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Underwater fin surfing...

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.
A fin on the back sounds kinda cool but watch out for shark fishermen.

Actually, I thought about that- you could cause a lot of consternation if you painted it black or grey, and swam off a beach! ;) Not actually a good idea. In my case, a cheesy wooden prototype attached to a weight belt that is just wood coloured wouldn't trick anybody.

I think if you wanted to paint it, something like bright orange or neon green or yellow would avoid misunderstandings, and probably be a safety feature.

P.S.- some kids are probably already having fun with shark fin hats like these ones:

Hi there!

I think that any vertical (keel fin)
on a monofin would represent a
big disadvantage for UW-Surf.

However, the real UW-Surfers
(Dolphins) do use such a fin.
It´s just not on their tails, but on
their backs.

I will give it a try (asap)!
Hi guys,

I'm entering the monofin business and have access to some good fin shapers that can help us (if needed) develop a fin specifically designed for subsurfing.

Do you guys have any thoughts on what an ideal fin would be like?

Some of my thoughts initially:
-smaller surface area
-rails for setting an edge in a wave face should you decide to pop out the front
-good leading edge (foil)
-neutrally buoyant or even slightly negative
-adjustable ankle straps
-vertical fin for steering left and right)
-different shape (high aspect ratio vs. low aspect ratio for different waves, speeds, maneuverability, etc...

I'd love to know what fins you are currently using (those of you who get the chance to do this more regularly).

One thing for sure, is a monofin cannot be buoyant in the surf! In the Bahamas I tried getting through a moderately large close-out zone and found that in my wetsuit and new hyperfin (postively buoyant), it could barely duck dive. :duh I had totally forgotten about that. It wasn't a place for body/sub surfing, unfortunately, but I got to dive with some reef sharks so that was worth the drubbing I got on the way out. ;)

I tried the Lunocet in the Bahamas. Not good for subsurfing in its present form. Way too much drag! Ted hopefully will refine it again.

I also wanted to know if any of you are in Hawaii at the moment or forsee a trip there. I would really like to get some subsurfing on film and spend some time working on technique with some small to mid-sized surf. Given that we can use less powerful waves, it shouldn't be too hard to find waves.

I have a friend in Kona that I'd like to visit in early Feb (money permitting) and I could stop by if any of you are on any of the other islands, but if that's too short notice, I'd be in to organizing something for later in the year. Subsurfing contest or festival?

And a chance to test out fin prototypes...

Oh, and Happy Holidays everyone!

Pete :friday

Hello Pete,
great to see you've taken the plunge with making fins. i think your ideas for a subsurfing fin are pretty good. a little vertical fin however might not work as direction changes are not done with the fin but with our body. rails would be usefull. basicly you want something small that will give a quick burst to catch the wave. once gliding in it the fin should have as little drag as possible.
happy to see we have some new people interested although we have lost some of our original enthousiasts. maybe they just need to be contacted again to let them know we're alive and surfing.
in truth,
Im so happy to see that this is something people are talking about!!! Im a surfer and a freediver and the other day I happened to go freediving when I should have been surfing! So instead of wasting the day I went in anyways and just started bodysurfing, and then I got the idea to surf IN the wave like your talking about! I always see dolphins and other fish do this while Im out surfing and thought Id give it a try!

Coolest thing ever!!! Even when I pulled out of the wave it was awesome to see the waves break from the bottom side! I thought about it and realized that after all these years surfing... I had never seen a wave break from under the water! Just beautiful! And the pleasure of surfing in a wave was just as good as riding on it!

Will be doing this again!
Hi there!

