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Sporasub Dessault vs. Variant

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jun 17, 2003
Does anyone know how the Dessault performs compared with the Variant? The Sporasub site and a dealer I called promote the Variant as an improvement, a significant one.

(It has also occurred to me, though, that if one likes the Sporasub footpockets, the dessault's would have advantage of combining with a waterways fiber fin later if I decided to go that route.)

Any thoughts?

i have not tried the dessault, but i have used both variant comp (plastic blade) and variant carbon. i like them both very much. very nice foot pocket, most comfy i've ever tried. push is descent. carbon blade very smooth, you dont even feel it. i recommend it for slow swimmers (eg freedivers) but not for spearos who might need fast acceleration.

I'm on the other end of the stick. The only fins I use are Dessaults with the black, plastic blades. Sporasub promotes the variant as being a fast blade-changing system. But the truth is, it doesn't take long at all to switch blades in the regular pockets either. Just make sure you have a bag of cable-ties with you to secure the fins after each change. As far as performance goes, I'd bet that Dessaults are stiffer than the Variants since they have the sturdy side-rails. Erik brings up a good point about blade material for different uses. I've tried carbon fins (sporasub radicals) for spearing and hated them; although others have said positive things about the radical as a spearfishing fin, it just doesn't suit my style. I frequently used an intermittent 'frog' or alternating scissors kick while slowly scouting the bottom. Carbon blades are way too floppy for this (note* - there may be exeptions to this rule, as some C4 blades are pretty stiff), and they wouldn't last long the way I always push off the bottom and rocks. On the other hand. If I'm going deep, a smooth pair of carbs beat the crap out of my stiff plastics. When I do go deep with my plastic blades, I usually wind up dolphin kicking to save on leg fatigue. Good luck with your selection. IMHO, if your fins are made by sporasub, you really can't go wrong. They may not be the best in the world, but I think they are definitely the best 'bang for the buck' fin.

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Originally posted by unirdna
As far as performance goes, I'd bet that Dessaults are stiffer than the Variants since they have the sturdy side-rails.

Your bet's wrong. :p

I figured I'd add a few thoughts to this thread since I'm currently the unwitting owner of both Dessaults and Variants, for the moment. I ordered Dessaults from DiveInn in size 11-13 (I wear size 12 shoe which is kinda loose on me). When I got them, I realized they were way too big. I went to the local dive store to see if a sock could help the fit. No luck there... but they just happened to have a few sets of Variants in stock in size 9-10, which fit me perfect with or without the sock. The first difference I noticed between the two fins is the foot pocket. Obviously the 11-13 Des pocket will be bigger than the 9-10 Var pocket, and unfortunately I don't have a 9-10 Des or a 11-13 Var, so I can't compare same sizes, but from looking at the fins I have, I get the impression that the Dessault pocket is much WIDER in general than the Variant, and I have a narrow foot. I'm pretty sure the 9-10 Dessault would still be too wide for me. One of the attached pictures is supposed to show the size difference, but it's a bit hard to tell. Not only is the pocket width different, the pocket "hole" is very round on the Dessault and much more elliptical on the Variant.

The second thing I noticed is stiffness. I haven't dove the Variant yet, but I devised a little test - I suspended each fin off the edge of my kitchen counter (with the weight of the foot pocket causing flexure - both fins weigh the same amount) and this test proved that the Variant is stiffer. See pics for proof. And don't laugh at me for doing this. :D

The only way I can think of that the Variant might be inferior - the blade itself isn't as long (though it extends as far) since it is mounted further from the foot - the mounting area has some holes in it where water will presumably pass through when you're kicking, so I guess the Variant has a bit less surface area to push water with - BUT I'd imagine the surface area at the tip of the blade is much more important than the area near the foot. All of this is conjecture - I've never even used a longblade yet.

The blade is also very easy to remove and requires no tools.
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  • Like
Reactions: Pezman

How much were the Variants? Sometimes they can be picked up pretty cheaply. My goal would be to mount my monofin blade to a pair of Variant footpockets.
Hey Mike, I got em for $80 at my local Diver's Direct. They were marked down from $140.
$80 -- nice. I'll see if I can score a pair online for that price. Worth the gamble to see if they'll work for my mono.

Originally posted by The111
Your bet's wrong. :p

Well, here's a thread resurrection, if I ever saw one.

