I got myself some short fins since as a fairly weak swimmer especially in my legs I wanted a bit more confidence and power when swimming in the sea.

However one basic problem I've encountered - how to get out through the breaking waves with them on my feet?! With moderate waves (not dangerous to play in) they are breaking in quite shallow water, and I am so clumsy in my fins that even in knee-depth water or so I get knocked over... but the water is too shallow to swim in. On a fairly flat beach I have to go out a long way to reach deeper water, I can't just dive into a wave and swim out.

I tried to put the fins on once I've swum out, but they have straps (since they don't float) so this is not really possible it seems.

  • I crouch when a big wave comes in to lower my center of gravity and maintain my stability when I walk into the water in my scuba gear. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Sep 12 '16 at 11:50
  • Knee deep water is plenty deep enough to swim in. – Olin Lathrop Sep 12 '16 at 12:18
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    @Aravona: That argument doesn't make sense since everything scales. Those whos knees are lower to the ground are also smaller and therefor need less deep water to swim in. Also, I'm not talking about swimming with arbitrary strokes, but swimming well enough so that it's easier to move along than trudging thru the water, especially with fins on. – Olin Lathrop Sep 12 '16 at 13:31
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    @OlinLathrop I still disagree that knee length is a decent enough depth to swim in the sea in, mid thigh maybe, hips certainly, waist of course. But knee length is like a foot and a half for me, in the sea this is certainly not deep enough especially with the tide etc. Maybe in a pond or such it's enough. – Aravona Sep 12 '16 at 15:09
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    Thing only scale if they fall between certain norms. everyone is an individual, insisting everyone meet a preconceived image is inappropriate. regaltribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/… – James Jenkins Sep 13 '16 at 9:43

Walk backwards.

The fins will have the least trouble with the water if you walk backwards.


  • Yep. Walk back or put fins on when you get deep enough that you can swim. – Desorder Sep 12 '16 at 23:01

Walk sideways like a crab. Every time a wave comes, stop and brace yourself.

First it is easier to walk sideways while wearing fins, second it reduces the surface area that the wave hits.

Just take it slow.

Edit: Seeing as you have problems with the straps when trying to put them on in water, the straps can usually be changed. Spring straps are much easier to use.

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  • These straps are so much easier than the pull tight ones! – Aravona Sep 14 '16 at 9:37

Walking backwards is the usual way for a short distance.

For a longer distance, I hold my fins in my hands and wade out. When it's deep enough you put them on. This is a bit of a skill. Wait for a wave to pass, then take a breath and put one fin on. Accept that your head will go underwater as you do this. Wait for the next wave and repeat. I hold my second fin by putting it over my wrist as I do the first.

Put both fins on before the ankle straps.

  • I had thought that would work better but the added complication of the ankle straps and not being able to see made it really hard. Especially since even moderate waves are easily able to roll you up the beach, not just get you wet! I had considered swimming all the way out past the breaking waves then doing it, but was worried I might drop one! – Mr. Boy Sep 13 '16 at 12:29

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