Quick catch up on finning techniques
There are several finning techniques used for propulsion, some of which are more suited to particular configurations.
There are also techniques for positional maneuvering, such as rotation on the spot which is handy while conducting a physical task underwater or a photo opportunity for fast moving wildlife, which may not involve significant locational change. For instance, when you have overshot a reef in moderate current you are probably going to have to do a flutter kick to get you back to your target destination but this would be very difficult for most if you are employing a frog kick. If you were to employ a flutter kick for a decompression stage of a tec dive, you would be going round in circles and using precious gas.
Use of the most appropriate finning style for the circumstances can increase propulsive efficiency, reduce fatigue, improve precision of maneuvering and control of the diver’s position in the water, and thereby increase the task effectiveness of the diver and reduce the impact on the environment. Diving equipment which is bulky usually increases drag, and reduction of drag can significantly reduce the effort of finning. This can be done to some extent by streamlining diving equipment, and by swimming along the axis of least drag, which requires correct diver trim. Efficient production of thrust also reduces the effort required, but there are also situations where efficiency must be traded off against practical necessity related to the environment or task in hand, such as the ability to maneuver effectively and resistance to damage of the equipment.
Good buoyancy control and trim combined with appropriate finning techniques and situational awareness can minimise the environmental impact of recreational diving.
Of course we all learn about buoyancy, trim and fin techniques through our dive courses and experience but once a relatively inexperienced diver has nailed a kick, it is incredibly habit forming and some divers would be very reluctant to change fin kick habits once formed. The key is to try different fin kicks from the very beginning whether it’s to take a photo in a static position, to get on the correct side of viewing a turtle or to reduce sediment clouds as you swim over them.
Always trying new techniques to improve the quality of your dive time and underwater environment is definitely worth the effort.