What’s more, I can’t remember the last time I heard someone who’s seriously dived with split fins rubbishing them. Split fins are like Apple Macs: once you’ve joined the users’ club, you don’t want to go back.
But I’m willing to be proved wrong, and two interesting-looking fins turned up at the Test Centre recently that could do just that. They were neither the traditional single-blade style, nor were they split fins. Both looked a bit wacky and both promised unrivalled finning action.
First, we tried the Aileron fins from Namron, which have blades mounted several centimetres higher than normal and look a bit like a rear spoiler on a boy racer’s Nova. The idea is that you can walk around while wearing them, and indeed you can do so quite easily. Underwater, though, they take a bit of getting used to, but after a while I grew to like them – well, almost.
The Slingshots from Aqua Lung feature a hinged single blade with rubber bungees to keep the hinge straight. As you kick, the blade is allowed to flex a little as the hinge opens and closes. The amount of flexing can be adjusted by shortening or lengthening the position of the bungees.
On the tightest setting, they feel far too stiff and, being quite long, give the impression that only an Olympic swimmer could really do justice to them. They work well on the softest setting, although when you need any real power they are far too floppy. Both types of fin tend to splash around on the surface rather than bite into the water, unless you swim on your back.
Following the test, I used a pair of Tusa X-pert Zoom split fins, and it was akin to putting on a pair of your most comfy slippers. So there we have it: yes, both of these fin styles work and are decent pieces of kit – but personally, I’m sticking with my splits.
Two innovative designs, but not enough to rival split fins – yet
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