Review: Monofin

monofin use in free diving by a woman

Image source: Unsplash

This article provides a review of monofins. We will discuss what that is, the various uses people make of these products, including in a freediving competition, and we will compare some popular brands and models of mono-bladed fins to see which might be right for you.

One thing we will discover is there is not just one best product for all swimmers and divers. Depending on your experience and your needs, the right answer does not always have to be the most expensive or high-performance product.

What Is the Monofin?

Monofin with goggles on top

Image source: pixabay

A monofin is a swimming or diving fin which provides, as the name implies a single-bladed fin, instead of the usual bi-fin. The monofin uses one separate fin on each foot. With a mono-blade, the swimmer or diver places both feet into openings at one end of the single, large fin. Usually, attachments such as straps will hold the person’s feet in place, although fully enclosed foot pockets are also available.


Since the legs and feet cannot kick or stroke the water separately when using one blade; a different body motion must be used to propel the swimmer or diver through the water. They often describe this as a “dolphin kick”, mimicking the undulating motion of a dolphin’s body going through the water.


The single-blade design, with its large surface area, maximizes this dolphin-like movement, providing extra power on both the up and down portions of the kick, and this enables the swimmer or diver to move much more efficiently and more rapidly than with the use of standard kicks and bi-fins.


Virtually, all free-diving competitors use mono-bladed fins instead of bi-fins. Because the mono-blade allows a swimmer or diver to move more rapidly and efficiently through the water, divers in many underwater activities are able to move farther and faster with less energy expenditure and oxygen consumption. These monofins aides those that depend on holding their breath during such competitions.

There are several types of monofins, the three main types being:

  • Toys and costume items for children or “mermaids”
  • Recreational
  • Competition

Toys and Mermaids

Recreational

Competition

Product Specifications  

We have talked about three main types of monofins you might encounter. Here we will talk about basic product specifications or characteristics you should expect to encounter when shopping for and assessing recreational or competition-style single-bladed fins.

Construction Materials

Toys and Mermaids

Stiffness

Foot Pocket Style/Fit

Weight

Length/Width

Pricing  

Pricing for monofins varies a great deal depending again on the type and quality of the particular product. Mono-bladed fins mainly aimed at children and youth are not usually very expensive, with prices from around $30 to $70. Recreational fins can be priced from around $100 to $400. And competition fins can cost around $150 to around $800 or more.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.   

  • Finis Rapid Monofin
  • Leaderfins Sports Monofin
  • Scubpro Element M1 Monofin
  • WaterWay Nemo-Wing Monofin

Finis Rapid Monofin

[amazon box=”B001GQ2BMC”]

Key Features   

The main features of this fin are its ease of use. The foot pocket is designed to fit a large range of foot sizes. The foot strap is adjustable and includes a quick-release mechanism. The manufacturer touts the “flexibility” of the fin, and while it may be true, this monofin could be used in the ocean. Its performance limitations suggest it would be better left for use in training in swimming pools.

Specifications 

Performance

Ease of Wear

Pros

  • Easy to use 
  • Inexpensive
  • Good beginner fin

Cons

  • Not made for performance
  • Cheap materials
  • Durability may be an issue
  • where to buy

[amazon fields=”B001GQ2BMC” value=”button”]

Leaderfins Sports Monofin

[amazon box=”B07VLBG3WH”]

Key Features   

The fin touts a 7-degree angle in the foot pockets, which can increase power to the fin during the stroke or kick. The fiberglass is said to be high quality and the product should be durable for more rugged use—for example, fin swimming, underwater orienteering, free diving, and long-distance swimming. It also provides “ribs” to more effectively channel water during the kick.

Specifications 

Performance

Ease of Wear

Pros

  • A solid recreational fin
  • Moderately priced
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Not suitable for competition
  • where to buy

[amazon box=”B07VLBG3WH”]

Scubapro Element M1 Monofin

Key Features   

This product offers a dolphin or whale-style blade, which is often found with higher-performing monofins. The double-wide blade and carbon-fiber/fiberglass construction provide an efficient platform to move the swimmer or diver through the water with less energy spent than fins with cheaper materials and smaller blades.

Specifications 

Performance

Ease of Wear

Pros

  • High-performance
  • Also good for most recreational diving

Cons

  • Definitely not a beginner’s fin
  • Pricey for a recreational fin
  • where to buy

See the Scubapro Element M1 Monofin at LeisurePro.com.

WaterWay Nemo-Wing Monofin

Key Features   

Designed for teenagers and adults, this fin is a step up from beginner fins, and will provide plenty of sturdy use and good training for those whose swimming and diving skills require a more powerful fin.

Specifications 

Performance

Ease of Wear

Pros

  • Good, solid training fin
  • Also good for most recreational diving

Cons

  • Pricey for average swimmers/divers
  • Foot pockets might require socks to fit
  • where to buy

See the WaterWay Nemo-Wing Monofin at Freedivershop

Conclusion

Keep in mind there are a lot of factors to consider in assigning a “winner” to our comparison. Beginning monofin divers and swimmers will mainly be looking for a good value or sometimes just a good training tool that won’t cost them too much to try things out.


Meanwhile, divers looking to take that next step up in performance from a beginning fin, may still not see a good reason to spend on a high-performance option. It all depends on a person’s commitment to their diving and their budget.


However, in our comparison, the Scubapro Element M1 Monofin wins with an average of 4.25 stars. The M1 is not quite a competition monofin,  and its not-too-expensive price tag reflects this. If you’re looking for a real high-performing option for your training and underwater adventures, the Scubapro offering seems to be the ticket. Have fun! And safe diving!

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