When you want to have fun and get fit in the water, bodyboard fins are one of the most important pieces of equipment you will buy. You want fins to fit your particular situation and water sport. Bodyboarding fins are important in a wide array of water sports, including conventional surfing, bodysurfing, pool training, competitive swimming, and even triathlons.
Read on to find out some of the best bodyboarding fins.
Best Bodyboarding Fins: Reviews
Kpaloa Swim Fins are designed specifically for excellent acceleration and fluidity when bodyboarding and kicking at the water surface. Their hydrodynamic shape is designed for greater efficiency, providing greater propulsion with less energy.
They are made of vulcanized rubber with different combinations of flexibility and density, with soft rubber at the foot pocket for comfort, flexible rubber in the body, and medium-hard rubber in the blades that improves propulsion and avoids twisting during the kick cycle.
The advanced, balanced floating formula results from research and testing to combine performance, floatability, and maneuverability with less effort when kicking.
The Kpaloa swim fins have a low-profile anatomical strap for great fit and comfort. The symmetrical blades and lateral ridges provide maneuverability and fluidity with less energy.
In addition, they have three strategically placed escape holes for complete drainage of water and debris from the foot pocket, improving efficiency in the water. They float in saltwater and are great for all ages and ability levels. They come in 7 sizes, from extra small to xx-large, and this pair is offered in a beautiful sideline blue oceanic pattern.
- Specially designed for bodyboarding, water rescue, and surface swimming
- Provide excellent propulsion and efficiency
- Floats in saltwater
- Sizing tends to run small
Churchill’s Makapuu Classic fins are designed explicitly for bodyboarding and have been a favorite for decades. The unique patented shape of these fins is inspired by a dolphin’s tail, delivering more substantial thrust, higher speeds, and better performance. They are made of 100% natural floating gum rubber for excellent comfort and flexibility.
An improved stiffer blade optimizes thrust and stiffer side rails that maximize power with each kick. In addition, the higher blend line of these flippers adds more power and efficiency.
The Churchill Makapuu Classic bodyboarding fins have an improved thicker heel strap that locks your foot into place for stability and comfort.
In addition, they have a drainage hole that releases water and debris from the foot pocket. These fins maximize your kicking power and improve speed and thrust when swimming, with great comfort and control. They come in Churchill’s signature green color.
- Designed to improve speed and performance when bodyboarding
- Comfortable and secure fit
- Maximizes kicking power and efficiency
- This redesign is stiffer and more powerful than the classic Churchills of decades past, and some people prefer the softer and more flexible Makapuu fins they remember.
Hydro Tech 2 Ocean Swim Fins for Bodyboarding Bodysurfing
Hydro Tech 2 Ocean swim fins are designed to avoid fin catching when bodyboarders ride in the drop knee position. Hydro’s proprietary T-Form material is a super soft, super flexible material based on silicone, giving unsurpassed comfort.
In addition, the V rail design creates more surface area, increasing thrust with every kick. Hydro’s Tech 2 swim fins have been recognized by the Australian Design Awards.
The Hydro-Tech 2 Ocean swim fins have a contoured ankle strap for excellent comfort and have three drain holes to quickly remove water and sand from the foot pocket. The asymmetrical blade design is ergonomically designed to work with your natural movement, equally distributing force around the foot to reduce fatigue.
They come in six sizes, from extra-small to extra-large. In addition, they come in five colors, including acid yellow, blue and mint, gun grey, ice blue, and tang and navy.
- Flexible and comfortable
- Improve thrust and power with every kick
- Ergonomically designed
- These fins do not float
The DORSAL Phantom swim fins are explicitly designed for bodyboarding and bodysurfing, with a unique shape inspired by the tail of an orca rather than the flippers of a dolphin. The short blade has angled rails for strength, stability, and maximum thrust across the whole fin during the kick cycle.
The three rail ridges on the blade maximize the transfer of energy from the foot to the blade, evenly distributing energy for more power and comfort. A higher knit line creates more rigidity and a more powerful thrust, with stiffer blades and triple ridges that combine comfort and power for all your water sports.
DORSAL Phantom bodyboard swim fins are made of 100% Malaysian rubber for comfort, buoyancy, and durability. They have a soft rubber foot pocket with rounded edges for excellent comfort and blowhole vents that release water, sand, and pebbles without building up inside the fins, improving comfort and efficiency.
