Churchill Makapuu Swimfins Info and Care Guide
Churchill has been making swimfins for nearly a century. Starting back in 1936, they've made a name for themselves as the gold standard of fins in bodyboarding. Nowadays, Churchill Fins are made by Wham-O, who covers some of the most popular brands in bodyboarding, including Morey and BZ.
In this guide, we're going to dive into the features of Churchill Swimfins, the different models available, and some FAQs and how-tos regarding swimfin care.
So let's get right to it!
THE HISTORY OF CHURCHILL SWIMFINS
Before going into features, it's important to note the long history of Churchill Swimfins. As noted earlier, they were started back in 1936, when founder Owen Churchill observed other versions of the fin by Louis de Corlieu in 1935.
Churchill noted that the Tahitians were using a similar thrust concept, which he then started developing into a fin style.
Churchill fins then went on to be used by the US Navy for underwater missions.
But Churchill's popularity really exploded when bodyboarding really picked up in the 1970s. The classic blue and yellow design and shape of the Makapuu hasn't changed much over the years, but it has remained a favorite in bodyboarding due to consistent feature upgrades and its ability to perform in a wide variety of surf conditions.
CHURCHILL SWIMFIN FEATURES AND MODELS
Churchill is well known for three main models of fins: The Makapuu (which features the classic blue and yellow design), the Makapuu Pro (a black and yellow design), and the Makapuu Pro Black (a solid black color variant of the Makapuu Pro).
Both the Makapuu and Makapuu Pro share several things in common.
Both fins are made of 100% floating natural gum rubber. This material is sustainable, and the flotation is extremely helpful.
You don't realize how helpful it is until you feel a fin fall off your foot mid-session! The bright colors will help ensure your fins won't get lost.
Both the Makapuu and Makapuu Pro offer a drainage hole at the bottom of each fin.
This ensures that any excess rocks, sand, or water will drain out while you're wearing them, ensuring a comfortable session.
FIN BLADE DESIGN
Both the Makapuu and Makapuu Pro feature the classic "Dolphin Tail" design for maximum thrust and performance.
Recently, they've upped the durability of the fin blade, which helps add that extra boost you need for more thrust.
The Makapuu and Makapuu Pro feature a similar design in terms of the blend line as well.
The blend line is the line that separates the gum foot pocket from the fin blade.
Both fins feature a higher blend line - this is designed to once again, boost performance by having a bigger fin blade rather than a more gummy material for the bulk of the fin.
Side rails on both Makapuu models are also enhanced and have a bit more thickness than the inside of the fin, for extra protection and more performance with each kick.
The Makapuu and Makapuu Pro both feature a comfortable foot pocket. The width of the foot pocket is good for most foot types, including those with wider feet.
If you have narrower feet, you may want to look into a different brand of fin, however, as Churchills are well known to be best for average or wider foot types.
Widely known as the original Churchill Fin, the Makapuu is Churchill's most popular fin model. This fin comes in the classic blue and yellow coloration. The Makapuu is Churchill's cheapest fin model, coming in at around $40-$50.
The Makapuu features a natural gum rubber foot pocket, which is comfortable for most riders. It's an excellent fin choice for beginners or younger riders.
The Makapuu Pro is an upgraded version of the Makapuu. Design-wise, it's very similar, with the main difference being its black and yellow color scheme. The main feature difference between the Makapuu is that of the foot pocket.
In the Makapuu Pro, the foot pocket, while still made with the same natural gum rubber as the Makapuu, is lined with neoprene as well.
In addition, you get extra neoprene padding around the ankle strap, and fin tethers and ankle straps are included. The Makapuu Pro fins are priced around $15 higher than the Makapuus, coming in at around $60-$65.
The Makapuu Pro is an excellent upgrade for more advanced riders, or riders that enjoy longer sessions. The difference between the neoprene lined pocket and the gum rubber is quite noticeable.
Additionally, the addition of fin tethers is quite helpful. You can, however, purchase Churchill Fin Tethers for the standard Makapuu fins if you don't feel the neoprene is worth the upgrade.
If you're a newer rider on a budget, the Classic Makapuus remain an excellent choice. They're one of the most popular fins in bodyboarding to date.
If, however, you have $15 extra to spend, you prefer longer sessions, or you're a more advanced rider, the Makapuu Pros are definitely worth taking a look at. Once you factor in the price of fin tethers, the Makapuu Pros are worth the upgrade, due to the upgraded neoprene foot pocket.
That said, if you prefer gum rubber to neoprene, you can always pick up a pair of Makapuus and Churchill Fin Tethers along with them.
CHURCHILL FINS SIZE CHART
Both the Makapuu and Makapuu Pro share the same size ranges.
Small: Men's US 5-6.5, EU 38-39.
Medium: Men's US 7-8.5, EU 40-42.
Medium-Large: Men's US 9-10.5, EU 43-44.
Large: Men's US 11-12.5, EU 45-46.
Extra-Large: Men's US 13-14.5, EU 47-49.
Small: Women's US 6.5-8
Medium: Women's US 8.5-10
Medium-Large: Women's US 11-12
Large: Women's US 11-12.5
Extra-Large: Women's US 15-16
CHURCHILL FINS ACCESSORIES
There's a few accessories available to pair with your fins.
CHURCHILL FIN TETHERS
If you're getting a pair of standard Makapuu fins, the Churchill Fin Tethers are an excellent addition. This pair of tethers will keep your fins tied to your ankles, keeping them from getting lost in the surf.
While the Makapuus float, we always recommend grabbing fin tethers. You won't realize how much you need them until it's too late.
Luckily, the Makapuu Pro fins include fin tethers as part of the package.
For the standard Makapuu fins, Churchill Fin Tethers are available for around $15.
CHURCHILL FINS KEYCHAIN
If you want everyone around you to know you just picked up an awesome pair of fins, the Churchill Makapuu Swimfins Keychain is a great little addition.
Designed to perfectly resemble a Makapuu Classic Fin, this keychain can go on any backpack or bodyboard bag. Pick one up for as little as $5.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR TAKING CARE OF MY FINS?
Definitely. If you currently have a pair of fins, or just picked up a pair of Churchill Fins, check out our swimfin care guide here. This will ensure you get the maximum life out of your fins.
HOW MUCH DO CHURCHILL FINS COST?
The Original Makapuu Swimfins cost around $40-$50.
The Makapuu Pro Swimfins cost around $60-$65.
SHOULD I GET FIN TETHERS?
If you're getting the Original Makapuu Swimfins (not the Makapuu Pros), we would recommend picking up fin tethers. It only takes one close call to lose your fins. Fin tethers will help prevent that.