It’s no secret. The divers who look the most comfortable underwater are those who maintain neutral buoyancy, keep their arms quiet, and maintain a steady, even kick. A poor kick is inefficient. One of the quickest ways to extend your air consumption is to improve your kick–and that requires the proper fin. Jupiter Dive Center can help.
Three Kick Styles
Scuba divers typically use three different types of kicks for propulsion, often switching between them as circumstances dictate.
The flutter kick is what divers learned in their open water course. The kick is from the hip and with very little bend to the knees. It is an efficient kick, but when done close to the sand or in a silty environment (think of your last swim through), it can stir things up with a single stroke. Not something the person behind you will appreciate.
The modified flutter kick is just that. It still has the up and down motion of a flutter kick, but this time, the diver bends his or her knees sharply so the fins are elevated while keeping the thighs in line with the body. This reduces the possibility of stirring up silt.
Lastly, divers may use the frog kick. This is the kick swimmers use during breaststroke. It, too, keeps the fins relatively elevated and is the kick of choice for technical divers in a close environment. It’s also very efficient, rivals—and may even surpass—the speed of a flutter kick, but may take a bit of time to master.
Let’s Talk Fins
Fins come in a variety of configurations, blade lengths, and weights, but they all amplify a diver’s kick and increases his or her propulsion abilities underwater. The proper fin is also tailored to the diver’s size, experience, and fitness level. The two major distinctions are whether they are full-foot fins or open heel fins.
The full foot fin is designed to slip over a diver’s bare foot (although a swim sock cuts down on friction). These fins are often used for snorkeling or scuba diving in warmer waters. They tend to be more flexible and lighter.
The open heel fin doesn’t have an enclosed foot pocket, but rather a strap that rests above the diver’s heel to keep it snug. This type of fin requires divers to wear a bootie—an advantage when diving in colder water or walking across rocky terrain when shore-diving. The blades tend to be longer, thicker, and less flexible—all which contribute to a more forceful thrust when kicking.
Divers have an incredible array of choices when it comes to their fins, and most of the innovations are found in the blade. There are wing blades, split fins, articulated joints, propulsion vents, and attachable skegs—not to mention a variety of colors (and let’s be honest, color matters). So how do you know which fin is right for you?
Try Before You Buy
The proper fin is tailored to the diver’s size, experience, fitness level and destination (Yes, there are travel fins available that are lighter weight and easier to pack!).
With all these variables, being able to visit our shop, talk to a knowledgeable staff member, and try on a variety of fins really pays off. And we’re happy to help you find the perfect fin! Jupiter Dive Center is a Scubapro Platinum Dealer and we have everything you need to get the fit and propulsion you want.