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First Monofin

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Dairyland diver
Apr 7, 2001
After watching Eric F. dive very deep with his monofin I have been thinking about getting one myself. What would be a good starter monofin? I am looking for something I could swim laps with in the winter to get ready for next summer- when the lakes thaw.
IF I can get the hang of it I would upgrade to a more proffessional model at a later date.
Any suggestions for my first?
Hi Jon, I haven't tried to many different mono fins, but I would suggest you not get the Finis Rapid. You might want to look at this fin:


Going for 150 EUR (Approx $210 Canadian / $133 US) it is the only monofin built specifically for Freediving that I've found. Of course the above cost doesn't reflect any taxes/duty and shipping.

For a good list of fin companies check out Snorkle Bums web page at: http://www.stormpages.com/snorklebum/Actfin.htm.

I'm saving my lunch money for the Sebak monofin :)
I've ordered a monofin from Mat Mas (www.mat-mas.com).
It hasn't arrived yet from Italy :( but once I have been in the water with it I'll post my experiences.

The folks at mat mas do not have special freedive fins, but they do have the opportunity to customize it entirely, and they adviced me on a certain combination for freediving.
Well my Monofin has finally arrived.
I have been in the pool with it for only 10 minutes.
First experience: I suck!

Monofinning appears to be a totally different thing from using bi-fins. Swimming at the bottom of the pool was the easiest part, surface swimming on my back also worked. Normale surface swimming did not work at all.

I hope this will improve with some reading and a lot of practice.
Surface swimming with mono is a bit tricky in the beginning. First of all, you need a snorkel, preferably a front mounted one. Finswimmers swim a bit like leisurely cruising dolphins: large kick with almost straight legs, stiff ankles to facilitate the upkick, large hip movement. After every downkick there's a short dive, then upkick a bit under water. After that you surface, clear the snorkel, breathe and start again with a downkick and dive. It takes some practise to make this work, and you really should see how the finswimmers do it. It might be easier to start with two kicks / breathing cycle (like swimming butterfly), one for the dive, one for surfacing.

According to finswimming rules some part of the swimmer has to be above the surface all the time in the surface events (snorkel is part of the swimmer), so the "dive" is not a deep one. Of course there's no need to abide by the rules if one is not competing, but this might explain what you see while watching finswimmers practise, i.e. why they do not dive a bit deeper and do a couple of kicks underwater and then breathe.

Arms are at all times extended, hand over hand, wrist over wrist, head well tucked between arms, so that ears just touch or are below biceps. You probably need a nose plug to comfortably keep your head on proper position.

Finswimmers do not use monofins all the time as the foot pockets tend to be too tight to be worn for extended periods and monoswimming with correct form is quite tiring. They do lots of reps with plain old rubber bi-fins between the mono-sets, so that might be a good idea for a beginner to practise the technique.

If your lower back and abdominal muscles get sore, then you are probably doing something right, since it's the strong core muscles that should work the hardest; in dynamic apnea there should be much less lactic acid caused burn in the legs when using a monofin / dolphin kick as compared to using bi-fins and flutter kick.

All that said, I'm not a finswimmer myself and certainly not very qualified to give advice on swimming technique. Try to get into a contact with some finswimmers.

Last edited:
monofinning tips


Good post Ossi !

I'm a finswimmer myself so I might be able to add some things:

1 The monofinning movement starts from your hips, your upper body stays straight at all times. So what you do is bend your hips so your upper body is pushed deeper into the water: a slow, large (downward) dolphin kick.

2 Under water, you make one small (faster) dolphin kick, starting from the hips (make sure you don't bend your knees too much, keep your knees together).

3 After the kick, let yourself float on (relaxed, but outstretched). Your (presumably) positive buoyancy wil make you surface, breathe out in the process of surfacing.

4 Breathe in and start the cycle again.

So: large kick, small kick, float outstretched & breathe, large kick, small kick, float outstretched & breathe...

Details to pay attention to: Upper body = straight and outstretched, press your elbows against the sides of your head so you don't 'nod' when kicking, don't work with your knees but let the movement come from your hips.

Enjoy the ride ! :)


P.S.: Before you mono, do a proper warming up; first without fins, then with small bi-fins. And don't forget the cooling-down.
Ossi, Lynn,

Thanks for your tips. I'll be certainly trying this out when I'm in the pool again

Do you happen to know a website with pictures / small movie of monofin swimmers?
Great info so far!

When you are swimming with the bi-fins are you flutter kicking or dolphin kicking?
Would it work to practice all winter doing the dolphin kick with my bi-fins and move into a mono this summer- when I can afford it a little easier? OR, should I just work on my flutter with the bi-fins because it is too inefficent compared to a mono?
Thanks for the input,

The way to get around on the surface with a monofin is on your side, especially when you're in full freediving gear in the ocean. Extend your lower arm and undulate your body so that water is on both sides of the fin (like a shark). It's a great way to practice monofin technique and you can use it with a regular snorkel. If you like to swim a little faster, don't use the snorkel and time your breath (breathing to the side) with the waves. Try long surface swims this way. You'll find you can relax quite nicely.

cheers, Pete
side swimming

i can only imagine what that might look like w/ a black monofin half exposed following closely behind a head w/ a snorkel! :D

can you hear the jaws theme? ;)

do the freediving mono's work the same in the pool as the finswimming mono's?

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