Air Always Flows From High Pressure To Low Pressure Advantages and Disadvantages of Split and Paddle Scuba Fins

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Split and Paddle Scuba Fins

Over the past several decades, divers have mostly used what are now known as paddle fins. They have a flat flexible blade that provides thrust and maneuverability for the scuba diver. Recently, another type of wing shape has appeared and is shaped like a fish tail and split in the middle. Fish and whales were the original inspiration for the design, but they cover a wide range of fin styles. However, most have a simple split down the middle.

Advantages of split fins

The overall objective is to reduce the amount of energy required to kick while keeping the propulsion equal or greater than the paddle fin counterpart. Partitioning does several things. This allows water to flow through the blade instead of around it. This eliminates the “dead” spot found on the top of the flat wings below the foot pocket. This is an area of ​​inefficiency because it traps water without any thrust. Water now flows down through this area and removes the dead zone from the partition. As water flows through the split, it provides lift, similar to an airplane wing. The fast-flowing water provides a low-pressure area on each side of the partition that sucks the diver forward. Therefore, the pressure difference actually helps the diver move forward rather than his or her kicking power.

Disadvantages of split fins

The increased efficiency achieved by this new design is not without its drawbacks. The main one is its maximum speed. Divers cannot increase their swimming speed past a certain point using the split design. By design, the flow through the design limits forward speed as it becomes less efficient as the diver kicks longer and harder. This is why divers typically use a high frequency low amplitude flutter kick with this fin type. This makes kicking easier, but swimming speed is relatively slow. For most people using scuba gear, this isn’t a problem because they swim pretty slowly even with all the gear strapped on. Free divers are a different story. They always use paddle fins because they need to get where they are going as quickly as possible because they have a limited air supply. They are also very streamlined and can use a powerful kick to swim really fast.

Advantages of paddle fins

The shape of the paddle is a proven design and consists of a flat flexible blade attached to a foot pocket. Many types have a full leg pocket and others have a heel strap. The main advantage is that they can use a wide range of powerful kicks very efficiently. Divers who need to swim faster to chase fish will choose the paddle size. Free diving fins, as discussed above, are always paddle-shaped and some are very long to allow more speed. The length and stiffness of the blade contributes to the speed and kicking force required. As the hardness of the blade increases, it becomes harder to kick, but it provides more forward speed. Similarly, more flexible blades are easier to kick, but provide less propulsion.

Disadvantages of paddle fins

This design has no significant drawbacks except for the higher required kicking force. In theory, this causes the diver to work harder which uses up more air which slows the dive. However, the differences are small, and divers trying their own will use more air regardless of fin blade design. Getting comfortable wings is more important than going for any particular style. It is also a matter of personal preference. Many people who are used to one blade shape are happy with it and don’t want to change it.

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