FREEDIVING FIN FACTS
You may ask, "can’t I just freedive with my scuba mask and fins? " And the answer, of course, is yes. But a warning: Once you try gear specially designed for freediving — especially fins — it will be hard to settle for even your favorite scuba kickers.
Choosing the Material
Plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber: The correct material depends on how you’ll use your fins. Plastic blades are inexpensive and rugged, making them a good choice for new divers or spearfishers. Fiberglass composites offer a step up in performance and price. The cost of carbon fins means they’re generally reserved for competition and the most serious fishing or pleasure-diving use, but they offer a responsiveness that can’t be matched by less-exotic materials.
The essential elements of freediving — hold your breath and dive — are simple only to those who haven’t tried it. That’s also true of freediving gear. Whether the aim is fun, fishing or competition, choosing gear with capabilities that match your intended use and experience level will help you get the most from it.
Get the Right Fit
Sorting out the sizing of full-foot fins is often tricky, and that seems especially true for freediving fins. In part, that’s because you will get top performance from any freedive fin only if it fits like an extension of your foot. A foot pocket that’s just slightly loose in the heel will mean you waste energy with every kick.
Because there are differences in fin sizes from one manufacturer to another, be sure to read the sizing chart carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask advice from the dealer or manufacturer.
It’s easier to get a comfortable fit — not to mention help keep your feet warm — by wearing neoprene socks inside the fins. In fact, some manufacturers assume you’ll be using a particular thick- ness of neoprene socks (usually 1.5 mm or 3 mm) and their sizing charts might provide guidance about adjusting sizes if you plan to wear the fins barefoot. (If so, be sure to choose fins with soft rubber in the contact areas of the foot pocket.)
Some manufacturers sell insoles that are placed inside the foot pocket to effectively make fins a size smaller for a better fit, or to allow you to use them with thinner socks than normal.
Remember, a perfect fit is crucial. If the fins are too small, they’ll pinch or cramp your feet; if they’re too large, you’ll waste a frustrating amount of energy getting nowhere.
**Want more freediving gear? Check out these freediving computers and accessories