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A monofin is a type of swimfin typically used in underwater sports such as finswimming, free-diving and underwater orienteering, and in recreational freediving. It consists of a single surface attached to footpockets for both of the diver's feet. The diver's appearance is then reminiscent of a mermaid or merman.
History and production
Monofins were introduced in 1972 by a Ukrainian finswimming club and have been used for finswimming competitions since, allowing monofin swimmers to reach speeds of 12 km/h.
Monofins can be made of glass fiber or carbon fiber. The diver's muscle power, swimming style, and the type of aquatic activity the monofin is used for determines the choice of size, stiffness, and materials.
To differentiate between the use of monofins and conventional fins, the latter are sometimes referred to as stereo fins or bi-fins. The monofin swimmer extends arms forward, locking hands together, locking the head between the biceps. The undulating movement starts in the shoulders, with maximum amplitude towards the hips, the legs almost don't bend to transfer the movement to the monofin. This technique is called the dolphin kick.
Monofins can be used to swim:
- at the surface of water, in swimming pools or in the sea.
- under water whilst holding one's breath (i.e. free-diving)
- under water whilst breathing air from a diving cylinder.
By slowly oscillating the surface of the monofin when submerged, divers can generate large amounts of thrust even with small or slow movements. This preserves energy which helps when breathholding (apnea).
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