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Need advice on fin types

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.

Jesper Juul

New Member
Dec 26, 2001
Hello freedivers

I need advice on what fins to use for dynamic apnea. I know that a monofin probably will be the best choice, but I do not have the time to learn how to use it. I also think that I am getting used to my "stereo fins".

I own the following fins, and I am able to make around 65-75 meter with all this fins.

Cressi Sub Clio (very small soft plastic fins)
Picasso Black Team (long freediving fins with gray fin blades)
Mares Avanti HP (medium sized fins widely used fin for UW-rugby)
Mtechnics "hard "carbon (used for constant weight).

It seems strange that I can not really feel any big difference in the achieved distance with all this fins.

Does anybody know what makes a good and a bad fin for dynamic apnea?
Hi Jesper,

I have no answers for you but I share the same puzzlement. I've made it to 100m three times in my life and that was with my Technisub Ala's, which are an all-rubber fin used primarily for underwater hockey. I've also failed serious attempts to make 100m with Cressi 2000 HF (long blade plastic) and medium MTechnic (long blade carbon).

Experiences like this really make me wonder if long blade fins are really all they're cracked up to be. However, it is also possible that my legs are 'tuned' to shorter rubber fins after 18 years of underwater hockey.

I'd like to hear other people's comparative experiences.

The general opinion among my friends is that for dynamic apnea the soft fins should be used. I own a C4 carbon fins but in a pool I use it only for surface swimming. For dynamics I use plastic, 15 years old fins (I don't even know wich ones are they!). I do much better results with them.
Try with softer wich are easy to work with and compare the results.

Experiences like this really make me wonder if long blade fins are really all they're cracked up to be.


This is an interesting question with many twists. Here's another. Force Fin has long tauted greater efficiency, but are not used by competitive freedivers, at least not that I've heard of.

I have a pair of Pro Model Force Fins and note that they give surprising thrust for very little resistance, but much less than Free Frogs and much much less than long blades. They do not give the lift I like to feel coming off the bottom when I am very negative, but they may well be more efficient and thus better for distance swimming where it is not important to have power to lift off the bottom or to get moving upward from great depth. I've not done a systematic comparison, however. Force Fin also makes an Excellerating Force Fin that is longer and advertized as better for freediving. Anyone have experience??
Hello all,

When I use my Sporasub long fins (72 cm blade) for dynamic, I don't get 1 meter more then with my Plastic "toy"fins I bought in Spain during
hollidays this summer. Those fins are so soft I can roll them,
and are not even 45 cm top to heel : not what you can call freedive fins.

Perhaps there's another technique to use for long fins. I don't know, i'm new to freediving (september).

Force fins

I had a friend who tried to use a pair of force fins for underwater hockey one time. It was NOT a positive experience. It was the same problem as with coming up from depth: lack of power.

Of course, underwater hockey is not dynamic apnea so maybe force fins are more efficient. For me to try it I'd have to get past my disdain for force fins though. Could take some time. :)

Power vs. efficiency


I think your point reinforces my supposition that the power factor is very important for freediving fins, perhaps moreso than efficiency (assuming force fins are more efficient - maybe they are just a novel design with a high price tag??). Same would be true for UWH - who cares whether he can play all day if he can't keep up with the action.

It is interesting how one adapts though: the force fins were my first real fins, and their lack of power did not bother me until I got the BTs. Now they downright scare me trying to come off the bottom of a cavern with a long way to go back to the light at the entrance. It is tough to stay relaxed as I kick away, seemingly going nowhere with the force fins, even though exiting is usually assisted by a current.

This has piqued my curiosity; I'll have to do a comparison of all three fins (Force Fin, Free Frogs and Picasso BTs) in the river - that will eliminate the length factor of the various fins while turning at 50m in a pool.
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I was dumb enough to buy a pair of exelerating force fins in their fancy tan delta material. They were advertised, by the company, as being for freediving. THey are total crap! I have let others try them for u/w hockey and they came up with the same conclusion.
Force fins maybe fine for some types of tank swimming, but they have no place in freediving.
fin test

>I'll have to do a comparison of all three fins
This is very difficult to do. The fin that you use most has a big advantage. If you want a demo, try really different fins on each foot. You'll see what I mean. I think it would be better to use #2 fin for a couple months, exclusively, before a direct comparison.
Jon - I feel for you spending those $$$ on the tan delta fins and being disappointed. I'm not happy with what I spent, and that was only .25x what you spent!

Bill, good point. Of course, to do this correctly, one ought to have a larger sample size and a randomized study design where the order of using the fins is shuffled.

What do record holders use? One would think that if there were an optimal fin type for distance, that's where it would be evident.
Mono -> Record

Being a two-fins kind of guy I hate to be saying this but I'm pretty sure that Herbert did his record with a monofin. Laminar also holds the current Canadian record with a 108m dynamic on monofin.

