Fin tethers are a small but rather essential piece of bodyboarding equipment. The purpose of a fin tether is to attach your swimfin to your ankle so that your fin does not fall off. Whether your swimfins are slightly oversized and loose-fitting or you are riding waves with a lot of power and current, the best way to prevent losing your swimfins is to invest in a set of tethers. Generally inexpensive, fin tethers come in several different styles while all serving the same purpose. Here is a quick breakdown on the various types of fin tethers:
BASIC FIN TETHERS
Basic fin tethers (as seen in the above photo) have padded velcro straps, similar to the straps found on bodyboard leashes, with nylon strings that loop around the heels of your swimfins. After attaching the tethers to your fins, the velcro strap is wrapped and attached around your ankle. For a quick reference, watch this video tutorial by Jay Reale from Ebodyboarding.com as he demonstrates how to attach fin tethers...
Fin strings are pretty self-explanatory...nylon strings, similar to parachute chord, that loop around the heel of your swimfins. There are a few different variations on the fin string tether design with the main difference being in how the tether attaches. Some sets are sold with sliding cinches (as pictured above), clamp buckles, or just strings meant to be tied like shoelaces.
DELUXE FIN TETHERS
Deluxe fin tether sets are comprised of a combination of fin tethers and ankle pads (usually sold seperately). The tethers and ankle pads are attached together, with the pad being velcroed around the heel of your swimfin, and the tether strap being adjusted to fit your ankle. Some models feature a simple velcro strap while others have a padded nylon strap that slides through a plastic buckle (pictured above).
*IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY...SHOESTRINGS!
Once upon a time, bodyboarders did not have the luxury of cruising into the nearest bodyboard shop to pick up a set of tethers. If they didn't want to have their swimfins sucked off of their feet and swept away by the currents, shoestrings were the call. Despite not being as sturdy or reliable as the materials used in today's fin tethers, shoestrings definitely served their purpose, and still do to this day, as improvised swimfin tethers. If you're ever travelling, and don't have ready access to a shop that sells bodyboarding equipment, using shoestrings can make the diffence between being out in the water to score a killer session and sitting on the beach watching after getting your fin(s) ripped off your feet!
With a variety of different types of fin tethers, from just about every bodyboarding company (and even a few surf companies) out there on the market, you might be wondering which one to use. My best advice to you is try a few different sets out and see which ones you feel most comfortable using. With that said, go get yourself a good set of fin tethers, put them on your swimfins, and enjoy your next session without having to worry about losing a fin. Enjoy...YEEEWWW!!!