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04.02.10

Mid-Priced Diving Fins Review

Aqualung Blades 2 £69.50

Mark: Noticeable improvement on the old Blades 2. Still tough on your legs, but not as bad. Foot clip is a nice idea that works well. Comfy foot pocket.

Martin: They feel stiff and are quite hard work, although frog kicking was very comfortable. I like the clips.

Dave: Vast improvement on the predecessor. Very long fin with a good, deep, and comfy foot pocket. Not sure about the little red ‘flashes’, but they perform very well. Foot clips work very well.

Paul: Excellent for frog kicks. Quite stiff for normal kicking.

Tony: Comfortable and flexible. A pretty good fin. I like the release clip, it works well.

Weight of pair (kg): 2.36
Length (cm): 68
Width (cm): 23
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: Centre-release heel strap
Contact:
www.aqualung.co.uk  

Beaver Assault £51

Mark: Pleasantly surprised. Noticeably better than last year’s model. Heavy, but a lot of power. Excellent foot pocket.

Martin: Better than I expected. Foot pocket needs improving – I found the top edge dug in. Not bad at all – good clips.

Dave: Vastly better than predecessor – the Hurricane. Foot pocket should be cut back at the top because it digs in. Surprisingly powerful, yet heavy on your feet.

Paul: Surprisingly good compared to the Hurrricanes. Looks betray the performance. The foot pocket was poor though.

Tony: You don’t need ankle weights! Quite comfortable, and reasonably powerful. An average fin.

Weight of pair (kg): 3.28
Length (cm): 54
Width (cm): 23
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: None
Contact:
www.beaversports.co.uk  

IST Talaria £74.95

Mark: Very comfortable. Quite a lot of power. Decent frog kick for a split fin.

Martin: Fair amount of speed. Very comfortable – you could dive for ever in these. A nice fin.

Dave: Very good price for these fins, which are a very soft composition split fin. Good turn of speed and very comfortable. I’d question the longevity of the thumb loop on the strap.

Paul: Poor for a split fin. It didn’t seem to perform as a split fin should. Comfortable though.

Tony: Comfortable, easy to get on and off. An average performer.

Weight of pair (kg): 2.56
Length (cm): 61
Width (cm): 25
Buoyancy: Positive
Extras: None
Contact:
www.sea-sea.co.uk 

Oceanic V8 £55.50

Mark: Not the most impressive I’ve tried. Reasonable power, more like a paddle fin than a split fin.

Martin: Stiffer than normal for a split fin. Not particularly comfortable or quick.

Dave: Better than equivalent priced paddle fins. Very comfortable, but not much power. Reasonable entry-level split fin.

Paul: More a two-stroke than a V8. Performed more like a paddle fin than a split fin.

Tony: An average pair of fins, okay all round. Not bad, but not the best.

Weight of pair (kg): 1.84
Length (cm): 63
Width (cm): 23
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: None
Contact:
www.oceanicuk.com

Seac Sub Propulsion £72.50

Mark: Powerful, but you have to work hard. Not that comfortable.

Martin: Having used the Propulsions quite a bit in Long Term Test I find them a reasonably good paddle fin. They’re most comfortable while frog kicking, and I noticed some leg strain with hard fin kicks.

Dave: Perform similar to another manufacturer’s similar fins. This is a very long fin, and you get out what you put in.

Paul: Considering they’re named Propulsion, I didn’t find there was much speed. I didn’t find them very comfortable either.

Tony: Not comfortable or particularly quick, and not the one for me.

Weight of pair (kg): 2.28
Length (cm): 68
Width (cm): 24
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: None
Contact:
www.beaversports.co.uk 

SPORT DIVER CHOICE: Scubapro Twin Speed £85

Mark: Very nice comfy foot pocket. Plenty of power. A bit long for frog kicks.

Martin: Very nice. Good smooth kicking action, with plenty of power. Very good value.

Dave: Used properly these are a very powerful fin. Very comfortable. More rigid than some on the market. An excellent fin – one of the best in this price range.

