All about scuba fins. What you need to know!
Most scuba divers glide underwater better when they use scuba fins. Propelling yourself underwater with your feet alone will give you poor thrust, in addition to the weight of scuba diving equipment you are carrying.
Free divers prefer using very long scuba fins and mono fins because they allow better underwater propulsion with fewer leg movements.
Scuba fins are also referred to as swim fins, and if you are outside North America, they are commonly known as flippers.
Here’s a bit of trivia you may find interesting:
When he was a young boy living near a river in Boston, Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin devised a pair of swim fins. His swim fins were two thin wooden pieces that are shaped like an art palette. His swim fins helped him move more swiftly in the water. Benjamin Franklin isn’t the only famous person who tried to create something that would make moving through the water faster. Painter, scientist, and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci also played around with the idea of swim fins.
Two individuals who were working independently of each other were the first to create a working, practical version of swim fins. They are Frenchman Louis de Corlieu and American Owen Churchill. In the early 1940s, the US Navy became interested in the swim fins that Churchill designed for use by the US Navy’s underwater demolition teams. Most sporting goods stores and surf shops carry swim fins that sport Churchill’s design.
Eventually, swim fins evolved in response to the unique needs of swimmers and scuba divers. Today you will see swim fins in varying types and designs. For instance, swim fins for scuba divers have wide fins. Because scuba divers carry heavy scuba diving equipment and gear with them underwater, scuba fins that are wide can help them overcome water resistance. Snorkelers, on the other hand, need lightweight fins that are also flexible. Ocean swimmers, body surfers, and lifeguards tend to use swim fins that remain on their feet as they move through the large surf.
There are swim fins that have a water vent through the blade. The water vent opens backward on the underside and opens forward on the upper side. When the hip joint flexes, water goes backward out of the vent in the fin. These swim fins are often referred to as “jetfins.” However, the term is actually a trade name. There are also swim fins with blade ends that split, mimicking the tail of fish.