You would think that donning fins would be among the simplest of scuba skills. Yet, a surprising number of divers have difficulty with it. This skill may not have been adequately covered in their beginning scuba course, or they may have simply forgotten. In either case, donning fins correctly isn’t difficult.
The keys to correctly donning fins can be summarized in three steps:
Reconnect the strap (if applicable)
Use the Figure 4
Hold the fin the right way
Let’s take a look at each.
1. Reconnect the strap
Quick-release buckles provide an easy way to remove fins following dives. However, if you have ever tried to reconnect these buckles after donning your fins, you’ve most likely discovered it’s difficult, if not impossible. This is why it’s important to reconnect these buckles before attempting to don your fins. You will also want to loosen your heel straps all the way and pivot each strap down, below the level of the foot pocket, so that they are out of the way when donning.
If you are diving fins with spring or elastic-cord heel straps, this is something you do not have to worry about.
2. Use the Figure 4
Whether sitting or standing, it is best to don fins while using the Figure 4 position. To do this, simply place the ankle of one leg on top of the opposing knee. This will allow you to reach and guide fins on more easily.
3. Hold the fin the right way
Many divers try to don fins while holding them by the heel strap. Doing this inevitably makes donning fins harder, not easier. The better way is to hold the fin by the side of the foot pocket and steer it on to your foot. You will find this vastly easier.
If you have adjustable heel straps, you will want to tighten them after the fin is in place. Remember to do so evenly, either pulling on the tips of the straps with two hands, or on each strap a little bit at a time if you only have one hand free.
What to remember
So the next time you have to don your fins, keep these three things in mind:
If you have adjustable heel straps, reconnect the buckles and loosen the straps all the way.
Whether sitting or standing, use the Figure 4 position to make reaching your fins and feet easier.
Hold each fin by the side of the foot pocket when guiding it on to your foot. If you have adjustable heel straps, tighten them easily.
Hopefully, you remember all of this from your Open Water Diver course. However, if it has been a while and you find yourself not remembering simple things like this, it may be time for refresher training. Your local SDI Dive Center will be happy to help you.
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