Many scuba divers have the tendency to confuse jet fins with rocket fins. However, the two products aren’t interchangeable- and understanding the difference between each type of fin is essential to ensuring that you’re choosing the correct fin for you and your needs. In turn, choosing the correct fin for your activity and needs will help you avoid the risk of danger, and ensure that your diving experience is as comfortable as possible.
While jet fins and rocket fins share many similarities, the differences lie primarily in design. Both types of fin will be made using similar materials and serve a similar purpose, but ultimately, the structure of the fin is what distinguishes one from the other.
Below, we look in detail at jet fins and rocket fins, and outline the clear differences between the two. We also highlight which fin is best suited to which activity, in the interest of streamlining the decision process for you.
Jet Fin Vs Rocket Fin: What’s The Difference?
Rocket fins are widely regarded as being longer and less flexible than jet fins. They are best suited to those with larger feet, particularly because they provide a more ‘modernized’ boot, that allows users to fit the shoe more accurately to their foot size. They are very solid, and feature smaller vents when compared to rocket fins.
In contrast, jet fins feature a more antiquated boot. This can be difficult to match to current foot sizings, and can lead to confusion when purchasing. Nonetheless, those who use jet fins report more power compared to rocket fins. Jets are highly flexible, and are therefore also more durable than rocket fins. Jet fins also feature larger vents, and require virtually no care, largely because of their high durability.
Both types of fin are now considered ‘vintage’, and were first released in the mid 20th century. However, this shouldn’t dissuade you from trying either, as the products have remained relevant for so many years in part thanks to their impeccable quality.
Which is the best fin for small feet?
Good sizing is critical to effective diving, because having a fin that is too small or too loose for your foot can interfere with the movement of your legs- and subsequently interfere with your dive.
For those with small feet- jet fins are, without a doubt, the best option available to you. While the sizing system used in jet fins is more complex, and therefore more confusing than the one used in rocket fins, the overall design is best suited to those with average to small feet. This is particularly relevant for petite women, who struggle to find a scuba fin that isn’t too loose or too wide for their foot shape.
Rocket fins, on the other hand, are recommended for those with large to oversized feet. The military often recommends and supplies rocket fins to soldiers who struggle to find comfortable sizings, and this logic can be applied to ‘civilian’ divers as well.
Which is the best fin for snorkeling?
For snorkeling, many experienced divers would recommend that beginners and intermediate divers use rocket fins, which are typically viewed as the older model of the two.
While they are a little less flexible than jet fins, and can prove tiresome for beginners, the rocket fin is the ‘classic’ fin that can be worn with booties. The fact that users can wear their fins with booties means that they can ensure their feet stay warm and protected throughout their snorkel. This can, in turn, increase the length and quality of your snorkeling excursion.
However, as you progress to a more experienced level, you should use your intuition to choose the type of fin to snorkel with. At a more advanced stage, you will know based on instinct which fin is best suited to which activity, and which fin is best suited to your lifestyle overall.
Which is the best fin for bodyboarding?
Bodyboarding is reliant on your body, which means that any gear used when participating in this activity should seek to increase your energy and make you more powerful. Jet fins are an excellent choice for bodyboarders, because they provide significantly more thrust and power than rocket fins.
Because bodyboarding is reliant primarily on your legs, the fins you choose will make a considerable difference to your bodyboarding experience. Jet fins, overall, will provide more energy; more flexibility and more durability than rocket fins. All three qualities are essential to enhancing your bodyboarding.
Which fin is best for freediving?
Freediving is heavily reliant on the flexibility of your fins. Therefore, jet fins are traditionally the preferred option amongst divers, because they offer a higher degree of flexibility to users. They are also more durable, and are therefore able to withstand the impact of hitting the surface of the water more effectively.
However, rocket fins can also prove effective when freediving, particularly when you consider the they are often the longer and wider fin. The only way for you to ascertain, with finality, which option is better is to try both. Although, on paper and according to most experienced divers, jet fins should fare better in this activity.
In Conclusion: Jet fins vs Rocket fins
While there is no clear, decisive winner in the battle between jet fins and rocket fins- most would agree that jet fins provide more variety and versatility than rocket fins, particularly when you consider how it fare in each activity. They are flexible; durable and suited to a wider range of foot sizes. They are also reportedly more comfortable, and less strenuous, to dive with than rocket fins.
However, you shouldn’t resign yourself to one pair without experimenting with both. As you progress in your experience as a bodyboarder; diver or snorkeler- you should aim to test out both rocket fins and jet fins. Experienced divers have a greater understanding of their needs, and often find that they require a fin that is completely removed from the general consensus, and unique to their own requirements.