Scuba Tech Tips: Performance Fins – S06E02

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What should divers look for to get the best performing fins? Alec explains the important design features available today for the best thrust efficiency, weight and comfort.

***** Alec Peirce Scuba *****

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29 Comments
  1. Stuart Colcleugh says

    How effective do you find the Seawing Novas for traditional flutter kicking, modified flutter kicking, back finning, frog kicking and modified frog kicking, and helicopter turns?

  2. Piotr Staszewski says

    I don't think so personally that inertia and Momentum has that much influence in the water.
    I'll give example the bullet ballistic bullet can travel 100s m in air as soon as hit the water it lose all the energy so these rules are rules of physics but they work very differently underwater because as we know you can't compressed water and there is a huge different in density between the water and air

  3. C M says

    So Cliff (commenter below)said he spoke to one of the designers of the Seawing and the designer said the hole at the end is for hanging the fin up. Any reason I wouldn’t be able to hang them by the heel strap other than drainage?

  4. C M says

    I ended up getting a pair of the white fins as loaners until the yellows I wanted arrived in my LDS. Ended up keeping the white because they are SO much more visible. And they don’t scuff and mark nearly as much as I thought they would. And yeah, they are light. Helps keeps my single bag under 50lbs for the airline as a bonus.

  5. Charles Clements says

    Thank you, Alec. I would have never thought about the weight of a fin making such a difference.

  6. Steve Austin says

    Alec, you kind of contradicted yourself regarding the holes/ vents in the Scubapro jet sports saying there was no definitive evidence there was any benefit to them. When you were talking about the Scubapro Nova's you said that Scubapro are a great company and spend a lot of time and money on product development, so don't you think they afforded the same time and effort on the Jet sports? Cheers.

  7. Steve Davis says

    Ok, listened to this episode and bottom line question is , which company to buy the white fins from and the average cost of them. Thank you.

  8. evenhanded commentor says

    You don't mention full foot fins because this is scuba and most everyone, including myself, wear boots while diving. However, when snorkeling I've compared the same model versions of full and open heel fins, and what I found is exactly what you describe about the effects of fin weight. I'm faster and kicking is easier in full foot fins. Not only do full foot fins weigh less than their open heel versions, but you also lose the weight of the boot. Of course, while fit is important with open heel fins…it's even more important with full foot fins. I wear socks inside my full foot fins, but the fit has to be near perfect.

  9. Terry Abel says

    Hi Alec. I LOVE your videos. I have a question. I respect what you said about fin qualities as a means of forward propulsion. As a photographer (and future tech diver) I need to be able to back up with my fins……I have been told that the wider side walls on the older style fins make them ideal for this. Is the new Scuba Pro you showed as good? If you could talk about finning styles for backward motion it would be most appreciated. Thanks.

  10. Shawn Davie says

    What’s the name of the Scubapro fin?

  11. HedgeHog says

    Hello again Alec. My answer to the question about the louvers in both styles of fins was and is to save weight. The 60's style is really not functional as a performance enhancer. The industrial use comes from the short length of the 60's style. The newer ones are a lot longer. Besides louvers were the fad of the sixties.
    Does any manufacturer make a short lightweight fin? like the 60's model.

  12. Duncan Nairne says

    The holes in the second fin are not so much vents as i the first, they are an extension of the fin while saving (weight) on material. Result is a longer fin with more propulsion benefiting leverage, at a lower overall weight.

  13. Gary Toups says

    My Scubapro jets with spring straps weigh 6 lb 9 oz (not 10 lb). A very similar fin (but made of a lighter material), the OMS slipstream weighs 5 lb, 6 oz. I use the Scubapro jets with my drysuit because I get that extra pound of weight in my feet. My Seawing Gorillas weigh 4 lb, 15 oz. I've gone back to the jets/slipstreams because they fit me better and they are better for my finning style. I've also had some friends experience breakage of the "booms" of the Seawing at the hinge point. Pretty rare, and Scubapro has been generous about replacing fins and has also re-engineered, but not something I want to risk on a demanding dive.

  14. Bob Harrison says

    hi alec ive been looking at the fins but i was wondering about looking for fins that i can just glide along thw bottom of the spring like sailing the bottom

  15. Widget says

    I know that when I got my first fins, I asked around the local dive store and at the marine research company I was interning at and they all said the Apecks RK3 was pretty much just a scubapro jetfin but much lighter and more efficient. When I got them, I found that I suddenly had to start really using my leg muscles because I had so much more traction on the water! I also tended to have sinking feet so with some new 5mm boots and some RK3s – I found they floated despite the metal springs in the heel straps.

