Carbon Fiber Fins For Freediving – The Basics
There are several carbon fiber fins for freediving on the market. There are dozens of different manufacturers and each of them have a variety of styles and options. This post will be going over some of the basic differences between different types of carbon fiber fins, and what you are looking for in a pair of carbon fiber fins.
Progressive and Reactive Fins
Carbon fiber fins for freediving fall into two broad categories. There are progressive carbon fiber fins and reactive carbon fiber fins. Both have their benefits and negative elements. Ultimately, both have their place in different types of diving.
Reactive Carbon Fiber Fins
Reactive carbon fiber fins are better for spearfishing. These fins have an immediate reaction to the force of your feet kicking in the water. That makes these fin useful for pulling fish up off the bottom or out of ledges and caves. There are just too many examples in spearfishing where you need to move immediately and quickly through the water. Some of those examples can be moving through surf on a shore dive. Sometimes that means trying to close the distance on a fish on a long shot. With that being said, reactive fins are a little less efficient over long, steady swims compared to progressive fins.
Progressive Carbon Fiber Fins
Progressive carbon fiber fins are designed for long and deep dives. As the name implies, progressive carbon fiber fins take a little longer to work effectively. As you make slow, steady kicks these fins become very efficient at propelling a diver through the water. This is valuable if you are doing deep dives and you need to swim well over 100 feet (30 meters) to the surface, or doing long dynamic dives in a pool. With that being said it can take two or three kick cycles before these fins start to move a diver efficiently in the water.
Fin Stiffness Differences
Most carbon fiber fin manufactures make two to three different fins stiffnesses for their carbon fiber fins. Every manufacturer has some differences compared to the other manufacturers on the different stiffness of their fins. By that we mean that one manufacturers soft fins can be a different stiffness than another manufacturers soft fins. The same goes for medium and hard stiffness fins. These differences can make it challenging for a diver to decide between one brand or another. With that being said, the difference between one brand and another may be noticeable, but they should not be significant enough to dramatically impact your diving. Getting the right overall stiffness will impact your dives though.
Choosing the Right Stiffness Carbon Fiber Fins for You
The biggest factors for picking the right stiffness blades for you comes down to your weight and size. The bigger you are the stiffer your fins should be. Every manufacturer will have recommendations based on height and weight what stiffness blades would work best for you. Not everyone fits in a perfect box. Most manufacturers will say that if you are under 170 pounds (77 Kg) soft blades are your best option. Between 170 (77 Kg) and 210 pounds (95 Kg) medium blades are a better option. Above 210 pounds hard blades are recommended. If you are near the edge of any of these ranges it can be a personal preferences. If you have lower body injuries you may want to go with a softer blade. People with strong legs you may want to move up on the stiffness to move through the water more efficiently.
Choosing The Right Foot Pocket For Your Fins
Choosing the right foot pocket for your fins can be challenging. There are a handful of fin blades that only work with the manufacturers foot pocket. C4 Fins are a great example of that. Most fin manufacturers make their blades to fit a wide range of foot pockets. Following making sure the foot pockets are compatible with your blades the next most important factor is how the foot pockets fit on your foot. You want the foot pockets to be snug, but not uncomfortably tight. There are a few tricks to helping fill out slightly too large foot pockets. You can get a thicker pair of booties to fill them out. Alternatively, you can get a pair of fin keepers to secure your feet into the pockets. Ideally you just get the right size foot pockets, but these are good options to make what you have work.