• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

How classic natural-rubber full-foot snorkelling fins are made

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

DRW

Vintage snorkeller
Jan 5, 2007
417
131
133
The following video shows the process of manufacturing natural-rubber full-foot snorkelling fins from raw material to finished product. The setting appears to be the Pacific Moulding plant in California and the fins are light blue Oceanways Aquapros.


The finished product:
$T2eC16ZHJHwE9n8ii0q8BRiz)-4S1Q~~60_57.JPG


A close-up of a foot pocket:
$_59c.JPG


British actress Helen Mirren going snorkelling with a pair of Oceanways Aquapro fins while on vacation in Hawaii:
helen-mirren-hawaii-31.jpg

DRW
 
Last edited:
The following footage also shows the process of manufacturing natural-rubber full-foot snorkelling fins from raw material to finished product. The setting appears to be the Alphaplastic plant in the Russian capital Moscow and the products are marbled Дельфин (Del'fin=Dolphin) fins.

Processing and milling the rubber:


Moulding, quality-controlling, trimming and packing the fins:


The finished product:
rusf.jpg


Sole embossed with sizing information (pocket length: 285-295 mm) and national standard product compliance (GOST 22469-77) :
$(KGrHqF,!pMFC3r,2fElBQwKL0kh0w~~60_57.JPG


Russian instructions on slip of paper enclosed with fins, accompanied here by an English translation:
Instructions.png


Modelling the fins:
7-250.jpg


DRW
 
Last edited:
Malaysia not only has large rubber tree plantations but also several rubber processing plants where natural rubber snorkelling fins are made for export to western countries. By way of example, the Adila Manufacturing factory:

Adila_Manufacturing_1b.jpg

And the Principal Win plant:
PWin.jpg
In an online Divernet article entitled "My favourite kit", Australian professional underwater photographer Pete Atkinson below expressed himself very satisfied with his all-rubber full-foot open-toe SF 158 fins made in the Adila Manufacturing rubber goods plant in Malaysia: "I currently use the best fins I have ever used, but no dive store in Cairns will stock them, as they aren't profitable enough. They are orange and blue, Malaysian rubber fins by Eyeline, available from a local sports shop for £20. From new, I could snorkel for a couple of hours without any hint of blisters. They are stiff enough that I can push a Seacam housing around all day. For the diving I do, such full-foot fins are by far the best. Manufacturers continue to dream up fancy expensive gimmicks to extract more money from us. I'll concede that a few of these might actually be useful but, offhand, I can't think of any."

pete_atkinson-jpg.51821

DRW
 
Last edited:
Rubber fins still dominate the snorkelling and scuba diving market in the world's third-largest economy, Japan. Such fins are typically available there in a rainbow of different colours too, exploding the myths that coloured rubber fins are short-lived acquisitions and that bright colours can only be achieved with plastic fins. Kinugawa is probably the largest rubber fin manufacturer in Japan, but other brands are available.

Image of the fin production area at the Kinugawa plant in 1984 when a new fin line was introduced, the Gull Mew
Japan_1.jpg


Gull Mew fins for barefoot and booted use
TB25Ha3oXXXXXbbXXXXXXXXXXXX_!!695219719.jpg

Raw materials: natural rubber and synthetic elastomer
Japan_2.jpg
Japan_3.jpg


Natural rubber processing and coloured rubber blends
Japan_4.jpg
1679250003849.jpeg


Heat and pressure moulding and untrimmed fins removed from moulds
Japan_7.jpg
Japan_8.jpg


Gull Emden fins for barefoot use
TB2XDCpgXXXXXb6XXXXXXXXXXXX_!!81707428.png

Snorkellers about to don Gull Emden fins
4741633705_ab719b9b02_b.jpg

DRW
 
Last edited:
Thanks DRW. always interesting

My wife had a pair of the OceanWays fins, or, at l least the same mold. I think they were called "Corsa" at the time.
She loved'em. We could not find a exact replacement when her fins finally died. Now she uses a ScubaPro split fin, plastic and not anywhere near as comfy, but a bit more thrust.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DRW
Thanks DRW. always interesting

My wife had a pair of the OceanWays fins, or, at l least the same mold. I think they were called "Corsa" at the time.
She loved'em. We could not find a exact replacement when her fins finally died. Now she uses a ScubaPro split fin, plastic and not anywhere near as comfy, but a bit more thrust.
Thanks, cdavis, for the response. I have a pair of light blue Oceanways fins and I also love them for their wearing comfort and because they suit my gentle snorkelling style. Life is already too much of a rush and snorkelling for me is a joy to be savoured slowly in tranquillity. It saddens me that fins are no longer made in the UK in the tried and tested, virtually hand-made way, deploying Mother Nature's version of rubber rather than some oil-based thermoplastic substitute that never feels quite the same in use. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers around the world have stuck with their old fin presses as they process the tapped natural secretions from long-established rubber-tree plantations in the Far East. Unfortunately, too few British basic diving equipment distributors are prepared to import these natural rubber fins because the profit margins aren't big enough...

DRW
 
Last edited:
In conclusion, here is another contribution designed to shed a little light on the process of manufacturing all-rubber fins. The factory in this instance is outside Athens, the Greek capital. The Hellenic Republic remains an excellent source of well-made rubber fins, particularly full-foot snorkelling ones, and the plant in this case is where Balco brand diving equipment is manufactured, including fins, masks, snorkels, snorkel-masks and spearguns. The firm has been in business since the early 1950s, maintaining a tradition for high standards of quality and workmanship throughout.

The Balco workshop area where raw materials are prepared and converted in compression moulds to finished products: all-rubber fins
1679393239415.png
The fins hanging up to dry in the foreground are the Balco Superjet model with vented blades like the French-made Beuchat full-foot Jet Fin.
 
Here is an online auction image of a pair of Balco Superjets:

Balco Superjet closed-heel vented fins (discontinued)
1679393390041.jpeg
 
Two more examples of Balco all-rubber full-foot fins still in production:

1. Balco Sprint
1679393615843.png


2. Balco Hydrodyn
1679393762599.png
 
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing

ABOUT US

ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.

ADVERT