How To Do A Reverse (Back) Kick and Avoid Crashing into Corals

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Macan

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Imagine driving a car that can only go forward and unable to reverse without bumping into something. A lot of divers, even experienced ones, are like that. Often times, they can’t avoid unwanted contact with a coral, a wreck, an underwater object, or another diver. To create distance, they have to make contact and push-off with their hands or a pointer stick. This can lead to coral damage, silting and unsafe situations.

The Reverse (Back) Kick is one of the most challenging but rewarding skills to learn and master. Only a few divers can do it well. It takes a lot of practice and good mentoring to get it right but when you finally get it, you are rewarded with the added mobility to enjoy your dives, stay safer and preserve our aquatic environment.

This is a video of my AOW student practicing the Reverse Kick. I’ve turned it into a training video to help others learn this valuable skill.

 

TMHeimer

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Good idea, but if you're that close to coral that you have to touch/push it with hands or stick, aren't you probably too close to back kick away from it? Perhaps current pushes you too close, but again, back kicking into current?
I'm not one to talk though. I've tried back kicking with my split fins and can't do it well. I know it can be done with splits, just never felt the need (then again, no coral here, only rocks).
 

Neilwood

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It is a useful skill but unfortunately some fins make it near impossible. I can manage a reasonable helicopter turn and slow reverse in my heavy fins but the Mares Xstreams are virtually impossible to do anything other than go forward with due to the flex in the middle.
 

stuartv

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I think some fins make a back kick easier than others. But, I have verified that I can back kick with bare feet. This makes me think that I ought to be able to back kick with pretty much any fin.
 

lowflyer

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I think some fins make a back kick easier than others. But, I have verified that I can back kick with bare feet. This makes me think that I ought to be able to back kick with pretty much any fin.


I can back fin in bare feet also, but with split fins it seems as though each half of each fin has a mind of its own:)
I suppose if I tried hard enough it might work, but I don't use them anyway.
 

Macan

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In the video on the first post of this thread, my student was using a Taiwan made rental Fin to do the Back Kick. In my YT channel, I have video of students using recreational floppy fins and they're able to do the Back Kick without issues. See video below at 0:19.

I think it's more about practice and targeted coaching than the Fin.

 

stuartv

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Perhaps, but a stiffer fin like the Deep 6 Eddy certainly makes it easier.

I'm also inclined to think that a fin like the Eddy makes it easier to learn and then, once you've got the hang of it it's easier to do even in less conducive fins.
 

Rhone Man

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Long before I ever took a tec class I developed a home-brew style of back kick. I extend my legs directly behind me, and spread my fins sideways like a T. Then I rotate my ankles to "scoop" water forward creating gentle backward pressure. You stay streamlined so it is easier to generate backwards momentum.

I am still personally convinced that my personal method is superior, although I'll never convince anyone else.
 
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