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Fin Mania 2003 Results - Courtesy of LA Fathomiers

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We pee deep. Ew!
Sep 24, 2002
Here's a link to some fin tests. Not endorsing the results or anything, but I figured that some folks might find this to be interesting. The data may not be objective since I found the link on a vendor site and the tests may be meaningless (i.e., what does propulsive force translate into when freediving?) so take the info for what it's worth ...

An explanation of the tests that were performed:

The 1st Annual Fin Mania was attended by 21 divers from California and Hawaii, including past national and world spearfishing champions. The goal was to test various freediving fins under controlled conditions, using a scale to measure force generated on a static line in a pool. The following fins (in alphabetical order) were tested:

Ab Biller
Atomic Split
Cressi 2000 HS
Cressi 2000 LF
Cressi 2000 HF
Cressi 2000 LD
Cressi Gara 2000 HS
Esclapez (Imersion)
Mares Attack
Matrix (20Fathoms)
Picasso Black Team
Picasso Carbon
Picasso Carbonprene
Picasso Spuma
Riffe Omer
Sporasub Pure
Sporasub Variant

The divers were of vastly different sizes and strengths, with the lightest diver weighing 95.5 pounds and the heaviest at 231 pounds. In order to normalize the results, the force generated by each diver in multiple pulls was divided by their body weight. A total of 99 trials were recorded.
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i am not sure what to think about all this data... but it is interesting to see...
I believe I saw the same test results on the club, L.A. Fathomers, site too. It really appears the fiberglass (fiberblade) fins do more than plastic. If the quickness that a bent fin returns to normal is the main factor in its performance, than its not surprising these fiberglass fins work better than plastic. Plastic has very little spring to it. You can leave plastic fins in a bent shape and it will take a day of laying them flat for them to conform again. There is very little return memory too them.

I still don’t like the idea of Matrix and Fiber Blades being completely flat. It seems this is just an excuse for these manufactures to buy the fiberglass in sheets and cut it rather than build it themselves. I went spearfishing in my Omer’s a few days ago and although they have bend in them, they are not as much as my Picasso’s. I found my feet cramping from trying to hold them straight. Like Peter (derelictp) was mentioning it depends on your ablility to straighten the foot while swimming. Apparently mines not very good.

My goal is to get some Sebakfin Stereo Pro fins some day. I will report on them when I get them.
Originally posted by donmoore
I still don’t like the idea of Matrix and Fiber Blades being completely flat. It seems this is just an excuse for these manufactures to buy the fiberglass in sheets and cut it rather than build it themselves. Don

There is no question that physiology and some preferences indicate an interest in the heel cant.
Unfortunately, the economies of the fin market require these blades to be flat. To include the heel cant would make them prohibitively expensive.
However, we get rave reviews from our customers who say, with minor technique modifications, they are able to get excellent performance. The kick is a bit different, with a fuller stroke and less snap at the ends of each stroke.

...okay....color me dumb...

I'm sorry but I don't get the test results. I understand the higher the number, the more power the fin produced for a given swimmer who was a given weight.
---what I don't understand is that the result is given without 'grading' or explaining why Matrix, for example, had such variable results.
---anyone else?
Sorry if it's a dumb question! I see the column with the effenciency noted (in light blue) but it doesn't tell the whole story.
Would someone be so kind as to explain? thanks!

Pez, Thanks for posting this, as comparison is a good thing!
Fiber Fins

I've had a decent play with a set of Waterways fiber blades, doing a couple of shallow dives to just over 20m as well as a couple of dynamics... I'm still undecided as to whether these blades are any better than carbon. Yup, they're springy, which means that a dolphin kick gives good results, but using a normal kicking stroke they seem to underperform... they feel very soft if you're kicking slow or normally, and you don't get much thrust, but if you kick hard, you can really feel the power coming out.

I think if you're a big fan of dolphin kicking the whole way, or you kick really hard normally, you'll like them, but otherwise they might underperform a bit. The fins I used were the second highest stiffness Waterways.
Re: ...okay....color me dumb...

Originally posted by OceanSwimmer
I'm sorry but I don't get the test results.

We should all agree that this kind of test is not very indicative of real-world conditions. Nevertheless, we were happy to be invited to the test as we were confident of how we would do there.
All of the makes are all over the map; this was hardly a scientific study. Fins do not perform well in a stalled (static) condition. But at least all of the fins had the same penalty.
I'd be very interested in more studies that reduced the number of variables, but you can imagine the difficulty of that (kicking styles, strength, fatigue, blah, blah). I'd be interested in hearing from anyone that has ideas for a practical test protocol. Parameters of interest would be forward thrust, lateral thrust, drag, energy input, etc.

