What fins should I get?

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What fins should I get?

Postby chris oak » November 29th, 2017, 9:05 pm

I had this conversation with a staff whos getting ready to upgrade their plastics.

When I started I used my scubapro jetfins because that's all I had. Then I moved to Cressi Garas and that was a great beginner fin. I tried Edge fiberglass but they hurt my ankles as did the carbon C4's. Moving the leaderfin fiberglass was a solid move, it was a big improvement over plastic and as a bonus I could beat the crap on them on the rocks in the swell. I still use these for shore dives and recommend these to my friends who are starting out. I routinely run out on the rocks away from waves on my fiberglass and while the rails need to be replaced, the blades and footpockets have been solid.

My goto boat fins are now carbon fiber Moana hybrid softs, when I first got them I did a lot of research and both JD as well as Daryl Wong recommended the hybrid softs. I was worried that they would not be stiff enough for when I was bringing up big seabass from the bottom but they assured me they would be fine and they are correct. My kick isn't that hard and most of my dives are 25-60 feet but during the summer I'll dive 10 hours for yellowtail. Monsters I know in Hawaii use extra stiff custom fins that the fin maker has to lay on thick because they are hitting 130' often in Hawaii but for the mortals, stiffer fins are going to be harder to work with.

Petros recommended reshaping the pathos footpockets with a hair dryer and man that worked out fantastic because I have bumps on my feet from fins and shoes. There are footpockets made for guys with wide feet and guys with narrow feet so you have to choose what fits you. I use fin keepers on all my fins regardless if the footpocket is loose or snug, it helps keep the fins tight against my feet.

What I told my friend to start off with plastic, I know some expert divers who routinely hit 100' with plastics but overtime plastics seem to lose their power. I told them that the next step is fiberglass as they aren't as expensive and are pretty responsive, you can get a good set of fiberglass fins for under 250$. Footpockets make the fin, you want one that you are comfortable in and that means you have to consider width if you have wide or narrow feet and a lot of rubber differ from each manufacturer. I had a pair of blades with footpockets that were too soft and they flopped all over the place and I couldn't stand them. Long fins are most effective if you allow them to unload after each kick before starting the next kick.

Flat blades tend to flap on top of the water but most blades nowadays are angled and most footpockets are also angled but you want to make sure you get the right angle with the fins/footpockets ie not all footpockets fit all blades.

You should be getting the fins that are in your price range, fit your dive profile, and allow you to kick all day without cramping. Of course it's open to debate but FOR ME Plastic<Fiberglass<Carbon. Before buying any fins I always recommend you try out what you are thinking of buying and to not go expensive when you are starting out because you don't know if you are going to stick with it, hit up your friends or ask around and I'm sure one of the local guys will let you try theirs out sometime.
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby Rob102 » November 29th, 2017, 9:19 pm

I’ve had carbon for 5 years now and I’ll never go back.

The Moana hybrid soft is what I use most of the time. I’m 6’1” 210 and the are excellent for durability, and power. With formed pathos pockets I can kick them all day.

I also have blue tec checkmates in soft. Although they have taken a lot of punishment, I don’t consider them to be as durable as the Moanas, but I don’t hesitate to use them in the rocks abalone diving. They are so soft, after kicking the Moanas it feels like I’m not even wearing fins. I have the pathos pockets on these as well.
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby VangysWay » November 30th, 2017, 2:40 pm

My first pair of fins were typical black Mares plastics. Great fins and they lasted years.

I then stepped it up to carbons and have owned two pairs of Bleutecs. They are good fins but I am not that gentle on the reef and I don't find them to be all that durable as I've had a fin from each set crack on me. They are light as hell however and you can dive in them all day with ease. Personally, my next set of fins will be these: http://www.deepapnea.com/products.html#!/40-Ton-T-800-Carbon-Quadraxial-Deep-Apnea-Fins-85cm/p/36552552/category=9502097
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby scorpaenichthys » November 30th, 2017, 4:15 pm

My fin progression was very similar to Chris's. I went from Jet Fins --> Mares plastics --> soft Mako fiberglass --> a lightly used set of medium stiffness Subcraft carbons. I'm 25, but I have the back and the knees of a 90 year-old man. I've found the carbons give me a lot more power than the plastic or fiberglass fins gave me, all while taking a huge load off my lower back and knees. The one thing I wish I'd done differently is hung onto my plastic or FG fins for those rough entry and exit days. It's easy to convince yourself that you're going to baby your fins, but it's also deceptively easy to find yourself fighting a rip current fully loaded with gear in 3ft of water and taking a full set of shoulder-high glory on the head. When that happens, the last thing you want to be worried about is whether you're going to snap a fin and suddenly lose your best source of propulsion. So far the Subcrafts have held up incredibly well, but I do get nervous every time I'm navigating big shore break, or when the surge is up and I'm constantly aware of every little nook and cranny the tips are getting stuck in.

