October 7th, 2007

Dive Rite Fins


Today I am writing about fins after overhearing a diver at one of our Tech Tours complain that the Dive Rite fin is too heavy, and walked away with her split fins in her hand. I thought about her comment and realized the problem. Most divers are looking for what is easy, rather than what is efficient. Efficiency is the cornerstones of cave diving training; the average diver cannot appreciate the discipline cave divers use, yet it is the premise for all technical diving disciplines.

I was a test diver for the original split fin, the Apollo Bio fin. They completed their test in recreational environments and I got to play with them in the caves of North Florida. I was not impressed. The split fin is designed to give the diver forward propulsion with the least amount of directed effort. Essentially, this means wasted energy and still there are results. The split fin is designed for the diver doing a modified flutter kick and nothing else, which is the kick used by newly certified divers. Instructors spend hours teaching new divers not to bicycle kick because it is inefficient. The split fin takes advantage of the bicycle kick mentality, giving divers a method of inefficient kicking, yet still with some movement forward.

During our testing of split fins and our fins, divers using split fins could not maintain the pace set by average cave divers. One test diver suffered severe cramps using split fins in an attempt to maintain a normal pace for a dive he had done many times before. Split fins can propel an open water diver with a single cylinder through the water to the divers satisfaction, but it is out-classed in technical dive environments. For technical diving, the diver needs a fin that can perform in various conditions including high flow, tight areas and moving mass thru the water. A technical diver needs a fin that is an extension of the foot for complete control and application of various technical fining techniques such as, modified flutter, frog, shuffle kick and ceiling walk. A split fin just can’t compare. Whenever you increase the mass of a diver from single cylinder to doubles, side mount or staging the split fin does not measure up.

Why did I buy the molds for the Apollo Prestige Fin? We bought the molds for the fins in 2001 because I believed they were the best fins on the market. I dived it for two years and was very impressed with the performance-to-weight ratio of the fin. It actually looks like the old Farallon fin with the rounded blade that was considered the best fin on the market in its day. I owned three pair of them, but it took an above-average diver to take advantage of the power you could extract from the fin. For cave divers battling upstream in caves with outflows of 1 to 2 knots you needed every advantage you could get.

The Dive Rite fin is designed with two materials, a plastic and rubber combination to give it strength and flexibility in water. Instead of venting the middle we have a flexible rubber insert to utilize the thrust in every stroke. We don’t believe in wasting any movement the diver may take with his fins. The blade design captures any nuance the diver may use in propulsion techniques. This lets the diver use every ounce of energy he (she) expends with a kick. This is very important to the tech diver pushing one to two miles against current. Split fins can’t capitalize on the various fin kicks to decrease fatigue and cramping like a single blade fin. Our fin is not for everyone. If you can’t swim or run a mile then stick with the split fin, but if you don’t want to waste your energy then use a fin designed to take advantage of the effort you put into the swim.

I know some may disagree because you own split fins, but facts are facts. If you question my conclusions then send me an email and join me for a dive.


3 Responses to “Dive Rite Fins”

  • One of the concerns I often hear from tech divers about Dive Rite fins is IF they are heavy enough. Many tech divers like jet fins because of the weight, especially when diving dry. However, when a tech diver tries DR fins, they give them rave reviews…the problem is that tech divers are leery of trying them.

    I used to dive jets and had that same concern when I switched to Dive Rite fins. To my surprise, the weight difference is not an issue at all. When I first wore jet fins they took me awhile to get used to – I had to work through the foot cramps until my body adapted. The Dive Rite fins have enough flexibility to avoid the cramps, yet are still substantial and do not create “feet up” buoyancy, even when I dive dry.

    The Dive Rite fins are especially nice on boats…no more black scuff marks from jets on the deck!

    I am a 5’4″, 110 lb female and I don’t find DR fins to be too much of a strain for me.

    :) Kathleen

    kathleen, October 9th, 2007 at 12:04 pm

  • I still dive an old pair of the Apollo Prestige fins. I recently broke a fin strap buckle and was wondering if the buckles for the dive rite fins match up or if I am going to have to buy a new set of fins. I have had these since day one, made even my first snorkel “dives” with them. I really love the fin and have tried others, nothing compares. I am glad to see that Dive Rite bought the molds for the prestige, best fin ever! It seems that the buckle they use is a bit of an odd size and I can’t seem to find anything that fits it. I almost ordered a set of the spring straps for the dive rites but figured I would see if they will fit before I do!

    Howard Cunningham, January 28th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

  • Howard,

    We’ve just now picked up your post. Sorry for the delay. The Dive Rite Spring Straps do fit your fins. We also have some buckle straps that we’re happy to give you at n/c, just shipping costs. You can email us at support@diverite.com and we’ll take care of it.


    lamar, March 3rd, 2010 at 3:37 pm