That's my engineer side talking. Or, we can all just go diving and screw all of the analysis paralysis!!!

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one way to solve the no-angle problem would be to have a foot pocket with an angle built into it. This should not be hard to fix for manufacturers. All they would have to do is to add extra rubber (or any decent material) so that the blade would point slightly downward.

I dont think that any shoe on the market has this built in angle, but given that many divers are now realizing the durability and reactivity of fiber glass, perhaps a company will realize this idea soon.

I liked Paul Kotik's carbon fin test, which basically seemed to use an approach of counting strokes and timing the swimmer over a distance.

The only problem with tests like this is that if you are testing a whole bunch of fins, fatigue etc. starts to become a factor.

Another approach would be a blind test in which the swimmers had to use the fins w/o being allowed to see them and them they just gave their subjective analysis of the fin. For example, I really liked the Waterway #4's when I tried them -- they just felt better than my Cressis (the Cressis felt "dead" compared to the Waterways and they had a much narrower range in which they would deliver power efficiently).

At any rate, a shoot-out with maybe 4 or 5 highly regarded fins would be really interesting.
This test was debated on the freedvie list a few weeks ago.

From what I understand(please correct me if I'm wrong Paul), the power/weight ratio was used to give a more accurate uni-lateral rating of how efficient the fins are. Roger Yazbeck of Picasso was quick to point out that the highest pull registered was with a Picasso fin(Black Team, I believe). This is true; however, the participant also weighed a hefty 231 pounds. by dividing the registered pull by the diver's weight, we can see that the most efficient fin was the Matrix.

Another comment that I found interesting regards participant Jason Hijirda from Hawaii, who was quoted as saying that he didn't try to kick his hardest, but just maintain a consistent kick. For this reason(that his kick was probably the most natural form-wise), I believe his results are among the better comparisons.

Reviews like this are very difficult to organize, but as we can see - they do garner great data. Though hardly a perfect system, I feel this test does give a very decent overview of the capabilities of different fins & was one of the many reasons I decided to buy a pair of Matrix fins.

"by dividing the registered pull by the diver's weight, we can see that the most efficient fin was the Matrix."--fuzz

--Thanks, fuzz. Now I get it.. :eek:
Originally posted by fuzz
...one of the many reasons I decided to buy a pair of Matrix fins.
Yeah, Fuzz, now just USE THEM ALWAYS!!! (I caught him last weekend with his old pair of fins on...)
I know they are pretty and all, but don't be afraid to scratch them up. Life is too short to use crappy fins. :D

seems like an interesting test. takes a while to sort the info out and get a good indication of what is what. the Fiber blades are the clear winners.
It's nice to see them testing some of the bigger boys. I bought an ancient pair of Cressi Gara fins a few years ago because they were "good and powerful". thats only because the salesmen was 140lbs. I'm 192lbs. they are long blue noodles on my legs, folding on every kick.

Fuzz - If I ever make it down south we should have a Omer Bat (I'll bring my 30's) vs. Matrix session.
Re: Re: ...okay....color me dumb...

Originally posted by PaulV
Or, we can all just go diving and screw all of the analysis paralysis!! PV

That's what I'm talkin's about!!:D Very true Paul.

Testing wise it'd pretty much come down to rigging lever arm/spring scale to a long graduated scale ala that seen on sites to check the stretch and such of rubber band material. Swing the blade through a set number of strokes, see the pressure registered on the scale, log it, add it up.... and then take the damn things off the friggin' machine and go diving! :head

Hey Paul- gimme a PM or email with availability of a pair of #4 blades. I can run down and pick them up.

And I'll keep an eye on Harold for you up this way... God forbid he get better and go to "A" division and start sporting a siver/blue suit like Dennis... :hmm
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Sven, email me at paul@20fathoms.com

I can already see that we need to watch out for Harold. He's an animal. He'll be moving up fast in CenCal.

As for Dennis' goofy suit, I told him it reminds me of the old Cousteau suits (most of you are probably too young to know what the hell I'm talking about). Luckily it's getting ratty and won't last much longer.
I do indeed remember those suits... and they looked fruity then as well! email's on the way.
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