Stiffness counts

I've been doing some experimenting with my tigulio longblades and cut them down a bit . Then compared them to some small sporasub fins that were about 2 or 3 inches longer than a reg scuba fin . The sporasubs flexed from the toe section and were too floppy . Drive was terrible . I promply returned them and have been weary ever since .
My Tigulios ... I chopped 2 inches off the tips, shaped a round tip, and spearfished for 3 weeks . I found the drive felt almost the same as the original shape . But manouverability was better . So I chopped 2 more inches off and formed a vee fishtail shape, now I noticed a decrease in speed, but manouverability was really good (getting into tight spots). (Last 4 months)
Things were looking good as tried to build these perfect flippers .
Next I thinned out the tips starting 3 inches from the tip, both sides . This improved the flex, but seriously slowed down speed . Endurance was up though (higher kick rpm) :t
Since then one fin has split, but still works . Too thin.
I learned ,after all that, that fin length and stiffness compliment each other . I would be quite surprised to find any major differences in competing fins of similar lengths and stiffness.
I would think that a short (3/4) really stiff fin (carbon) could probably come close to a large really soft fin's speed . I would think that endurance could be similar as well . However manouverability would be no contest for the cross over freediver/spearfisherman .
and then I sawed them in half . . .

Jason, What an experimenter! Remind me never to loan you a pair of my fins (well, maybe I'd let you borrow my force fins).

Your conclusion that stiff short fins are as fast as soft long fins and more maneuverable begs the question why use long fins, as we all do (or do we - any closet shorty's out there who wish to fess up now?).

Is it simply a matter of comfort, bias, etc.?
Blades ......

Happy New Years everybody !
Just to clarify why I would shorten my long bladed fins ....
I mostly spearfish in 40 feet or less water here in Kona as I have not yet attempted to reach the hundred foot level where the really large fish live in caves ..... (read Ulua, or Jacks) .
Such a person who could repeatedly dive to those depths or deeper (on a regular basis) while spearfishing , would be considered pretty much a legend around here . I'm just being honest .
So that's why I'm here, pretty much in awe of the stories shared on this site - super deep dives several hundred feet under . I'm learning just like you guys are, picking up bits of info here and there .
Anyhow, I spend a lot of time lying still on the bottom amongst rocks and coral . Long blade fins can become cumbersome at times for this type of inshore hunting . It's easy to become entangled in shooting line, or get moved around by waves on the bottom at times . Manouverability makes my dives easier . I would imagine cave divers might share that thought too .
But how many fast and manouverable fins are there on the market ? One that I know of . Picasso Spuma . Price tag is too high . Necessity is the mother of invention .
Happy diving !!! Follow your imagination ..... :t
Re: Blades ......

Originally posted by Jason DeGraff
Long blade fins can become cumbersome at times for this type of inshore hunting . Manouverability makes my dives easier . I would imagine cave divers might share that thought too .
Maneuverability was indeed my reason for picking up a pair of Free Frogs . . . my BTs are just a little too much fin to turn around in a tight crack or tunnel.
Back to the efficiency question...

It really has amazed me too how little difference the fin type, or indeed, using the fins / fin at all makes in dynamic apnea. Quite often we tend to emphasise relaxing too much at the cost of maintaining a streamlined body position and efficient kicking technique. The result is that what we gain in greater speed with longer and stiffer fins we lose battling the water resistance.

From what little experience I have, I would assume a good competition finswimming monofin (with softish blade) to be the best for dynamic apnea as well. That said, diving with a monofin requires at least some practise, as it does not come as naturally as diving with stereo fins. It might be a good idea to try to learn from the finswimmers, even though their style (really stiff ankles and knees, LARGE hip movement) is not necessarily the best for dynamic apnea.

I guess the results from Ibiza are convincing enough to convert more freedivers to use a monofin. (As a matter of fact I do not know the exact statistics, i.e. how many divers out of the ten best used monofins. Anyone out there, who could answer that?)


Ossi makes an excellent point regarding the importance of streamlining and finning technique.

Although not directly related to freediving, <http://www.totalimmersion.net> is all about using such principles to improve swimming technique for triathletes and competitive swimmers. I've learned a lot from Terry Laughlin's techniques, and many seem to be very adaptable to fin swimming and freediving.

I'll check to see of the training forum has an old thread on finning technique; if not and if others are interested, perhaps we should start a new thread for it there. I know I have a lot to learn about technique and perhaps those with expertise are willing to give us a few pointers.
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WWW adress ..

Sorry but I have some doubts about WWW adress You've posted .. what I find there is "Limited Edition 1:25 kits" :)) ... they have some about diving - Nautilius model - but looks like nothin more interested there. Can You please check this adress once again?
Best regards from snowy Poland
My mistake


Thanks for pointing out my blunder, and please accept my apologies for wasting your time. I should have checked it rather than trusting my memory when I posted it.

The correct URL is <http://www.totalimmersion.net>.

I've corrected the earlier post as well.
Hi everyone,
I think the idea of getting everyone to experiment with kick technique and post the results is great. A small variation could make a huge difference.

I have a pair of Beuchat eite fins. When i first bought them I experimented between a flutter kick(small and large sweep) and a dolphin kick. In a 50m pool, the small flutter just frustrated me as I fely like i was getting nowhere and definitely not in a relaxed manner. The large sweep got me to the end much more relaxed but not necessarily any faster. The dolphin kick felt like it took hardly any more energy but.......covered 50m a full four seconds faster. When doing these times my aim was to have good speed but as relaxed as possible. If i really went for it i think the time difference would have been huge.

Any good swimming coach will tell you a well streamlined dolphin kick is the fastest way to move through water. That is why the 15m rule had to be bought in.

I have tried the dolphin kick to depths of 20m and found the same results. As yet I haven't had the chance to go deep, but, i think it will take a long timne to have the confidence to dolphin at 50m.

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