The unique combination of soft, flexible rubber construction with more rigid ribs and stiffness in the blades and the organic, nature-inspired shape gives these fins incredible acceleration, comfort, and control.
They come in four men’s sizes from extra small to large and have an easy-fit, slide-on design. In addition, these fins come in a blue and yellow color combination.
- Organic, natural shape for better efficiency in kicking
- Designed for improved thrust and power
- Great comfort and control
- Limited range of sizes, and run small
The Shredder Surf II fins from U.S. Divers are designed for bodyboarders, bodysurfers, and traveling snorkelers. They are engineered for power and speed while conserving your energy, allowing you to enjoy your water activities longer.
The dual-composite blade cups and channels water for greater power and efficiency. The compact size makes them an excellent choice for travel since they don’t take up much space in a bag or luggage.
The U.S. Divers Shredder Surf II bodyboarding fin has an adjustable heel strap for a secure, comfortable fit inside the super-soft foot pocket that conforms to your foot shape.
In addition, these fins have a built-in tether system to keep them from floating away in the waves. They are available in small, medium, and large sizes and a metallic red/black color. They are backed by a two-year limited warranty.
- Provide more power with less energy
- Comfortable foot pocket with adjustable heel strap
- Built-in leash system
- Limited range of sizes
When choosing fins for bodyboarding, there are a few essential features to keep in mind. Here are some of the things to look for in bodyboarding swim fins.
Types of Fins
Ill start with recreational users: Short-bladed fins with stiff rubber are great for training, while a wider fin is best for bodyboarding. For bodysurfing, the selection of fins to choose from gets smaller, but a stiff blade is once again preferable to generate acceleration and power.
Regardless of the sport or the level of expertise, sizing and fit is are important factors to consider. Look for brands that offer a wide range of sizes, and remember that since fins are mostly made of molded rubber, sizes tend to vary, so dont assume that your shoe size will automatically translate to the appropriate fin size.
Make sure the foot pocket is comfortable, and check the material for both lightness and durability. You want a fin thats light enough to float if it comes off in the water, but durable enough to keep from splitting at the heel or tearing at the toe pocket.
If youre using fins for exercise and training, the issues dealing with the size of the fins themselves change slightly. Smaller training fins provide resistance without overloading joints, ligaments, and tendons.
They also help shift effort to the foot, increasing leg strength by encouraging propulsion with a leg kick in the form of a pedaling motion (thats the same as a flutter kick without a fin).
Long blade fins promote slow kicking, which also strengthens the legs, but it also allows you to carry the legs while you swim.
The perfect balance between short and long blade fins is achieved when you can can maintain a constant pace (lap swimmers) or a race pace (competitive swimmers and triathletes) with a moderate amount of effort. And safety comes into play in this environment as well; look for a non-skid pattern to prevent slips and falls around the pool.
Surfing Fins and Recreational Fins
If you're looking specifically for surfing fins, the variables change slightly. Stiffer, more resistant fins provide additional drive, while softer ones offer more comfort.
Another way to simplify the selection process is to know the strengths of the major brands that manufacture the best bodysurfing fins. Churchill and Viper are two dominant players in the swim fin industry.
Churchill fins are designed for maximum power and performance, with a medium blade and an irregular shape that features a long outside rail. Viper fins are high performance fins that are renowned for being powerful and tough, but their rough feel can be problematic because of sizing and fit errors.
Other companies like Hydro, Ally, and Stealth have found niches by differentiating themselves with unique features (e.g., silicone material) while still incorporating elements of classic designs
Pool and Training Fins
The dominant pool and training fin brand is Finis, which makes many types of excellent fins. They offer a fit thats snug without being tight, hard and soft blades, including models for all performers that help them focus on improving specific areas of their kick and strokes.
Another type of fin pioneered by Finis is the monofin, which is shaped like a dolphin fin. These fins are great for beginners and those working on physical movement issues because they promote proper form with engagement of the abdomen, glutes, lower back, and quads. They also help promote foot and ankle flexibility, as well as an increased awareness of kicking from the hip.
Other brands like Speedo and Arena Tech have found more specialized niches for in the training and exercise market. Speedo features a longer blade for longer sets, with a harder and sharper brand of plastic. By contrast, Arena Tech features a lighter material that makes kicking easier but can also compromise performance.
