Diving and Snorkelling - Part 2

Diver in the water at African Adventure Academy
In our first section on diving, we covered the snorkelling equipment and the mask. Now we will go a bit further and cover some of the other essential items that will make our diving experience a whole lot better.

Fins and Footwear

Fins enable us to propel ourselves underwater and increase the power of our feet thus reducing the energy we expend whilst submerged. This way greater distances can be covered with less effort.

Choosing Fins

There are two basic styles: the full-foot and the open heel. Full-fit fins fit like shoes and come in standard sizes. Open-heel fins, on the other hand, come in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes and hold the foot in place with an adjustable heel strap.

The open-heel fin and wetsuit boot should be considered as one unit and should be selected and fitted together.

Fins come in a variety of materials, designs and features so it's good to know these variations when choosing fins for your particular needs.

Materials

Fin blade materials include black rubber, polyurethane, thermoplastic, graphite, and composits. An advantage of synthetic blades is that they are colorable. Brightly colored fins are not only attractive but also easier for your snorkelling partner to see when you're swimming. Thermoplastic fins have more resiliency and are lighter than rubber, which, may help propel a snorkeller with less effort. Foot pockets should be made of soft, flexible material such as rubber for comfort.

Buoyancy

Some fins sink and some float depending on the materials they are made of. As a snorkeller, you will want to own fins that are positively buoyant, or as close as possible, or as close to neutrally buoyant as possible (neither sinks or floats). A fin that is positively buoyant will stay at or near the surface should it come off, making it easy to retrieve. A fin that is negatively buoyant will stay at the bottom should it become dislodged. This can create a problem if you are swimming in deeper water.

Fit

Full-foot fins are very popular. However, the open-heel fin with adjustable strap is more versatile in terms of fitment and variations in water temperature. Make sure that the fin fits well and doesn't cause chafing or cramps. Full-foot fins are not worn over boots so they are limited to use in comfortable temperatures

Design

Fins are designed for power efficiency and for ease of use in the water. Your choice should take your size, leg strength and the type of diving you do into account.  Go for the fins that give you the most amount of power with the least amount of energy spent. Larger, stiffer blades may provide more speed, but require more leg strength. So you have to choose fins that are appropriate for your needs and capabilities. Make sure that yours fit well and are comfortable.

Consult with experienced people who dive regularly, like African Adventure Academy.
If you missed the first part you can go here.

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