Picking a fin is an inevitable task for anyone who wants to play underwater rugby or underwater hockey. It has it's importance, some fins are not allowed to be used, some are simply not suitable for the game, and so on.
If you are only interested in the list of fins for UWR and UWH, scroll down and click on "All replies" !
Lets see, what the CMAS Under Water Rugby Commission's
CMAS Under Water Rugby Rules have to say for underwater rugby :
Required personal equipment
Each player shall be equipped with a cap, a swimsuit, mask, fins and wrist bands.
In addition a snorkel can be used.
Any potentially harmful projecting edges on any piece of equipment must be
2.3.2.b The fins may be secured by fin retainers
2.3.2.c The fins may be as long as wanted
2.3.2.d Mono fins may not be used
2.3.2.e Fins must be large/stiff enough to seize water resistance, this in order to
prevent/minimize damage from kicks
2.3.2.f Fins must be designed so that they cannot hurt anyone.
And underwater hockey? CMAS Under Water Hockey Rules go like this :
11.3 Players' Equipment and the Stick
11.3.1 Each player shall be equipped with a mask, which must have safety glass or other safety material fitted; a non-metal, pliable snorkel; a pair of conventional underwater hockey fins (made of non-dangerous, pliable, synthetic material OR must be covered by an intact protective film which will prevent any injuries if they are damaged); players will wear a device/guard that adequately protects them against injuries to their teeth and gums; hand protection for the playing hand(s), and an underwater hockey stick.
Hmm. These 2 are not in too much in sync, to say the least... But the practical implementation of these is mostly that split fins or fins with holes are not allowed as they carry a risk of injuring fingers.
So what to pick then? To help you a bit closer to the answer, let me share with you my experiences.
Little did I know about such rules when I've first decided to try UWR. I've seen a couple posters of UWH at the uni's pool and the only thing that kept me from trying it that it was that during Erasmus I've seen rugby first and I couldn't enroll for the sport anymore, but it kept me interested, so when I've seen the team's flyer I decided to try it, and have borrowed a pair of cheap snorkeling fins from a friend who decided to come along. Needless to say, I broke it during my very first training, so I couldn't participate in the game till I got myself a proper pair of fins.
In Hungary, you can buy Mares and Technisub/Aqualung at diving shops and in the large sportchains. I got myself a Stratos which is still functioning properly and was the most common fin within the team 6-7 years ago and maybe in Austria and Germany too. I've also tried a couple types of Mares, while 2 of my teammates used them, and as I've heard, the hockey players like them too, with a little trimming of their length. I consider these "long" fins, which come from the divers world.
And about 3 years ago I got myself short fins too, mostly made of rubber. They are the ones used by our former finswimmer players too. Most of these were old rubber fins, some were decade old german predecessors of Najade called LaPalmas, and so on. Some are still working after years of rugby, maybe have a couple patches on them, some got torn apart which is no surprise for a 20+ years old fin. Later we got new ones too, both hardness. And then we had Murénas as well, literally everyone tested them.
Far ends are the spearfishing fins and those tiny little fins sold for swimmers, they dont work, I tried them when I had the chance, but seen none which would have been fine.
The difference between them is like the difference between the gears on the bicycle, but in the fins case, this difference affects the turning abilities much more.
Long fins are harder to turn with, also harder to accelerate but if you can put the required brute force into large, whiplash-like dolphin kicks, then you'll be hard to stop. I would recommend these to the larger, bulkier players. Probably most people from team Molde use such fins. Keep in mind, that they were designed for people carrying large and heavy (just because you don't feel gravity it's still a mass which you have to move) scubagears and swimming in a very different style.
The smaller, finswimmer fins provide a smoother, more fluent style. Since I'm much smaller person than an average Molde player, I pick these. Compared to using a long fin, you can turn more freely, and with proper technique, you can challenge even the rockiest player with the hugest thighs on two ironing boards in speed. With short fins you are supposed to be doing dolphin kicks where your kicks are driven by your hips instead of your knees.
I wear size 44/10 shoes and I use a size 4 Najade Sprint (the harder) worn with socks and not flipped for training, and a size 3 Murena without socks, flipped for tournaments.
I choose so as the Najade is big enough for me to be worn with socks and as I'm not wearing it flipped it needs to be the harder version. I think it's also lighter in weight compared to the similar size Muréna, and yet you can make a stronger first kick with it (unlike finswimming, we dont always start from solid surfaces) so its a fine pick for trainings when you are wearing them for much longer time, or tournaments organised in large pools. I use a smaller (size 3) Muréna for tournaments in smaller pools for how accurate and responsive movement they provide. They are really small for my size and I couldn't be able to use socks even if I wanted to, so the max. I can endure in them is half an hour.
So what makes the better pick out of these two depends very much on how compatible your feet are with the size chart and the hardness, and the style how you swim, and also how much you care about performance or comfort?
I thought I would list all the other fins I know of, and my experiences, if I have any, in the comments. As you can see, I prefer these two Hungarian brands, but I haven't yet owned any of those multilayer-types, so I'm lacking the long term experiences with some others. The ones I've tried were either a bit too hard and not enough comfortable or very similar to a regular plastic long fin. As far as I know the rubber fins are quite popular amongst underwater hockey players from down under, which makes total sense, as UWH requires a lot of sudden terms as the puck is changing directions, not to mention their price advantage as they can be half or quarter the price of some other ones.
The only reason why it took me a while to get this review done is that the meantime we made a deal with the two manufacturers to support Hungary's team in exchange for spreading the word about their fins. So please, if you've decided to try them upon our recommendation, either contact us or reference us when you are placing your order, this way you are supporting the our team amd this blog.
But I'm also very curious about other fins as well, so if you have experience with any I list in the comments, or use one I haven't listed, please share!