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Swim fins on the beach

Swim fins can be your greatest ally in catching more waves. They can also give you some nasty wounds. Here are a few tips to end the pain. Photo: Unsplash


The Inertia

Editor’s Note: This feature is presented by Beachgoer.


Fins are crucial to any bodyboarder, whether you’re a novice or advanced rider. As the owner of an online bodyboard shop, I’m often asked, “How can I make my swim fins more comfortable?”

Today we’re going to dive into the basics of swim fins. We’ll teach you exactly how you can make those rubber fins more comfortable to ride, and most importantly, help prevent cuts from occurring.

Why do I need fins?

Chances are if you want to catch more waves, you’ve gotta have a pair of fins. And not just any pair will do.

You’ll want to pick a pair of fins that are suited for your foot type, size, and ride style.

If you’re looking for a solid, all-around fin, Churchill Makapuus may be a good start. For those looking for more power, something like the Ally ERS4 Fins may be for you.

Be sure to take a look at several types of fins and get a feel for what you’re looking for. And of course, ask someone like me if you need some help in your search!

Keeping your fins comfortable.

Now that you’ve chosen the right pair of fins, it’s time to make them comfortable.

Remember, you’re going to wear these fins for several hours at a time in your sessions. If it rubs on your foot the whole time, it’s really gonna become a pain. Kinda like having the wrong pair of running shoes.

Here are a few tips to prevent this discomfort from happening.

Wear fin socks.

Wearing neoprene fin socks can help ease the burden of wearing fins for awhile. Fin socks are basically wetsuit booties that are a bit less thick. They’ll give you some padding and comfort so your fin isn’t riding directly on your foot.

Alternatively, you can use wetsuit booties if you’re wearing a wetsuit, but be sure that your fins are large enough to accommodate the thicker neoprene.

Pad the interior.

Another method to make your fins more comfortable (albeit a bit more DIY) is to pad the interior of your fins with neoprene.

You can grab the fabric at a lot of places online, like here. Attach neoprene anywhere in the fin that’s causing you irritation – perhaps only on the ends, or at certain points in the interior of the fin.

Make sure it’s enough to keep your feet snug, but not too tight.

Test out your padding through several rides, and keep iterating until you’ve got just the right fit.

Avoid swimming with fins too much.

Adapt your ride style a bit to paddle with your arms more than your feet. This will help reduce the amount of times you’re using your fins, and thus the irritation of using them.

If all else fails, try a different solution.

If all of the above solutions still didn’t make your ride comfortable, it’s time to try a new pair of fins. Luckily, there’s a ton of different pairs out there for different foot types.

Experiment, try a few on and go from there!

Allow time to heal.

If all of the above didn’t work, and you’re still having issues, it’s time to heal.

belly jelly bodyboarding rash protectant

Use a bit of petroleum jelly, or perhaps a more specialized solution like Belly Jelly on any areas that are affected. Make sure to bandage them up tight and leave the area dry for a couple days.

It should heal back to normal.

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