Sunday, August 17, 2008

Testing out my new Spierre carbon fiber fins

Eventually today I got to test my Spierre carbon fiber fins. Before going into the details let me give some history of my other fins.
Normally I used Picasso thermoplastic (black team) and I also have a pair of 10 year old Picasso carbons. The carbons were great for a few years until the bolt pulled through the carbon blade and I tried a repair and shelved the fins.
My next pair was Esclapez thermoplastics but they had excessively soft soles allowing the foot pockets to bend too much for my liking and hurt my feet - they were fine for shallower lazy diving. (Esclapez has upgraded and is bring out a new model)
I really liked the Picasso foot pockets as they are hard soled and this resulted in very little flexing which suited my fining style. Unfortunately that advantage was by the ease with which the Picasso foot pockets split (two out of four). They split vertically near where the rubber rib joins the foot piece. Such a split reduces the thrust but amazingly though I dived with such a split for over a year it never went more than half way through the rib.

Now, coming back to the Spierre fins - I asked Pierre to make them relatively stiff and to add 3 cm to the blade length - my logic was that it is far more easy to shorten than lengthen them - I like more than one option. Pierre said he put one either Omer foot pockets or Rob Allen - I chose the latter as they are more similar to the Picasso's I am used to and also because Mark has Omer foot pocket on his pair of Spierre fins. I chose to get different equipment so we can compare and study each others equipment.

On a shoredive at Kings Beach two weeks back I was fairly impressed with the fins but diving 10 m was not a good test. I did notice that they allowed great scope for economical low profile kicks (ankle kicks) which I like for efficiency sake. Today however I had the perfect chance to test the fins. The swell was running at a good 3 m and Mark and I set out to some reefs ranging from 20 to a bit deeper that 30 m. Despite being only my 3rd dive with the fins they proved themselves well. I was able to remove and extra weight from my belt and dive with only 5 kg in 26-30m as against my normal 6 kg. That also include a new 7 mm wetsuit top. The viz soon decayed heavily as the east wind came up a bit - we headed over to Zephyrs wall to find 20 m viz on the surface down to near the top of the ridge but very yellow below. After two drifts with chum being eaten by clouds of blue hottentot we headed back in. I like the fins and foresee that I will dive deep water more efficiently and with better safety.

Freedivrs has the new thermoplastic fins - I took some pics showing the soft foot pockets. This is quite an issue for many divers who suffer chafing from hard footpockets. I have seen Mark and Fanus suffer heavily in the past -l luckily my feet are shaped right for no chafing.

The Freedivers fins also have a desirable hard sole that runs almost to the end of the fin...

Shane is raving about his new Freedviers fins - his words were:
"Exceeded my expectations".

Freedivers fins are available for R699 as against the normal price of R1026 at present. That's a 32% discount!
I must admit that I have not yet tested them but will give a report in the near future. I intend having a pair for diving the rough shallows where carbon fins may not survive the rough treatment.


Anonymous said...

Gletwyn, how do the new Freedivers fins compare in length to the Picasso Black teams?

Gletwyn Rubidge said...

Not compared yet. Will let you know - next dive I intend doing such a comparison - only my Pic black team fins are old and ratehr worn out. They are very inferior compared with new Omer thermoplastics. Zane agreed as we swapped fins that day.

Anonymous said...

Hi, sorry what I wanted to find out was are the plastic Freedivers longer or shorter than the Black Teams? Also do you mean your Black Teams are very inferior to the new Omers or are the plastic Freedivers very inferior to the new Omers?

Anonymous said...

Basically what I'm wanting to find out is should I buy a pair of Black Teams or should I give the new Freedivers a go?



Gletwyn Rubidge said...

I said my Black team fins are old and soft so a direct comparison is not really valid. I will be able to let you know in the near future what the Freedivers performance is like - they are about the same lenght as the black team picassos. Price wise with the curent special you will gt three Freediver fins for the cost of picasso black teams - so pricewise it is better. I will make a post when I have tested teh Freedivers fins vs Black team picasso.

Justin said...

Gletwyn, I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom for me regarding freediving fins.
I am trying to upgrade all of my spearing equipment and am finding it hard to find good advice on fins.

I realise that carbons are the top of the range but at present, I just cannot afford a pair.
I have therefore been looking at plastics to start off. the freedivers plastics, picasso 'start' as well as 'black team' have all been fins that seem to be the best options for me.

I will be doing mainly boat-based diving in mozam (but would also like to use them for shallower, shore dives) and will be using these fins on an almost daily basis soon so would like to buy quality plastics that I can then upgrade later on down the line.

Do you have any advice for me?