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How to choose scuba fins and snorkels

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Along with a mask, a snorkel and a pair of fins are probably the first pieces of gear you will buy. Snorkels vary very little, but there are plenty of styles of fins to choose from, depending on your budget. As always, look for a good fit and features that suit your diving needs.

Choosing a snorkel
A snorkel is simply a tube that allows you to breathe easily at the surface without needing to raise your head from the water. When diving, you do not need a snorkel underwater; however, you may use one before and after submerging. A good snorkel should be easy to breathe through, and should not be too long—ideally no more than 17 in (43 cm)—so it is easy to clear. Attach your snorkel to the left-hand side of your mask, leaving the righthand side free for your regulator hose. Always rinse your snorkel after use and store out of direct sunlight.

Basic snorkels are little more than a curved tube, but some models have a splash-guard at the top of the tube to prevent ingress of water, and a drainage valve at the lower end.  Collapsible types are easy to stow away when not in use.

Scuba Diving Fins

Fitting fins
Sometimes incorrectly referred to as flippers, fins are used to aid propulsion when diving. A standard fin consists of a shoe made of rubber and a blade made of a stiffer material, often with ridges and vents to enhance performance. The shoe can either fit the whole foot like a slipper or leave the heel exposed. The latter is held on with a strap, and is designed to be worn over neoprene boots. When buying fins of this type, it is advisable to take your boots along with you, since their thickness will need to be taken into account when testing for fit.

Selecting the right pair
Advances in fin technology mean that there is a wide range for the diver to choose from, depending on their specific preferences. For example, split fins offer a high degree of agility underwater, but many divers believe traditional models deliver more outright thrust. Before deciding which pair to buy, consider the kind of diving you will be doing, and seek advice from store staff or other divers.

Types of fins

fins1Conventional
A basic fin with a single, fairly rigid blade, the conventional design is a good starter fin, but you may want to try other types to see if they offer features that suit you better.

fins2Force fins
Made exclusively by a California manufacturer, this range of fins is designed to minimize the water turbulence produced, and reduce the diver’s kicking effort.

fins3Pivoting
A design that has been adopted by two manufacturers, this fin features a flex-point in its structure and a V-shaped area of softer plastic to scoop water for better traction and speed.

fins4Split
A popular style, split fins offer better agility than standard fins. However, some divers believe they are less effective than conventional fins in strong currents.

fins5Snorkeling
Fins designed for snorkeling are lighter than scuba fins, and of a foot-pocket design, so they can be used with bare feet. Some also have shortened blades.

Buy Scuba Diving Fins


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