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Monofin divers????

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2001
I wanted to know if any of you have tried a monofin:
-in the pool (finswimming or for fun)
-for deep diving
-recreational diving

I use a monofin for all of the above...just curious to know.

Any spearfishers on mono? :D

Vancouver, BC
Monofi para mi

Hi Peter, I bought a fiberglass Russian monofin a few months back at a local shop. The old salt there sold it to me for 25$. I don't know much about them, but it has a very stiff blade, and I can really cruise with it. The problem is that the footpockets are too small; my feet don't get far enough into the blade, and I cramp up after a short time. I can't get a 3 mm sock in them, so I've never had it in the open water. I read on freedivecanada where you guys were taliking about replacement footpockets; I'm interested in that. Maybe you could give me a little lesson in Vancouver , as I am not very adept. As much as I like to think I have lots of Orca genes, I am undoubtedly a bi-pedal 2 dimensional surface dweller!
Erik Y.
always mono

I use monofin in open water and in pool sessions.
Previously I was able to wear only 1.5mm neoprene socks because my mono's footpockets were too tight.
But I gave OMER footpockets to a monofin builder, and he installed them to a monofin blade, now I can dive even in cold conditions :)


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OMER monofin


Could you tell us who bonded your footpockets to the monofin? I have been searching for someone who could do that for ages.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Recommended Monofin

Q. 1 How would you compare it (pros/cons) against regular freediving fins?

Q.2 Have you tried spearfishing using a monofin?

Q.3 What monofin would you recommend? If you could provide the name of the manufacturer with model name plus their website (if available) would be much appreciated.

company is Sebak

The builder of this special mono is SEBAK in Tallinn/Estonia.
From Finland it takes only 1.5 hours to travel to Tallinna with a hydrofoil ship. Their website is http://www.sebakfins.com .
You can contact the with emai, try: jyri@sebakfins.com.
In their web page they show only one picture of a monofin, but the company is very flexible. Maximum blade size is 100cm * 100cm and you can order whatever stiffness, whatever stiffness change (is it more stiff near footpockets and less near the tip).

In my first visit I was confused, because I thought they have monos in stock, instead they picked a notebook and started to ask, which kind of mono I would like to have. My first mono was quite standard. Soon I realized I want to use this on open water, but the footpockets did not allow me to use enough thick neoprene socks, I already had the biggest footpocket they had!
Next I started a conversation about using third party footpockets by emailing pictures of various fins. They replied that OMER footpockets would be fine. Plain OMER footpockets cost me 32 USD, which I bought from Finland. With these footpockets I travelled to Tallinn and had a conversation with them about other features of this mono. Because this fin would be for freediving it would a bit different compared to a finswimming competition mono.
I have more pictures in web page:
http://www.tedasys.com/~kallite1/mono, this page is still under construction, but there I shall write more information about this mono.
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I am not a good person to make comparisons between monofins and bifins, because most of the time I have freedived, I have done it with a mono. But I explain some personal feelings:

When I want very strong kicks the choice is absolutely a mono.
Some people say that mono kicks consume more oxygen because this kickstyle activates bigger musclegroups, but I don't feel it this way.

No, I have not done spearfishing, but I would like to! Maybe next summer, or during my future holiday to mediterranea.

In dynamic apnea I would like to use soft mono and during constant weight hard. This omer/sebak fin is a hybrid between those. The tip is very flexible and near footpockets it is stiff.
Mono is Seriously Fast

I'm not too experienced a diver, but the main point in monofin is, that it is a really fast mode of underwater transport. World record for 50 m is something like 14 seconds and anyone reasonably fit can dive 50 m in 20 seconds or so. (at least with a comp. specific fin)

I have no clue about relative oxygen consumption compared to a pair of fins, but as it is the same body doing the work and getting so much faster, I bet the mono is also the more efficient one oxygenwise.
I think the monofin is more efficient, especially if you know how to vary the stroke amplitude, style and power for different stages of your dives. The biggest difference for me, and I really believe it makes my diving better (totally subjective, I know), is how much more I feel like a marine mammal when freediving with a mono. Bi-fins feel neat, but they don't make me feel like a fish. It changes the way you move in the water. I don't feel like a struggling two-legged human, but like a sleek and confident sea creature. I use my monofin for all recreational diving--the only drawback is fitting through small holes, so no cavern-diving for me!

