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monofin blade stiffness

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jan 16, 2002
Hi all,
I have decided that I am going to get a Waterway Model Two monofin. This would be my first mono and my question to those of you that have monos, what stiffness blade do you have and are you happy with it? My main use for the mono will be for freediving recreationally to depths of 35 meters and an occasional 50 meters. I also like to spend some time at depth cruising around. I am 5 feet 7" tall and weigh 140lbs.Thanks for your help.
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excellent question, simple answer

Long or medium distance, depending on the type (stiffness) of bifins you like to dive with now.

People who are used to stiff bifins are usually too tough on the soft long distance blade. When you have medium to stiff bifins and you use as much force on the long distance mono as you're used to putting into your bifin dolphining, the monoblade will bend too far and you'll lose a great deal of propulsion.

So... soft to medium bifins: long distance mono
medium to stiff bifins: medium distance mono

Don't go for the sprint mono, it demands too much energy/oxygen on a dive and may kill your knee joints if you swim longer distances (+200m) with it.

Hope this helps.


(P.S.: I'm a 5'3" long distance ocean dwelling creature :D)
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Hey Jim, I have a Medium stiff fin, and it's good for dynamic and CB. I also have a smaller Stiff sprint fin, and I don't like it at all, for the reasons Lynn mentioned.
Have fun with the new toy!
Erik Y.
Waterway - how soft is soft ?


warming up an old thread :eek: ...
I'm thinking of getting a model 3 (= cheap...) Waterway mono for dynamics. The reason is that I have the feeling that the Sebak Medium I own currently might be a little too stiff for me (?) :duh , so I want a really soft one for training until I built up more muscle strength (doing crunches and situps already...) and got the monofinning technique fairly right.
Has any of you experiences with both blades ? How can they be compared - is a soft Waterway blade actually softer than a Medium Sebak blade ?

Thanks a lot + best regards,


My opinion:
The Model 2 LD is hard with a real tight footpocket, actually I think it's too hard, but with a bigger footpocket it feels soft. Remember it's always the footpocket+blade configuration that makes the total feeling.
If the footpocket is very tight, (the foot can not move), every monoblade I know is to stiff for freediving.

Most divers use footpockets that are not tight to get a more comfortable solution and that makes a HUGE difference on the feeling and performance compared to the way the finswimmers use them. In fact with only a little to big footpockets we loose very much in performance.

It's almost impossible to get a monofin that suits without trying several fins before. That's a shame but it's a fact:waterwork

I design my own blades and I use very tight footpockets and the blades are softer than WW M2 LD, but the performance is the best I've tried.

The best advice I can give is;
-Fine tune your technique.
-Try every fin you can.
-If you want the best performance buy the smallest footpockets you can get in to and the softest blade you can find on the market.
-A good compromise is going for a soft fin but not to big footpocket.
-If you want comfort, go for a solution with OMER footpockets or similar but the blade needs an angle then.
-WW M2 LD is probably one of the best options, and Specialfins has many different solutions that is good.
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I disagree with that. :D
Even with stiff footpockets I think the LD would be way to soft for constant weight for a lot of people. It still depends on your size strength and technique. I actually like softer monofins then a lot of the people I train with. I also did finswimming for a year so have more of a classic technique, specially for dynamics. I use a Model 1 LD/MD, it's in between those 2 stiffness's. It has the hardest footpocket so there is little give. That's about right for me in Constant weight.

But yeh agree that the footpocket changes the feel a lot. Used some other fins with softer footpockets and the fin felt softer because of the give of the footpocket. So the stiff footpockets are better for performance, but not good for your feet :(
I can only wear mine 10-15 minutes max. Don't totally agree that getting a smaller footpocket is better for performance. I tried some fins with smaller footpockets and not only were they painful they didn't provide enough support and in fact there was more movement. ie if the footpocket is too small, your foot sticks out further at the back. I think ideal footpocket for performance would be tight but cover the whole foot.