Here is a great vid ´bout our favorit topic:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_go0mi-5zQM]YouTube - The Dolphin Breach[/ame]

By the way, not long ago, I heard about a guy
(haven´t seen it by myself) doing UW-waverides
near Huatulco (southern Mexico, pacific ocean)
on waves made by ships (yachts rather).
thats a good little segment of Kelly who an avid bodysurfer and subsurfer since a few years.
a few years ago, i tried subsurfing waves produced by a boat, both behind and in front of it. it was with a friend's 25 foot paracraft, he knew exactly what i wanted to do and we where timing it very carefully. it worked, but it's not something one should go try without knowing exactly what they are doing and having the right boat plus driver. it could be quite dangerous.
in the end, i would much rather surf natural waves than breath diesel fumes and listen to a loud engine underwater.
lovely breach in that video, thanks for posting

is it not interesting that some people are going to such great lengths to breach, when all you need is a medium wave and tiny little rubber fins.

A few weeks ago, I briefly thought I (without actually trying it) had "invented" a new sport -- surfing like a dolphin. Then I found this thread. I have since had a go at it, and was rewarded with a taste of what it feels like to harness a wave's energy underwater.

It took me quite awhile to read all 228 posts in this thread, so I thought I'd pick out the bits that discuss technique, equipment, and ideal conditions. Then I got a bit carried away. You can see the result here:

Subsurfing / Underwater Bodysurfing / Dolfining / Dolphin Surfing

I fear that I've left out a few key posts discussing positioning further back in the wave -- if someone else has the patience to go through the thread and let me know what else they think I ought to include, that would be swell.

Any other feedback would be appreciated.

Any other resources I've missed would also be great. My list of videos is certainly quite incomplete.

You may notice I've chosen not to correct spelling or grammar -- I am also open to feedback on this choice.

I think the next big steps are:

  1. Finding out if I can keep DeeperBlue forum posts on the page. If not, I'll need to either get permission from the individuals I've quoted, or...?
  2. Contact Jack McCoy, Tim McKenna, and Ken Eichenberg and see if they have any photos, videos, or text that could be used (with proper credit & links to their websites).
Also tempting to re-organize content by subject matter, rather than chronologically.

Eh, I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of other details, but I've been spending too much time on this thing. Time to share it and get some feedback on how to shape it.

Oh, and the URL above is probably temporary.
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Hello Michael,
welcome to the pod ! great to see your site and desire to share propagate some info on underwater bodysurfing.
i see from your site that you've seen Tim McKenna's photos (great work).
just a few days ago i was speaking to Jack Mc Coy sub surfing and he was telling me he has a good feature in his comming movie "a deeper shade of blue". most of it shot in Tahiti from what i gather.
Tahitit is also where it's probably happening the most, or at least the biggest concentration of practicioners.
i have not heard from Ken Eichenberg in quite some time. hope he's still at it.
all in all, i don't think there's that many of us around but having said that, there are probably more than we imagine as this is the purest, truest form of surfing available.
i truely believe that underwater bodysurfing is on some level, geneticly encoded in many humans. when we practice it, memories of long lost times get triggered on a cellular level and that is one of the reasons for the emotional responce it provides.
i would be happy to be of any assistance possible for your website or other projects regarding this practice.
what happened to Ageless ? he came, seemed to enthousiasticly start something and then disapeared.
anyhow, been catching some great waves underwater. hope i'm not the only one...
get wet, stay wet

I got slammed at work!

I need to ask my surfer friends where to find the right kind of waves -- I live in Santa Cruz, I don't think I've found the right swell for subsurfing yet, but it's been fun trying.

I'd love to make the page better, but I haven't had time. Refer to my last post for my ideas re: what needs to be improved / next steps take. I'd be stoked if you or anyone else has energy to give me feedback, or follow through on some of the next steps.

I'll try to make time to incorporate any feedback I receive / etc.

For example, if you are in touch with Jack McCoy, it would be awesome to get permission to show an excerpt from his movie, with proper credit given, and a link to his website.
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I need to ask my surfer friends where to find the right kind of waves -- I live in Santa Cruz, I don't think I've found the right swell for subsurfing yet, but it's been fun trying.

