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Carbon fiber vs composite fins

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LauraS

Member
Aug 5, 2020
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Hi I was wondering what are everyones thoughts on carbon fiber fins vs composite fins. I was looking at a pair of Penetrator composite fins and a pair of carbon fiber DiveR fins. Im mostly going to be using them for hunting in 40-60'. Any thoughts on pockets would be great too! Thanks :)
 
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Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
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Carbon is overrated..

The best fins (and monofins) I've used are fibreglass (composite). The material is much more gentle and feels much more flowy.

Carbon is kinda snappy, which underwater isn't what you want, you want smooth responsiveness which I feel you get better with fibreglass.

--

Pathos footpockets are great.

They are quite wide so they don't cause foot cramps, an de have stiff sections in the right places to optimise power transfer
 

Steve White

New Member
Aug 6, 2020
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Could recommend these fins for hunting. Find them to be a little stiffer than I like but by no means terrible. They're also great for beginners.
 

DiveHacker

Active Member
Jun 17, 2020
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I wish someone would do a carbon vs good quality fiberglass fin comparison on dives going deep. Mayne throw some plastics in there.

I am betting what the result would be is good fiberglass would be not perform much worse at all than carbon. Then you have to consider fiberglass can take much more of a beating...
 
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hteas

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Mar 9, 2005
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My primary fins are Imersion carbons. They are actually carbon fiber layers over a fiberglass core. I also have an older pair of fins with fiberglass blades (Specialfins). Both work fine
Dave Mullins a multiple world record holder once did a series of 30m dives with a wide array of fins, mostly carbon. He would up using Cressi 3000LDs because he liked them best. Afterwards he wrote me that fit and moderate flex were the most important aspects in choosing fins.
Imersion and Pathos have wide footpockets, and Cressi and Beauchat have narrow ones.
\In other words, there are lots of choices that are probably more important than carbon or fiberglass; fit and stiffness. Carbon have a faster response, but are prone to breakage if abused, while fiberglass is able to absorb more punishment, and is cheaper.
 
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Leander

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Oct 17, 2017
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I use Leaderfins fiberglass with Pathos pockets. I like them, but I have no experience with other long blade fins. I can only compare to El Cheapo short bladed fins, closed heel scuba fins and barefoot, to which there was a difference, but it wasn't like day and night (to barefoot it was ofc). I cannot imagine the difference between plastic, fiberglass and carbon in the same blade with the same flex being more than a detail. For me I find there's still much bigger gains in keeping an hydrodynamic posture, correct breathing, the way of holding the gun, etc..

I'd say the most important is that they fit well. For the rest you will adapt.
I wish someone would do a carbon vs good quality fiberglass fin comparison on dives going deep. Mayne throw some plastics in there.

I am betting what the result would be is good fiberglass would be not perform much worse at all than carbon. Then you have to consider fiberglass can take much more of a beating...
Someone on.. ApneaAddict..? did exactly that. They measured both performance in swimming laps and the force needed to bend the blades to 45°. The outcome was that there is some difference but not much. The tests included fiberglass, carbon and a random pair of rubber scuba fins. As performance measurement they
only used speed, so there's a lot of room for error in the results.

One thing I never understood. With carbon the selling method is to show how snappy it is, how it springs back. But that spring action is a force you have to work against. You get some of it back, but some energy always gets lost. With a theoretical unresponsive material you would not get any energy back, but you wouldn't put that energy in either. So I wonder how this is better.
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
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I was looking at a pair of Penetrator composite fins and a pair of carbon fiber DiveR fins.
I do have to vote for Penetrator fins, even though I never tried them. Larry from Penetrator fins helped me enormously when I had to cut my blades to fit into the Pathos footpockets by sharing the template he uses to trim his blades. That sort of helpfulness is worth gold!

Same for Andrew @ Nautilus Spearfishing, Florida. Very kind and helpful person. He can help you with finding the right fins better than a forum can.
 
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vrokhlenko

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2002
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Try as many fins as you can. Nothing can replace your own experience. Your flexibility, strength, kicking habits are unique. It has to feel right and you must be cramp-free in the footpocket. And do not try to save a 100 dollars for an item that can last you 5 years.
If you can not try it and must buy blindly try to get blades that can accept different footpockets. You can adapt your kicking style to various fins and stiffnesses but a bad footpocket is a deal breaker.
Also try to get something that is returnable for an obvious reason.

