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Fins are an essential piece of diving kit, with every diver having a personal preference to the style which suits them best. Some divers opt for the traditional 'jet fin' style, which are large and fairly rigid, where as some divers like the more modern style 'split fins' which offer less water restriction whilst improving the power ratio.

A jellyfish is faster and more graceful than you are without fins underwater. Fins transform you from a slow moving, limbs flailing, underwater creature into a true denizen of the deep. They enable you to dart about with speed, mobility and efficiency.

How do you choose the right scuba diving fin for you?

When you walk into your local dive shop, or look online, the sheer variety of diving fins can seem overwhelming.

Flex fins, split fins, force fins, closed heel, open heel, the list goes on and on.

When it comes down to it there are really only 2 basic types of scuba diving fins. All fins are just variations on either one of these themes.

Types of Scuba Fins

Paddle Fins

The most common type of fin used in diving. Paddle fins can be cheap or expensive depending on the style, make and model. Different features, like flex points, can add significantly to the price.

A paddle scuba fin offers good mobility and agility. Overall it's a great choice for any diver.

A downside to the paddle style fin it that it has the most resistance and requires big strong leg kicks, which can tire a diver out and result in more air consumption.

Features like flex or pivot points can alter how much effort it takes, and when it comes to buying these more expensive fins I would suggest trying before buying if possible. At lest do as much homework as possible before laying out the cash.

Split Fins

The split fin has a blade which is split in half down the middle. When a scuba diver kicks, the split blade acts like a propeller to push the diver forward.

Split fins require less effort to kick and are good for divers whose leg strength might not be very strong, or who prefer short flutter style kicking.

Some divers feel that split fins aren't as effective when diving in strong currents.

Other Features of Scuba Fins

It's the features that manufacturers add to their specific fin design that makes the price start to rise.

Go on any scuba forum, or anywhere divers are talking, and you'll hear debate for or against any particular design feature.

It's always a matter of individual comfort and preference combined with each divers particular style whether a certain type of fin 'works' for them or not.

Things to consider before buying scuba fins


Are they comfortable? Comfort is paramount. Wear dive boots when trying on any fin you are considering to see how it feels.


We recently read that, a giant online shoe retailer, has a 30% return rate for improper fit, so the size question is not limited to swim fins. The question may be even more difficult with fins because a 'shoe' size is only part of the answer. The brand and type of neoprene boots you wear, particularly heavy soled or rock boots, will have as much effect on the selection of fin foot pocket as the shoe size. Some people, especially those with high arches, prefer a loose fit in their fin and others prefer a snug fit. Our recommendation is to make your 'best guess' following our size guides and rely upon The Scuba Doctor no hassles return policy.


Any fin will get you through the water. High performance racing tires and cheap discount store tires both let a car roll.

Buy what you can afford, and upgrade when you can.

Open or Closed Heel

A closed heel fin is usually used for snorkeling, however if you are doing very easy dives with minimal equipment in warm water, you can definitely use them.

Otherwise an open heel used with a bootie is better for most scuba diving.

Traveler or Drifter

Do you travel a lot when you dive, moving from spot to spot, always swimming? If so a dive fin designed to help you cover a lot of distance easily would be best.

Leg Strength

If you have stronger legs you should be able to use a stiffer more robust fin, If that's what you want.

The 2 biggest considerations in our opinion are comfort and price.

There's a lot of debate over fins. This is more agile than that, this is harder to kick than that, this makes me move faster than that, blah blah blah.

Yes the different features do affect performance. But if a fin isn't comfortable your dive will suck. If it's too expensive, you'll be too broke to buy air to dive with.

Think about what type of diving you mostly do and make a checklist of what you are looking for in scuba fins.

Try out a few different styles. If you rent gear, ask the dive shop if they have different style fins available, or ask other divers if you can try theirs.

For more information about Fin features please read our advice on choosing the right Fins for you in our Trusted Advice section.

Then buy the best pair you can afford from The Scuba Doctor.

Horseshoe Reef

Reef Dive Reef Dive | Boat access Boat access

Abalone Dive Site Crayfish Dive Site Ideal For Snorkelling Open Water Rated Reef Dive Site Spearfishing Site

Horseshoe Reef, Cape Bridgewater
Horseshoe Reef, Cape Bridgewater
© Western Abalone Divers Association

Depth: 2 m (6.56 ft) to 8 m (26 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

Horseshoe Reef is a shallow boat dive site on the eastern side of Cape Bridgewater, about one kilometre south of the Cape Bridgewater township, and about 21 kilometres south-west of Portland on Victoria's Discovery Coast. It's offshore from a private boatshed and jetty with the SS Barwon shipwreck lying nearby.

Diving and Snorkelling at Horseshoe Reef, Cape Bridgewater

This boat dive site faces east on the western side of Bridgewater Bay, near Fisherman Cove. It's on a shallow reef with lots of marine life. Good for snorkelling.

Fisherman Cove is, as the name suggests, an area of quieter water in the energetic Bridgewater Bay. The cove faces east and is well protected by Cape Bridgewater, with waves averaging less than 1 metre.

Location: Cape Bridgewater, Victoria 3305

Ideal Conditions: The dive site is still very weather dependant. Best dived in good conditions with a low swell with light offshore westerly winds. See WillyWeather (Cape Bridgewater) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Access is by boat from the Cape Bridgewater Boat Ramp, or further away from the Portland Harbour, Lee Breakwater Road North Ramp or the Portland Harbour, Lee Breakwater Road South Ramp.

Abalone Dive Site
Abalone Dive Site
© Mark Norman, Museum Victoria

Divers have the opportunity to catch Abalone at this dive site. Remember your catch bag, legal abalone tool, current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence, and abalone measure. Please abide by all current fishing regulations if you intend to catch abalone.

See article-catching-abalone for practical abalone hunting advice from The Scuba Doctor, plus melbourne-abalone-dives for a list of other Abalone dive sites near Melbourne.

Crayfish Dive Site
Crayfish Dive Site | © Ian Scholey

Divers have the opportunity to catch Southern Rock Lobster (aka Crayfish) at this dive site. Remember your catch bag, current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence, rock lobster measure, and cray tags. Once you get back to the dive boat, or shore, make sure you clip the tail and tag your Crayfish as per Fisheries requirements. Please abide by all current fishing regulations if you intend to catch crays. See article-catching-crayfish for practical cray hunting advice from The Scuba Doctor, plus melbourne-cray-dives for a list of other crayfish dive sites near Melbourne. For tips on cooking your Crays, please see article-cooking-crayfish.

Gunditjmara country
Gunditjmara country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people of far south-western Victoria which continues over the state border into a small part of south-east South Australia and is bordered by the Glenelg River to the west and the Wannon River in the north. This truly ancient Country extends 100 metres out to sea from low tide and also includes Deen Maar (aka Lady Julia Percy Island) where the Gunditjmara believe the spirits of their dead travel to wait to be reborn. We wish to acknowledge the Gunditjmara as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging.


Horseshoe Reef Location Map

Latitude: 38° 22.712′ S   (38.37853° S / 38° 22′ 42.71″ S)
Longitude: 141° 24.718′ E   (141.411963° E / 141° 24′ 43.07″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2022-05-21 04:07:06 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-23 16:12:34 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: SS Barwon, 163 m, bearing 352°, N
Cape Bridgewater, Portland, Discovery Coast.
Depth: 2 to 8 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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