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First Carbon Fibre Fins Recommendations

Reuben_Borg

Active Member
Feb 18, 2011
4
0
36
Malta
Hi, I’m looking to buy my first carbon fins. I have been using the Omer Stingray plastic fins for a number of years and would like to upgrade to carbon fins. I’m 5’10” tall and weigh 69kg and will be using these fins for spearfishing.

I have been doing some research to find the ideal fins for me, and have narrowed it down to the Pathos Abyss, the C4 Redfox (same price as pathos), the C4 Silversea HT (a bit more expensive) and the Cetma Mantra (a bit more expensive than the C4 Silversea HT). I don’t mind spending a bit more on the fins if they result in better performance, or more comfortable, better quality etc.

I have read good reviews on the Pathos Abyss, and looked at the test done by Apnea Passion which praised the Pathos in comparison to the other fins tested. C4 have a long history of carbon fins, with some people praising them highly, while others say they are overrated, with a number of people saying their blades snapped. The two C4 fins I’m looking at are from their new 300 Line, which I have found no reviews on. The main difference between the C4 Redfox and the C4 Silversea HT is the carbon used, the Redfox uses T700 carbon fibre, while the Silversea HT uses the big square TR50 Hypertech carbon fibre. For the last fins I’m looking at, the Cetma Mantra, I have heard many good reviews about, yet not convinced they are better than the C4, or worth the extra cost.

If anyone has tried these fins, or has any recommendations of feedback it would be greatly appreciated. Even perhaps recommend another good carbon fin I haven’t mentioned? I live in Malta and will obviously need to buy fins that can be shipped here.

Thanks for your time.

Reuben
 

Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
224
127
58
23
Canada
Hey Reuben,

As someone who specializes in CWT with bi-fns I have been looking high and low for a good fin that suits competitive diving, recreational diving, and also teaching. So I've tested, examined, and/or researched most of the well known fins on the market so maybe I could help you out.

The first thing I would say to avoid anything from C4 at all costs. Although I don't have the technical data on the fins, my initial assumption is that they use very high amounts of resin which creates a feel not far from plastic blades. On top of the their special foot-pockets and large "water channeling" rails are more of a marketing gimmick. **Just a quick FYI, I have no particular bias against C4 as a company, I'm just saying it like it is.

Cetma composites (mantra or Prana) produces a super nice (one of the best) feeling blades, however the Giant angle (33deg) between the foot and the blade does make efficient finning quite difficult as you have to consciously raise you toes during the front kick. This angle does work well for people with horrible ankle flexibility or if you surface swim a lot. I would recommend the prana over the mantra as they are a little too ling for someone who is 5,10 and spearing where you might kick coral heads and break your fin.

The pathos abyss are quite nice but are also pretty long.. Despite the length, the stiffness profile is very nice as the base is hard enough for good accelerations but the tip is very soft allowing for a nice cruising feel as well which is pretty good for a spearing profile. (I assume this is intended as pathos is a spearing brand).

My last pair of fins were alchemy V3.. The flex profile is a little strange as it bends very close to the foot which limits acceleration. This was on the lvl1 stiffness and maybe lvl2 or 3 would suit spearing a little better when you have to fight a fish or dive in current. I would still rate this fin above the pathos but I used them 85% of the time for deep diving..

My current pair of fins and honestly the best I've tried are medium Fiberglass Molchanovs. First of all, the come with a nicer price tag than the above mentioned carbons, are better than the carbon molchanovs by a lot, and have the option of a custom rubber footpocket similar to a monofin pocket.. They have an even steeper flex profile than the pathos (super stiff base which quickly transitions into a super floppy tip) allows for lots of torque when needed but also a very easy cruising pace.
 
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Reuben_Borg

Active Member
Feb 18, 2011
4
0
36
Malta
Thank you for your reply Nathan Vinski. I have read a number of your post here and very glad to have your help.

You are not the first person to have warned divers of the problems with C4 blades, and therefore will take your word and steer clear from them.

With regards to the Cetma, I do a considerable amount of surface swimming (yet I do have good ankle flexibility), so perhaps the angle would not be much of an issue?

I have been looking for a carbon fin, rather than a fiberglass or carbon & fiberglass fin as the general consensus seems to suggest that carbon fins are by far the best. Therefore looking at fiberglass again has me confused, and would admit to be hesitant to buy fiberglass rather than carbon fins.

Had you to rank the Pathos Abyss, Cetma Mantra, Cetma Prana and the Molchanovs Bifins F1 (these are the fiberglass fins you mentioned correct?) , what would you recommend? Molchanovs Bifins F1 with custom foot pockets are the same price as the Pathos Abyss, while the Molchanovs Bifins F1 with Pathos foot pockets are a bit cheaper (only if I buy them today as I just realised they have free shipping till the end of the day). So the cost savings between the Pathos Abyss and the Molchanovs Bifins F1 are minimal, and therefore the decision between these two will be based on the performance criteria.

Thanks for your time.
 

Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
224
127
58
23
Canada
I also had a similar issue with going to fiberglass actually and most people feel the same.. There was a joke about me going around Dahab that I have horrible trading skills.. as I traded alchemy V3s for second hand fiberglass molchanovs. from what I've seen (including other brands you didnt mention in your first post) fiberglass is in many cases a superior material. There is a fluidity in the snap-back that is very hard to achieve with Carbon and most carbon fins are too twitchy to function nicely under water. from what I've seen, pathos, alchemy, cetma, are some of the few that achieve this with carbon. Either way, once you transition out of plastic the material doesn't seem to make much difference, its more the quality of the material. Since fiberglass is cheaper, the companies can afford to use better quality production methods making better feeling blade.

For the ranking you asked for, going for a spearing fin I would probably put;

1- Fiber molchanovs and pathos at a tie for 1st.. The deciding factor would be if you prefer the custom footpockets, or not. I do think pathos had spearing in mind which is probably why they have good torque. However if you get the measurements right, nothing can really beat the molchanovs custom footpocket with how comfortable it is and how much power it can give. bad measurements can either cause cramps, or a looser fin which feels exactly like any other footpocket.

2- Prana: They have a similar blade feel to the above fins, just with the giant angle but like you said about your ankle, It doesn;t seem like something you would need.

3- Mantra: Same issue with the angle. they went a little overboard with the length, especially for someone who is under 6ft. also they have very poor torque which would not be the best when hauling a fish.
 

lilhawaiisurfa

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2006
9
0
86
28
I'm 5'8" and about the same weight. I got the cetma edge in medium stiffness while my dive partner has the mantras in medium stiffness. We both feel the mantras are a too soft. Edge is also nice because it has a less extreme angle of 27 instead of 33 on the mantras and prana. I really like the edges and at the shop I got them from most the guys agree that the edges in medium are great for spearfishing. my other buddy also has the prana which are nice as well and would be good if diving the reef a lot since they're shorter.
 

Grytsig

Active Member
Oct 9, 2010
12
1
38
Ukraine, Kherson

Grytsig

Active Member
Oct 9, 2010
12
1
38
Ukraine, Kherson
I also had a similar issue with going to fiberglass actually and most people feel the same.. There was a joke about me going around Dahab that I have horrible trading skills.. as I traded alchemy V3s for second hand fiberglass molchanovs. from what I've seen (including other brands you didnt mention in your first post) fiberglass is in many cases a superior material. There is a fluidity in the snap-back that is very hard to achieve with Carbon and most carbon fins are too twitchy to function nicely under water. from what I've seen, pathos, alchemy, cetma, are some of the few that achieve this with carbon. Either way, once you transition out of plastic the material doesn't seem to make much difference, its more the quality of the material. Since fiberglass is cheaper, the companies can afford to use better quality production methods making better feeling blade.

For the ranking you asked for, going for a spearing fin I would probably put;

1- Fiber molchanovs and pathos at a tie for 1st.. The deciding factor would be if you prefer the custom footpockets, or not. I do think pathos had spearing in mind which is probably why they have good torque. However if you get the measurements right, nothing can really beat the molchanovs custom footpocket with how comfortable it is and how much power it can give. bad measurements can either cause cramps, or a looser fin which feels exactly like any other footpocket.

2- Prana: They have a similar blade feel to the above fins, just with the giant angle but like you said about your ankle, It doesn;t seem like something you would need.

3- Mantra: Same issue with the angle. they went a little overboard with the length, especially for someone who is under 6ft. also they have very poor torque which would not be the best when hauling a fish.
Hi, Nathan. Thanks for the info and experience You are sharing. I've been looking at Cetma fins. From You review I see main disadvantage of them is huge angle 33 deg. What do You think about this fins - Mantra CWT Competition https://freediving.cetmacomposites.it/en/home/23-mantra-cwt-competition.html and Dynami-tech L https://freediving.cetmacomposites.it/en/home/20-carbon-fins-dynami-tech.html . Haven't You yet tried them? Declared angles are 27 and 25 degree
 

PoseidonSv

Aquaholic
Jan 2, 2004
343
48
118
46
Sweden
Visit site
I call the bluff on the C4 using less carbon fiber and more resin i experience quite the complete oposite.
Alchemy and Cetma seem to me to be almost the same caompany and would not be surprised if many of these fin blades are made by same factory. Older C4 finns suffered from having a cut out on the side for the end of the blade that had a notch going in there to keep it to the blade. This was whn using older first generation footpockets all the newer use rils all way and no cutout which was where the fin was t its weakest. I tried almost all carbon finns alot and the feel of the c4 is that it is not feeling so powerful but when compared they perform better than all other brands for normal speed controlled kicking style technique. I Think if you have bicycle kick and bend the blade very hard and want to push yourself forward instead of use correct fin kick then you might want to consider the Xt diving finns which are explained and made to suit different kick styles if having bad habit of this. There is companies that sell so clalled carbon finns like specialfins that only use one outer layer carbon and rest glassfiber. The worst if using less carbonfiber and moreresin is that the added resin only ads weight and nothing to performance. The newest C4 blades have less weaving and bigger lengths pattern weave where the fibers are straight and not changing frm upper to lower side. Most other makers of carbon finns use fiber tight woven and thus more fiber thatis notd irected lenghtwise but going in a sinus pattern which might add strength from side impact but nothing for what you search for in a fin used for freediving finswimming.