If you do find the right break in the Bay Area, let me know. I grew up freediving in FL but have been out of it for many years. I am moving to Bay Area CA in a few weeks and subsurfing has always intrigued me, but I have never had the opportunity to try. It might be what it takes to get me back into freediving again.
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Hi Ageless,
good to hear back from you ! i"ll tell Jack about the site and see if i can get permission to use some of his stuff.
otherwise talk to Tim McKenna for photos as he's produced the best work so far.
for my part, i'd be happy to do some writing for you on whatever aspect of subsurfing you want.
last but not least, you don't really need a particular kind of wave. when starting out of course don't go into something too heavy, but other than that just get out and play, feel the ocean, that's what it's all about.

Hi the 111,
i'm a long time on and off freediver. as a surfer and freediver, underwater bodysurfing brings together these two worlds in a magical way. enjoy, explore, expand...
Hi there

I know I'm posting in a scuba forum, but I'm an active body surfer and paipo rider and fins play a crucial role both in swimming out to the line-up and then in accelerating at take-off on to a wave. So there's two types of kick involved - cruising out at a leisurely pace and then the need for a rapid burst of acceleration. 3-4 kicks of maximum thrust to get on to a wave.

I know there are dedicated forums for surfing, but I thought it would be interesting to cross-pollinate with the diving community in the quest for the perfect fin.

Many hardcore bodysurfers use UDT's with or without modifications. Many people shorten them and thin the ribs down to get a more flexible fin. There are of course a multitude of fins for body boarding as well.

But are there any divers out there who body surf? (Or ride a paipo or mat, maybe) And who have any thoughts about thinking outside the square to find a comfortable fin that might work in the surf?

Any thoughts appreciated.
There are quite a few of us who freedive and bodysurf. This particular thread is all about catching waves underwater, something fascinating, but I'm not very good at it. I chase hurricanes and northeasters when work allows, get maybe 4 days a year when its big by Florida standards, 7-12 ft face. Rarely, it gets even bigger, but I'm too wimpie to get going fast enough to catch much over 10 ft. I'm using Churchhills and would love to try something a little more modern.

I feel lost in this thread, I really do.
Can somebody point out which part of this I have missed.
I am not looking to be offensive etc at all, but this "new technique" is seemingly (to me anyways) exactly what every Gold Coast school boy has tried by the age of 12.
It's just another way to bodysurf, nothing "new" about it whatsoever....

It gets done in deep water, with and without fins, in shallow cyclonic induced shore-breaks, well, anywhere there are waves.
So which part of all this have I honestly missed? I'm always up for something new...
Hi ReefTroll,
nothing new under the sun and this is certainly no exception.
i'm sure humans have been instinctively bodysurfing underwater for eons and just like myself, they where probably inspired by witnessing some ocean creature doing it.
nothing "new" ever gets invented. things are just brought back to awareness after the collective conscious has forgotten it. he who believes to be an inventor deludes himself. this however is a different subject all together.
we are just a group of ocean lovers that share this particular way of playing in it.

the "perfect" fin matters little. fins are just used for the take off and in some cases one can even go finless. whatever works for you and gives you the feel you like.
personally i use a customized very small stiff blade monofin, a pair of Hydo T2 and a pair of Dafin. all depending on conditions or mood.
enjoy the glide...
I am a huge fan on Vipers fins. Very comfy as they have a thick neoprene pad glue to the upper surface of the fin so the contact with the top of the fin is comfortable. Also, nice rails on the edges of the fin make tracking very easy. Very nice acceleration, very fast fins. In all my wipeouts I dont think even once I have been worried about loosing one, and I do enjoy riding waves 10+ on the face. One day I let my friend try them when we were out. He rode two waves, we got out of the water, went a surfshop, bought a pair, and went back. They are that good. Watch out if you have wide feet though. That would be my one complaint, I still wear them regardless, best money I ever spent on fins.
Viper Surfing Fins
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