There is a debate in the freediving community as to what’s the most important piece of equipment in a free divers kit bag. Is it the mask, the suit or the fins that make the most impact on your performance?
For me? The argument starts and finishes with the long fins of freediving.
Freediving fins have become the symbol of freediving, just as the regulator and mask are for scuba diving. The most recognisable characteristic of a freediving fin is its long blade, usually up to 1/3 longer than a scuba diving fin blade.
Freediving fins always have a full foot pocket; usually made of a smooth material and are more flexible than regular diving fins. This is to ensure a comfortable fit on the foot and to avoid inefficiency whilst kicking.
One of the most common dilemmas any freediver face when choosing a new pair of fins is whether to go with carbon, fibreglass or plastic fins. While all make great freediving fins, each material has its own unique advantages and weaknesses.
Entry level free divers should start with a solid pair of plastic fins. These medium stiffness fins allow you to learn at the correct pace and develop your finning technique. The technique is critically important and processing too quickly to softer more advanced fins can.
Fibreglass and Carbon Fibre are for more advanced and deeper free dives. I wouldn’t recommend them for a novice freediver as they are, in general, three times more expensive than the plastic options. They’re also a lot more fragile and it’s often best to learn and develop advanced finning techniques before investing, as it is at this point when you will get the most out of them (and your money).
The second important characteristic in fin selection is the blade stiffness.
For entry level Freedivers it is recommended to start with soft or medium-soft blade stiffness, as usually the choice will be made depending on the freediving activity you’re undertaking and your abilities. For example, if you are going to swim a long distance on the surface with shallow dives it is better to use soft blades.
However, if you are going to train on the line, or do several dives from an embarkation I would recommend using a medium-soft blade. It also depends on the strength and physical build of the freediver. If you’re an active person with well-developed leg muscles, you may feel more comfortable with a stiffer blade.
The best way to find out what will suit you is to try different blades during your PADI Freediver course here at Abyss Freediving.
Freediving is about inward power, discipline and control. If you’ve always wanted to enter the underwater world quietly, on your terms, staying as long as your breath allows, then freediving is for you. Taking the PADI Freediver course is your first step toward discovering why Freediving is becoming a popular way to explore beneath the waves.
To enrol in a PADI Freediver course, you must be at least 15 years old. You need adequate swimming skills and need to be in good physical health. No prior experience with snorkelling, skin diving or freediving is required.