Having the right tools for underwater activities such as snorkeling brings extreme fun and enjoyment. That is why individuals participating in these activities need to be able to identify the right tools required. One of such tools is fins.
Fins are shoe-like tools worn on the feet. They have flippers that extend forward when worn but backward when in water. Fins stay on the feet and give an extra kick to feet movements underwater, making it easy and less strenuous to move around in water bodies.
Most people confuse snorkeling and diving fins, and choosing the wrong tool for either of these activities will make it tiring and monotonous. It is, however, very easy to distinguish between the two as they have different designs and are manufactured with different materials. Let’s examine each one.
Almost everyone can start snorkeling after little training; that is why the fin required for the activity is of very simple design. With these fins, anyone can move easily around in shallow parts of water bodies, which is what snorkeling entails. Snorkel fins are several inches shorter than dive fins.
They are relatively short and small to eliminate any form of complexity in handling them. Most beginners can start with snorkeling and would be put off by complex structures as available in dive fins. Short fins make it easier to twist, turn, and wiggle in shallow depths without dragging along extra inches of rubber, plastic, or carbon. These are the primary material used in producing fins. Some quality fins combine two or all of these materials to provide extra comfort.
Their short lengths are also perfect for the protection of marine life. As stated earlier, a lot of beginners choose snorkeling. At the early stage, many snorkelers are still very clumsy underwater. If they use long fins, they might end up thrashing reefs and killing corals and other aquatic animals.
Types of Snorkel Fins
Traditional and travel fins are the classification of snorkel fins. However, there are many other factors that people use to differentiate between fins. For instance, some fins open at the heel side while others completely enclose the feet.
Traditional fins, like the name, are the regular types of snorkel fins. They are the longest types of snorkel fins at over 20 inches. They are useful for shorter snorkel activities, unlike the other kinds of fins, which aid more extended periods of snorkeling. Travel snorkel fins are easily the shortest fins around. Their compactness makes it easy to log them around, hence the name.
Full-foot and Open Heel Snorkel Fins
The decision the choose between a fin that completely encloses the feet or one that has opened heel is another point of confusion for beginners and even some experienced snorkelers. Fins in the first category fully enclose the feet and are best for use in warm water bodies. Snorkelers can easily slip into them without wearing booties to protect their feet. Most snorkel fins are in this category.
On the other hand, open-heel fins are created for ease. These fins come with straps that help to secure the fins. In low temperatures, divers wear inner protections such as diving socks or boots before they put on the fins.
Other Notable Features of Snorkel Fins
Fins that are perfect for snorkeling are light, compact, and short. The extra inches available in dive fins make them heavier. Snorkel fins are not used in deep water bodies so, the need for the extra-propulsion is removed. They are used for wadding just below the surface, and divers who only want to move around in such environments can stick with them.
Dive fins come in two varieties based on the type of diving an individual is involved in, whether scuba diving or freediving. In these activities, wadding in water goes much deeper than in snorkeling. Let’s consider each fun activity and the perfect fin for them.
Scuba Diving Fins
Scuba diving is done in deeper waters but requires less finesse, experience, and risk than freediving. Fins used required by scuba divers are generally longer than those needed for snorkeling. The length is to enable scuba divers to move through large bodies of water with more force than snorkeling demands. Here are the qualities of scuba dive fins.
Read about types of scuba fins‘ here.
Some fins have grooves that are called integrate channels. The grooves allow the fins to gently slash through the water instead of forcefully hitting and spattering it. With this, there is no struggle or tussle between the fins and the water, allowing for more comfortable movements.
Instead of having long, padded edges, the extended part of a split dive fin is separated in a “split.” This makes it easier to navigate. For divers who will be in the water for a while, dive fins with split provide easier movements and less room for lethargy.
Strapped or Fully -Closed Designs
Like snorkel fins, dive fins also come in full-foot pockets or opened heel designs. The former designs are cheaper and more versatile as they can be worn without booties or dive socks. The latter, on the other hand, provide more protection and are adjustable. It is essential to note that dive fins are heavier than snorkel fins.
Freediving involves diving straight into the water without any tool and in one breath because free divers are not encumbered with the masks and cylinders that scuba divers use to facilitate breathing underwater. What they need is a pair of fins that are very stiff and long for extra propulsion required to move very fast in the water. This exactly what free diving fins provide. They are longer than scuba diving fins and much longer than snorkel fins.
They are also the stiffest types of fins you would find anywhere. The stiffness is, however, an excellent feature as it allows for less friction between the fins and water. The journey from the surface to tens of feet below the water and back is done with such finesse and agility due to the stiffness and length of these fins. They also come as one and not a pair, unlike other fins.
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Choosing the right fin is important if you wish to enjoy your underwater sport; a scuba diving fin might cause a lot of havoc in shallow water bodies, and snorkel fins will make scuba diving tiring and difficult.
Read on types of fishing reels‘ here.