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Scuba fins vs. freedive fins

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2002
I've read a few posts here and there about the danger of using scuba fins while freediving. I've also read that some people use freediving fins for scuba. Is there a big difference between the two types? Are snorkeling fins a totally different thing?

My understanding is:

Freedive fins are quite long and stiff, and provide lots of power, high efficiency, but a lot of resistance, like 'high gear' on an automobile or bike. Scuba fins are more like a 'medium gear.' I'm sure you could use freediving fins for scuba, but your legs would be sore pretty quickly due to the drag from your gear. When freediving, scuba fins don't provide nearly as much "kick," which could leave you struggling to get up from the bottom if you run into trouble.
Fins = tools

i own a pair of J.B.Escalpez freediving fins and a pair of Apollo Biopro V fins and a pair of normal scuba fins. The big difference between thoose 3 types of fins is the accelerating power from 0 to x speed, the top speed and the resistance in water vs efficiency of propulsion.

When freediving, i'm very hydrodynamic. To get to the bottom fast, and more importantly, i need a fin that will accelerate vary fast, that's the freediving fins, a couple of kicks and i can glide the rest of the way (up or down). When i need to get back to the surface, thoose fins will do the job very fast, it's important in case of emergency.

When scuba diving, i'm very bulky with the bootle, the bc etc... I offer a lot of resistance to water. That's why i need a pair of fins that will let me get constant propulsion without much effort, the V fins are the best for that. The only problem with V fins is that they only propulse, if you want to stabilyze yourself to take a picture, they're a real pain in the @ss.

The most important thing to remember is that fins are only a TOOL! Your legs are the motor, they are the most important part of propulsion, whatever the fins you put on! When stuck at the bottom, you need a body in shape more then fins, but freediving fins will help. :D
I wear my Picasso black teams for warm water scuba diving and a pair of IDI Turtle fins, with spring straps on them, for cold water drysuit diving.

I love my freediving fins for scuba and everything else. I have even penetrated a few wrecks with them on- this is a little bit tricker because of the length.

Once you have used freediving fins you will not see back....i love the power and the efficiency of them....but are ok when used in open water dives...forget them for cave or wreck diving. If you are instructor would be good to have a good scuba pair....
Hi BatRay. I'm sure the Cressi Pro Star fins you're looking at are good, but they are not really freediving fins. More like full-foot scuba/snorkelling fins. In fact I think they are no different to the Pro Lights.

EDIT: Huh? I could have sworn there was a post before mine from BatRay saying he was looking at the Cressi Pro fins?! :confused:

The reason that I and many others use freediving fins for scuba is that they are a lot more powerful when necessary (eg current), and I find them more efficient in term of air consumption (when just cruising along). After all, freedivers need to be as air efficient as possible!!

I only ever use freediving fins to scuba now, as I find regular fins just too 'soft'. It's true, freediving fins can make you sore, but once you get used to them and learn to use a slower, wider amplitude kick, you'll love them! :inlove

I would suggest the Sporasub H Dessault fins, as they come in different stiffnesses. I use the grey blades, which I think is second stiffest after black. Green is softest, followed by blue. This fin comes in full foot or open heel, if you want to use booties.

The blades are also interchangable, so you can 'upgrade' to stiffer blades when you're legs are up to it (see Fins:spare parts section of deeperblue shop). I also have the Cressi Gara 2000 HF fins, which have a more comfortable footpocket (full foot), but stiffer blade. I'm still getting used to them, and right now only use them for freediving.

The Gara HD fins are grey and not as stiff and I've seen many scuba divers using them, but they're discontinued as the Gara 3000 fins are just coming out.

Otherwise I've heard really good things about the Picasso fins too. Avoid Carbon blades for scuba, as they are fragile. I know you don't touch anything while diving, but gearing up etc can damage them.

You must remember 2 things; as previously mentioned, freediving fins are longer that normal scuba fins, so you have to get used to the extra length so you don't touch anything accidentally, and penetrations should be avoided, as you are less manouverable.

Secondly, NEVER freedive after scuba, only before scuba. I know it's tempting when you have the fins and a 2hr surface interval, but the rapid ascents while freediving will affect the residual nitrogen in your blood from your scuba and greatly increases the chance of DCS.

Wow, long post, got carried away!! :D


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Sorry bout that Terry

I figured that I ought to look around in the freediving equipment threads (all 14 pages...:duh ) for more info on beginner fins. I guess the Gara LD's are about as soft as they get, then, but stiffer than scuba fins? I still like my splitfins, maybe I'm becoming an equipment hog.

And I did post that question here, but deleted it because I thought it belonged in freediving equipment. Thanks for replying though:D.