Generally speaking, fins for bodyboarding and surface water activities will be shorter than long blades used when diving or during underwater activities. This is because the water surface has stronger and more turbulent waves; therefore, bodyboarders need the improved power and maneuverability of shorter fin blades.
In addition, shorter blades are compatible with the fast, short kicking strokes that bodyboarders use, while long fin blades tend to require a longer, slower kicking stroke. Shorter blades are also easier to wear when walking on the sand, moving on a board, and other surface-level activities.
Can you cut down a longer fin to make it better for bodyboarding? This is a surprisingly popular idea among some people; they like the fit and feel of their fins and think they can just cut the blades shorter to make them better suited for bodyboarding. This is a terrible idea. You can’t get the performance of shorter blades by cutting down longer blades.
Fin blades are carefully designed with a mixture of soft and stiffer materials for precise flexibility and resistance along the blade length. Cutting a blade impairs performance because the blade shape, thickness, materials, and channels, and rails will no longer work as designed.
In most cases, cutting a long blade shorter creates a blade that is much too stiff and rigid to perform well, with significantly impaired hydrodynamics. Since swim fins are available in a wide range of price points and performance levels, it’s best to simply buy the right fins for your aquatic activities.
Again, because bodyboarders are on the water’s surface, they need more power and maneuverability.
The best swim fins for bodyboarding are soft and flexible in the feet for comfort and range of motion but then have progressively stiffer blades through the length. This allows for better energy transfer from your feet to the blades and provides more thrust and power against the water.
Blade channels and rails. Great swim fins use the blade shape, channels, and rails to direct water flow against the fin.
Blade rails are designed to channel water for increased speed and usually distribute the pressure and power of your kicks across the whole surface of the fin, reducing rotational force and giving you greater efficiency.
Bodyboarding swim fins should fit well, with great comfort and stability, so that they stay on your feet in rough water, but don’t rub, bind, or chafe against your feet.
Most bodyboarding fins are secured with an ankle strap, which should fit snugly without being too tight. In addition, the foot pocket should feel comfortable and stable. Finding the right fit in swim fins is incredibly important because you can’t be comfortable and enjoy long bodyboarding sessions if your fins are so loose that they come off or are so tight that they are uncomfortable.
When in doubt, order your fins in a size that is slightly too large. You can use thin fin socks or thicker, warmer neoprene socks to help create the right fit within the foot pocket and add more comfort and protection.
Bodyboarding and body surfing are activities where it is highly likely that a fin may come off or get dropped in the water.
Many people prefer floating fins since if they are dropped, you may still find and recover them. However, a fin tether is the best way to ensure that you don’t lose your fins in rough water, whether they float or not.
Many great swim fins for bodyboarding have a built-in system to accept tethers, but tethers can also be simply attached to the ankle strap if there isn’t a built-in tether loop.
Many people prefer bodyboarding swim fins that float to be more easily found and recovered if they come off. However, in rough waves, a floating fin may be quickly carried away and be just as difficult to recover as a sinking fin.
Fins that float also have natural buoyancy that affects your leg extension and kicking when in the water, which may or may not be helpful, depending on your swimming style and water activity. Tethers are the best way to ensure that you don’t lose your fins.
Great swim fins should always have drainage holes that allow water, sand, and debris to flow out of the foot pocket. This keeps the fins comfortable and easy to wear and prevents excess unwanted weight and drag in the fins.
For people who also wear their fins while walking on the beach, the size and placement of the holes can be important since you may not want the exposed skin of your feet on the hot sand or rocks of the beach. Therefore, you may prefer smaller drainage holes, drainage channels, or other drainage systems that don’t expose the bottoms of your feet.
Symmetrical fins. Some swim fins for bodyboarding are symmetrical - they are identical for the left and right foot. Mostly, fins are asymmetrical, using the blade shape to improve hydrodynamics and stability against the foot.
However, symmetrical blades may be helpful if you are buying many fins for a family or a group event so that you don’t have to keep track of matching pairs. They may also be a good idea if you are prone to losing a single fin since the replacements are guaranteed to fit either foot. Again, for some people, the convenience of symmetry may outweigh a slight loss in hydrodynamics.
Keeping these factors and features in mind will help you choose the perfect swim fins for your bodyboarding and help you enjoy all your water activities with better performance and less fatigue.