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View Full Version : Do Different Fins Really Make a Difference ???



BobArnold8265
10-11-2007, 13:55
Here's a very fundamental question for everyone. Can you really tell the difference in fin performance. I bought a pair of Scubapro split fins when I took my open water class about 5 years ago and have been happy with them ever since. However, according to Scuba Diving magazine, my fins are not nearly as efficient as many of the other brands.

So basic questions are:

1. Will I really notice a difference in the water between the different brands of fins or is the difference so slight, that I may not feel any difference ?

2. Is the performance of say a Apollo Bio Fin worth trading in my Scubapro's ???

subsur
10-11-2007, 14:06
i was also wandering the same. i do know that split fins are different from non-split ones. non-split ones have better acceleration properties and can be better at fine maneuvering. also they don't get tangled up in a line. split fins can propel you quite well. now, some fins are made of rubber and plastic and some just of rubber (apollo bio fins, scubapro), plastic may make fins more buoyant so i'd get rubber ones. i would be interested in what others will say.

meesier42
10-11-2007, 15:25
depends on many factors, if you are a lazy diver and don't speed your way around, then probably not

If you are a photographer or wreck/cave diver etc... that requires you to constantly manuever or maintain position in a current then you will probably see the difference in how tired you get and how long your air will last.

Basically what I am saying, if good enough is good enough, then better is still only good enough and their is no advantage. So it all depends on what you need out of your fins.

For #2- If your not having any problems then you are upgrading for the sake of upgrading (common problem for me), if you are having issues then your not really upgrading your just dumping faulty equipment (poorly fitting or otherwise equipment that doesn't work for you is faulty). Personnally, I would go with the Apollo Bio's before ScubaPro twins. But I am a pretty avid ForceFin guy and have never found myself wanting.

MSilvia
10-11-2007, 15:38
In my experience, yes... definately. Among the differences that have been significant enough for me to notice are these:
Buoyancy, effort required to accelerate, effort required to maintain speed, how well they perform a variety of kicks (flutter, frog, helicopter, modified frog, modified flutter, backward frog), how likely they are to cause fatigue/cramping, availability of foot pocket sizes, how small they pack, how responsive they are, and how fast you can swim in them.

My personal favorites are Mares Avantis. If I could fit my boots in them, I'd love to wear them with my drysuit. They have great response, tons of power, and they're good with all the kicks I've tried in them. The biggest downsides are that they require good leg strength, they're a little long for some luggage, and of course, the foot pockets don't run large enough for my drysuit boots.

Scubapro TwinJets are among my least favorites of the ones I've tried. They don't require much effort to use, but I feel like I can't get any power out of them when I want to, and they're terrible for anything other than a flutter kick. Of course, if a flutter is all you use, and you don't mind that you can't get the instant acceleration a paddle fin will give you, they perform well.

thor
10-11-2007, 15:53
For me it has always been about comfort. Bio Fins are the most comfortable fin available,.. for me. If you like your fins, don't worry if there is a higher performance fin. When I was looking to get a new BP/W, my LDS asked me what was wrong with my BC that I wanted a new one. I told him that I wanted to switch to a BP/W, for potentially higher performance. He told me to save my money and said "If it aint broke, don't fix it "... If you enjoy your gear, don't worry if there is better gear out there.

floater
10-11-2007, 18:10
I would put too much stock in what Scuba Diving Magazine says. Fins are very hard to test objectively and it depends a lot on what kick style you prefer. Splits are best for flutter, blade fins are best for frog kick and force fins have they own niche too.

In addition you may see significant differences in terms of propulsion, maneuverability and your air consumption between different fins. Short heavy stiff fins tend to be best for maneuverability in my experience. Long stiff fins excel in propulsion but may require significant effort or leg strength.

As for air consumption I'm not sure, but I think fins that allow you to kick and glide rather than having to constantly kick are more efficient. Flexible fins tend to be easier to kick, but if they are too flexible then propulsion suffers and you lose any efficiency gains you had from the lower kick effort required.

But it's one of those thing that you have to try different fins yourself and learn different kick styles before you can really say what's best (for you at least).

ScubaToys Larry
10-11-2007, 18:20
Back to an answer to the original question... we used to sell scubapro splits, and when people compared them to the bios - they virtually all took the bio fins... but unless you can find someone to give you a pile of money for your scubapro's, even I (who obviously would love to sell you a new set of bios... how about some spring straps on them? Need a digital camera to go with that??)...

Even I would tell you that while the bios are better - it won't be night and day for you like it would be for someone who is going from paddle fins to splits.

Zenagirl
10-11-2007, 19:09
I think there's a difference between different fins. Some fins are stiffer than others, some have more comfortable foot pockets, some are longer/shorter, etc.

That's why I think it's important to try as many different types and styles as you can before you buy. However, if you already own fins and like them, why bother to look for something "better"?

Scubastud16
10-12-2007, 17:24
Sure! The design, the blade, the blade angle, the stiffness, etc. all make a difference in how the fin performs/feels.

CompuDude
10-13-2007, 14:50
Are they better? Probably. Are they better enough? Only you can answer that.

