Choosing the right scuba fins

You do need fins for scuba diving. They give you added power to move along in the water smoothly and gracefully.Without fins you would be exhausted in minutes and would use up your air supply very quickly.

Buying Fins

When you walk into the shop, don't ask for a pair of flippers. They may well hand over a couple of dead dolphins or just laugh at you. The things scuba divers wear on their feet are called fins.

Types of Scuba Fins

There are two basic types of fin:

open heel scuba fin

1) These fins have an open heel and attach via a strap. These are more commonly worn by divers than the other type.

closed heel diving fin

2) Fins that totally enclose the back of the foot. These fully enclosed fins are comfortable, but are only suitable for warm water diving since you don't wear any sort of boots with them and so your feet are not insulated from the cold water.

Manufactuers of Scuba Fins

Mares, Scubapro, Dacor and Cressi are just four of the hundreds of manufacturers making scuba fins. A quick look in a shop reveals lots of different fins for sale.

Advanced designs of fins

The common wide flat fin was all that was available for about 30 years, then along came a radical new design called the split fin.

split fin

These fins provide up to 40% more efficiency than traditional bladed fins. They lower water resistance and so it takes less effort to move through the water. the outer edges of the fins are rigid, but the middle near the split is made of a far softer material than traditional fins so that they move in the water, incleasing thrust and reducing drag.

split fins versus standard scuba fins

However the power is not evenly distributed throughout the effort range and so weaker swimmers will probably find no incentive to switch to more expensive split fins.