swim easily and not put too much strength in.
Deep Scuba Diving
You are probably an intermediate to advanced scuba diver if you are looking for fins for deep scuba diving. Expert divers have great control over their swimming techniques and know-how to handle tough situations. As a result, their gear should give them the maximum grip and control as well.
Deep scuba divers should opt for open heel fins with either a split blade or a long blade. This is so because such fins and blades are known for providing the best grip and comfort.
The scuba fins that deep scuba divers choose should have great thrust, low beat rate, and low buoyancy. Fins with greater stiffness are preferable for experienced scuba divers. The bite of each fin is crucial since seasoned divers should be aware of every little detail of their dive.
Some Good Scuba Fins
As mentioned above, the pair of fins that will best suit your needs depends on personal factors. The best-rated fins in the market don’t need to suit all divers.
Given below is a list of the fins that vary in features and utility. You can refer to the list and choose according to what you’re looking for.
- Oceanic Manta Ray Fins
- Cressi Reaction Pro Full Foot Fins
- Aqua Lung Express Full Foot Fins
- Mares Volvo Race
- Hollis F2
- Atomic Aquatis Split Fin
- Scubapro Seawing Nova
- Aqua Lung Shot FX
- Mares Avanti Quattro
- Apeks RK3
If you are looking to buy a decent pair of scuba fins, you must choose according to your needs. Your swimming technique, personal fitness, kicking style, and bouncy, among other things, play a role in choosing the right fins.
The only way to go about choosing a pair of fins that are more suitable for you is by trial and error. The experience will get you the most valuable information and choosing ability.