An Ode To Jet Fins

Apex Predator Athletics

Originally introduced way back in 1965, the Scuba Pro Jet Fin has remained a standard issue item in kit bags of special operations personnel, civilian divers, and good looking talented people everywhere despite “more ergonomic” and “less painful” options being available. From the deltas of Vietnam to the deep sea and everywhere in between, jet fin’s proven track record of dependability and performance has been iron cast making them the only real rational choice for wet work.

U.S. Air Force members from the Special Tactics Training Squadron, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., enter the pool during pre-scuba training Sept. 21, 2010. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Russell E Cooley IV)
U.S. Air Force members from the Special Tactics Training Squadron, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., enter the pool during pre-scuba training Sept. 21, 2010. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Russell E Cooley IV)

Up until recently, Jet Fins were only available in flat black or flat black, but Scuba Pro has recently extended the line to include 7 additional color ways. Jet Fins are a no nonsense tool built for functionality with little to no concern for the wearer’s comfort. Weighing in at 5 to 7 pounds they can be an excellent addition to dry land flutter kick drills or leg levers. The holes drilled in the mid fin allow for sufficient ventilation allowing the swimmer to generate velocity both on the up and down stroke of the kick which maximizes the effective force delivered through out the movement. An experienced operator or driver should be able to tell you how far they travel with each kick, a skill they are taught through out training to allow for sub surface navigation in blacked out conditions. If you know each kick takes you 7 yards and if its 140 yards to your target, even if visibility is crapped out you can calculate that 20 kicks should put on target.

BUD/S candidates earn their Jet Fins in the cold waters surrounding Coronado Special Warfare Amphibious Base. Here one such candidate learns how to enter the water from a speeding zodiac.

Spring heel straps are really the only available customization to the user, and allow for easier adjustment of fin tightness when wearing gloves. Some claim they make the fin fit more comfortably (Coach Visible) to which I say… WHO NEEDS BLING! Depending on your foot size, and shape, the boot cup of the fin impacts you differently, and with only two sizes of fin to choose from you need to learn how to work within the mobility limitations of the fin to achieve maximum performance. If you ever see me working in my fins you will notice I wear the strap low, see IMG below, over the heel of my foot. I have found that this position allows me to exert maximum force with out pinching my Achilles tendon and cutting blood flow to the point of numbness or pain in the foot. I encourage you the reader to experiment with strap type and placement to find what works best for you.

The traditional strap placement most commonly employed.
The traditional strap placement most commonly employed.
After some tinkering I have found this strap placement to be the most advantageous.
After some tinkering, I have found this strap placement to be the most advantageous.

My love for jet fins, and really fin work in general is 100% a result of my training through the SAR pipeline. The Navy showed me how useful of a tool they can be and how to use them to dominate the aquatic environment with minimal exertion of effort. Pulling another human being’s dead weight in swells and wind mean that your legs must generate tremendous power to propel you and the survivor forward, or to approach sub surface undetected in a combat scenario.  Jet fins not only provide excellent forward propulsion but also maintain the requisite flexibility to enable maneuvering in close quarter situations and allow for treading water effectively. Give me a pair of Jets and booties, I prefer the Excel 3mm Titanium boot myself, and I honestly think if I can see it I can get to it be it on the surface or subsurface.

I have grown uncomfortably attached to my Jet Fins from my school days... They are not available to loan!
This is just a funny picture of me with my jet fins after a surf swim workout in Monterey Bay.

Why should you go to Amazon and buy a pair for yourself and start training with them immediately? Well, it’s a proven fact that working with Jet Fins will make you better looking, more sexually desirable, smarter, and able to perform superhuman acts in the water. But if that isn’t enough there is also some science behind them too. Jet Fins place a heavy strain on your hip flexors, abdominals, glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, calves, and soul. In other words, they will give you a lower body that can barely be contained by yoga pants or Chubbies. After the initial breaking in phase (of you, not the fin) the aquatic athlete can expect to see massive gains in both finned and unfinned swimming evolutions. Since these fins punish poor form the wearer is forced to develop the most hydrodynamic body position which results in increased core stability and efficiency of movement.

Disclaimer: Beginning to work with any type of fin should involve a transitional period with a steady and conservative progression. Pulled hamstrings, stress fractures in the foot and shin, and herniation are all potential injuries that can occur in athletes that over do it too early. If you do decide to get a pair makes sure you allow your body time to adjust to the new stressor and if possible follow a progression model.

The APA Fin Progression is available here



1 thought on “An Ode To Jet Fins

  1. 1) Regarding my stance on spring heels straps, it’s because I’ve broken too many rubber straps. I don’t trust them anymore. Also they don’t snag inside of caves/wrecks.
    2) Jet Fins really do make you more sexually desirable.
    3) My first Jet fins are circa 1978 (well before I was born) and still kicking.
    4) The only fins I trust when I’m 180′ underwater, breathing helium, inside a shipwreck, kicking backwards.

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