One other thing I wish I'd done early on was check Craigslist and the forums for a used pair of plastic fins. They come up often and they're cheap enough that if you don't end up sticking with it, you're not out $100-$150 (that you're realistically going to recoup maybe half of on resale). And if you do end up sticking with it and deciding you want to upgrade to fiberglass or carbon fins down the road, you won't feel as bad about the plastics collecting dust in the garage.
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby NaClAddict » November 30th, 2017, 5:46 pm

For a newb to freedive fins I think a cheap or used pair of fiberglass fins is the way to go. Powerful and durable. I see the mako fiberglass fins go for under $150. If the person is into diving the extra $$ is worth it. If someone is just getting into freediving then go plastic and upgrade once you get into the sport. If you already know you're into freediving the extra $100 for fiberglass is totally worth it imho.

Side note, I have a pair of Cressida Gara's in really good shape. Euro size 44-46. $40 to forum members and their friends, family, and coworkers. Hell Oak, I'll even have my wife drop them off at the aquarium. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby Smudge » December 1st, 2017, 7:51 am

I see a lot of these suggestions to go from plastic to FG with one of the prime reasons being durability for shore diving and general newb-ness. I have to disagree. If you have the cash, go with the best quality carbon blades you can get. Durability is not an issue with C4 or Moanas, I can't speak for other brands. I dove my C4 Falcons very hard for 5 years before I handed them down to Chuam after getting a screaming deal on Skorpios. The only reason I haven't gotten Moanas is that my Skorpios are still going strong and I'm not diving as much as I did in San Diego and Hawaii.

Those C4's saw shore dives all over Oahu and a few shore dives on the Big Island and as well as all over San Diego county and even up to Jenner. Never an issue and they're still being used...
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby scorpaenichthys » December 1st, 2017, 2:53 pm

Smudge wrote:I see a lot of these suggestions to go from plastic to FG with one of the prime reasons being durability for shore diving and general newb-ness. I have to disagree. If you have the cash, go with the best quality carbon blades you can get. Durability is not an issue with C4 or Moanas, I can't speak for other brands. I dove my C4 Falcons very hard for 5 years before I handed them down to Chuam after getting a screaming deal on Skorpios. The only reason I haven't gotten Moanas is that my Skorpios are still going strong and I'm not diving as much as I did in San Diego and Hawaii.

Those C4's saw shore dives all over Oahu and a few shore dives on the Big Island and as well as all over San Diego county and even up to Jenner. Never an issue and they're still being used...



For me it's more of a psychological thing. When I have plastic fins on, they're the absolute last thing I'm thinking about because I know that I could easily replace them. As soon as I strap $300-$500 to my feet, I get a lot more conscious of what's going on at foot level. When I'm diving, the pros of carbons far outweigh any cons. But when I end up caught inside and have to choose between swimming back out or finishing my exit by sprinting up a rocky beach, that extra hesitation can be the difference between coming away clean and getting throttled.

Obviously, the more you dive the better you get at navigating those situations (or, better yet, avoiding them altogether). But for a new diver, particularly a new diver with limited experience in the ocean, I think it helps to be 100% focused on what you're doing instead of worrying about your gear. Granted, in my case, this is 100% a function of me (1) having tried carbon, fallen in love, and now not wanting to go back to plastic and (2) not having a replacement set of carbon fins in my budget for the foreseeable future. But I do think it can be a real--and unexpected--concern, especially when you find yourself out there with your first set of shiny, new fins.
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby Nate Baker » December 15th, 2017, 4:36 pm

Today I dove with Oak (To answer the inevitable question: No, all we saw were bsb and smelt) in a new pair of Moana Euro Soft that were replacing a pair of Dive R fiberglass Soft. At one point we switched fins to compare. He has Moana Hybrid Soft.

Conditions: No current. Weighted neutral at 12 feet in a 7 mil suit. Some surface swimming, mid water cruising and lots of aspetto from 46-59 feet.

My impressions -- and they are the just impressions of an old skinny guy.

* The Dive R's give by far the most forward thrust for the effort, both surface swimming and coming off the bottom. They felt much softer than the Moana Hybrids, and when I first got the Dive Rs three years ago I initially thought they were too soft, but it's easy for me to conflate kick resistance with forward motion.

* Both of the Moanas were much lighter than the Dive R's, which tended to make my feet sink when at rest on the surface.

* The Moana Hybrids had more thrust off the bottom, than the Euros. But I'm not sure that translated to less oxygen burning effort. Hard to tell.

* Moana Hybrid Softs are noticeably stiffer than (read harder on my ankles) Dive R Fiberglass Softs.

