Dec 212008

Since moving to a dry suit I had to switch from my lovely Mares Superchannels to a fin with a much larger foot pocket – drysuit boots are much larger than wetsuit boots.  After trying several without success, I settled on the OMS Slipstream fins.  They are hard paddle style fins that are neutral in water.  With some modifications I’ve become much more comfortable with them.

Adding spring straps

These are some of the best things you can add to your existing fins.  When properly fitted the fins go on and off very easily and are much more comfortable due to the spring compression.  Spring straps come in a wide variety of attachment points for all the different types of strap posts.  I own Innovative Scuba Concepts Ez Spring Fin Straps for both of my fins (wet & drysuit fins), and am very happy with them.  I don’t see any reason to buy the more expensive offerings.

Remolding the fin foot pocket

The first modification I made to the fins was simply to improve the fit of the foot pocket.  I found it a bit too wide, and not tall enough.  The material the fins are made of is fairly stiff, but with a little heat it can be manipulated a little.  I put on my drysuit boots and boiled a pot of water.  I dipped each fin pocket into the hot water for ten seconds, and then took it out and shoved my foot in the fin.  The pockets changed shape a bit and wrapped around my foot a lot better.  After cooling they retained their new shape.

Adding drain holes to the fin foot pocket.

For some strange reason the Slipstream fins only have two small drain holes on the back side of the foot pocket.  When holding the fins by the straps this means they drain very slowly and hold a few cups worth of water after draining.  I wanted to speed the process up a little, so I added three holes to the very bottom of the foot pocket.  This way, they drain fairly quickly when holding them by the straps.  To add the holes I heated the end of a drill bit up with a lighter, and then drilled three holes in the bottom of the pocket.  After drilling I cleaned the holes up with a x-acto knife.  There is probably a cleaner way to do it, but it works well enough for me.

Fin foot pocket drain holes

Adding fin keepers

When shore diving I often double check my hood, mask, or gloves as I walk to the water.  I usually end up awkwardly trying to tuck my fins under my arm, but that doesn’t work so well when I’m trying to adjust my mask or hood.  There are some commercial fin and mask holders available which are simply a strap loop on a plastic buckle.  However they unfortunately usually include a suicide clip, which is not a good idea in kelp or wrecks (a suicide clip does not require interaction to clip into something).  I considered making my own strap with buckle, but wanted something that would use existing hardware.  I finally settled on 1″ stainless steel split rings.  These rings are added to the straps, which can then be clipped off to a double ended bolt snap.  I will probably need to add the rings to the main spring strap instead of the pull tab, but it seems to work fine for now.

Split rings used as finkeepers
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