Snorkeling Fins

[Don’t Let Samantha’s Scuba Experience Be Yours]

Author: Suzanne Lamoutte

The other night I was at the bar and was talking with this lady Samantha. We had just met and somehow started talking about the first time she ever went scuba diving. I couldn’t wait to hear all about her experience.

Her face lit up as she spoke about the beauty she saw under water.

“There were endless miles of beautiful coral. I even saw a clown fish and one fish swam right past my head. He wasn’t afraid of me at all.”

Samantha’s excitement brought back memories of my first-time scuba diving. It’s like the first time I put on my glasses as a young child and everything came alive with color. You could see everything so clear and it was beautiful.

Then, she said something that totally made my jaw drop. I asked her when she was going again and her reply,

“Oh, I’m not going again. It was beautiful and I’m certainly glad I got to experience it, but it was hard work. I wasn’t able to venture too far from the boat because it was so hard, I got tired pretty quickly and was afraid I’d be too tired to get back. I had blisters on my heels and it took a few days to recover.”

When I started thinking about what Samantha said I wasn’t really shocked by it at all. I mean I was taken back because of how excited she was, telling about her experience, but not about her difficulty.

So many people have this same experience and it’s usually because they were using the wrong type of gear.

In fact, I was nearly 100% certain it was the scuba gear that caused her bad experience and her blisters. Specifically, because of her statement of it being “hard work”.

You’ll be Shocked At What She Said Next

So, I started asking her more questions about her equipment and digging a little deeper into her experience.

Firstly, it’s important you understand when you’re diving you SHOULD be able to move virtually effortlessly through the water. If you’re exerting too much energy or consuming air faster than you normally would, then something isn’t right. Either your gear is not right for you or you’re using the gear incorrectly. I’ll explain more about that in just a moment.

But first Samantha mentions she was afraid to venture too far from the boat. Her fear was that she wouldn’t be able to make it back because she was tired. I feel bad because that feeling is stressful and robbed her of fun.

And stress is definitely not good for safety or air consumption when you’re diving. This is one of the major reasons why the weight and bulk of the gear is so important.

I first asked about her mask, but everything seemed to be fine since she wasn’t taking on any water.

When questioning her about her feet I found the culprit for her blisters, open foot snorkeling fins. Open foot allows you to wear a boot and are generally for colder waters. The back of the heel has an adjustable strap which exposes your heel unless you have a boot on.

Good tip if you choose to buy this type of scuba fin you should buy the boot at the same time. This will ensure the fit is correct.

Closed foot snorkeling fins cover your entire foot and tend to be less bulky. Remember the less weight, the better your dive experience.

How To Choose The Best Scuba Fins

Too often people are so stuck on their budget that they forget about their comfort.

This doesn’t mean finding the most expensive ones will offer you what you need, but take your time doing the research. Remember, what you wear needs to be comfortable and enjoyable to gain the most out of your experience.

There’s no real price for that! But choosing the most expensive doesn’t mean you’ll get the best one either.

There’s some debate on which is better, traditional paddle fins or split fins. These debates often get pretty heated at times and for good reason.

But here’s what I think and I’d certainly take it with a grain of salt and do your own research.

Split fins aren’t your traditional paddling fin. It requires somewhat of a different type of swim than what we are used to. Instead of making long forceful strokes you will making small quicker strokes.

Let’s face it when things are different we tend to not like it, it’s human nature.

But once you get used to the short, fast flutter kicks you’ll find that they offer a quicker swim without exerting tons of energy. This is great because you're able to be out longer exploring the underwater without getting tired so quickly.

You and I both know there’s so much to explore!

Now, paddle fins are really good as well. They give you power and speed. One of the things I like most is the ability to accelerate faster, maintain control and maneuverability. This is without a doubt important when you need to get around underwater obstacles such as, coral. However, they aren’t necessarily the most efficient for longer swims with all those long forceful strokes you’ll be doing.

So, with all this being said, I’m sure you’re a bit overwhelmed with information but I do have one more tip for you. Before you start your search, you should decide on the type of dive you’re planning (long or short) and then search for the best one for that dive.

Another idea is you can buy two different ones and return the one you didn’t like.

Oh, and I’m excited to announce that by the end of the night I was able to convince Samantha to try scuba diving one more time. She was already googling the best scuba fins while we were talking.

I’m super stoked and looking forward to hearing about her second adventure. She has an amazing way of telling. Her eyes almost twinkle and her tone is filled with a childlike excitement!

I’d love to hear about your first-time scuba diving!