Bodyboarding fins (or ‘flippers’) are the second most important weapon in your arsenal, if you plan on taking your bodyboarding seriously. A good set of fins is absolutely essential, and will be the difference between scoring decent waves, or not scoring at all.
Fins flippers, they go by many names, but they all have one goal. The fins for bodyboarding aren’t really a whole lot different in principle from the fins used for scuba diving or other water sport. However, unlike scuba fins which are designed for a long, drawn-out kicking motion for deep water propulsion, bodyboarding fins are built for rapid propulsion at the waters’ surface, with speed and function more than any other factor contributing to their more compact design. They tend to be less cumbersome and more rigid than other fins so that they can be used for quick bursts of speed without getting in the way. Fins also assist you to ride the wave once you have managed to paddle onto it – their subtle edged provides a lot more control and maneuverability then bare feet ever would, trailing behind you in the wave. Even drop knee riders rely on the edge a good set of bodyboard fins can provide.
One of the core differences in what a dropknee rider requires in a fin, as opposed to a prone rider, is one that facilitates balance and technique. Finding a bodyboard fin that allows you to get in position, while also giving you a secure footing and tail control is tough. You have to match a deck that isn’t too slippery with a pair of fins that are flexible enough to provide even footing.Churchill fins offer a few that are short enough that you can keep your feet under you while you do your thing.
Viper fins continue to be one of the best brands out there, because of their Hawaiian roots and popularity with pros, and more generally, the best watermen on the planet. In fact, Mike Stewart has sworn by Viper for years, so they must be pretty decent. Most of the other big bodyboard fins brands offer the traditional shape and a few are even offering a split toe. The jury is still out on whether or not a spilt toe makes a difference but you the best way is often to try a pair for yourself and see what you think.
If your feet start to flare up from fin cuts or those dreaded sea ulcers, fin socks or booties are a worthwhile investment. Alternatively, you can modify the offending ares of your fins using a stanley knife or blade, if you aren’t too worried about cutting into the rubber yourself.
A decent set of bodyboarding fins can be the difference between spending half an hour in the surf, or half a day. Not only will they save your feet from pain, but they’ll help you get onto as many waves as humanly possible, which in turn will improve your bodyboarding simply by providing you with more waves to hone your style on. If you’ve been riding without a decent pair of flippers, now might be a good time to look at getting a new pair. Instead of the next wave sliding by because you couldn’t get onto it, it could be the ride of your life.