You may be right on the stiffness comparison, 111, but that test you put together isn't going to prove it ;). I don't want to get into the whole physics of torque with you, but I will say that one of those fins is probably heavier on the end (foot pocket) ;).

"Arguments" aside, I'm glad to see that someone can put to rest an unanswered, age-old question. Can variant stand with dessault?

I think you're right about that footpocket. Looks more like the work of Cressi than Sporasub. Might be a nice alternative for someone who likes the feel of the Gara, but is disappointed with the surface performance. Connor, Frank? You guys listening?

I think the Variant can get away with a softer pocket because the blade does not extend to the underside of the foot - needing extra support. My guess is that this would make for a very poor dolphin-blade attachment. With standard omer/spora pockets, the torque is distributed mainly to the bottom of the foot, via the end of the blade. Looks to me that the variant would put this force primarily on the top of the foot (aka ankle-strength would be the limiting factor); which would be fine for small plastic blades, but too much for a big, fiber mono. But I know that Pez has gorilla feet, so he could probably pull it off anyway.

Anyway, come on back and tell us what you think after getting em wet. I've just barfed out a whole lot of conjecture that is in the need of harsh scrutiny.

Originally posted by unirdna
Well, here's a thread resurrection, if I ever saw one.

You may be right on the stiffness comparison, 111, but that test you put together isn't going to prove it ;). I don't want to get into the whole physics of torque with you, but I will say that one of those fins is probably heavier on the end (foot pocket) ;).

I was going to make my own Des vs Var post but a search revealed this one existed already. Hence the ressurection. Better one thread than two. :)

Hope my reply didn't offend you. :p I weighed both fins as accurately as possible with my home scale, and they seem very close (if not identical) in weight. The weight distribution also seems very similar to me based on my unscientific gut feeling (holding and examining the fins). I know my test isn't conclusive about every aspect of the fins, but it does show that in bending, loaded at one end (by presumably the same weight) and restrained at the other, the Variant has more stiffness. I also loaded and restrained them at different sets of points that I didn't take pictures of, and received similar results. I also looked at the undeformed profile shape of each fin and they are again, seemingly identical. You don't need to explain the "physics of torque" either - I'm a mechanical engineer. :)

I will let you know how they work in the water, but they are my first longblades so I don't have much to compare them to. Unless Jeff is there and his Garas fit me, I could try those...
I thought that Sporasub was expermimenting with a monofin that could beused with the Varient pockets- at least I remember seeing a picture of Pipin trying one out a couple of years ago. It would have allowed you to use one set of fin pockets on either a monofin or a standard pair of bi-fins.

From what I have seen others post on here about the Varients I thought that they had some serious reliability issues, and that's why they were getting dumped so cheap. If you do a search through some of the old threads you'll find what I am talking about.

First, let me just state that the variants break with the carbon blade, but not with the plastic blade. The carbon blade is not coated with rubber where it is attached to the footpocket, and following its sharp side will eventually cut off the rubber foot pocket. the plastic blades are not sharp so they will not cut off the rubber foot pocket.

i fixed this problem by gluing on some soft rubber on the sharp edges of the carbon blade, and now they no longer slice into the foot pocket.

Now, let me just state that what i really miss with the variants are the snap. you just dont control the fins because there is the bendable footpocket. when you try to snap the fin, the fin is not where you want it to be and the snap becomes a little bit delayed because the bendable foot pocket has to come into position to deliver the snap.

sporasubs idea was to have a blade thats pushing more forward than other blades by having a bendable footpocket. the idea might work better for scuba people, who are not as tight on time as skindivers. after all, we only have one breath to use, and if the fin does not respond when we want it to, there might be problems.

i like the variants for slow cruising where i keep a steady pace, but dislike it for going a little here and there with stops in between. acceleration is pretty bad with the variants, and it's sometimes annoying even for me despite never chasing or shooting fish.

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I think they look more durable than the carbon
and maybe? as stiff.
i not tried the grafiber, but i have felt them. they are softer than the carbon blade. because the carbon blade is as soft as they come, i cant imagine using the grafiber for stuff deeper than 15m/60 feet, but even that would be pushing it i think.

in regards to the variants, the grafiber does not have any rubber coating where the blade connects to the foot pocket, and following, i suspect that they will cut the foot pocket after some usage too.

of course, you could put on some rubber coating yourself and save your foot pockets.