We have all our ways, mine is maybe different. Here is my short story of experiences with monofins;

For 1-1,5 years ago, I used much stiffer fins and my opinion was that medium stiffness was "the way" for me. I started training with soft rubberfins and my technique changed to having straighter legs.
I noticed that I was beginning to think that my fins was to stiff and it felt like they were nly moving water. I also remember trying 2 different WW M2 LD on the same session with 2 different sizes in footpockets, 1 with one size to big for me and 1 with a size to small, -It was like totally different fins. One was very soft , mybe a little too soft the other was so hard that I could not handle it. That made me try many configurations on different footpockets and came to the conclusion that footpockets are maybe more important than the blade....

1 time I went back to an old stiffer fin on CW training and the descent was no problem, but the ascent.....:( I was afraid for my life when I noticed that I finned very forcefully but coming "nowhere" and I only felt like moving the water... I understod that for 3 years I had been wasting power in my swimming for moving water instead of getting forward movement from the energy I put in....

I recommend every diver I talk to, to really give softer fins a chance. It does not feel good in the beginning but once one gets used to it, I really belive it's better.
It's better to start soft and go for stiffer fins when it's needed, be shure of that the technique is good before going stiffer.

BUT, I'm not a big guy (178cm/75kg) so LD-fins (the softest) may not be true for bigger and more powerful divers just like Walrus mentioned.:)

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I agree it's better to first learn using a soft monofin, and even practise with small rubber fins. With a softer fin you have to use your body more, ie abs & back to get speed so you are less likely to cheat by just using your legs only. A lot of freedivers buy stiff monofins because that feels about right with "legs only" technique. A good finswimmer will still get really good speed with a very soft fin. A constant weight dive is very different compared to dynamic. When leaving the surface, and coming up off the bottom you are fighting bouyancy, and even for someone with good techique you have to use your legs more. It's not an efficiency phase, it's a acceleration/ power phase. With a soft fin you are really overbending them when coming off the bottom. Anyone that doesn't believe that should have a look at some bottom footage of a tag grab, and see how much that sucker bends. :D
So a soft fin would be inefficient coming off the bottom, and a stiffer fin less efficient once 1/2 way up on your descent. You really need a medium/stiff fin when coming off the bottom then a softer fin for the rest of the ascent. So in my opinion in choosing a fin for constant weight is a compromise between a soft fin good for efficiency and a stiffer fin for the power phase coming up off the bottom.

what you write bears me out in my plans to go for a softer mono for DYF.
But... ummmmh :hmm ... Does any of you perhaps know if a soft WW is really softer than a medium Sebak / Specialfins ? Don't want to end up having a fin that is just as stiff as the one I own now :duh .


I have found that blade stiffness varies from batch to batch......

I have also found that how you put the footpocket on makes a difference too - you should cram your foot as deep into the footpocket as possible......
Really helpful thread

Heya folks,
this has been a really interesting and useful thread, with some thoughts that I hadn't thought of - so thanks very much y'all.

I have a more general query - I'm currently using a pair of Cressi Gara200s, which I am very fond of - they are so much better than short scubafins! -except for getting them on on a crowded RIB! I have used a couple of people's monofins before, but this was before I'd become accustomed to the monofinning technique which I now use pretty much all the time - for scuba and for snorkelling, so I've never had a chance to actually compare the efficiency of a monofin vs stereos for monofinning....

Obviously you don't have the same maneuvourability with a mono as you do with stereos, I can't imagine scuba-ing or snorkelling with a monofin on,
and they are often quite pricey - so my question is this:

how much of an improvement in performance are we talking about in dynamics & CW, when it comes to monofinning with a monofin, as distinct from monofinning in stereos???

Oh! and another question - does anyone have any recommendations for improving monofinning technique??

Finally, if you haven't seen these links before, check out the links on www.glennvenghaus.com - the ones of Peter Pedersen & Mandy-Rae & Martin Stepanek are just sick! (in a good way!)

and good luck y'all!

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Good thread.

I have been swimming with a Waterway Model2 Medium monofin for little over a year. I still have a lot to work on my technique. I find this fin a little too hard for relaxed swimming.

