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March 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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What Fins Do You Fancy?

our reader feedback is as varied as there are fin types

from the March, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Thanks to all you readers who gave your feedback regarding my article last month about how traditional, heavy, hard-rubber fins are enjoying a partial renaissance. But it's not so much that Undercurrent subscribers are reverting to traditional hard rubber fins - some never stopped using them. Others disdain them and prefer lighter ones -- because most Undercurrent readers travel to distant shores to dive, the weight is a consideration, too. Overall, opinions on the types of fins you prefer seem to vary as much as the locations where you live.

Over two decades, I made quantifiable comparison tests on the efficacy of many different fins for Diver magazine in the United Kingdom. I used teams of divers of varied build and ability, scientific instruments such as underwater speedometers, and speed swims against the clock. These tests revealed the efficiency of a fin for transferring muscle power into the ability to push on into an oncoming current.

I found that because a fin becomes an extension of your leg, different fins had different results with different-length legs. Moreover, while some split fins proved very effective, they were no more effective than the best paddle fins, while the worst-performing split fins were not as good as basic paddle fins. The typically shorter foot pockets of traditional hard rubber fins put more stress on calf muscles but were effective for those built strongly enough to use them.

Here's a summary of the reader feedback we got on favorite fins, and good reasons for why those divers preferred them. If you're looking for a new pair, let's see whose tribe you join.

Traditional Hard Rubber Fins

Glen Kitchens (Cedar Crest, NM) has been using the same pair of traditional Dacor Turboflex fins for 30 years. The only change he has made to them was to add spring-loaded heel straps because he got tired of replacing broken rubber straps. As he puts it, "Just because they're old doesn't mean they're over the hill!"...


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