As a bodyboarder, you probably know how much impact a good pair of bodyboard fins can make.
Without high-quality bodyboarding fins, it’s nearly impossible to pass the break, let alone generate enough speed to catch the waves.
With varying lengths, shapes, cuts, and uses, finding a pair of fins for you can sometimes seem a little overwhelming.
To help you keep your head above water, here are our five favorite fins for bodyboarding, as well as what you should look for when buying new fins.
What Fins Are Best for Bodyboarding?
Fins that are designed with bodyboarding in mind are different from swimming and bodysurfing fins.
Bodyboarding fins tend to be shorter, wider, and stiffer in the blade while remaining soft and well-fitted in the heel area.
The short, stiff blades propel you with your legs above the water (as opposed to bodysurfing where your legs are underwater), all while limiting the amount of friction created when riding a wave or moving into a drop knee position.
In short, the best Bodyboard fins fit snugly without feeling too tight, have short, wide, stiff blades, and include drainage holes to let water, sand, and small rocks pass.
5 Best Fins for Bodyboard
There are hundreds of bodyboard fin companies and many more different fin designs to choose from, many of which use low-quality materials, perform poorly, or seem to have been designed with discomfort.
To keep you on track, here are 5 of the best bodyboarding fins on the market.
Best Bodyboarding Fins for Wide Feet
Not everyone has the same foot shape, and for those of us with wider feet, it can be difficult to find the right shoes and fins.
The following are designed for bodyboarders with wide feet or those who prefer more foot room.
Tribe T1 Bodyboard Fins
The Tribe T1 bodyboard fins have some of the widest foot pockets on the market, which makes them ideal for wider-footed surfers or those who enjoy using surf booties with their fins
The fins are made from natural rubber with a stiff blade for maximum thrust and population as well as a soft foot pocket that includes a dotted grip on the underside for walking over rocks and other slippery surfaces.
- A wider than normal foot pocket.
- Affordable price.
- A stiff blade makes paddling on the water’s surface simple.
- The foot pocket can seem stiff and may need fin socks.
- Will feel loose for those with smaller feet.
2 Best Bodyboard Fins for Drop Knee
Not all bodyboarding fins are made equal. There are those designed with comfort in mind, those made for maximum thrust, while others are ideal if you plan on busting a few drop knee moves.
Drop knee fins, although still needing to be stiff to propel you, also need slightly softer or shorter blades to assist you in getting your fin out of the water.
Kicks Pro, aka Lyman Kapakahi
If you are on the hunt for a good pair of bodyboarding fins perfect for drop knee, then the Kicks Pro is second to none.
These fins are constructed with lightweight, flexible rubber, which makes them some of the most comfortable bodyboarding fins available.
The flexible, short-rounded tips are ideal for sharp, snappy turns. However, the soft material does sacrifice some thrust.
- One of the most comfortable bodyboarding fins.
- Flexible and rounded tip blades make drop knee transitions a breeze.
- Fins float in water.
- Raised ridges along the blade’s edges boost strength and stability.
- Soft material sacrifices thrust and power.
- Not ideal for smaller waves or long paddles.
- Only a single drainage hole in the center of the foot pocket.
When it comes to reputable pro bodyboarding fins, Mike Stewart comes close to the top of the list, and the MS Vipers are no fin to look over.
These fins are incredibly comfortable and will not, in most cases, require fin socks.
The wide, shorter blade is perfect for acceleration and pulling your leg up into a drop knee position.
Designed with 100% natural rubber, the MS Vipers float high on the surface of the water, which makes them easy to spot, even in the messiest of wipeouts.
The fins maximize drag thanks to their delta tail design which increases control and maneuverability.
If you are looking for a top of line pro bodyboarding fins for drop kneeing, then you need to look no further than the MS Viper.
- Available with different blade flexibility.
- Large drainage holes at the toes.
- Ridged underside for added grip.
- Made from 100% natural rubber.
- Floats on the water’s surface.
- Short wide blades maximize acceleration.
- Delta fins increase drag and are therefore slower.
2 Best Bodyboard Fins for Beginners
Things always seem the most daunting when we are newest to them, and bodyboarding is no different.