Personally, if you're really happy with your fins, I don't see much reason to get new ones unless there is an actual need (such as the need for paddle fins for technical training).

danielh03
10-13-2007, 15:06
Like mentioned above, if you have a reason to switch, then do so. But if your happy with what you have, then hang on to them. I am sure larry can hook you up though! He will even do it with a smile!

divingchef
12-04-2007, 13:30
I have just recently upgraded to the Tusa expert zoom split fin from a pair of "conventional" fins that I have been diving since 1986! (with a pair of zip up "wenoka" neoprene boots (does wenoka still make stuff? very retro)

I immediately noticed a difference in my diving. It is all but effortless to propel myself. I really like the fins. I know its probably not a good comparison against 20year old fins, but that was my take.

nathanbarlow
12-04-2007, 14:59
I have scubapro splits, which i love as they are easy on the legs and get reasonable power per stroke - not as much as my traditional fins, but then my traditional ones require more work to fin. I do find that in moderate head-on current the splits are kinda useless- can still use them, but am finning much harder that with traditional and not getting anyway near as much ground covered . . . typically i take both with me on the boat and if it looks like theres a fair bit of current or we are diving in an open area, I'll dive with my traditional paddle fins. Also, if diving with a guideline i would use my traditional fins, as the splits can get tangled apparently, but i haven't dived (dove?) with a line yet. Otherwise its splits all the way

Grin
12-05-2007, 08:26
I think you owe it to yourself to try different style fins at the very least. If you have only dove split fins you should try someones regular fins for a dive, sometime, and see for yourself. I started diving with regular fins, and when I tryed splits, I hated them. I now dive Cressi 2000s (long fins) and love them. I think the Mares Quatro Avanti style fins are the best basic fins available. Mares makes about 4 different versions of this fin and whichever one draws you in, is going to be a great fin. Long fins(Cressi 2000 type fins) are not for everyone, I know! I like them though. They swim just like the Quatros except you swim them even slower, but you have major power when you want it. I can go between my Cressis and the Mares Quatros without thinking about it. But a pair of splits screws me up royally. It's like going barefoot to me, when I use splits.

Mtrewyn
12-05-2007, 10:38
I like my old school blades, and have looked and tried other styles but till I just need to replace due to somthing breaking and toatling my fins, I'm not replacing mine. Unless you need to upgread, if you like yours just keep them till you have to get new ones, gear is to expinsive to just replace cuz its' cool

scubajane
12-06-2007, 15:22
I have a pair of hard plastic paddle fins that are difficult to get on and off because of the stupid strap. they are boogered up from early poor buoyancy control and making contact with everything. I got them cause they were the cheapest they had.. i also have trouble with my feet floating at the end of a dive. Hubby swears by his split fins but they seem HUGE to me. any suggestions?

BobArnold8265
12-06-2007, 20:56
If you're having problems with your feet floating, it may be because your fins are positively bouyant. This is common in many colored fins (versus black ones). Switching fins is one option or you could try some ankle weights.

wheelman
12-06-2007, 21:09
I have just recently upgraded to the Tusa expert zoom split fin from a pair of "conventional" fins that I have been diving since 1986! (with a pair of zip up "wenoka" neoprene boots (does wenoka still make stuff? very retro)

I immediately noticed a difference in my diving. It is all but effortless to propel myself. I really like the fins. I know its probably not a good comparison against 20year old fins, but that was my take.

I don't think they (wenoka) make fins any more... I do have one of their knives.

CompuDude
12-06-2007, 23:39
I have a pair of hard plastic paddle fins that are difficult to get on and off because of the stupid strap. they are boogered up from early poor buoyancy control and making contact with everything. I got them cause they were the cheapest they had.. i also have trouble with my feet floating at the end of a dive. Hubby swears by his split fins but they seem HUGE to me. any suggestions?

Natural rubber fins, with spring straps. Jets if you like paddle fins, Apollo bio fins (with factory spring straps) if you want to try a smaller set of splits.

Heavy fins plus spring straps will help you with both issues.

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
12-07-2007, 08:06
I have just recently upgraded to the Tusa expert zoom split fin from a pair of "conventional" fins that I have been diving since 1986! (with a pair of zip up "wenoka" neoprene boots (does wenoka still make stuff? very retro)

I immediately noticed a difference in my diving. It is all but effortless to propel myself. I really like the fins. I know its probably not a good comparison against 20year old fins, but that was my take.

I don't think they (wenoka) make fins any more... I do have one of their knives.

I believe Wenoka might have been assimilated by the Borg.

I have a Wenoka squeeze lock knife and on the box it says by Deep See which seems to be part of the Aqualung "evil empire" (Aqua Lung , Apeks, Aqua Sphere, Deep See, Seq Quest, US Divers, Drager, Suunto)

As for the fin question. Fins do make a difference. The fins that work best for you depends on your leg strength and kicking style. There is no one best fin or even style of fin just like there is no best car. There might however be a best fin or car for you.

Lloyd De Jongh
01-19-2008, 23:57
I haven't done a great deal of diving, however I can say without hesitation that the right fins do make a heck of a difference. I learned to dive on a couple of sets, and they sucked big time. When I switched to a different fin that I chose for myself I felt like I was flying rather than being tortured to death. Try different fins and see what works for you.

Doug B
01-20-2008, 20:40
I haven't done a great deal of diving, however I can say without hesitation that the right fins do make a heck of a difference. I learned to dive on a couple of sets, and they sucked big time. When I switched to a different fin that I chose for myself I felt like I was flying rather than being tortured to death. Try different fins and see what works for you.


I agree. I trained with "solid" fins, that were probably made in 1984. Did my open water cert in them.

A few weeks later, I tried (traded fins with my instructor underwater) some Scuba Pro split fins.... and MAN, I liked them.

The "solid" fins felt like I had a 2x6 board tied to my foot. With the scuba pro fins, I don't even feel like I have fins on my feet.

I don't know if I have more power or acceleration than other folks, but I like the feel on my foot, and I've not had a single problem diving with them. The other benefit, is they are ever-so-slightly bouyant.

I'm sold on split fins.