Duckfeet are the classic ocean lifeguard fin, they all have a pair somewhere. Big, heavy, crazy stiff, and capable of providing major thrust when you need it. I’ve had my Duckfeet for quite a while and really like them. They’re not perfect for most things I do but they’re pretty ok at just about everything. I’ve bodyboarded and body surfed with them, and they’ve been used to pace swim in the Catalina Channel for Chris D, Cliff C. and Evan M. My duckfeet are a permanent fixture in the back of my truck ready to go anytime I need them.

Duckfeet start out pretty tight and rough on the feet. As a matter of fact your feet won’t like these at all when you first take them out. Stick with it though. After a while they’ll stretch out a bit and become a lot more comfortable. I ended up buying some neoprene fin pads for the heel strap just to make sure it stayed that way.

If you need an all around ocean swim fin this is a solid choice. If you’re looking for a pool fin, this ain’t it. If you’re serious about using fins for surfing these are ok but you’re better off buying something more surf specific like Churchills, Lagunas, or Vipers.

Duck Feet are pretty easily available at sporting good shops, I got mine at Big5, or you can buy them online here.

5 Responses to “Review Week: Duck Feet Swim Fins”

  1. Katie says:

    Don’t those chafe when you’re wearing them to pace other swimmers? I meant to ask you about that when I read your report about Evan’s Catalina crossing–my feet hurt just thinking about it.

  2. Rob D says:

    I haven’t had much problem with that… on Cliff’s swim I did duct tape my feet a bit though to cover up some existing rubbed spots I had from boogie boarding, and on Chris’ swim when the fins were still really new to me I wore neoprene booties to protect my feet.

  3. Evan says:

    What is it, specifically, that makes a fin a “surf-specific” fin vs. a “swim fin” vs. an all purpose ocean fin? i.e., why are Duck Feet bad in the pool, and why would a pool fin be bad for surfing?

  4. Rob D says:

    well the easiest question to answer is why Duck Feet are bad pool fins… they’re heavy, uncomfortable, and awkwardly large for flip turns. They’re good ocean fins because they’re stiff as hell, allow for short bursts of quick speed, and they float. They’re not built to perfect your kick technique or build certain muscles, they’re a brute force instrument. When I swim a longer distance with them on I don’t kick very much but I get a lot out of it when I do. One other thing you can do with Duck Feet that you can’t do with Zoomers… get a truck unstuck in the sand by jamming them under the tires, I learned that from a lifeguard buddy :)

    The harder question is what’s the difference between surf and ocean fins… in my mind they’re almost the same thing with surf fins being slightly more evolved. Come to think of it, it’d be better broken down as Lifeguard fins vs. Surfing Fins

    What almost all ocean/surf fins share is a heel strap, stiff blade, and the need to float (or at least they should). These fins are used for short bursts of speed and power which is good for both trying to catch a wave or swimming out to a victim off the beach.

    A surf fin has all those same characteristics but is shaped for different usage. If you look at some like DaFin or Vipers you can really see the rails and ridges that are built into them to help control your movement in a wave, others are cut short or tapered like Churchills so that you can get a foot up out of the water and onto the board to surf it that way. Lifeguard fins should be the same shape on each side so that they can be put on without looking in the surfline.

    The more I get into bodyboarding and body surfing the more fins I find with very specific intentions based on shape and size… and I think I’m en route to trying them all in the name of science… I should get some kind of research grant for this work :)

  5. Evan says:

    Excellent! Very helpful reply. As I may have mentioned, I’m an aspiring body surfer.