Also, there's nothing like a carbon monofin when you're coming up from a deep dive. At 30m I know I'm only 9 to 11 strokes away from the surface. And if you're too negative, the carbon is up for the challenge of pushing the extra load (if your legs are!).

And the seals around here seem to like us monofin freedivers, too!

Hi Pete,

I currently use the Cressi Garra 2000 HF (Black) Fins but am intrigued by the monofin and how it may allow me to dive deeper and longer. I am thinking about trying it out sometime.

What monofin (make and model) would you recommend?
1. Carbon (make and model):
2. Non-Carbon (make and model):

I don't live in Hawaii anymore but you should take a trip down to Kona, Hawaii sometime to dive off Captain Cook's Monument, Kealakekua Bay (about 350 feet deep).

The water's wonderfully warm and visibility is down to about 150 feet from the surface but gets clearer as you go deeper. I'm sure you'll just love it. Lots of fish, turtles and dolphins!

Pekelo (Peter)
Aloha Pekelo,

I was in Maui to windsurf last year and have heard a lot about the freediving at Kona. I have tentative plans to spend a couple of months there next winter. So hopefully I'll make it out.

I recommend getting a Mat Mas (Italy) fin Carbon KSP 9 or 10 reverse for deep diving and Fiberglass 9 straight for recreational. Go to www.mat-mas.com for the full catalogue. Use FINIS footpockets (you have to contact FINIS direct to get them). Alternatively, going with the FINIS fiberglass (Russian-made) or Carbon competitor blade would work okay as the shipping is a lot less and the footpocket is already bonded. Briar Brut fins are okay but their footpockets are horrible. We've ripped them off and replaced them with FINIS footpockets.

I don't know much about the other European and Russian monofins, but I'm sure they are comparable.

The trick with starting out with the monofin is to understand that it is not a "kick," but an undulation of the body where your legs and fin follow through. Descending is much harder, especially when you are buoyant (cold water diving). So get a descent line and practice swimming down parallel without going off course (try it in bi-fins as well with a dolphin stroke) You should look straight at the line--don't look where you're going. Then you'll be able to feel if your balance and trim is good. Surface swimming on your side is also a good way to practice.

Maybe if I go to Hawaii I can give the clinic I've taught on monofin freediving.:D We've already got several converts here in Vancouver...

cheers, Peter
Wonderful! I have one more question, Peter:

Is there a particular type of Finis footpocket that I should ask for or does Finis only manufacture a standard type?

For everyone else, here is the Finis webpage: www.finis-net.com

And you should do the monofin clinic and make more converts! ;-)

Post your clinic info on the Hawaiian freediving community sites:
1. www.freedivehawaii.com
2. www.hawaiiskindiver.com

Wish I were back in Hawaii! Now those were the good ol' days...! Dang!!! Ha-ha-ha!
One better than two??

Is the monofin really that much better than dolphin kicking in two fins?

I dolphin kick with any fin I use. Dolphin kick is sooooo much more powerful than flutter kick that it just seems like the natural thing to do in fins.

Wearing two fins gives you the option, wherease it seems the monofin locks you into one kick.

It is not possible to swim with wide bi-fins, they would touch to eachother when doing normal flutter kicks. Also it would be difficult to kick with unsymmetrical bi-fins. There is always torbulence between divers legs, and this torbulence decreases the efficiency of the fin.

Monofin does not have this width limit, so the edges of the blade are in torbulence free water.

By the way, Sebak personnel said once they had a wetsuit specially made for monofin divers (maybe prototype), the suit had only one leg, where the diver put his both legs!
This was made for undewater navigation competition purposes.
Unfortunately this suit was stolen.
More theory

I believe I was somewhat misunderstood. I did not mean to suggest using some sort of new bi-fin that is wider. What I am saying is that I always use a dolphin kick with regular bi-fins, using standard scuba fins or long blade fins . . . e.g., Omer Millenium Comps. If you have a good dolphin kick (32 years of competition swimming probably helps), it is second nature to keep your feet together and swim with a powerful dolphin kick. It is so much more powerful than the two-leg flutter kick that I am surprised everyone does not dolphin kick. Dolphin kick is much faster that flutter without fins - just watch any college swim team do kicking drills and you will be convinced, particularly if kickboards are not used and the swimmers are kicking underwater.

Now, I understand your point about turbulence between the legs and between the fin blades. Obviously, it is much more efficient if the kicking surface - in this case the tops and backs of the legs, feet and fins - is smooth and continuous. So I guess what you are saying is that the monofin is much more efficient because it eliminates turbulence and increases the kicking surface. I understand and agree with this logic.