* The Moana Euros don't have the juice of the other two. How much less is hard to quantify.

* The Euros are the most comfortable fin I've ever worn.

* Dive Rs would be my choice for blue water.

* The Moana Hybrids would be my choice for seabass diving if I was 20 years younger and not a wimp.

* I really like the Euros: Soft, light and shorter.

To finish, I keep waiting for one of you smart guys to come up with a testing machine that can measure and record forward thrust vs. stiffness through a variety of situations. Will someone get on that please?
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby Bill McIntyre » December 15th, 2017, 7:39 pm

That was good stuff. Friends ask me what fins to buy and all I can tell them is that my Moana mediums are much better than the fiberglass fins I had before. The same guy wearing three different fins in the same day is a big step.
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby chris oak » December 16th, 2017, 2:22 pm

Thanks Nate that is a fantastic summary. I would concur on the lightness, when I tried on Nate's Moana Euros they were the lightest fins that I've ever worn. On the surface they were fine and pretty fast but when I was doing drops I noticed right away I had to kick harder than with my moana hybrid softs. It is a very easy fin to use, what I did notice also was when I switched back to my hybrid softs my ankles started hurting. This was odd because I usually kick all day without having any pain, I think the euros were just so much softer that I got used to the kick.

For my style of diving (not too deep, maybe 60' to cut fish out of kelp) the moana hybrid softs work out well, I'm not sure if I could get to the surface as easily with a big fish in hand but I'm sure it has to do with my kick stroke.
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Re: What fins should I get?

Postby castronova » December 18th, 2017, 10:29 am

Good reading here.

I have some similar experience as I've owned, DiveR Carbon M, DiveR Carbon Berryllium M, Moana Hybrid Soft Version 1, Moana Euro Soft, DiveR Carbon Soft.

I owned the DiveR Carbon in Medium first and they are a hell of a fin. Very good diving and on the surface. A year or 2 into owning them JD came out with the Moana Series fins. After getting a hybrid soft set I could not believe how good the fins were and light as could be. I was hooked. I sold my DiveR Carbons. The non-twist aspect of the Moana's is really genius and shines through in their soft Euro fin too.

When they started production for their 2nd Generation blades they had the Hybrids and then added the Euros. At this time I had the DiveR carbon Berylliums because of a Moana break. The Beryllium are also great fins but more novelty than substance, I had them Beuchat pockets and they were very similar to my original DiveR's. I could tell they were somewhat stiff but I didn't have anything to compare at the time. I decided my replacement Moana's (JD took care of me with my broken generation 1 fin, incredible service) were going to be the Euro since I had DiveR's and didn't want a redundant shape, that was just my mind set.

I started using the Moana Euros in Pathos pockets and fell in love with them. They are light, short, and powerful but from a much softer fin. They cannot give the immediate thrust of the longer stiffer fins but catch up after just a couple kicks. They are by far my favorite deep diving fin. They are not as good on the surface as the angle is not big but they are decent. I can dive them on 4 or 5 day trips and never get tired ankles or legs. This is the first time I've been able to dive that much in a row and I can tell you it is not because I'm in better shape... much worse, errrr rounder.

Bryan Johnson from Sea Sniper was in Key West for the wahoo tournament and brought some of the DiveR Sea Sniper fins. I picked up a pair of softs and could not believe how stiff my DiveR berylliums were in comparison. After getting used to my Euro Softs from Moana I knew I liked soft fins. But also I was not sold yet on the durability of the Moana's as they weren't out long enough and with traveling and long range trips I wanted to make sure I had a pair of DiveR's. I believe DiveR's to be the ultimate in reliability. So I bought a pair of soft DiveR's in carbon and sold my berylliums.

I have always been told DiveR's were not a match for pathos pockets. Well these new DiveR softs were so light and had such great flex I thought I would try it. It is an absolute dream to swim with them and they still have that famous surface swim efficiency DiveR is known for. They seem about equally as soft as the Moana Euro in the Pathos pocket with that long soft blade.

I feel like I have 2 of the best set's of fins made in a perfect set-up. I use the Moana's for a lot my reef diving where we tend to go deeper and drift. If I'm going for wahoo without a question I take my DiveR's because they make chasing buoys way easier. The best part is I have 2 rather different fins but in the same exact pockets so switching fins never creates an issue. I've had a flawless experience with DiveR and now have owned the Moana Euro for over 2 years and can say I have no doubts about there reliability. I trust them equally as my DiveR's.

The one thing I have learned is I will likely never go back to a stiffer fin. I think most people progressing up the cost/material scale of fins should really try and start with a softer fin. I made so many mistakes on my way to were am I am now. If I had to do one thing over gear wise that would be it.
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