Bodyboard Fin Guides and FAQs
Bodyboarding fins are an essential piece for anyone who’s serious about the sport. If you plan on hitting decent sized waves, you’re going to want the added mobility that is gained with fins. If you’re planning on sticking with small 3 ft. waves, we’d say they aren’t necessary. Here are a few ways they will help you in medium and big waves:
-Fins will get move you that extra 5 feet where you need to be in order to catch that perfect wave that would be out of reach otherwise.
-With more waves caught, you have more fun but you also learn the sport better. You increase your skill.
-With increased skill, you learn other ways fins help. Gliding down a wave, fins will help you control your rail edge.
-In rough surf, where the water’s pulling you out, fins will make it easier to get back to shallow water.
-You’ll notice you won’t be able to live without them once you get used to them.
Yeah you’ll look a little funny flip flopping around getting into the water with them, but after you hit the water, here’s what you do:
-Walk slowly and carefully to the water
-At 4 inches deep, turn and walk backwards to prevent your fins from tripping you up.
-When you’re up to your waist, start paddling!
What’s the difference between bodyboarding and diving fins?
Good bodyboarding fins have soft flexible rubber in the foot pocket, but stiffer rubber on the blade along with hard, durable rails. This keeps the whole fin rigid as you are paddling. It takes more effort but yields greater speed. This is what separates them from diving fins, which have blades that flex.
We can’t stress how important it is to find comfortable fins. Happy feet make a happy bodyboarder….well you need waves too, but if you buy uncomfortable fins you won’t use them at all. So make sure you do the following:
-Your fins shouldn’t squeeze your feet together, make them feel cramped or apply pressure to the toe ends.
-If the top of the fin or heel strap cuts down into your foot, it’s too tight.
-The fins should be snug, but not too tight. There’s a sweet spot.
All in all, fin brands and models will feel different. They won’t be as comfortable as your shoes are, but they shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If you feel rubbing or cramping, it’s a good idea to try a different brand or size out. If you buy fins that don’t feel comfy, we can refund your purchase for you as long as the fins aren’t too used, but keep in mind that you’ll need to pay for the stamp to get it back to us.
The asymmetrical fins you see, also known as the Churchill design, are for riders who want a more powerful fin. They’re generally used for prone style bodyboarding. However, the symmetrical fins are better suited for smaller women or children as they have a smaller blade allowing easier kicking action, but are less powerful.
It’s tough getting that foot up on the board when you’re barreling down the wave, but how the heck do you do it with a fin on? To make it a bit easier to do, try cutting down your front fin. Take a razor or knife and carefully cut the fin so it’s easier to quickly bring it up onto the board.
Catching the problem as early on as possible is key because if you catch it early you can prevent a real blister from forming but if you wait it’s going to take a week to fully heal and you’ll be in constant pain if you use fins while you’re healing. So follow these steps to prevent it:
-Address the problem as soon as you find a blister or sore area, or risk ruining your surf trip.
-Switch fins to a model that doesn’t apply pressure to the area.
-If your fins will allow you to use a wetsuit sock, heel shield, etc. then use them ASAP.
-Clean the area with fresh water and an antiseptic cover, if a blister starts forming.
Taking care of your new fins
Rubber and salt water work together, but only for so long. To keep your fins from getting dry rot and in good condition, it’s important to follow these tips:
-Rinse off salt water from your fins after each use
-When storing your fins, make sure the blades are straight otherwise they will stay that way.
-When walking over rocks with our fins on, be careful not to snag and rip the drainage holes.
-Don’t leave your fins outside or in cold temperatures, the rubber will dry rot!
First and most obviously, neoprene socks will keep your feet warm. They also prevent blistering as they provide a nice soft layer between your skin and the rubber inside the fin. Good! But the bad part is since neoprene is very buoyant, it will make it slightly more difficult to get a good deep paddle with your fins. But when it’s all said and done, the socks are definitely worth it.
Flipper slippers are like neoprene socks but they don’t have heels on them. They accomplish the same thing as socks, they’re not quite as warm though, but they are lighter. They are preferred by most bodyboarders since they give a lighter and more nimble feel to your kicking.
Heel shields have two main purposes. They help your feet fit more snuggly in fins that are a little too big on your feet by pushing your foot deeper in the fin. In addition to that, they create a nice layer between the strap and your ankle, preventing rubbing and blistering on your heels!
Fin tethers are like all the other tethers and leashes out there, but they are for your fins! What good is one fin if you lose the other? You can’t buy individual fins, so one good fin is as good as no fins. So fin tethers will prevent you from losing your fins if one falls off in the water.