I’ve dived in BCDs that are too large or too small for me (including an XS). I’ve dived with masks that pinch my nose, regs with super-high breathing resistance and while overweighted by 3-4 kg. Did I enjoy the experience? Not particularly, but it wasn’t a particularly big deal. So while I do prefer the comfort of my own gear, I can make do with pretty much anything that is reasonably close. Except with these fins – with these fins, it wasnt just a mental thing. I was physically affected during my diving.
So that got me thinking – if my choice of fins messed up my diving zen so badly, what are the implications for that for all the people who have recently learned to dive, who are going on diving trips and are wearing fins that may not be optimal for them? To what degree is a diver’s trim (and therefore buoyancy), breathing rate and general comfort level in the water affected by poorly-matching fins?
So we modified our buoyancy specialty in certain cases to make sure we spent time experimenting with various types of fins – and we tried this with divers of varying levels (beginner to over a hundred dives). And it has proven to be a game-changer for a significant majority of the divers – in most cases, there was ONE Goldilocks fins which just made the entire system (BCD, weight distribution, kicking, buoyancy) work together in a significantly better way.
And really, it makes sense. Fins may not be very heavy, but they are the furthest item from your center of buoyancy/gravity and so exert the greatest moment on your trim. A small change in buoyancy characteristic of your fin can have a greater impact than a kilo extra on your belt. Then add to that your kicking style – do you prefer slower, more powerful strokes or shorter, faster kicks, and which affects your breathing pattern more? The right fins fix all these issues.