There is a Mares F740 that is a fiberglass fin with decent reviews (order-able from scubastore https://www.scubastore.com/scuba-diving/mares-razor-f740/136794659/p). They are reasonably priced and the Mares footpocket accommodates basically any foot but it is has high instep and wide. I do not have any experience with these particular fins (I use Mares Razor carbon) but at least there are 3 reviews you can read,

Good luck!
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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Jul 14, 2005
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My primary fins are Imersion carbons. They are actually carbon fiber layers over a fiberglass core. I also have an older pair of fins with fiberglass blades (Specialfins). Both work fine
Dave Mullins a multiple world record holder once did a series of 30m dives with a wide array of fins, mostly carbon. He would up using Cressi 3000LDs because he liked them best. Afterwards he wrote me that fit and moderate flex were the most important aspects in choosing fins.
Imersion and Pathos have wide footpockets, and Cressi and Beauchat have narrow ones.
\In other words, there are lots of choices that are probably more important than carbon or fiberglass; fit and stiffness. Carbon have a faster response, but are prone to breakage if abused, while fiberglass is able to absorb more punishment, and is cheaper.
The Cressi 3000LDs have plastic blades/palmes aren't they? I've only used rubber blades (old fins) and plastic blades. Plastic work well for me, I am quite large and value their robustness.

One possible advantage for carbon blades not mentioned is lightness. For somebody of a lighter build might be useful. Also for travelling and long walk ins. ;)
 

Leander

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Oct 17, 2017
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One possible advantage for carbon blades not mentioned is lightness
How much difference does that make in reality? A lot if it were a bicycle :), but in the water weights are severely reduced and in the movement of the fin weight would be just a detail compared to the force needed to displace the water. I like my fiberglass fins' weight, but mainly because I have to carry them on my bicycle, and there every extra 100g feels like an extra kilo when going up a long and steep hill.
 
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Mr. X

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Oh it helps. A couple of places I dive have 1 km walk ins. One down a very steep hill. Just switching from my heavy duty RA90 to superlight XXV 75 made things significantly easier. It's not just total mass but its distribution. Fins are now the most burdensome thing to carry. Lead is heavier but worn close to body.
 
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Leander

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Oct 17, 2017
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Oh it helps. A couple of places I dive have 1 km walk ins. One down a very steep hill. Just switching from my heavy duty RA90 to superlight XXV 75 made things significantly easier. It's not just total mass but its distribution. Fins are now the most burdensome thing to carry. Lead is heavier but worn close to body.
Haha so one of the selling points actually has nothing to do with diving!
Perhaps another good idea is to put a helium cylinder in your car and use that to inflate the float. :D
 

LauraS

Member
Aug 5, 2020
7
8
8
32
Try as many fins as you can. Nothing can replace your own experience. Your flexibility, strength, kicking habits are unique. It has to feel right and you must be cramp-free in the footpocket. And do not try to save a 100 dollars for an item that can last you 5 years.
If you can not try it and must buy blindly try to get blades that can accept different footpockets. You can adapt your kicking style to various fins and stiffnesses but a bad footpocket is a deal breaker.
Also try to get something that is returnable for an obvious reason.

There is a Mares F740 that is a fiberglass fin with decent reviews (order-able from scubastore https://www.scubastore.com/scuba-diving/mares-razor-f740/136794659/p). They are reasonably priced and the Mares footpocket accommodates basically any foot but it is has high instep and wide. I do not have any experience with these particular fins (I use Mares Razor carbon) but at least there are 3 reviews you can read,

