So what’s the difference between all these swim fins? Bodyboard fins, bodysurf fins, surf fins, swim fins, flippers, training fins, scuba fins oh my! It can get confusing out there when you are shopping and doing your due diligence on which fin you should get. There are many different types of fins out there in the market, all with their own characteristics and features that are made for different types of activities. Many people will go through several different fins and even a dozen and my objective is to short-cut your experience so you can pick up the correct fin from the start and have the best experience possible. This is a common dilemma so I have broken down the function of each type of fin to make the selection process a no-brainer for you. Get in where you fit it! Read below to understand what makes up the different fins, deepen your understanding of this product, and successfully select the perfect fin for you.
Bodyboarding Swim Fins
They are typically wide and relatively short. This is to provide stability and quick acceleration to catch a wave while bodyboarding. They also have a bit of endurance/longevity to them for long paddles out to the surf lineup. Many have side-bars and rivets running parallel to the fin to grip the wave, similar to the way a surfboard has skegs (fins) on the bottom of the board. Another feature are drain holes on the bottom of the fin foot pocket. This allows for sand, rocks and other ocean things to escape the fin. The most popular fins for bodyboarding are Churchill fins, Viper fins and Stealth fins.
Boogie Boarding Swim Fins
Boogie boarding is a slang term for bodyboarding. The correct and professional term is really bodyboarding, but many beginners or people not yet knowledgable on the subject yet call it boogie boarding. That’s okay, everyone starts somewhere. I would recommend a beginner swim fin at this point. No sense in buying the most expensive bodyboard fin or getting a advanced stiff rigid blade that might hurt your feet. The same rules and characteristics apply since “bodyboard fins” and “boogie board fins” are the same thing but I am glad I caught you at this time to give a few recommendations. Since your new, stay away from Vipers and Hydro fins (and any like that) because they have stiff and unforgiving blades and rubber. It is very easy for a beginner to have a bad experience with fins that cut and hurt your feet. I experienced this when I got viper fins, these fins work for some people, I guess based on your foot shape etc., but for many others they do not. Your best bet is to get a fin that has a shorter blade, is a bit wider for comfort and stability, nice foot pocket and rubber for a comfortable experience. The fins I recommend are Churchill Makapuu and Slasher, Neo and Stealth fins. All will work great, Makapuu and Stealth fins a bit more aggressive in that they have a stiffer blade and foot pocket making them more powerful yet a little less forgiving (but still completely fine) and the Makapuu and Slasher and Neo Fins are very soft on the feet with a bit shorter blade and foot pocket (a little low on the power but great for beginners).
Bodysurfing Swim Fins
Bodysurfing is when you have no board and your ride the wave with just your body, with your arm out and feet together while being as stiff as possible to act like a board and ride the wave. The requirements and needs are very much the same as bodyboarders. You still need a fin that is on the wider and shorter side for acceleration to catch waves and rivets and channels for traction. In fact, most bodysurfers and bodyboarders use the same fins. The most popular ones that everyone (bodyboards and bodysurfers) use are Makapuu, Stealth fins and Viper fins. With the only exception is that many bodysurfers use Voit Duck Feet. You can use them for bodyboarding (and a few do) but mostly bodysurfers have taken this fin on.
Pool Swim Fins
Few people bring the fins I have mentions above to the pool. I’ve done it but most buy other fins. You don’t need wide fins or channels and bars to grip the wave and surf. Most pool fins are narrower and longer flat angled blades. Many also have no drain hole, open toe, double foot and closed heel. Some different designs for pool fins that surf fins for sure. Finis and Speedo are the two biggest brands for pool and pool training fins. When you look at them they are definitely different that surf fins! Some of the most popular and best ones are the Speedo Biofuse Swim Fins and FINIS Floating Fins.
Training Swim Fins
These are for the pool as well but take a significant amount of power off of the fin by shortening the blade. This increases thrust and weans you off the power of the fin it self, making you less dependent on the fins. The Speedo Short Blade Fin and the FINIS Zoomers Gold are the top of the line in this field. As you can see, the blades are very short and both are open toe, this strengthens your kick but will not leave you feeling lost when you no longer have them to use while swimming.
SCUBA Swim Fins
These are meant for deep sea exploration and the fins are as extreme as the task sounds. They have a very long blade for long consistent strokes yet the blades are somewhat flexible and forgiving. These are for long distance swimming, low exceleration, consistent fin strokes. One of the most popular fins is the US Divers Proflex II.
Diving Swim Fins
Diving fins are the same type of fin that they use for SCUBA divers. SCUBA is with air tanks and diving is a larger term that encompasses many types of activities such as free diving or skin diving. Another popular fin is the Pro Divers Trek Travel Fin.