If you haven’t got feet and legs of steel, you’re likely going to need to use fins while snorkelling. Sure, you can go out into the wide open ocean barefoot, but it won’t be long before you’re tired from all that kicking and ready for a break. Fins are an essential piece of snorkelling equipment that not only enhance the quality of your practice, but make it way more enjoyable on your behalf as well.
That said, a lot of people think that fins are just an unnecessary add-on, or something that’s not gonna add much value to their snorkelling activity. We do know that sometimes fins sound too good to be true, but the fact is that they exist for a reason – and snorkellers worldwide are dependant on their fins for a reason!
If you’re not sure about how fins affect snorkelling, or how to ensure you’re using them properly when you’re out at sea, then keep reading for a primer on how to use fins and how they’ll advance your practice.
Why you should use fins
Let’s start with the why. Perhaps you’ve already been snorkelling with a pair of fins on and haven’t seen what’s so special about them. It’s more than likely in that case that you’ve worn a pair that’s not completely the right size and shape for your feet. Trust us, when you’ve got a well-fitting pair, you’ll know the difference. And what exactly is that difference?
Well, with a good pair of fins you’ll be swimming faster and further out than you ever have before. Fins will help to accelerate the speed of your swimming, so you’re essentially being given a little extra push with each kick, helping you go out even further and faster. And that means you’ll be able to explore way more parts of the ocean than you would have without fins, able to marvel at way more coral and sea life.
Best of all, even though you’ll be going further out and faster, you’ll come back to shore feeling less tired than if you hadn’t worn fins. There’s really not much to not love…
Types of fins
If you’re not a huge fan of using fins while snorkelling, then it’s also likely that you’ve tried the wrong type of fins. There are two main types of snorkelling fins available, open and closed toe options. While both types of fins generally act in the same manner while in use, there’s a huge difference between comfort factor and preference.
You may have guessed it; closed toe fins clasp around your toes much like a shoe, while open toe fins have a strap, giving your toes more room to breathe and being less restrictive to the feet. For that reason, many people tend to prefer open toe fins. That said, they may not be the most practical option if you’re heading out snorkelling in an area with lots of sharp rocks about – that’s where booties come in.
Socks for your fins
Snorkelling socks are an accessory that will using your fins a more comfortable, practical, and healthy experience. Especially helpful for those who just can’t get enough of the underwater and find themselves swimming around for hours, snorkel socks will make a huge difference in how your body reacts to wearing fins and being underwater.
First of all, wearing socks will prevent chafing from occurring where the fin comes in contact with the foot. That means you can kick with as much force as you like, for as long as you like, knowing your feet are protected from contact friction. Wearing snorkel socks will also add a degree of protection to your feet from jellyfish stings and other nasty ocean things you don’t want to touch. Last of all, they’ll also keep you that extra little bit warmer while you’re underwater.
Kicks to get you started
So you’ve got your fancy new fins, they’re fitting nice and snug (but not too snug – you want to stay comfortable!), and you’re ready to get out there and see how they can power you through a good snorkelling sesh. Here are some kicking techniques to try out with your new fins, give each one a go and see how they all work differently while snorkelling.
- Flutter kick
Probably the most standard kick when it comes to snorkelling and scuba diving, the flutter kick involves the legs moving up and down in opposite directions. Try to keep your leg fairly straight, and initiate the action from your hips. You want the hips and legs to be in line with your torso, and your knees only bending slightly with the upward stroke.
This is a great kick for thrusting yourself forward and moving at speed, but not always necessary to do while snorkelling. This kick can disturb the seabed and marine life, so try not to do it when you’re close to the seabed or a wall or you’ll be kicking up too much sand and silt to see anything!
- Scissors kick
Similarly to the flutter kick, you want to keep your legs straight and knees slightly bent for this kick. However, instead of moving the legs up and down in opposite directions, you want to widen them and then bring them in together sharply (just like a pair of scissors!). Hold in the final position as you glide. This is a great kick for slow cruising.
Practice these two new kicks slowly, and once you’ve perfected them, we’ll get you onto some new tricks! Now get out there and enjoy some extra propulsion thanks to your fancy new fins.