Paul: Tried and tested. I like them. An excellent split fin, and a bargain at £85.

Tony: They are really nice and I don’t use split fins. They are comfortable and good for speed. A nice set of fins.

Weight of pair (kg): 2.32
Length (cm): 72
Width (cm): 26
Buoyancy: Positive
Extras: None
Contact:
www.scubapro-uwatec.com  

Sherwood Kinesis £69.95

Mark: Reasonable power on normal and frog kicks. Not noticeably different to the almost identical Dacor Panther to warrant the extra price.

Martin: Not bad for a paddle fin. Normal and frog kicks are good. Nothing to recommend it over the cheaper Dacor Panther.

Dave: Neglible difference in performance to cheaper Dacors. Comfortable fins which perform pretty well. I’d go for the cheaper Dacors.

Paul: Very comfortable, though a very poor return on performance for your effort.

Tony: Exactly the same in performance to the cheaper Dacor Panther. Why would you pay more for these?

Weight of pair (kg): 1.76
Length (cm): 63
Width (cm): 23
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: None
Contact:
www.sea-sea.co.uk 

SPORT DIVER BEST VALUE: Tusa Imprex Tri-Ex £67

Mark: Nice paddle fin. Very comfortable foot pocket and very light on your feet. Powerful frog kick. Good turn of speed.

Martin: Good lightweight fins that perform nicely. Not the quickest, but no strain whatsoever on your legs.

Dave: Very good turn of speed for very little effort. Comfy, and look good. If I was looking for paddle fins that’s what I would buy. Best pair of paddle fins in this test.

Paul: Surprisingly good value paddle fin. Good performance, and comfortable.

Tony: Very flexible. Good performance, they are comfortable and light. I like them.

Weight of pair (kg): 1.76
Length (cm): 64
Width (cm): 22
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: None
Contact:
www.cpspartnership.co.uk 

XS Turtle £87.30

Mark: Excellent for frog kicks. Plenty of power for normal frog kicks, but hard work – you need strong thighs. Very heavy fin, but reasonably comfortable.

Martin: Too heavy for me. The foot pocket isn’t deep enough, and I found the buckle clips poor.

Dave: Some people still like these. Some people still think the earth is flat. Buster Crabb and Cousteau liked them, and technology has moved on. Quite powerful, but straps are dreadful.

Paul: Performance is okay and they are quite comfortable. Need a decent pair of straps.

Tony: Quite comfortable but you have to put a lot of effort in for very little return. The strap adjustment is very poor.

Weight of pair (kg): 2.68
Length (cm): 52
Width (cm): 26
Buoyancy: Negative
Extras: None
Contact:
www.hydrotech.co.uk 

CONCLUSION:

If your budget is a little more flexible you’ll be looking at one of the fins in this price range, and it’s clear you get that bit more for your money. Split fins come into this price bracket, and if you’re used to wearing a paddle fin, the split design offers something new to your diving, although they’re not to everyone’s taste.

Of the five paddle fins, the new Aqualung Blades 2 were well-received and an improvement on their predessesor. It was a similar story with the Beaver Assault. The Sherwood Kinesis was criticised for being almost identical to the Dacor Panther. The Sherwoods actually did well, but you can buy the Dacor Panther for £48.50 – a saving of more than £20 over the Sherwood Kinesis.

The best of the bunch for paddle fins was the Tusa Imprex Tri-Ex, which takes the award for Best Buy, and retains the crown last awarded in the mid-priced fin test in 2007.

The Imprex Tri-Ex were universally liked for their comfort, power and turn of speed. They’re also very light, so are good for traveling and are easy on the leg muscles. If you’re looking for a paddle fin they are a bargain at £67.
The Choice award goes to the Scubapro Twin Speed – one of four split fins in the group test.

The Twin Speeds are at the cheaper end of the split fin market, yet these are one of the better ones out there. They were lauded for their comfort, power and turn of speed; even by Tony Wright, who admitted he’s not a fan of split fins. For £85 the Twin Speeds are an excellent choice.


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