Fins - what can you tell me?

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by makecoldplayhistory, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. makecoldplayhistory

    makecoldplayhistory Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: S.E. Asia
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    My wife and I are pretty new divers. We're only on dive number 20.


    We bought our own masks last year (Mares X Vision) and love them. The difference over the cheap ones we used to borrow from the dive centres is amazing.

    Is the same true of fins?

    I haven't ever had a problem with the borrowed fins. My wife finds them quite uncomfortable though.

    Is there a noticable difference when you spend a little money on them?

    There seem to be soooo many different kinds at each price point that I don't even know where to start looking.

    Thanks a lot


    Mike
     
  2. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    4,085
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    Yes

    And at $70 Jets are a bargain
     
  3. makecoldplayhistory

    makecoldplayhistory Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: S.E. Asia
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    Thanks.

    Do you mean these?

    scubapro . com / europe / uk / scubapro - products / fins / blade - fins / jet - fins

    I can't post links untill I've posted 5 times so had to put spaces in the url :(
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Manta Ray

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    Some people will say that you get what you pay for, but experience will show that the most expensive fins in the world are not necessarily going to be the best fins for each one of us. Fins, like shoes, are very personal items of gear. They have to match as closely as possible our feet's three dimensions: length, width and arch height whether we're planning to wear the extra bulk of socks/boots or not, so we're best off trying them on for size before purchase, wearing those extra socks/boots if that is going to be our normal use. It's a veritable odyssey finding fins that fit perfectly, not least because individual models are commonly labelled "Small", "Medium", "Large" and "Extra Large", each of which can mean anything. It's appalling that in this day and age fin makers don't provide exact measurements in millimetres (the Mondopoint system) of each fin pocket size's foot length and foot width, using the specifications of a National Standard such as DIN 7876.

    Choosing fins isn't only about getting the right size for your feet but also about the right blade stiffness to suit not only your physical strength and stamina but also your priorities, whether it be power, manoeuvrability or endurance or any combination of these. There is no such thing as a "universal fin" in terms of sizing or performance. And you will find if you read some of the threads in this forum that there is a lack of consensus about the science of fins, which is hardly surprising as people often forget that the word "science" comes from the Latin word for "knowledge", i.e. what we currently know, not an absolute eternal fact or truth. We may understand how finning works better in ten or a hundred years' time. At the moment, there are just too many variables to control before we can reach a conclusion.

    Note that I haven't so far made a recommendation of a make or model of fin that will be perfect for you and your wife. I don't intend to do so in this message because it's a distraction, but I will reveal that I use traditional all-rubber full-foot fins when I snorkel (I don't scuba-dive) in the North East of England and I'm very happy with the few fins of this type that I own because they fit my feet exactly, they suit the gentle style of snorkelling I enjoy now I'm in my sixties, and they're relatively cheap compared with the plastic-bladed fins I dislike (fin choice is partly rational (science) and partly irrational (fashion) :)). It took me quite a while, and plenty of experimentation, to locate what are my now favourite fins. The fact that my choice of fins suits me is totally irrelevant to you, however. You will have to make your own voyage of discovery when it comes to fins, and if you are in a position to borrow pairs of different types, then you can make up your own minds by testing the fins in the water and seeing whether they do what you want them to do without causing you fatigue or flopping about inefficiently. I recommend that you don't blindly follow anybody's advice which is limited to "Buy Brand X" or, even less helpfully, "Buy Model Y", because you will be on the receiving end of somebody else's choice of fins for themselves, not you. We live in a diverse world where everybody's dimensions, priorities and preferences are different. Don't rush to a solution, particularly somebody else's solution, focus on defining the problem of fin choice more precisely first, from your perspective, not excluding the criterion of cost, of course, but not letting yourself be over-influenced by it.
     
  5. makecoldplayhistory

    makecoldplayhistory Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: S.E. Asia
    4
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    Thanks David.

    I'm not really in a position to try other fins. Our diving friends are like us... new and tend to use the dive resort's equipment.

    We can obviously measure comfort / fit in a shop.

    Other than that though, I'm really clueless.

    I guess that longer fins are more tiring, but you can go faster.*

    Split fins offer more manoeuvrability.*

    *generalisations, of course...
     
