Hey now!

I’m just getting into snorkeling and scuba diving and want to get a really good mask/snorkel/fins to begin with. Unfortunately, I do not live anywhere close to a dive shop and have to order these items online. The store has said not to worry about sizes, as I can send back and exchange sizes at no charge to myself (which is really rare and nice of them). But I am not sure which brand or model to go with, especially for fins.

What would you consider to be the very best set of fins, if money was not an issue? Atomic? Mares? Should I get split fins?

Do dry snorkels really work? Do they close when submerged? If you have a good dry snorkel what brand did you get?

Thanks a bunch. Any extra advice or abuse you want to include for a rookie scuba diver/snorkeler would be appreciated. I will be taking a PADI or NAUI course in the winter on vacation, but wanted to practice snorkeling all summer and fall.
I’m not really getting much in the way of advice from the dive shop. They just want to know what I’d like to order. Some people prefer open heeled, some split fin, some like longer ones, etc. I’m sort of trying to get a grasp of which fins experienced divers seem to gravitate towards as they begin to dive more. If you can’t suggest a brand/model you like, can you at least tell me what you didn’t like about a particular pair then?
I will be swimming in tropical and cold water, and will pick up some neophrene boots, so I can narrow it down to open heeled fins. The fin selection is actually the choice I am most unsure about. The dive shop is going to let me buy 3 or 4 masks and let me keep the one I like and use the refund towards my fins, snorkel, PADI training, etc…

I dive the Apollo BioFin Pro. I love them. My husband dives Mares Volos and does alright with them. It sort of depends on your diving style. I like the split fins because they give power/propulsion on both the up-kick and down-kick. That means I don’t have to work as hard, and can easily keep up with any other diver in the group. If you are already a strong swimmer, like my husband, you’d probably do fine with a traditional fin.

Fins also have different buoyancy ratings. I wanted a fin that is negatively buoyant, because I have a tendency to be naturally buoyant and don’t need any extra help there. My husband likes the idea of a fin that would float in case he ever drops it. So, you might want to consider that too.

Scuba magazine does a bunch of product reviews, you could check those out for a professional opinion. www.scubadiving.com