So is Rondine Gara 2000 the same as the one that's been mentioned?
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scuba fins, for the most part, are actually stiffer...that is they do not have the flex of a freediving fin. While swimming a freedive fin makes a nice big arc, your scuba fins do not. You can bend longblades all the way back to the footpocket, try that with a pair of short, thick, rubber fins...no way. Trying to compare them is like comparing my Montero Sport to a Hummer...sure they are both SUV's but thats about all they have in common...
I've tried to locate a dealer with the Gara LD fins, but no one seems to have them in stock because they've been discontinued. The Picasso Start fins look okay, are they similar to Immersion Green?
scuba fins, for the most part, are actually stiffer...that is they do not have the flex of a freediving fin. While swimming a freedive fin makes a nice big arc, your scuba fins do not.

Scuba fins seem less flexible because they are shorter than freedive fins. if your scuba fins were twice as long, they would be pretty flexible! Actually, they would be freediving fins then!! The length of the fin produces this arc effect, but if you look at the arc and cut the fin as short as a scuba fin, you would not have much of an arc.

The reason freedive fins are stiffer is that they have a greater surface area, and so each stroke moves more water, ie more resisitance, when compared with a scuba fin.

Freedive fins are made of solid plastic or carbon fibre (not rubber, like some scuba fins), so that they do not flex too much under this heavy load and become inefficient.

BatRay: I've heard great things about the Picasso Black Team fins for freediving, and the Picasso Start look like black teams with softer blades, so they would seem to be a good choice.

If you're interested in a compormise, look at the Mares Avanti Quattro Power or Sporasub Cruise fins (they are exactly the same). These are a few inches longer that the open heel scuba Avanti quattros, and the extra length really increases power. They're not as long as freedive fins, so transportation and manouverability is easier.


hold up a second...are you trying to tell me that if my thick rubber Mare Quattros were longer they would be more flexible than my Sporasub Radicals...I dont think do. The efficiency of a freedive fin is in the nature of its flex. I think people are getting confused about flexibility and relative stiffness.

for arguments sake how can you generalize all freedive fins or scuba fins...would you say the force line of fins is more flexible than a C4 80 freedive fin? No. That being said, fins in both categories are all different.

Regardless, like I said before, you cannot compare apples to oranges and expect meaningful results;)
At the moment I'm just trying to locate a pair of beginning freediving fins that are reasonably priced (student budget:( ). I contacted the deeperblue store about the Picasso Start fins, but I would have to wear a 5mm sock to fit them.

Some websites are still advertising Gara LDs, so I'm going to see if they still have any. I'm also looking at the Immersion Green fin, we'll see how that works out.
good luck on your search, and as always, take adice with a grain of salt...especially mine:cool:
for arguments sake how can you generalize all freedive fins or scuba fins...

Fair enough rigdvr, all fins have different designs (even within scuba/freedive fins), so comparison is pointless.

I contacted the deeperblue store about the Picasso Start fins, but I would have to wear a 5mm sock to fit them.

Why would you have to wear a 5mm sock? Are your feet that small?! ;) Some people find the footpockets a bit too hard, and so you get blisters, but I know of a lot of people that wear Picasso and sporasub fins with barefeet. I guess that's the problem with buying online, you can't try them out first...

If you find the Gara 2000 LD, you can be pretty sure the foot pocket is soft enough to wear without socks. That's what I find anyway!

Good luck!
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I would like to try a pair of fins in person, but there isn't a freedive shop within three hours. And yes, my feet are that small,:D

The DB shop has Sporasub Dessault fins in my size. Are those footpockets comfortable?
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I think the Dessault footpockets are very similar to the Picasso ones. I know people who wear them barefoot, but I bought my Dessault fins a size too big so I wear 3mm sock with them.

Wearing a neoprene sock is good too sometimes, especially when the water is a little cold. :(

It really depends what you're used to. Some people can wear full foot with no sock with no problems, others are used to booties and get blisters as soon as they use full foot. If you're lucky, the size you buy might be ok with barefoot, and also ok with 3mm socks, so you can choose what to wear to suit your diving.

DB shop has a very good return policy, in case the size is wrong or not comfortable, the only problem is you have to mail it back to them.
I, as many others, love the sporasub footpocket. The bad part is comfort is determined by the shape of your foot. I am like you and have no access to freedive gear locally and for the most part have lucked out on most of my "blind" purchases. Hope you are as well!;)
We'll see. I've ordered the Sporasub H Dessault fins from scubastore, and we'll see how they turn out. They had them in my (tiny) size. My scuba fins are all open-heel, so it'll be interesting to try a foot pocket fin.

Now, I hope it doesn't take long for them to get here. :)
Good luck and I hope you like your new toys!

I usually get my Deeperblue Store stuff 3-4 days after I place my order here in Hong Kong, so California shouldn't take any longer.

Let us know what you think!

scubastore is really quick...usually like 3-4 days! They will give you a tracking # and you can keep up with your shipment via the web...enjoy:D
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