I am planning to buy a monofin from sebakfin/specialfins/leaderfins (or what their name is today) I have nearly decided on their medium stiffness, but from Peter's post I get all confused, again ;-)

Does anyone have the experience how the openhelel Waterway Model2 Medium compares in stiffness with the Leaderfins Freediving monofin" Wings" medium model?

My buddy and i are about to order the Model 1 LD/MD with the medium hardness footpockets we're going to get a bag each and some socks at a price i couldnt pass up. [cant wait] rofl
I don´t really want to enter this discussion so...

Size of blade: Mod. 2 -The bigger the fin-the harder to control! The DoZo is to small unless you are a midget...

Stiffness: Medium! The soft one doesn´t get you anywhere. And the hard one is for sprint...

Footpocket: For maximum effort you need a tight footpocket, wich is also extremely unpleasent to wear. This is where many fail. Vital energy is lost in friction, because of a footpocket that is to big.
But since you say that it is also for recreational use, you should choose a slightly bigger pocket.
I´m a size 43 european measurements and I use a 260mm pocket, wich is very tight for me.
Don´t be afraid to order it to small, since you can ajust the pocket relatively easy, just be carefull not to those it to big.

And we ARE talking WaterWay. Don´t let anyone tell you that other fins are OK, because they are not!!
I´ve seen and tryed Breier, Seebak, Specialfins and some STUPID french fin that I´m not even sorry, that I forgot the name of. These fins (not the last french one) have some useable features, but looking at the fins overall, they all have some major disadvantages, that makes the fin unuseable -that is if you are looking for a performance fin.
People who recomend some of the above may mean well, but...

Peter P
I agree that the fibreglass used for specialfins/sebak fins isn't very good. They use the wrong compound/resin and the blade reactivity is poor compared to the Russian made fins including waterway. Martin S. tried several models and kept getting stiffer fins because of that reason, he said they just lacked 'snap'. Finally he got the carbon model and it ended up being a little stiff, so then he just had to swim faster. :duh
The carbon model uses a different resin, not just the fibre, and the blade reactivity seems really good. There is an older model of Sebak fin, the Flyer that does use the traditional fibreglass, which is also good. ie the yellow, not the white or blue one.

The original post was talking about a fin used for depth diving. I think the ideal fin for dynamic is not necessarily the ideal fin for constant weight. Both Martin & Herbert Nitsch are using special fins carbon for constant - both have done 105m. Also Mandy is using that type of fin, so that makes both Constant weight record holders. Yeh they get the fins free but I seriously doubt they would they would be using that fin if it didn't give good performance. There are also other Russian fins apart from ones made by Bogdan (waterway). Herbert Nitsch and Natalia Molchanova also use a different Russian fin for dynamics. Don't know what it is but it's got a bizarre full footpocket, looks like a shoe with really long pointy toes. :p

I get less performance with a footpocket that is too small, but everyone is different. I'd also be careful with wearing tight monofin style footpockets in the ocean. Eric Fattah posted some time ago about getting really bad tendonitis from diving cold water with a traditional monofin. If anyone wants to use a monofin for RECREATIONAL diving I'd strongly suggest getting one with Omer footpockets. You may lose perfomance but traditional footpockets are just too painful to wear for more then 10-20 minutes at a time. :waterwork

I'm not pro special fins or anything, I have a waterway fin and think it's great for performance, specially dynamic. I am considering changing to a different fin to use for depth because for me I don't think my waterway is the ideal fin for constant weight.

Thank you for your answers. Living in the best of worlds I was just able to borrow a Sebak Freediver fin so I was able to swim with both my WaterWay and the Sebak fin.

The Sebak fin fitted me very well, with a tight fit all around the foot. It was very easy just to play around a little with the fin, circling around in the pool, but as soon as I wanted to put in a little extra in a kick all the energi was lost somewhere. It was a very strange feeling, it felt like I was struggling against the water.

I will stick with the WaterWay fin but try to get a smaller and/or softer fin for recreational swimming. The model1 fin I have gives me a lot av thrust, I had to change my old too big mask as it blowed off my face when I swam ;-) but I think it is a little to big or to stiff for playing around.

Listningn to Peter it sounds the choice should be Model3 Medium rather than a Model2 soft.

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