Finning, to divers and swimmers, is relatively not a strange word. However, to a large population of people, they might not be familiar with it. Closely looking at it, a lot of people know about finning but do not know what it is called. Methods and ways in which swimmers and divers use to achieve a level of propulsion and maneuver in water are known as finning. These methods are carried out in several forms, especially when maneuvering and repositioning is concerned. When finning is carried out effectively by the diver, fatigue and tiredness is significantly reduced, making the diver very efficient in the water. The quality of the fin used, skill, the experience of the diver greatly contribute to the execution of finning techniques. Finning may look or sound basic, but it requires a great deal of practice, buoyancy control, and breathing exercises. Simply put, finning is an action carried out by the diver where paddling with legs is used to produce a forward movement. Finning is widely used by scuba divers, deepwater divers, and most others who engage in water activities. The diver’s limbs are more in use when finning is involved. The power produced with the controlled movements of the diver’s limbs helps move and propel him steadily in water.
See differences between dive fins and snorkel fins‘ here.
Types Of Finning Techniques
Finning is as important to the diver just the way his breathing is as it increases the diver’s efficiency in the water. Finning techniques come in different forms and can be used in different environments. Discussed below are several finning techniques mostly used by divers;
This is considered the basis of all methods and is usually the first every diver learns before venturing into the water. It is carried out by the diver by moving the legs upward and downward, and its comes very naturally to most divers. This simple finning style is easy to use, less complicated and accords power to the diver. It is carried out in long and gentle strokes, which provides adequate buoyancy and steady transit in water. In the world of divers, it is regarded as a powerful technique that provides for the diver a high amount of power and propulsion. A lot of air is consumed, and it takes a lot of effort to effectively utilize flutter kick due to the high amount of power produced by it.
The frog kick in performance resembles a breast stroke which is, however, carried out underwater. The diver is wholly submerged while the muscles of the leg and thighs are utilized to a maximum extent. It is regarded as a relaxed kick and is majorly used for general cruising. The movements are usually horizontal and as such, is ideal for open water diving. At the execution of this style, consumption of air by the diver is reduced.
It is a strategic maneuver carried out by divers with high level of skill and experience. It allows the diver to suspend horizontally and is beneficial for quickly changing positions. It affords divers laxity of switching positions while creating little or no disturbance on the water position. It requires a small amount of effort in sustaining and is largely ideal for diving in areas with little room and need for quick movements and positional changes, areas like caves or wrecks.
It is an absolutely useful style that provides divers with the benefit of gently wading backwards without changing the body position and without the inclusion of hands. In performance it is the reversal of a frog kick. It is quite hard to learn and perfect but it helps save a lot of energy. This style is perfect for underwater photographers and diving instructors.
In carrying out this finning method, both legs of the diver are raised and dropped while in motion and is usually carried out using a monofin. It is the only method which the monofin is used for and it extensively involves the full use of the limbs and muscles of the back and abdominal region.
It is also widely referred to as the split kick. It is quite powerful but does guarantee speed in the propulsion of the diver. The scissors kick is sometimes regarded as a subtle combination of actions carried out in the flutter kick and frog kick. It earned the name – split kick as each leg perform different kick movements.
Bent Knee Cave Diver Kick
This style is highly embraced by technical divers because, as efficient as it is, it causes little disturbances in several water bodies. Body movements in this method are hugely limited, and it is suitably for diving in cramped areas as propulsion speed is reduced.
Most of these styles are commonly used with scuba fins available to divers. However, some techniques require special fins like the dolphin kick, which only works with monofins. Some techniques are used for gentle wading in water at a very relaxed pace, like the frog kick. Helicopter kick and the modified frog kick are advisable for use in areas with limited space. Maneuvering in water with fins is also a finning technique used by technical divers who also use rolls and underwater somersaults, which can be backward or forward.
Water treading and surface sculling, which are similar in performance, can also be classified as finning styles as they are also carried out with fin. These finning styles come with a sense of adventure and experience in water activities, most especially diving.
Mastering finning methods and styles by divers often require good practice, skill, experience, and knowledge. However, learning to use these techniques at will gives the swimmer or diver a high edge over others and large chances of effectiveness and survival. It also boosts the confidence of the diver and keep him at ease in any kind of condition and environment regardless of the depth or temperature of the water body or region.
Read about scuba weights‘ here.