Split Fins vs Blade Fins: What’s the Difference?

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blade fins

Blade Fin

Anyone who has been diving for a certain length of time has probably noticed that people use different kinds of fins. Some people have blade fins, which consist of one solid fin, while other divers have fins that are split down the middle. The differences between these two types of fins are related to propulsion power and air conservation.

Blade fins have been around for a long time, and split fins are a relatively new option for divers. The idea behind split fins is that instead of just propelling the diver forward, the split creates a vortex that assists in propulsion and speed. Another benefit of splits is that the opening allows water to pass through easily on the upward fin stroke. Since the upward fin stroke is the movement that achieves the least amount of propulsion, having the split is more energy efficient than having to kick upward with a standard blade fin. This makes the split fin easier to use in many cases and allows divers to conserve air because they don’t have to kick as hard.

As a result, split fins are good for casual divers, inexperienced divers who may not have good kicking technique yet, and divers who have ankle or knee problems and cramp easily. However, blade fins are more powerful, and many divers argue that split fins do not provide enough power to fight through tough currents.

split fins

Split Fin

In summary, split fins are more efficient in terms of propulsion and oxygen conservation but blade fins provide more powerful thrusts. The type of fin used should depend on the type of diving. Splits can be more effective in easy dive sites with little or no current. They are also helpful if the diver cramps easily or has joint problems. However, in more technical dives or dive sites with a strong current, blade fins should be used because they provide more powerful kicks. Ultimately, both types of fins can get divers where they want to be, and many divers are comfortable using both.

Comments

  1. I have sets of each type. I find the splits great for casual diving in low current conditions. They require less effort for thrust and with that less leg strain. When I may need either maximum thrust or maximum control it’s time to switch to blade fins. There are just certain kicks that the blades are better for such as back finning or holding position.

  2. The right Split can beat any Blade out there.

    http://www.apollosportsusa.com/documents/FinScore1999-2013.pdf

    • Jerome Fink says:

      Brings into question the impartiality of Scuba Lab fin test. I still own a pair of Bio pro fins and in no way could the get a score of more than 1 for alternative kicks. Also your generalisation is not relevant. In wreck/cave diving where frog kick is the standard kick, and often combined with technical diving requirements, split fins are rarely used.

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