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Fit Fins?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

cjborgert

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
401
30
118
I am struggling with the task of choosing my first pair of free diving fins. I dive in Florida, often in the partially overhead enviroments of the freshwater spring caverns along the Suwannee and Sante Fe Rivers. Should that dictate the choice of one type of fin or another? Is there any real quality difference between Omer, Picasso, Esclapez, etc.? How does one determine which fin fits best when no local dive shops carry free diving fins, let alone a selection that would allow comparing how each footpocket fits your foot? Will distributors ship you a pair of fins and neoprene socks to try the fit, and allow you to return them after trying them on, assuming you don't use them in the water?
 

JMD

Well-Known Member
May 10, 2001
374
19
108
47
Florida Fins

Ive just moved from Tampa, Florida. I did a fair amount of diving in the springs up in High Springs by Occalla <sp>. I used both regular scuba fins and a pair of tunas while I was there. I have to say, in my own experience, I found the extra propulsion gained from the stiffer omer fins was worthwhile even when we were diving in the caves.

I purchased my Omers at Bill Jackson's Action sports in St. Petersburg. They have an indoor pool which allows you to try them on, which might make it worth the trip... As for quality I think that from what I've seen they are all of good quality and the best fin is normally the one that fits your foot best.

Good luck with your search.
 

scott

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2001
259
8
123
Florida Fins

I freedive regularly in the Suwannee and Sante Fe River springs and use the Picasso Black fins. I have had them for over a year and totally abuse them (unintentionally) against the hard limestone of the springs. They have held up great and I would highly recommend them.

The stiff fin is also a must at sites like Troy Springs (80') and Hornsby Springs (50+) (among others).

Scott
 

cjborgert

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
401
30
118
My thanks to James and Scott for posting informative replies. I guess there is no substitute for simply trying various products, and if the fin fits . . . buy it.

I'd like to pursue the issue of freediving safety in overhead cavern environments with you two and others who are interested, but I believe that is another thread in a different forum.

At any rate, I have some fin info that may be of general interest. A new long fin from Jay Riffe is about to hit the market - supposedly exceptionally good - made for Riffe by Omersub, but according to Riffe's design. I have not seen the fins, so am reporting only second-hand information (from the guys at Bill Jackson's and Pirate SCUBA), but the Riffe fins are reportedly very similar to the Omer Milleniums with respect to the blade design, but different with respect to the footpocket design, incorporate a new mechanism for very easily interchanging blades, and come in ocean-blue and deep blue blade colors that may be less contrasting and thus of interest to spearos. Check them out at <speargun.com>.

If anyone has demo'd them, I'd love to hear (i.e., read) your impressions.
 

rjchandler

New Member
Aug 29, 2001
3
0
0
Same question - different searcher. I have been trying on a lot of fins by website the last couple days. I have a wide foot with a high arch and would be using 5mil booties. Some questions:

1. How much of a foot size does sock/bootie add?
2. Do some brands have a rep for a wider footpocket?
3. Is open heel a better option for fitting larger feet?
4. As a Brand-what was the qulaity of the AB Diller fins? They were mentioned as a refernce in one of the fin review articles in the Freediving archive. I found one catalog selling them, but otherwise no reference to them.

thanx
 

cjborgert

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
401
30
118
blind leading

As the original poster of the question, I am probably not the most knowledgeable person to respond, but I'll provide the information I've gathered thus far.

Picasso's have the reputation of being wider in the forefoot. They also supposedly have a stiffer pocket.

I've beed advised to wear socks, or get blisters. Socks generally come in either 3mm or 5mm. So, get the fins on the large side of your foot size: if your foot is at the bottom of the range for the fin size, try a 5 mm sock; if in the middle, try a 3mm.

I've just tried on a size 44-46 (11 - 13) Omer fin with a 5mm sock and they fit my size 10.5 feet. In a day or so I should also be able to try on a pair of Picasso Black Team size 43-45 (10.5 - 12), also with a 5 mm sock.

I'll have to choose to keep one or the other based on fit as they can't be returned if used in the water. I'll let you know how they compare.

Cliff Etzel wrote a review that included the Biller fins - you can find it at: <http://www.deeperblue.net/content/2000/freediving/finenvy/1.shtml>
 

rjchandler

New Member
Aug 29, 2001
3
0
0
Look forward to the results of your comparison. I had started to focus on the Picasso
based on my web meanderings.
 

cjborgert

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
401
30
118
Oh, and . . .

You asked about full foot versus open foot (strap) fins . . . everything I have read and everyone I have spoken with says full foot are the way to go, period. Open foot fins are less efficient.

Others have told me the only reason to buy open foot fins is to avoid buying two pair of fins to fit different size socks / booties . . . e.g., if you dive in extremely different water temperatures and need to use a very light sock in one condition and a heavy boot in the other. Full foot fins can be made as secure on your feet as open foot (probably more secure) by wearing fin straps or a half-sock (toes cut out) stretched over the fin.

If I had the luxury of diving in many different water conditions frequently, I'd cough up the extra $ for two pair of fins.

-Still awaiting arrival of the Picassos, but have to say, these Omers look to be of very high quality - I would not discount them as my feet are wide in the front and narrow in the heel, and I think I could wear these. -But, I'll take the Picasso if they fit that much better. -Will keep you posted.
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
4,731
753
218
Fit of Fin

I would like to confuse things a little more! I get cold very easily, and all my diving is cold water. I have a pair of Cressi's that need a 5mm sock, which I have used for the last 2 years that I have been freediving. 2 months ago I bought my carbon-polymer Sporasub Radicals,: I wanted a fin that would fit a little tighter, as they were to be for performance diving where I wouldn't be in the water too long at a time. I wear a cheap 3mm sock from the MEC store up here (check REI in the States) which cost me 9$Can, and found that they are warm enough for all the diving I do, for as long as I want to be in the water. This winter I will use them for ice- freediving, and I think they should be ok, as I wont be in the water that long.
My point is that the advantage of a full foot fin is increased by how snug (not too tight) it fits, and your feet shouldn't get cold with a 3mm sock. The water I dive in is between 7 to 18 Celsius, which is about 43 to 65 Farenheit approx.
Good luck, and let us know what you end up buying.
Erik Y.
 

JMD

Well-Known Member
May 10, 2001
374
19
108
47
Hey Chris,

I've worn my full footed omers while spring diving in florida for up to about 3 hours and I didn't find my feet got cold... I would imagine that you won't suffer from cold water too much where you are so I wouldn't worry about having an open healed set of fins.

One thought I had for adding extra protection if you find your feet get cold is to cut the front of a 3mm wetsuit sock off and pull it down over your heel and instep covering the back of the fin. That should help keep everything except your toes warm and will help lock the fin in place as well.
 
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