As you are new to the sport, you likely don’t know what you want out of it, let alone what equipment best suits you.
Although all bodyboarding fins will work for you if you are a beginner, some will be easier than others, thanks to their added drive and comfort.
Churchill Makapuu Floating Fins
Churchill is one of the most iconic fin producers globally, and its blue and yellow fins can be recognized anywhere.
Churchill fins are well known to have soft, flexible foot pockets, which makes them comfortable for those of us with wider feet.
Not only does the rubber comfortably flex, but it is made from 100% floating gum rubber which makes these fins a more environmentally friendly choice while limiting your chance of losing them in a wipeout.
The Makapuu floating fins have a dolphin-cut design that helps cut through the water effortlessly.
These fins are perfect for those new to bodyboarding who want a well-rounded fin.
Churchill fins have long enjoyed the name of one of the world’s best-selling bodyboarding fins.
- Soft, flexible foot pocket, ideal for wider feet.
- Well fitted and suited for beginners.
- Long trusted brand in the industry.
- Fins float in water.
- Constructed from 100% natural gum rubber.
- Not as wide as the Tribe T1.
- Only a single large drainage hole on the underside.
- No grip on the bottom side of the fin.
Custom X Bodyboarding Fins
Custom X is a well-known bodyboarding brand, most famous for its bodyboard shaping. However, their fins are nothing to look over.
If you are new to the sport and are looking for a high-quality, well-rounded pair of fins that will last you years, then Custom X could be what you are after.
These fins are slightly longer than other bodyboarding fins, which aid with thrust and power. However, do slightly sacrifice acceleration and control.
Thanks to the longer blades and the ridges along their edges, your fin’s drag will help keep you riding down the line without much effort.
- Over 30 years of trusted fin designs.
- Large drainage holes at the toes.
- Longer fins create more thrust.
- Perfect all-around bodyboarding fin for beginners.
- Fins float on the water’s surface.
- Longer blades slow you down and cause more drag.
- Longer fins decrease acceleration.
Buying a new pair of bodyboarding fins (or your first pair) is an exciting journey, especially with all of the choices available to us.
Although our choices are endless, the last thing we want to do is buy a pair of fins that are not suited to the task we want them for (in this case, bodyboarding).
Not using the correct fins will be uncomfortable, leave you with blisters, and negate your progress in the water, thus leaving you feeling defeated and ready to give up.
This is not the reason that we bodyboard.
Before buying a fresh pair of bodyboarding fins, you should consider the following.
What Size Bodyboard Fins Should I Get?
It is important to use a pair of bodyboarding fins that fit correctly.
If your fins are too large, they will feel loose when you kick and potentially fall off when you wipe out.
Loose fins not only risk being lost but also lose a lot of power when kicking.
On the other hand, fins that are too small will feel tight around your feet, restrict blood flow, cause blisters, and eventually lead to your foot cramping.
Bodyboard fins generally come in the following sizes:
- Extra Extra Small
- Extra Small
- Medium Large
- Extra Large
- Extra Extra Large
You should note, however, that although bodyboarding fins closely represent your shoe size, they do not correspond exactly.
Furthermore, each bodyboard fin company works with its sizing chart, so it is important to check the specific companies’ size recommendations before settling on a size.
How Should Bodyboard Fins Fit?
It is one thing to buy the correct sized bodyboarding fins according to the manufacturer sizing chart; it is another thing to find bodyboarding fins that fit correctly.
Your bodyboarding fins should fit snugly onto your feet but should not squeeze your toes together or put pressure on any specific area of your foot.
The heel strap should be stretched over your heel but not so tight as to cut into the back of your foot or push your toes too far forward.
How to Check if Your Bodyboard Fins Fit Correctly
To ensure that your fins fit correctly, you can put them on and ask yourself the following questions about how they feel on your feet.
1. Is the Ankle Strap Comfortable on Your Heel?
If the ankle strap is snug and comfortable, you are off to a good start.
If the strap is too tight, it will cause your foot to cramp, and the strap will likely cut into your ankle.
