Scuba Advice Buoyancy Control Tips19/06/2014
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Wanna Talk The Talk & Fin The Fin!?
My Advice & Finning Tips & Techniques Should Help You Out
When we first start scuba diving
, how we kick underwater to propel ourselves is kept fairly simple. As long as we’re moving in the direction we want, divers just sort of kick their way around. However, with time and experience we learn to polish our skills including effective finning.
Finning Technique is a very important skill to have adapted well to as various finning styles can be used at different times and according to the conditions and or dive sites to avoid disturbing silt, save on effort and air consumption.
The Flutter Kick
Most likely the first style of finning you are taught when you’re learning to scuba dive. In this standard kick, the legs move up and down in opposing directions with a fairly straight leg. When performed properly, the action originates from the hips and provides propulsion and forward thrust on the downward stroke of each fin. The body position in this technique involves the hips and legs to be inline with the torso (Trim), while the knees only bend slightly on the upward stroke of the kick and straighten on the downward stroke while the toes (fins) remain pointed.
The flutter kick works best with long, gentle strokes, using the muscles at the front of the thighs to do most of the work and is good to thrust yourself forward. Diving isn’t about speed though and this style isn't as commonly used by advanced divers as it is more strenuous on the whole compared to a frog kick in my opinion. In addition, this style of kicking can easily disturb nearby seabed or marine life by kicking up silt or sand, so is best avoided when near the seabed or along a wall.
Modified Flutter Kick
Sometimes called the Short Flutter Kick, it is most common and practised by many wreck and cave divers. It involves a flutter kick style with the knees bend but with much less range of movement to avoid disturbing sand and silt in confined spaces. It still propels the diver but at reduced efficiency to some degree but also much less effort. Good for practicing on a slow and relaxed dive.
The Scissors Kick
The body position in this technique looks like the flutter kick i.e legs straight,knees slightly bent. But, the leg motion is quite different. Instead of the legs crossing each other in an up and down movement, the legs are widened and then brought together sharply (like a pair of scissors closing) and held in that position for a glide count. One leg is dedicated to the upper part of the kick, the other for the downward stroke. This kick is also known as the split kick and is favoured for it’s power without the effort of the flutter kick.
This is a great finning style to use when cruising and allows you to swim closer to the substrate without making contact with your fins or stirring up sand or silt.
The Frog Kick
This style of kicking is one of the most popular among cave and wreck divers to avoid kicking up silt or sand in confined spaces. In the frog kick the body and upper legs maintain a straight, horizontal trim but the knees are bent so the fin blades point upward on a steep diagonal. You are required to kick similar to the manner used in the breast stroke of swimming but you have to twist the ankle/lower leg at a right angle in order to achieve proper orientation of the fin. Many divers find it relaxing to use the frog kick as a general cruising kick, either by itself or alternating with the flutter kick every few minutes. The frog kick however, does not work very well with some types of fins like split fins.
Short Frog Kick.
In this modified version of the frog kick, divers don’t move their legs as far out as the standard frog kick, instead restrict the movements of your thighs and knees while letting the the calves and a flick of the ankles to do all the work. This is a good gentle kick, with not a lot of thrust making it ideal for use in confined spaces.
JEDI Level Finning Techniques
The Helicopter Kick
A spin off, if you will, of the frog kick technique, finning with just one leg, is called the helicopter kick. This enables you to pivot on the spot and rotate your horizontal body without swimming in a circle. In essence this means 1 fin remains horizontal in the water and the other fin works as in a frog kick causing the body to spin around on the horizontal axis so that you end up facing the direction you came from.
Back Reverse Kick
Once mastered, a subtle reverse of the frog kick technique will also enable you to fin in backwards reverse. A little like reversing a motorbike, it is seldom the most graceful looking manoeuvre especially whilst learn to do it! but is very useful, even necessary now and then. The key is to push water forwards with the upper side of the fins and then return the fins to the starting position with minimal resistance.
Photographers and divers who enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of caves and wrecks will need to master reverse finning to fully enjoy their favourite underwater pastimes. To master finning you must first master buoyancy control
Scuba Jedi Finning Technique Video!
How Is Your Finning Technique?
Do You Have Any Questions Or Tips To Share?
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