Although funny looking, fins are important and are highly precise SCUBA gear. These fins are also popularly known as SCUBA fins, diving fins, flippers and blades. Whether you are scuba diving Hawaii, swimming or snorkeling; your fins are a vital piece of gear to help ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable diving activity.
SCUBA fins’ main purpose is to aid SCUBA divers in moving more swiftly and efficiently underwater with the least amount of effort possible. Since fins provide a wider area to push and move against the water, divers need not to use their hands anymore to move underwater. With the right pair of fins, you may not have to use anything other than those fins to maneuver effortlessly through the water!
Technology has permitted and made modern fins more comfortable, streamlined and appealing than they used to be. Many years of research has been spent on developing and creating fins using different materials and designs, which aid with maximum efficiency and comfort, while at the same time minimizing tiresome kicking efforts underwater.
Common materials used in making SCUBA fins include plastic, polypropylene, or rubber. Fins are considered more affordable compared to other sophisticated and technologically advanced SCUBA gears such as regulators and BCDs. Thus, it is one of the first essential pieces of equipment bought by new divers. Some dive centers encourage all students to acquire their own mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit before beginning their in-water training.
If you’re thinking of getting your first pair or even upgrading your existing equipment and are having problems choosing the best one for you, here is a guide, along with tips, that can help you find the perfect SCUBA fins for you!
CHOOSING SCUBA FINS
Finding and choosing the best diving fins can be a somewhat overwhelming experience especially to new divers. People generally choose things that are priced within their budget and in the case of diving fins, there are actually a wide range of designs in every price range. Traditional and simple designed fins are more affordable while the more advanced and highly specialized fins come with a higher price tag.
When choosing fins, always keep in mind that an inefficient fin will have an impact on your air consumption and the amount of energy you use. New divers frequently ask more advanced divers how they can improve their air consumption. The easiest way is to get better equipment! Better doesn’t always mean more expensive, fins are personal and not every type of fin is best suited for every type of diver.
Such as the case of choosing a dive mask, a diver’s main concern when buying a diving fin should always be comfort. A diver needs to be comfortable with the fins otherwise the person will not be able use them effectively under water. You want to enjoy scuba diving Hawaii don’t you?
Open Heel Fins or Closed Heel (Full Foot) Fins?Having difficulty choosing the pocket type of your diving fins? Actually, choosing between an open heel fins and closed heel fins can be a simple one.
OPEN HEEL FINS:
Compared to the closed heel fins, open heeled fins have wider and larger foot pockets. This is for the fact that open heeled fins are designed to be used with dive booties. Aside from protecting your feet from blisters and cuts, booties also keep your feet warm.
Open heeled fins are best for cold water diving. It is also best for beach or shore entry diving, wherein a diver needs to walk through stairs, sand, rubbles and even rocks to get to the dive site. Hawaii has some of the best shore diving around but some of the entry points can wreak havoc on your feet without the proper coverage. Although these fins are made of strong materials, please be advised that its strap is the weakest part. So always keep a spare strap to replace in case it breaks. If divers are using open heel fins when scuba diving Hawaii it is usually because they are shore diving over rough lava rock.
CLOSED HEEL (FULL FOOT) FINS
Closed heel fins are considered as traditional fins. In spite of the availability of new modern styled and designed fins, this pocket type is still popular among snorkelers and divers. These fins are generally more affordable and less expensive than the open heeled fins.
Since it offers no thermal protection at all, closed heel fins are really best for scuba diving Hawaii or warm water diving only. A few downsides of these fins are that they are not adjustable, you cannot use them in cold water and that they can cause blisters and cuts to your foot. Ouch! And even worse, they might also slip off your feet while swimming or moving.
Types of Diving Fins
Paddle fins are considered the traditional, simple style fins. They can either be open heel or closed heel. Scuba divers usually prefer the open heel ones due to adjustability and versatility, while closed heel types are generally worn by swimmers or snorkelers. If you’re planning on doing mostly warm water diving from a liveaboard or with a charter company, closed heel fins are just fine.Paddle fins basically move in an ‘up and down’ motion. This motion is very helpful in both free diving and diving in sites with currents. If you have strong legs then paddle fins are just perfect for you!
Split Fins are fins that are literally split into two parts. If you want to move more efficiently underwater then split fins are your thing! In contrast with the up and down movement of paddle fins, split fins act more like a boat propeller. These fins are split in specialized angles that makes every diver’s kick efficient without the use of much effort, meaning that you can spend much more bottom time and cover a greater area with these fins. On the downside split fins only really allow you to scissor kick. You won’t be able to do the fancy frog kicks with these!
Want to have that great powerful and efficient kick underwater? Try freediving fins! They come in a variety of materials from plastic to carbon fiber. The carbon fiber ones will be both the most efficient and the most expensive. Carbon blades now come in shorter lenghts good for scuba. The longer blades will give you a more efficient kick helping to improve your air consumption dramatically. Many of our dive guides here at Kona Honu Divers use them.
How to Fit Diving Fins
First, sit down and wear the fins. If you’re fitting yourself for a pair of open heel fins be sure you have the bootie you’ll be wearing with the fin to ensure a comfortable fit. Make sure that you can see a few inches of your boots protruding from the back of the foot pocket. A closed heel fin will snug and fit comfortable on your barefoot. If you’re worried about blisters, some closed heel fins are able to accommodate a thin fin sock or lycra sock to prevent rubbing.Move, shake and tilt your feet. This is to make sure that the fins are fit and tight enough. When trying the open heel fins, never pull the strap too much and make sure that strap holds your foot in place.Raise a fin and try to hold its tip. Then try flexing the fin as if you are kicking it underwater.Stand up with your feet flat on the ground. Lift the ball of your heel up (as if you were about to stand on your toes). If the fin slips off your feet or your heel pops out every now and then whenever you move, you need a smaller foot pocket.There are a lot of choices when it comes to fins. No matter what type of diving fins you have, the most important thing to consider is COMFORT. Diving fins can either make or break that dive adventure you have been dreaming of. Therefore it should serve in making your diving experience an easy and hassle-free one.
If you want some expert help, the crew at Kona Honu Divers in Hawaii has the best crew in town! We hope to see you soon!