If the strap is too loose, then the fin will come off when you are in the water.
2. Are Your Toes Comfortable?
If your toes have plenty of space inside your fins, then your fins are likely the correct size or, at the least, too large.
If the ankle strap is comfortably tight and you have space around your toes, the fins are likely perfect.
If you find that your toes are pushed against the end of the foot pocket, then they will begin to cramp over time, which means you will want to go for a larger fin size.
3. Do the Fins Feel Loose on Your Feet?
If your feet are comfortable in the fins, your toes don’t touch the end, and the ankle strap is secure, but your fins still feel loose, you will need to consider a smaller fin or a fin with a different cut.
Loose fins will rub against your feet and cause blisters, they will constantly feel like they are slipping off, and you will sacrifice a large amount of power.
What Bodyboard Fin Material Is Best?
Bodyboarding fins are made from either synthetic rubber, natural rubber, or a combination of the two.
The type of fin material you choose is up to you, but many bodyboarders lean towards natural rubber fins as they are more eco-friendly, are lighter, and tend to be softer.
Most natural rubbers also float, which makes recovering lost fins a possible task.
Performance and Control
Apart from the material used for the fins and the rigidness of the blades, your fin’s control and performance will be influenced by your bodyboarding fin’s length, as well as their shape.
Longer fins are perfect if you are surfing a break that requires a lot of paddling or when currents are strong.
Longer fins move more water with less effort, requiring less energy to propel yourself forward with greater power and speed.
Shorter fin blades are easy to pull out of the water and ideal for spins and deep bursts of power.
Because short fins provide a quick release, they are perfect for performing tricks, reducing friction, and moving into a drop knee position.
Asymmetrical fins are made with the blades cut at an angle, which means that there is a fin designed specifically for each foot.
The asymmetrical design has a stiffer blade and rail, which gives it more thrust without sacrificing acceleration.
Although this fin design is well balanced, they require more effort to generate the same power.
Symmetrical fins are, as the name suggests, the same cut for both feet.
With fins of the same cut on each foot, you will have added control in the water and find that you can easily propel yourself with little effort.
These fins make your kicks feel more stable, especially as your legs become tired as your surf session progresses.
Bodyboarding fins aren’t the most expensive piece of equipment on the market, but losing them can be heartbreaking when we don’t have the funds or means to replace them.
Although there is nothing you can do about your fins being misplaced or stolen, you can try to prevent losing them in the ocean.
Although using protective straps is always recommended, you should also try to avoid fins that don’t float.
Most modern-day bodyboarding fins are designed with lightweight rubber that floats on water but doesn’t just assume this is the case.
If your fins don’t float, you may find them being washed away and lost to the ocean before you manage to get them on your feet.
Do You Need Fins for Bodyboarding?
Technically you don’t need fins to go bodyboarding. However, without them, you will be extremely limited to the types of breaks you can surf, as well as the depth of water you can safely bodyboard in.
Without fins, you can spend your time in shallow water and shore breaks where the waves are steep and break sharply onto the sand.
With breaks like this or small waves, you will be able to jump into the shoulder, which eliminates the need for your fins.
That being said, having fins will allow you to paddle out to waves in the backline, as well as aid you in generating enough speed to catch the waves you are after.
As the majority of your body is in the water when you bodyboard, not using fins will quickly drain your energy as the water creates friction with your body.
Can You Use Swim Fins for Bodyboarding?
If you have no fins except swim fins, it is usually better to use them than to bodyboard with no fins.
That said, swimming fins are not ideal for bodyboarding as they are too long, and the blades are significantly softer.
Longfin blades push a lot of water but create a lot of drag.
Fins with this design are made for paddling underwater (such as with swimming and bodysurfing) and are difficult to lift or use to turn.
Short, firmer fin blades are easier to handle and produce more thrust and acceleration; however, require more effort to use.
Bodyboarding fins are essential to get the most out of your bodyboarding experience.
Without fins, you will not be able to generate the power needed to catch waves and will quickly exhaust yourself as you try to paddle past the break.
Your bodyboarding fins should fit snugly but not too tight, they should float, and most of all, they should be comfortable.