Good luck!
Thank you for the advice! I just got back from the bahamas and got to try my friends composite penetrators in the cetma foot pockets. I found the penetrator softs tend to be a little more stiff taking more kicks to get to 50' then the Dive Rs. I was also very fortunate to try a pair of Dive R carbon Inegra blend while I was there. The Dive R soft were very smooth and I was able to get down quickly and spend more time on the bottom hunting. I have hammerhead foot pockets that already rubbed my big toes and ankle raw so I can't give the cetma and seac foot pockets view. Im probably going to go with the Dive R Inegra carbon blend the blade and keep looking for good foot pockets. The cetma footpockets fit really well except my toes stuck out too much lol
 

vrokhlenko

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2002
242
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Thank you for the advice! I just got back from the bahamas and got to try my friends composite penetrators in the cetma foot pockets. I found the penetrator softs tend to be a little more stiff taking more kicks to get to 50' then the Dive Rs. I was also very fortunate to try a pair of Dive R carbon Inegra blend while I was there. The Dive R soft were very smooth and I was able to get down quickly and spend more time on the bottom hunting. I have hammerhead foot pockets that already rubbed my big toes and ankle raw so I can't give the cetma and seac foot pockets view. Im probably going to go with the Dive R Inegra carbon blend the blade and keep looking for good foot pockets. The cetma footpockets fit really well except my toes stuck out too much lol
In my opinion the issue is not the number of kicks but the amount of burned oxygen. Sometimes fewer kicks is better but not always. Also fewer kicks could be more strain and a potential cramp after a few hours. And a cramp can actually kill you - coming from a big depth in pain on one fin is no fun. As far as footpockets go (pardon me if you already know that) you should go with a size up and always wear a 3mm neoprene sock in a moderate to warm water. Ankle rub can be eliminated (if the sock does not help) by cutting a crescent-shape piece where it rubs. Before I had a surgery on my big toe I had a hole cut in my footpocket above the joint. You have to be creative if you do not have perfect feet. It is better to have a wider footpocket than you need as opposed to a more narrow one.

And you might want to look into the Mako brand. Again, I am not endorsing this company nor I own any of its equipment. But my research tells me that the owner is very accommodating and the prices are very reasonable. Plus they are USA-based. I am intrigued by their carbon fins clad in plastic in the footpocket area. Once my mares bites the dust I might give Mako a try. Mako also has fiberglass fins
 
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LauraS

Member
Aug 5, 2020
7
8
8
32
In my opinion the issue is not the number of kicks but the amount of burned oxygen. Sometimes fewer kicks is better but not always. Also fewer kicks could be more strain and a potential cramp after a few hours. And a cramp can actually kill you - coming from a big depth in pain on one fin is no fun. As far as footpockets go (pardon me if you already know that) you should go with a size up and always wear a 3mm neoprene sock in a moderate to warm water. Ankle rub can be eliminated (if the sock does not help) by cutting a crescent-shape piece where it rubs. Before I had a surgery on my big toe I had a hole cut in my footpocket above the joint. You have to be creative if you do not have perfect feet. It is better to have a wider footpocket than you need as opposed to a more narrow one.

And you might want to look into the Mako brand. Again, I am not endorsing this company nor I own any of its equipment. But my research tells me that the owner is very accommodating and the prices are very reasonable. Plus they are USA-based. I am intrigued by their carbon fins clad in plastic in the footpocket area. Once my mares bites the dust I might give Mako a try. Mako also has fiberglass fins
After being in the water with both fins for hours and diving with them I didn't get any cramping. Ive been told to just heat the foot pocket with a hair dryer or heat gun to remold them to my foot.
 
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vrokhlenko

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2002
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After being in the water with both fins for hours and diving with them I didn't get any cramping. Ive been told to just heat the foot pocket with a hair dryer or heat gun to remold them to my foot.
You can stretch SOME footpockets this way but you fit is Mares you can not mold Cressi like that - too narrow.
 

DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
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Im probably going to go with the Dive R Inegra carbon blend the blade


I am very curious of what you think of these specific blades in the long term. I am thinking of bringing in these fins to use and to sell but they are the most expensive blades I have seen around and I am hesitant to spend that much money, they have to be miles ahead of the rest to justify the cost. Please let me know how it works out for you.
 
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LauraS

Member
Aug 5, 2020
7
8
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32
I am very curious of what you think of these specific blades in the long term. I am thinking of bringing in these fins to use and to sell but they are the most expensive blades I have seen around and I am hesitant to spend that much money, they have to be miles ahead of the rest to justify the cost. Please let me know how it works out for you.
I'll let you know how it goes with the fins. My friend Stephanie you can follow her on Instagram @freediversteph or @sailavie has had her Dive Rs for a couple years and loves them. You can also check out this video Florida Free divers put up.
 
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