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Manta Ray

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    You're perhaps trying to arrive at your ultimate destination, your perfect pair of fins, too fast. It took me many years to find what suited me best. In the intervening time, it's a matter of finding the best approximations to what we're after. You've mentioned some of the benefits of fins, including speed and manoeuvrability, to which I would add endurance, i.e. you can wear the fins over an extended period without discomfort. You will have to decide what is the greatest priority for you in the kind of diving you do. No fin will fulfil every one of these criteria for you. Decide first which matters most, bearing in mind that speed isn't necessarily vital in anything other than competitive finswimming. In your own case, you sound pretty satisfied with the fins you have borrowed. Have you any reason to change them for something else, then? In your wife's case, she needs to determine why she dislikes the fins she is currently using. That's sometimes a good alternative starting point. List the negatives, then you can look round for something that eliminates those negatives, though often, in my experience, by putting other negatives in their place! :) To begin with, have you decided yet whether you prefer open-heel or full-foot fins? I know that many divers in the Far East, particularly Japanese divers, prefer full-foots to open-heels in the warmer water, but that's not a universal choice, of course. And before anybody tells you otherwise, you can wear full-foots with socks or boots, so long as you make sure they fit your fins before you buy them. I myself prefer full-foots, despite the fact that most British divers probably use open-heels, but none of this should influence you either way. Pick whatever fits you most comfortably.
     
  7. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
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    Dunno, even when I removed all the spaces the link went to the SP home page

    But these: ScubaPro Jet Fins, Black

    (oops they've gone up in price since I last bought a pair)

    They're not for everyone but you'll be hard pressed to find someone who uses them and doesn't like them
     
  8. RJP

    RJP PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    13,433
    5,905
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    By definition, that's virtually true for anything/everything. (Few people use gear they don't like.)

    :eyebrow:

    That said, I do love my Jets.
     
  9. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    11,341
    796
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    Mike,

    As you have seen here is a wide range of fin prices. What you get is a mix of quality, performance, hype and dogma.

    We have used to fins so far in our household and both have served us well.

    We started with the Aeris Velocity (not split) and really like them. For the newer/occasional diver they are easy on the legs, propel and maneuver nice and are not wicked heavy to pack for vacations. They have very high reviews when introduced (2003?) A successor version was introduced last year and it seems to build on the soft vented center design.

    Last year when a fin finally cracked (600+ dives) I gave ScubaPro Jets a try. They swim very similar but being stouter I find them much more in tune with doing things like the frog kick. They are relatively heavy so they are a consideration when packing. That are also negative in the water and this will be reflected in how much weight you need and how you manage trim.

    I think both can be had in the $100. per pair price range here in the U.S. spring straps enhance each.

    Pete
     
  10. Jorgy

    Jorgy Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Syracuse, NY
    1,138
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    Perhaps you go provide more detail on what your wife finds uncomfortable?

    My darling bride had traditional open heal blade fins and would get severe calf cramps......now she dives very soft split fins (Yellow SP Twin Jets).....no more leg cramps......

    One of my dive club buddies would get sore on the top of his feet after longer dives when he used SP Jets so he finally bought Hollis F1 fins.......because of the foot pocket design

    I think the fin thing is all about foot/bootie/fin pocket/kick style/leg strength relationship....and it is not one size fits all.......

    I can say that my darling bride was on the verge of giving up diving until she switched fins.......so addressing the issue is important

    M
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  11. SeaHound

    SeaHound Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: An international vagabond
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    You know I cant agree with this more.SP jets arethe best fins I have ever put on.But it is a very heavy fin so people either love it or they would hate it.
     
  12. scubafanatic

    scubafanatic Great White

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    scubadiving.com and divernet.com have both done MANY big fin tests over the years, I'd suggest you start there and do a bit of reading.
     
  13. Nemrod

    Nemrod Giant Squid

    # of Dives:
    Location: Dixie/High Plains
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    Look for some Mares Avanti X3 on closeout. Not expensive, very good scuba fin. You will need medium weight boots, they run a little large. Or, the Avanti comes in a full foot version also. Google is your friend, should be under 50 dollars. Just got some for myself, my wife loves hers and has had them three years now I think. Me, the jury is out until I get them in the ocean.

    http://www.leisurepro.com/prod/MRSFAX.html?ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=MRSFAX

    or

    http://www.leisurepro.com/Prod/MRSF...eld=Relevance&DescSort=0&Description=on&Hit=1

    N
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  14. FireInMyBones

    FireInMyBones Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greenville, SC
    970
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    I love my Jets. A lot of people think that the split fins are the way to go. I have both split fins and a pair of Jets and the Jets are my favorite.
     
