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Picking/buying a monofin?

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.

Frank O'Donnell

Apneic shutterbug
Apr 23, 2003
132
1
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Hi all, I've been thinking about buying my first monofin. I see from looking through a few threads that some of you have ones by Waterway and Sebak, among other companies. The local sporting goods store carries only one model, a Finis Rapid, though I might be able to find other stores that carry monofins in greater Los Angeles. I'm not looking at super-serious competitive use of this, just swimming for fitness and a little easy apnea.

Now, I wouldn't want to buy a monofin with enclosed foot-pockets by mail order without having some way to check the pocket sizing. It looks as though some monofins have enclosed pockets, and some (including the Finis Rapids available nearby) use straps. On the other hand, I do see that the Sebak freediving monofin uses Omer Millennium pockets, which is the fin type I use in regular freediving fins, so I would probably know which size to buy.

If you were me, would you buy the locally available Finis monofin with straps? Or think about a Sebak, since I can probably figure out my sizing? Or some other approach? I don't want to turn this into rocket science, but don't want to end up with a monofin that doesn't fit well either. Thanks for any input.
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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473
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Frank, I am sure that the big boys, or should I say DEEP boys;) , will post soon enough.

However, I just went through the same thing. I had bought a Waterway monofin last summer, which is the same as the Finis Competitor only cheaper, but found the strap pockets to be too uncomfortable. I finally decided to get a monofin with OMER foot pockets on it.

I have emailed a few people privately and decided to order a Sebak (special fins) "colored" monofin. It should be here in another week or two. Juri, from Sebak, was a great help in picking out my fin. I made my decision to go with them after seeing how well made my dive buddy, Ted's, bi-fins were made. I'll let you know how it works out once I get it. I believe that Kirk, Mandy, and Martin just got a few of the new Sebak monofins and am now starting to use them for deep dives.

I have hesitated on buying one for some time because some people on this list criticized how poorly they worked compared to the Waterway, but since I already had a Waterway, and couldn't use it for more than 20 minutes at a time, I decided that comfort was more important than all-out performance if I was ever going to perfect my kick. I now have a goal to work on in the pool this winter.:D

Jon
 

Niko

New Member
Nov 23, 2002
15
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monofining

Well I also believe that the big guys will soon give you their point of view on the matter. There are quite a few companies out there making good products. Here is my point of view, a monofin is like any other piece of equipement some will do wonders for you , and some well , won't:duh ...It is kind of trial and errors.
By that I mean that it is a really subjective area. Before I got my first mono I asked about everyone, looked at photos from deeperblue trying to figure out what the champions were using.
And still I was left with a lot of questions. Since I was a beginner at the time I lookeed for a confy , affordable fin that would get me to a level where I could finally figure out what I needed.
I decided on a Model 2 medium stiffness from Waterway, first because a lot of people had used them and liked their confort, efficiency and price point.
I talked with Laminar(peter scott) who by the way wrote an awsome article on monofins. I then saw that the Solomon's were recomanding Waterways.
I love my fin it is really confy has a good snap,and efficient the footpocket although not as cool looking as the Omer foot pocket seam to be working awsome as far as response goes. Peter from Waterways is a cool guy full of good recomendations.
Now I never had sebaks they were at the time a lot more expensive than they are now.They look cool that is about all I know about them. My next pair of mono though wil be a Carbonrevmix from Mat-Mas an italian company, it is definately a more advance fin , I am curious to see what the mix in between Fiberglass and Carbon fiber will do performance wise...
But when it comes down to it, at my level it is not the monofin quality that makes the difference! It is my monofin stroke and my "in-shape" level. SO train on your dolphin stroke and whatever ends up on your feet , if you have a great stroke you will accomplish pure bliss!!
Confort of course is the main thing...
Hope I didn't confuse you too much...Cheers,
Niko
 

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derelictp

Freediver
Oct 16, 2001
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Hello Frank!

Try the search engine, there are tons of information in earlier threads about this.

I would suggest a mono from Specialfins!

Good luck!
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
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Hi Frank. I would recommend against buying the Rapid, as it is a plastic fin. Injected plastic mono's are not worth even trying.
Look at a fiberglass blade in a medium or soft design. Waterway has supplied blades to FINIS in the past I believe. I have a FINIS Competitor Medium, and it is wonderful. The footpockets take a lot of getting used to, but I can dive for hours with mine now. The medium is a good all-round weight for CB, Dynamic, and finswimming (racing).
Good luck,
Erik Y.
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
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I like the waterway blades. Their footpockets work well for short periods but are a bit uncomfortable for long periods. So, I attached finis footpockets to waterway blades.


Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
 

derelictp

Freediver
Oct 16, 2001
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Eric and Erik:

Don't you suffer from the Finis footpockets heavy weight?

I also had these pockets on my WW but I changed back because the weight.

Maybe you have a newer model?
 

jeffitz

New Member
Sep 15, 2003
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Frank,

I'm completely new to this sport and forum, but I have recently purchased both the Sebak "Peter" medium and the Waterway Competition medium and do have a couple thoughts.

I received the Sebak fin first, and after thrashing around a bit in both the pool (caught the lifeguard's attention) and the ocean (again, caught the lifegaurd's attention) I have been able to figure out how to swim at the surface both face down and on my side as well as vertically, udpside down, etc. I'm truly hooked and will now probably only use traditional bi-fins for hunting or around shallower reefs.

I received my Waterway fin the other day and swam with it the first time yesterday. It was much more difficult than the Sebak in many ways (even after already somewhat figuring out how to use the Sebak and monofinning in general). The Waterway fin tended to slip sideways much more easily because of my weaker leg and I had to really concentrate on distributing power from my torso through both legs equally. I think the more solid (but heavier) footpockets of the Sebak fin helped overcome my handicap, whereas the Waterway emphasized it. The Waterway also cramped both feet horribly as my feet are forced to bend in the middle due to the half footpocket. After gritting my teeth for quite a while (30 minutes) my feet were either numbed out completely or I got used to it somewhat. After 45 minutes in the pool, I threw my Sebak on and was immediately relieved and swimming with much more ease than with the Waterway; I swam for another 45 minutes without problem.

So, aside from the pain, what were the Waterways good for? Speed and power. I felt that the Waterway medium was somewhat stiffer than the Sebak medium. I also felt that when I concentrated and distributed my energy through both legs and feet properly, the Waterway was a much more powerful and precise fin - I moved much faster through the water with it. I think that in time my feet and legs will adjust to the demands of the Waterway and it will probably be my choice for the pool and any kind of performance type stuff. However, the Sebak will probably be my choice for long leisurely strolls around the ocean in front of my house.

As far as construction goes, I'd have to say the Waterway is very nicely made; the circuitboard material and the way it is put together is fascinating. The Sebak's are pretty cool as well, but I'd have to say the construction was a bit more on the sloppy side. The Sebak blade was not precisely cut at the end and the footpockets were not mounted with any kind of precision (the ribs extending out into the blade were a little crooked) - overall it definitely had a handmade feel which I guess is kind of quaint.

I hate to say it but, ultimately, it is hard to compare the two fins since they are so different in what they offer. I think the beginner will enjoy the Sebak more in terms of comfort and ease, but will want more if they start to look toward better performance. The Waterway's discomfort could quite possibly discourage the beginner and chase them right back to traditional fins, but those who persevere will be rewarded with a whole lot of power and speed.

Sebak = very comfortable, but heavy footpockets; decent blade; mediocre construction; good confidence builder.

Waterway = very uncomfortable, but precise and efficient footpocket; excellent blade; decent construction; much faster.

Obviously, I have a bit of disposable income on hand and owning both was fortunately not a real problem. The Sebak was quite a bit more expensive than the Waterway when shipping and everything else is taken into account. If money is not a factor then get both, if it's a huge factor then choose the Waterway, otherwise consider whether the thing is for competition/performance (Waterway) or just pleasure (Sebak). Both companies shipped exactly when they said they would and both shipments arrived in reasonably short order and in great condition.

Hope my humble opinion helps.
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
188
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Jeffitz,

Did you get the Sebak monofin, or the Sebak(specialfins) monofin?

I have the Waterway #2 and the discomfort factor has driven me back to bi-fins. I recently ordered the Sebak fin, from (Special fins) and am hoping for a much more enjoyable time in the water. Not having as much diposable income as you I opted to sell off some scuba toys to pay for more freediving toys.;)

Jon
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
487
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The finis footpocket seems heavy at first, but now I don't even notice it.


Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
 

Frank O'Donnell

Apneic shutterbug
Apr 23, 2003
132
1
103
Thanks for everybody's comments. Re doing a search on the archives, absolutely I did this before posting initially; since products change, it's always nice to get a fresh perspective.

