How to choose your monofin?

Dedicated to all tailed

Monofin “Hyper” – one of the most popular models. The one with which almost all freedivers dive. How does hyper monofin differ from other types? Its main difference is a massive footpocket and the angle at which it is located toward the blade.

Good monofin for you is the one which is specifically handmade according to your measurements. Different producers require different data to create a monofin for you.

One of the leading manufacturers of hyper monofins today is Ivan Shachov. His great experience in monofin production (since 1995) and the high quality of his work allow us to trust that “Shachovskaya” monofin is  among the top monofins worldwide.

From 2003, Ivan Shachov and champion and world record holder Natalia Molchanova together they started to work on new models of monofins. In the last years, Ivan Shachov has been working closely with Alexey Molchanov and the Molchanovs brand, constantly improving structural features of the fins, as well as their design.

Basic or a Sport model?

Now you can order either Basic or a Sport model. There are certain differences between them:

First is the Basic version’s location of footpockets towards the blade is more suitable for beginners. It compensates errors in technique, if the push comes rather from the knees, and not from the hips. But this does not mean that this type cannot be used by advanced freedivers!

Second difference is the price. Basic monofin is cheaper than Sport model. For some freedivers this can indeed be a decision-making factor.

The last difference is the design. The two models of monofins look different at the first sight.

More advanced freedivers, and those focused on sport results, prefer Sport version. The location of footpockets towards the blade in the Sport version differs from the Basic. And the blade of the Sport version is made of different layers. Also a lot of freedivers like the sport design itself.

BASIC_SPORT

How to take down your measurements?

Once you decide about the model of the monofin, you need to take down your measurements:

  1. The length of the foot. Put your foot on the paper and holding pencil in the vertical position, make a mark at where is your big finger and where is the heel. Take a ruler and measure the distance from the finger to the heel in centimeters.
  2. Using tape measure, take the circumference of the foot. It is important that the foot will stay on the floor unloaded. And you need to take your measurement with your foot exactly perpendicular to the floor!Typically, the second measurement is smaller than the first one.1_2

How to choose the monofin fit?

The next important step – choose the monofin fit.

Some producers are used to make monofins for athletes, but if you are not a sportsman, and you just want to dive for fun, you will feel the pain, while using too tight monofin. Many freedivers can’t swim with this equipment for more than a few minutes. Therefore, it is very important to specify how tight your monofin should be before the start of its production.

There are three main types of fit:

The first type – tight fit. This fit, is usually chosen by the athletes, who use it predominantly in competition. Also, this fit with is usually chosen by freedivers with great experience, who swim a lot in the monofin. With more practice, advanced freedivers’ feet become more flexible, and then it is the time to take a monofin, which fits tightly. For beginners I would not recommend the tight fit.

The second type – standard fit. In the most cases, the freedivers choose this fit. Wearing this monofin, you can swim in it for 20-30 minutes. And if by the end of 20 minutes you will feel that your feet start to feel pain – that means that this is a monofin with standard fit for you.

The third type – comfort fit. For example, when a freediver wishes to use  socks or wishes to dive for a long time without taking the monofin off, then it is better to select a monofin with some more space in the footpocket. It should be kept in mind that initially such a monofin may seem a little bit too free. However, if you plan to dive for an hour, then after a while your legs start to swell, get tired and for these reasons you need some space. Note however, that even with a comfortable fit, the monofin should never fall down!

Innovations

For more comfort, you can choose several innovations and improvements, which should help you not to “feel” the monofin during the dive – a supinator and a mikropore. The supinator is a kind of insertion in the footpocket that keeps the instep in natural position – similar to shoe’s insole. A mikropore – a small pad at the top of footpockets made of softer rubber. These improvements not only increase the comfort but also the price of monofin. It should be kept in mind that not every athlete will improve their performance using the above mentioned improvements.

How to choose the blade stiffness?

The above is not all you need to know about choosing the right monofin. You can also choose blade for you.

The blades differ, primarily, by stiffness, that you can choose. The better technique the softer blade freedivers choose. There are two points to be considered:

The first thing you need to take into account, it the level of your physical fitness – how strong legs you have, and what is your experience with diving with a monofin.

The second thing, that determines the stiffness of the blade, is your weight and height.

For example, if the freediver is 175 cm tall, his weight is around 65 kg and he/she is in normal physical shape, he/she should take medium-soft blade (2H).

A woman, with height of 165 cm with weight of 50 kg, irrespective her physical form should rather  choose a softer blade – 1.5H or 1H (soft).

If the freediver is 190 cm tall and his weight is 90 kg, his blade can be more stiff, e.g. 2.5H – 3H (medium or hard-medium), regardless how strong legs muscles he has.

Alexey Molchanov is a world record holder in depth discipline called constant weight with fins (CWT). He is 180 cm tall and his weight is about 82-85 kg. His choice is a monofin with the soft blade, i.e. 1.5H, or 2H maximum.

And it is not just Alexey, nowadays more and more freedivers come to the conclusion (supported by the experience) that the use of a hard monofin does not make any sense. As a result of making an all-out effort, there would be a large flow of oxygen. And in freediving this is not only disadvantageous, but even harmful.

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I hope that this article will help you to choose the right monofin ideally suited for you and for your diving.

Finally, should you have any questions and / or you would like to order your new monofin I will be happy to assist you to select the best one.

Irina Veverka (Karina)

P.S. Special thanks to Gabriela Grezlova for help with translating 

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