There is another factor to consider, however: the longer the vessel, the faster. Remember that resistance increases in water much faster than in air as speed increases. Therefore, you gain more by streamlining your position - i.e., reducing drag - than by simply gaining power. Competitive swim coaches have learned this in the last few decades, and train swimmers to maximize the amount of time with arms extended in front them spent during the stroke. So, you are faster with your arms stretched above you squeezing your head between them in a tight streamline than you are with arms at your side because you make a longer vessel.

I notice that monofins are short, and I wonder why. Part of the advantage of long blade fins is probably the simple fact that they increase the length of the vessel, not just because they have more kicking surface than shorter fins. So, it stands to reason that if the swimmer can control the fin, a longer monofin would also be faster than a shorter monofin. So finally, this makes me wonder if dolphin kicking with two long blade fins is not close to being as fast as kicking with a short monofin, despite turbulence created by the non-continuous kicking surface.

Certainly, standard long blades give you the option of flutter kicking, or even frog kicking. So, I would certainly advise all divers to learn a good dolphin kick whether or not they switch to a monofin.
Whales, etc

I have noticed that marine mammals and fish too have extremely SHORT fins....I don't understand the engineering, but I know that the engineer knows what it (He, Her,Evolution, etc) is doing.
I wonder what a monofin that was designed like that would do in the water. I know we don't have near the muscle mass of marine dwellers, but still. How about a monofin that looked like a tuna fin....very stiff, 1 metre wide, and maybe 8" deep at the feet, and tapering to the edges?
I would like to see and try that. Now somebody go and build one, ok?
Erik Y.
Well Erik, I think you've asked some good questions, but I'm not enough of an engineer to answer them. I know that Bob Evans of Force Fin has supposedly engineered his fins based on shapes of fish fins.

In fact, I have the Force Fin Pro model and have compared it recently with long fins - I'm not sure yet, but as I learn to use the long blades (my first pair), it seems I cover the same distance with less effort, or much faster with equal effort using long blades versus the Force Fins. Now, this is testing them in a pool doing 25-yard (meter) repetitions underwater using both a dolphin kick and flutter kick, so I'm holding my breath. There may be an aerobic / anearobic component to this equation . . . in other words, maybe the Force Fin is very efficient for aerobic activity over a long period - as you would do with tanks. But, for anaerobic, perhaps the long blade wins out. Or, perhaps the long blade is always better and Force Fins are a gimmick. I would really need to be measuring O2 consumption, etc. to say anything scientific, so these are just my impressions.

I really wonder what a long monofin would do. I can't imagine that it has not been tried, but you never know. You would kick very slowly with it, but that might be more efficient.

If you want to read something about streamlining and length of the vessel applied to swimmers, go to <http://totalimmersion.net>. This all oriented toward surface swimming, but the concepts apply to divers too. In fact, Terry Laughlin makes the point that we are more efficient underwater than at the surface.
Ah...someone who speaks my language! :)

You are right about the longer vessel being faster in the water. I've changed all my swimming strokes around this concept (Terry Laughlin) and I'm a demon in the pool, relative to what I was before, of course. The only problem with achieving that ultimate streamline when freediving with a monofin is the whole "squeeze your arms together over your head" move. It requires a lot of muscle tension, at the expense of your air supply. And forget it with a thick wetsuit. Besides, speed is really not the objective. Efficiency and feeling relaxed is most important. I can't stress how much better it feels to ascend from over 50 metres with a carbon monofin and that easy, relaxed stroke. The thought of kicking with bi-fins from those depths makes me more than uncomfortable.

An idea that has come up is a monofin that is longer than it is wide. Sort of like two bi-fins stuck together but with a bit more width. It would probably be a pain to use for any sort of recreational diving, but who knows how it would be for deep diving.

It seems while I was writing this you and Erik are already on it...
oh well.

Quick, lets form a corporation and apply for the patent on the new long monofin!!! All future records will undoubtedly be set with our product. Cliff; can we call it the "Deeper Blue Monofin," or would that violate a copyright?
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I have collected the folowing sources for Monofins...I haven't checked them all lately but all were live links a few months ago.

This is a page on my site, which is UNDER CONSTRUCTION and not really ready for viewing. I post links to it forwhatever information value they might have, but ask that if anybody pokes around the site, they not nitpick.
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