It's interesting that both Eric Fattah and Jeffitz praised the Waterways' performance but agreed that their foot pockets are painful. I'd just as soon not have to swap out the pockets, and am happy with a mono that's more for pleasure swimming than high performance. And, again, I tend to be gun-shy about buying a fin by mail order if I don't have any way of checking how the pocket sizing works on me, since in the past I've had to take bifins back and ended up slightly remolding the pockets to get a good fit. Since my experience base is with Omer Millennium pockets, and these are used on Sebak's freediver monofin, at this point I'm leaning toward that as a mono to get started with.

One other detail -- it looks like the Sebaks are available in several stiffness levels. For a newbie, does "medium" seem like a reasonable way to go? From my experience with bifins I know that stiffer ones can wear you out if you're doing relatively shallow swimming/diving for pleasure, but on the other hand I've often felt underpowered with soft bifins and thus don't want to go too far in that direction either. Thanks again for the input.
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
4,731
753
218
Originally posted by derelictp
Eric and Erik:
Don't you suffer from the Finis footpockets heavy weight?
Maybe you have a newer model?

They are heavy, but I never even considered that to be honest!
I do know that I don't float horizontally unless I'm in the sea in a 5mm suit.
Jeff, you are right about the spinning out of control thing that happens when you start on a mono. This happened to me for the first month of training, then I got the feel of the fin.
Frank, the softer blade would be fine too. Remember that a mono pushes a lot more water than any set of bifins, so even a soft blade will push you along nicely. My next blade will be very soft, but I knew that I wanted a fin that would get me up from 50 metres when I bought mine. So the medium might be a compromise, and if you're looking for comfort, then the Long Distance blade would probably be the one. I also think that a soft blade will be adequate for deeper stuff too :)
Cheers,
Erik Y.
 

jeffitz

New Member
Sep 15, 2003
4
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Jon,

I ordered from Sebak before I even discovered the Specialfins site, but it looks to me as if they are the same models, just different colors, etc.. The Specialfins site is http://www.sebakfins.net so perhaps they are ultimately made by the same company??? A mystery to me.

Frank,

I have the medium "Peter" Sebak and I'd have to say I hardly consider it too hard especially compared to the Waterway #1 medium which seems somewhat stiffer. I would probably hate the stiffest Waterway at this point, but perhaps I could easily withstand the hard Sebak (extra hard being the stiffest) without any trouble and definitely wouldn't go with the soft Sebak. I don't know where you are in LA, but if it's not a huge hassle I could let you see and perhaps try both, I wear a european size 44/46 - I swim at the Santa Monica pool at SMCC as often as posible as well as in the Santa Monica Bay and Malibu.

Best,

Jeffrey
 

Niko

New Member
Nov 23, 2002
15
1
0
discovery...

I had trainned in pool for a while and never used the half neoprene inserts from Waterway untill I got into the 64 F waters of my "open water" trainning site. And well I have to say the footpocket is a lot more confy with the inserts that without.I do have a lowvolume foot that helps thought!
I don't suffer pressure points on the top or on the side of my foot even after an hour trainning session.

Niko~
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
487
173
I have tried monos with 'bifin footpockets' (aka omer footpockets), and really felt that they didn't work well at all. That is putting it lightly. I think bifins with bifin footpockets work much better than monofins with bifin footpockets. I also feel that a good mono with efficient footpockets works better than any bifins; but, people have issues with the comfort of monofin footpockets. I have tried the mat-mas, finis, breier and waterway 'mono' footpockets, and the breier are the most comfortable, but least efficient (still way better than bifin footpockets). The breier footpockets are also by far the lightest. The finis footpockets come next in comfort, but equal the waterway footpockets for efficiency. So, in my mind, I would say:

Comfort Scale: POOR - OKAY - GOOD - GREAT
Weight Scale: LIGHTEST, LIGHT, MEDIUM, HEAVY, HEAVIEST

Breier: GOOD comfort, OKAY efficiency, LIGHTEST weight
Finis: OKAY comfort, GREAT efficiency, HEAVY weight
Omer: GREAT comfort, POOR efficiency, HEAVIEST weight
Waterway: POOR comfort, GREAT efficiency, LIGHT weight
Mat-mas: POOR comfort, GREAT efficiency, MEDIUM weight

The footpocket has an effect on the stability of the monofin:
In order of stability:

1. (most stable) Omer
2. Finis
3. Waterway
4. Mat-mas
5. Breier (extremely unstable)

So, if my scale is correct, then the finis pocket is the most comfortable fin with 'great efficiency', and it is also the most stable of the 'great efficiency' footpockets.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
 

Frank O'Donnell

Apneic shutterbug
Apr 23, 2003
132
1
103
Originally posted by efattah
I have tried monos with 'bifin footpockets' (aka omer footpockets), and really felt that they didn't work well at all. ...

