Dive Fins Tips

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What kind of scuba fins can I choose from?

Look for a Range of Styles in Scuba Fins

The good news about scuba fins is that there are more styles and choices than ever before. The challenge for divers is finding the right fins for their body type and diving needs.

The early-generation, full-foot diving flippers are still used by a lot of people. But there are newer, angled styles that allow for more efficient movement through the water.

Scuba divers usually prefer adjustable heel straps and a range of styles -- angled, split or force fins. Snorklers often use paddle fins, which allow for leisurely swims over reefs.

Comfort should be choice No. 1. Dive fins that feel uncomfortable or awkward won't work well for you.

   

Look for Reviews to Find the Best Dive Fins

Fins range in designs, from the stiff and forceful paddle to the more flexible split. There also are fins that are full-footed or open heel with straps. Some fins are made of polypropelene, others of natural rubber. Dive fins are not only affordable. They should be among the first equipment purchases a new diver makes. Your new dive fins should fit snugly and feel comfortable.

   

Shop for Name-Brand Swim Fins with a Reputation for Quality

When shopping for dive fins, consider brand names that have a reputation for quality and performance: Mares, Ocean Master, Oceanic, ScubaPro, Cressi and TUSA. Mares fins are the world's top-selling dive fins, with special patented designs that allow for more powerful kicks and swifter movement.

   
How can I find the best diving fins?

Look for Reviews to Find the Best Dive Fins

Fish and dolphins have it easy. They don't have to choose their fins. They are born with them.

With the range of dive fins on the market, how do landlubbers choose the best flippers? Most of us cannot expect to glide like Flipper through the ocean, but new engineering and designs are offering swim fins that allow for a better kick and thrust in the water.

  1. Ask diving friends about their choices. Then do some research on your own. Chances are if you put some time into your homework, it will pay off with a pair of scuba fins that meet your diving needs.
  2. You want a pair of fins that are comfortable, from the foot pocket to the straps. You don't want to strain your ankle when kicking, nor do you want to overtax your leg muscles.
  3. The fins also need to feel right, more like a part of your body than clumsy protrusions that help you kick but tire your muscles.
  4. Look for consumer diving equipment reviews on line. Some equipment sellers let buyers rate brands and models of dive equipment. There also are divers' chat rooms. Dive magazines offer regular reviews and critiques of dive equipment.

   
What are force fins?

Force Fins Have a Toehold in Scuba Diving

Force fins are catching on in scuba diving. The blades on these swim fins are loved by swimmers whose kick have a forceful punch. Now scuba divers are using force fins for their toe-free foot pockets and upcurved blades that allow for swifter motion with less effort underwater.

Force fins are smaller than traditional scuba fins and made of polyurethane. They are designed to mimic the tail of a tuna or dolphin. Force fins have a growing but loyal following that is cult-like in its devotion to force fins.

Force fins are supposed to fit so well to the contours of a diver's foot that a strap is not needed to hold them on. The recoiling blade is touted for a snap and flexibility that stiffer blades lack.

Consumers will decide whether force fins are a fad or have a toehold in scuba diving. The bottom line is that buying swim fins is a personal choice about fit, comfort and a design that works best for you.

   
How do I care for my new mask, fins and snorkel?

Basic Maintenance Extends the Life of Dive Equipment

Buying scuba equipment can be a big investment. So it is a good idea to take care of your equipment. Basic maintenance does not require a lot of work. It ensures you are ready -- and you will not have any last-minute delays -- on your next dive.

  • Soak your mask, swims fins and snorkel in freshwater after your dive, or rinse the equipment off thoroughly with a hose. Salt crystals dry out and crack scuba fins, and erode the straps on masks and fins. Salt and sand can scratch the lens of your mask.
  • After the rinse, check all straps for wear and tears. Is your mask strap too stretched out to keep the face plate taut? Has one of your dive flippers cracked?
  • Replace broken mask straps with new ones or simply take one from a spare mask. Carry a replacement strap for your fins, so you can change straps without hassle or losing dive time.
  • Lie swim fins flat after use. Do not tip them on their blades, which can bend.
  • Keep your equipment in a mesh dive bag, away from the light and heat. A locked garage is not a bad place. Pack the mask in a case so it does not get scratched.

   
How can I make sure that my new dive fins fit well?

Choose Quality Over Savings When Buying Dive Fins

Expect to pay anywhere from $25-$200 for a new pair of dive fins. That's quite a price range, but with diving equipment you often get what you pay for.

It's better to focus on quality rather than savings. Chances are you will be returning for replacements if you choose a cheap brand of scuba fins that doesn't hold up well to the elements and use.

After you settle on a style and brand of swim fins, choose a pair that fits well. There are some basic tips to follow for just the right fit:

  • Scuba divers need to wear their dive boots when trying on open-heel fins. You should be able to see a few inches of your boot heel sticking out.
  • Make sure the strap holds the foot in place but does not scrunch it into the fin. Don't pull the strap too tightly. Your foot should slide a bit in the fin, if you shake it back and forth.
  • If you are trying on full-foot fins, they should be snug but comfortable on your bare feet. They should not rub too hard against your heel or cut into your ankle.

   
Are split dive fins better than paddle fins?

Split Fins are a Popular Choice Among Divers

Fun dive fins to try are new versions that promise better kicking force and underwater efficiency. These fins are not the traditional duck-footed dive flippers. They have splits, cutouts and vents to help divers swim faster.

Split fins are the most common and popular. The fins are forked or bisected, with a thin piece missing from the middle. It's like having twin fins on each foot. Divers who use split fins boast of having stronger and more forceful strokes. But there are other divers who still swear by the paddle scuba fins.

   
Are there certain brands of swim fins with an established reputation for quality?

Shop for Name-Brand Swim Fins with a Reputation for Quality

Your scuba fins are your wheels in the water. Kicking with flippers allows divers to move with ease. Unlike swimmers, scuba divers do not use their arms much to propel themselves. So it is critical to get swim fins that help you thrust and move with efficiency.

Veteran scuba divers are familiar with the top brands in the industry. Each brand offers distinctive styles and designs. These days there is more science and engineering behind new styles that emerge. Besides sporting cool-looking angles or gill-like vents, this new generation of swim fins is providing unprecedented comfort and speed to open-water diving.

Individual body type and preferences have resulted in several brands that are popular with scuba divers. But there is no one set of fins that tops them all.

   
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Jerry Mayo