The fins fit fine

Photo courtesy of Alpinist Magizine


Lots of people discuss fins on the Internet.

This one's best, these have turbo ridges, this one is faster because its red.

Hogwash!

Which fin is best?

There is no one BEST fin for everyone.

The trick is to find the best fin for YOU.

First lets divide all fins into categories.

and no fin soup is NOT one of the acceptable groups...

We have

Short and wide like these



Or long like these



The short ones are generally easier to kick with but produce less total forward propulsion due to the smaller surface area you are pushing against the water.

The long ones have a larger surface area and you get more forward propulsion but they have also been described as strapping 2 by 4's to your feet.

Which one is best depends on several things the most important of which is you.

First, the fins you use MUST fit YOUR FOOT and be comfortable or at least tolerable.

The foot at the beginning of this post has frost bite and the mountaineer in question lost four toes.

Let's try to be kinder to our feet than that.

If you have wide feet you need fins with a wide foot box.

Some break in of your feet is to be expected but you should keep all of your toes.

Second, you need to look in the mirror at your legs.

If you see tree trunks growing out of your body you can use long slower leg movements and long fins to rocket thru the water.

If you see wispy thin legs try the wide short fins. You can use the short fast kicks to provide bursts of speed to rocket you thru the water.

If you see three legs in the mirror your case is outside the parameters of this blog post, but I understand the circus is hiring.

So try all your friends fins and find some that are comfortable.

You can scout the garage sales for cheap fins. They might not last long but you might find the perfect combination of fit and forward motion!

Hint if you wear Duck Feet upside down you get another half size up.
I am not sure why but I think it has to do with some sort of Voit fin magic.

Hint number two there are those that will take a big fin (see the UDT's above) and carve them up to fit them better and change the flex characteristics. Thinning the blades increase their flex. Carve the straps to accommodate your ankle bones. Go nuts with it. It will do you good. You can also modify the foot box by gluing neoprene pads in the box.  Do what you have to do to get a comfortable functional fit. See Swaylocks or UK Matsurfers sites for discussions about fin mods.
Sea Craft Supply will do some of the mods for you if you want to go that route.

Here are some Duck Feet that have had the blades shortened and thinned out.



These are commercially available so you don't get rubber bits all over the garden.


So even if you are not of the mat or boogie board persuasion get a pair of fins for the summer. Body surfing is a blast and it one of the things surfers lost touch with when "Leashes Ruined Surfing".

Let me know what kinds of fins you use.

I am starting a personal collection and hope to, one day, be the Imelda Marcos of swim fins...




Personally I use a several pairs of Duck Feet (no not all at the same time) but a smaller pair during the summer when I wear them over fin socks and a larger pair during the winter that fit nicely over my booties.

I am also looking at Da Fin as an interesting mid-sized fin

They seem to have a soft foot box a stiff blade and those interesting winging on the side might just come in handy when blasting along a steep face on the mat.

Comments

speedshaper said…
Best article on fins possibly ever:Succinct and to the point. I'm sending the link to all the newbies I know.
Thanks!
Speedshaper
Unknown said…
I like my Leblon Flex fins and also dafins.
Valerie Johnson said…
I still swear by my good old Churchills. My favorite for 41 years now!
pranaglider said…
The trick is to try enough fins to find the ones that fit.

speedshaper - share away

Terry - I've heard good things about them

Valerie - Your have the retired teacher magic dust!
tuskedbeast said…
I love my Da Fins! They come in Churchill green which has nice associations. Good point about leg shape and fins.

This post is like a Bat Signal to Steiny, surprised he's not chiming in!

Really love seeing your blog again, Prana.

pranaglider said…
"Bat Signal to Steiny" is the name of my new punk band

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