    Going from scubapro fins that don't have the rib-flexing to these was like going from a more efficient swimming style to nearly running in the water! Frog-kicking can take me over a meter forward in one stroke!

  16. Pandit Reuvers says

    I heard that it's impossible or at least very hard to do the backkick with the Scubapro fins. Is this true?

  17. Reza Gorji says

    Very informative video. Thank you.
    I did buy the Scubapro Nova fins and really like them. Enough that I put the 30 year old jet fins into retirement. Wonder if I should carry an extra bungee straps as back up when traveling?

  18. Roman Aidybalov says

    Great video, thank you Mr. Peirce.
    Speaking about fins, it is also vital to mention the two main types of a kick the divers would be using. From my personal experience, soft fins with holes or even split fins are really bad for frog kick, to perform it properly, one really needs a fin with a stiff hard blade. In this case, jet fins from Scubapro or even their replicas from other manufacturers work pretty well. Most common feature – short and wide hard blade, the design might vary.
    On the other hand, for those divers who prefer the traditional flatter kick or just for relaxed gliding in the midst of the water where there is no current – soft fins are also a decent choice.
    And please, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to force my opinion, but sooner or later as the divers build up their experience in swimmong and buoyancy control, many of them switch to frog kick as a much more versatile and efficient style of fin kick. Several reasons for that:
    1) There is "resting phase" between the kicks
    2) The leg muscles used for frog kick are much stronger
    3) Frog finning diver does not stir up the sediment while swimming close to the bottom
    4) Higher manuevrability with all those fancy helicopter turns and back kicks
    5) Looking cool 🙂
    Therefore, usually I observe an evolution, when begginners are starting their dive experience with soft fins like Sea Wing Nova and then switch to hard blade ones.
    Small bonus – your legs get nice and muscular while swimming in hard blade fins 🙂

  19. Stormblessed says

    Hello Alec. Love your videos. The holes at the base of the fin are there to relieve some of the water trapped there. That section of the fin does not contribute a whole lot to propulsion but adds a lot to the effort required. If you had a fin hooked up to a machine, it would definitely produce more propulsion without holes. The holes are a sort of trade off. Speaking from education and industry experience in aerospace. Lot of the concepts of aerodynamics can cross over to hydrodynamics so i should not be too far off.

    I have a question about the kick styles used in scuba. Most people seem to suggest frog kick is better. But i find most pricy/innovative fins optimised for flutter kick. What's going on with that? Thanks

  20. Ethan Harris says

    Force Fins are the most efficient fins you can buy (period)!!!

  21. Carlo Kop says

    I really dont like the very long fins and specially the split fins. These fins blow a lot of dust up in the water resulting in poor visibility and are only suitable for flutter kicks. I really prefer the short hard and havy type fins. Specially when diving in a drysuite. At least for the extra weight and they are smaller. So less chance you'll hit something or someone.

  22. Cliff Wener says

    The hole at the end of a Seawing Nova is not for hydrodynamics. It's to hang the fins up.

  23. nicole noriega says

    Hey Alec! Thinking of getting the Seawing Gorilla but my feet tend to be a little floaty. What do you think? Will the gorillas be too buoyant?

  24. Dave N Japan says

    70'a

  25. GeorgMusic says

    Hey Alec, I'm not sure if they were ever marketed in the US but scubapro made a Scubapro NORDIC fin for a very short time. It's a jet fin with no fins. Far superior to the jet version. Never understood why the jets are still such a popular thing, it's just lost propulsion. . . Maybe cause they look cool?

  26. john metyk says

    It's a shame this channel doesn't have more subscribers . Great stuff!

  27. patryka11 says

    They put holes because the place just near tose is a drag. The fin working only when bend. So old fin without holes would be very difficult to kick. Mind that even newest Seawing Nova has free space similar to holes. Did not test Seawing Nova myself but heard they are great. I highly recommend to buy new, modern fins. I bought Mares Exite fins. They are more traditional shaped but following similar new technology which is bend just after foot giving powerfull kick but no pain on the knuckle. Or Seawing Nova or any other modern fins. Huge difference.

  28. Travis Johnson says

    I have old school style Aqualuus Superjet rubber fins which have the three "holes" and they do have a purpose.

    On the power stroke, the angled shape of the foot pocket directs water past/across the holes so power is not lost but on the weaker recovery stroke water flows through the vents basically making that stroke easier

  29. Chelsey Late says

    Hey Mr Alec. I have a size 15 us foot and would like to wear a protective boot maybe 5m, I'm from Indiana and will do more lake dives. Have not found any fins that big. The xxl only goes to a 13 and from what I learned from you I dont want my heal hanging out or not fitting with a boot. What would you recommend sir? Not a fan of heavy duck feet but might be my only options. Thanks.

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