  15. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many.

    # of Dives:
    Location: Woodinville, WA
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    What you want for a fin depends in part on what you do when you dive. And fins vary, as you already know, from quite cheap to ridiculously expensive. Sometimes, you are dealing with small increments of improvement in some quality for relatively large jumps in price.

    For example, for pool use, I have Deep See Pulse fins. They are plastic blade fins, and very inexpensive. They are stiff enough to do all the "alternative" kicks with. I have used them on one warm water dive trip, and I doubt I will use them again, because for ocean diving, I prefer the stronger "bite" of the water that my ScubaPro Jet fins can take. But I was able to dive perfectly well with the less expensive fins -- I'm just spoiled by having something I like better.

    I have tried more expensive fins, like the ScubaPro TwinJets and the Seawing Novas. Both are good fins for swimming straight forward, but are less useful for precise maneuvering. If you are an underwater photographer, for example, precise maneuvering is often far more important than covering a lot of ground.

    In the grand universe of scuba gear, fins are at the inexpensive end of the spectrum, and I suspect a lot of people try various makes over time, and it probably isn't all that unusual for someone to have several types that they use in different settings.
     
  16. David Wilson

    David Wilson Manta Ray

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    >If you are an underwater photographer, for example, precise maneuvering is often far more important than covering a lot of ground.<

    The Australian professional underwater photographer below, Pete Atkinson, has posted an interesting piece online about his choice of diving equipment.
    [​IMG]
    Here's what he says about the simple Eyeline full-foot fins he uses:

    I currently use the best fins I have ever used, but no dive store in Cairns will stock them, as they aren't profitable enough. They are orange and blue, Malaysian rubber fins by Eyeline, available from a local sports shop for £20. From new, I could snorkel for a couple of hours without any hint of blisters. They are stiff enough that I can push a Seacam housing around all day. For the diving I do, such full-foot fins are by far the best. Manufacturers continue to dream up fancy expensive gimmicks to extract more money from us. I'll concede that a few of these might actually be useful but, offhand, I can't think of any.
    My favourite kit - Pete Atkinson - Divernet

    Keeping things simple and knowing what you want from your gear can pay dividends when it comes to fins.
     
  17. scubafanatic

    scubafanatic Great White

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    based on this photo, I'm not 100% sure I want gear tips from a dude who dives a 'butt mounted tank'......that's the mark of an ultra-newbie diver.
     
  18. Nemrod

    Nemrod Giant Squid

    # of Dives:
    Location: Dixie/High Plains
    11,110
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    Yeah, and try to find those or anything like them. The Otarie, Voit Super Vikings and so many simple, rubber, full foot fins have disappeared under the onslaught of technology that largely does nothing but justify a higher price (read as more profitable for dive retailers).

    People are sold a line of BS and they gobble it up hook, line and sinker.

    Scuba fins today are too big and too complicated and too expensive.

    Your average, usual, overweight, obese, out of shape, jelly butt, big gut scuba diver, take it however one likes, simply has no muscle power or aerobic capacity to push the gigantic sling shots, turbo vented, super duper triple stiff split finned super scooper wonder flipper they just bought for 250 dollars US and would be better off with a simple, smaller bladed fin of moderate stiffness and then spending the leftover towards a treadmill.

    N
     
  19. Jorgy

    Jorgy Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Syracuse, NY
    1,138
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    I think the butt mounted tank is his pony....and an artifact of using a wide angle lens......

    I will say that my wife really likes her expensive split fins......:eyebrow:

    I have been know to grab my son's SP twin jets and jump in the water.....feels like not having a fin at all......:D

    But I do prefer a stiffer fin (SP Jets) when I am trying to take pictures or diving in and around a wreck.....

    M
     
  20. FireInMyBones

    FireInMyBones Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greenville, SC
    970
    19
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    If you wanted a full foot fin like the one in the above picture, you can go to any swim store and buy a pair for about $20. These are great for swimming laps and practicing strokes. I like the stiffer open heal (that can be used with boots) for diving with gear.

    See what you can find used. No use paying gobs of money for something too fancy. Best of luck.
     

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