Finis: OKAY comfort, GREAT efficiency, HEAVY weight

Eric, I'll take that as a vote against my idea of buying Sebak fins because the Omer foot pockets are a known quantity to me.

Re your ranking of the brands, I gather you were scoring the foot pockets only, and not their overall fins. I realize that your solution was to put Finis pockets on a Waterway mono. But if you were me as a monofin newbie and didn't want to go to that length to customize the fin, which way would you lean for a comfortable, general-purpose monofin?
 

derelictp

Freediver
Oct 16, 2001
397
63
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I agree with you Eric about the most regarding footpockets, BUT:

-I think the OMER is lighter than the FINIS (But this is a feeling, I havn't measured it)
-I think that the later monofins from Specialfins are efficient and they have OMER on it. Regarding the first fins I agree they where not efficient but in my opinion the fault was not the footpocket.

As always that's only MY opinion, not facts.:)
 

Triton fins

New Member
Jan 21, 2007
5
2
0
Dear friends,
I propose you to visit new website of Triton equipment company. www.finswimming.net
We make monofins for finswimmers for 30 years. Our chief was one of the first who made first monofin with blade. Now we begin to make products for freediving and for hunters. We made special monofin for freedivers: http://www.finswimming.net/monofins.html "Monofin freediving". This monofin is for freedivers because made with special shoes which are not so dense as for finswimmers where seconds are very important, blade not so hard. Also price on this model are not so high. Monofin freediving can be made with any shoes. We propose monofins also with Omer or Picasso shoes. It can be also made with wings and angle, which makes your swimming easy, comfortable and fast. You`ll find many models of rubber fins. We send it directly from Ukrainian and Russian factories. Also we made new Bi-fins with new blades, it can be also with Aqua shoes which are similar like Picasso but much cheaper or with Picasso or Omer shoes. You can buy only blades or ready Bi-fins or monofins. Soon you`ll see it on web too. Now I can send you some pictures by email: [email protected] You can choose any colour of your blade. We are ready to answer you any question any time. Sincerely, finswimming champion of Europe, Maksym Moroz
 
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*Poseidon*

New Member
Jan 21, 2007
4
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I'm considering buying a monofin and am having a few debates with competing brands. I am stricken between Leaderfin's "OMER" , "Sport", and "Advanced" monofin along with Specialfins "Dolphin" monofin, and "Dolphin Smart" monofin. AHHH! so many choices. I want good foot comfort for long usage, and for that I think the "OMER" would be best, but as far as preformance goes, I think the "Dolphin" monofin by Specialfins would be better. Then there's the Rapid monofin by Finis to consider, but I'm afraid it will be too stiff and uncomfortable. I'm also trying to keep the price below $150 (170's pushing it, but i'll do it). Any advice?
 

dav0clure

New Member
Jul 2, 2007
7
1
0
I enjoy the butterfly stroke and recall how much easier it was when I used to "cheat" by using fins on occasion when swimming in local lakes in the midwest (Iowa - USA) as a kid. I also enjoy swimming underwater (apnea). Both of these things seem to combine to form a sort of chant of the word "monofin" in my head.

I am now on day #2 of a sort of an epiphany regarding the idea of using a monofin for recreational swimming in local New England (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts - USA) lakes and maybe also some ocean swimming. At this point, I don't even know where swimming with fins of any kind is even allowed in New England; it seems like there are plenty of rules against using fins for some stupid reason in the roped off swimming areas people are confined to swimming in at most of the lakes (especially pools) I have seen.

In any case, assuming my epiphany lasts and that I am also able to find a place to entertain this seemingly odd desire of mine, I will want to get some advice on what to buy and ideally where I might be able to sample some different styles of gear.

I have a size 10 and 1/2 foot, so I sort of fall between many of the sizes I have seen posted, so this makes me a little nervous buying online where I won't have a chance to try the foot-pockets on for size and comfort, etc.

Like the original poster, I am basically looking for an all purpose entry level monofin setup for recreational swimming, and in my case, I am also looking for some advice on good local (New England) spots where fins are allowed.

Thanks!

-dav0

Post a reply here and also feel free to send me email as I may lose track of this thread in my hectic day-to-day life : (dav0 at VirtualSynthesis.net)
 
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