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Fins for Underwater Hockey

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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FreeFloat

Underwater Tourist
Jun 5, 2003
114
29
0
Well, now I'm needing expert advice.

I've been playing underwater hockey twice a week for a couple of months now, and was first introduced to the game by flyboy748 late last year. I guess I'm sort of addicted at this point.

I had been using spare scuba gear for this (since we're pretty relaxed about the exact rules and such depending on how many peolpe show up - it's sort of a drop-in type of thing - and how 'serious' of a group we end up with). I went from a wide-eyed newbie in a cuba mask, with a scuba purge snorkel, wearing a 2mm shorty wetsuit (since I really don't float very well), garden glove, and Cressi frog open-back fins.

Now I've dropped the wetsuit - I still don't float too well, but I can manage long enough to breathe - and having lost the original purge snorkel, replaced it with a J tube; I've put the scuba mask back in my scuba gear bag and now wear a low-volume freedive mask (thanks again for the birthday gift, you know who you are). I still have the garden glove but it's next on the list to be replaced.

My problem is the fins. I've been spoiled by borrowing other players' spare pairs, but at this time of the season the attendance of the "regulars" is spotty enough that I cannot rely on borrowed equipment.

I own four pairs of fins: Scubapro Jetfins for scuba (love 'em to death), Sporasub H Dessault fins for freediving, the open-back Cressi Frogs (used to be for scuba), and a pair of kid's size cheapo full foot fins. The blade size on these is microscopic in proportion to the foot pocket (which is also tiny).

Last night I started out wearing the Frogs with my scuba boots, as I used to. Within a few face-offs I was disgusted with them - they seemed to be scooping up water and slowing me down noticeably! I hauled myself out of the pool and changed back into the miniscule cheapo fins, my only non-long-bladed full foot fins.

So now I need to replace my fins. Obviously I'm looking for something in full foot style, but besides that I would prefer a proportionately longer blade size since when I get the size that can even come close to fitting me, I end up with a tiny overall fin. I would also prefer a fairly stiff fin since I tend to overpower the softer ones pretty easily.

Help! Looking to hear from other underwater hockey players before I march into my local dive shop in frustration and buy the first pair of fins that falls off the shelf!

Sorry to make this post so long..........
 

fjohnson

The land of ice and snow
Sep 5, 2001
373
32
118
freefloat,
I haven't played underwater hockey but I have tested a lot of fins and I do know that a popular fin for underwater hockey (and one that did very well in my tests using an underwater speedometer) was the Sporasub Cruise fins which are the same as the Mares Avanti Quattro Pro. These fins, although during my tests did not seem super fast they very darn near matched my best long blades in speed. I think those would be good fins.
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
188
55
Sproasub "Cruise's" are what Ted and I use for underwater hockey. They are great fins for playing the game. I also know people who use Aqualung "Stratos" fins and Technisub "ala" fins.

Jon
 

siege

New Member
Aug 29, 2004
2
1
0
48
Underwater hockey fins

Hi, I've been playing Underwater Hockey in NZ since 1988 and have seen a few fins come and go. It's hard to find fins that combine speed and manoeverability and comply with the regulations ie. basically fins that won't hurt other players - no open hard edges like freedive fins, no buckles like scuba fins.
Remember that the straight-line speed you can achieve with freedive or scuba type fins is often not much use because of the lack of accelleration, it takes to long to reach that top speed, by which time someone has tackled you before you've started moving.

By far the most popular fins used around the world for uwhockey have been the technisub Ala. Very nice sleek fins nicely combining all the above properties. their main drawback being variation in the moulds used - I often found faulty pairs where the softer foot-pocket rubber extended too far down the main blade causing to much flex and power loss in one foot. and also they only last a year or so before they soften and start losing power.
To really finish them off the price of Alas in New Zealand has really hiked up in recent years amid rumours that they are no longer being manufactured, for this reason we don't use them much any more which is a real shame.

A popular fin now is the Technisub stratos, if you prefer a quick smaller blade. I'm currently using a pair of these (since losing my Mares Avanti Quattros in the post somewhere between France and NZ). Can't say I'm a big fan but they go ok with good accelleration and manoeverability although they need a reasonably high cadence to maintain speed but they are relatively cheap which is a big bonus!

The fin that is now probably the most popular hockey fin around the world (at least where I've been playing recently in NZ, Aussie, UK, France, Netherlands and Canada) is either the Mares Avanti Quattro or the Sporasub Cruise. These fins look identical but I believe that the Cruises have a softer, more flexible, blade compounds compared with the Quattros. They are quite large fins and take some power to crank up to speed but can give a good top speed if you have the leg strength to push them, and still maintain pretty good manoeverability, although accelleration coming out of tight turns can be hard work but still not bad, hence their recent increase in popularity since the demise of the Ala.

A few people I know have used the Sporasub Escape fins. These are long plastic freedive style fins but are soft enough to be legal (barely) for uwhockey. Great for straight line speed if you've got the legs to power them but really lack manouverability.

Another popular type of fin in NZ are the split bladed fins. I can't remember the brand or model but there are several blade sizes available. I didn't like them but they are easier on the legs if you are recovering from ankle injuries or prefer a high cadence kick, but turning (a very important move in hockey) is very different, you can't push on the fins and 'pedal' through a turn because of the splits, so you have to kick/swim around turns which can take some getting used to but is effective if you get the hang of it. Something to think about.

A few tips: Get a pair of fins at least 1 size too small for your feet. That way they hug your foot much better than a comfy fit fin and give you much better response and accelleration. It will also give you nasty blisters until you've worn in the fins or developed decent callousses. Trying them on the shop with dry feet won't work, you'll need wet feet, or thin socks on.
Lube your feet to prevent blisters and use fin-supports (fin-grips/triangles) to hold them on.
If you find the foot pockets flex too much for your liking then try making some stiff plastic inner-soles, like Sporasub supply with their Escape fins. Again these will make your feet ache badly when you first use them but can make the fins stiffer and more responsive and bring a bit of life back to an old over-flexing pair of fins.. If you have thick feet you may not be able to fit foot plates into your fins.

Hope this helps,

CJ
 
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siege

New Member
Aug 29, 2004
2
1
0
48
I just re-read the posting and realised I forgot to comment on the CressiSubs.

Back in 1998 Cressisub sponsored our team for worlds which was great, we all got a pair of Rhondine-Pros and nice masks. The Rhondines were ok but blistered everyone's feet pretty horrendously. Blade size and performance was on a par with the Ala, possibly a bit stiffer. They were pretty good fins performance-wise but took a while to adapt to and also their harder plastic blade edges could get quite rough and really hurt if you got hit by them (ok that's the other person's problem but still...). Mine eventually cracked across one blade edge on one foot, and the other kind of melted when I accidentally left it in the sun in the car...

The following year I believe the team was supplied with CressiSub Frogs (full foot) but most players found them to be pretty much useless and refused to use them. Probably ok for less experienced fin swimmers or people lacking in leg strength but otherwise not recommended for uwhockey.

My recommendation for you Frefloat would be the Mares Avanti Quattros (as per FJohnson's reply), although you may surprise yourself and find that you prefer a smaller blade fin like the Technisub Stratos (are these the same as the Aqualung Stratos?) , especially if you play in a defensive position. Your style of play can dictate the type of fins that suit you - or if you're new you may find that your fins dictate your style of play...

CJ
 
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