Why I’m downgrading my freediving fins

I own two pair of fins. Up until recently one pair made of carbon fibre that I primarily use for line and pool diving and one pair made of fibreglass that I use for spearfishing and recreational freediving. Recently I broke my beloved Captain Nemo fiberglass blades from Waterways and a replacement became necessary. 

Now I had the option of paying close to 100€ to replace the fibreglass blades, upgrade to carbon for my spearfishing fins as well and pay 2 to 4 times that price or simply downgrade to plastic. I finally chose the latter.

Why you may ask? Well It’s simple. I truly believe that we shouldn’t pay more than necessary for the best equipment. And by best I mean best for me. Not best according to some performance data or best according to the opinions by some preferred authority in the sport. No, I mean best for me, for my purposes and for my budget. Based on this reasoning I realised that plastic was the way for me to go.

Currently I do most of my spearfishing no deeper than 20m depth. I dive from the shore and that’s the depth where I find most of my hunting grounds. It’s also the depth where I decided to focus for now to allow me to refine my hunting technique where the diving is easy and my energy will last me for more dives over longer time. And for these purposes paying a premium for fancy fin blades will give me very little,  if anything in terms of performance and comfort. At the same time, with inexpensive but durable plastic blades I do not have to worry about scratching or breaking my fancy gear on the rocks.

With my mind now set up to find a new pair of plastic blades, which I never owned a pair of before by the way, I started looking for soft blades with at least a 22º angles between pocket and blade. I need the angle to give my ankles an easier job during the long surface swims that my shore diving encourages.

After some research I settled for the Mares Razor, the grey soft model rather than the black or camouflage patterned stiffer Razor Pro version. I already use the Mares Razor foot pockets so I knew that compatibility would’t be an issue which was comforting. I also found them at a very good price, 30€/pair which ended up at a total of 33€ with shipping. Quite the deal.

So how do I like them?

Honestly, I love them! So far I have used them for 4 recreational freediving sessions and almost 5 hours of spearfishing and I honestly do not feel that they limit my diving in any noticable way compared to my more expensive fins. They are soft enough to allow me to use a good finning technique and they give me all the propulsion that I need with little effort. On top of that they are easier on my ankles than my other fins. This I believe is mostly because both my carbon and fibreglass blades ended up with far less than the promised 22º angles once mounted in my foot pockets. That’s not an issue with these moulded plastic blades as you can see below

Conclusion:

Consider what you are primarily going to use your fins for and make your choice based on that. Plastic has some hard to overcome advantages in terms of price and durability compared to carbon or even fibreglass blades. If you are an advanced free diver and dive deep or long distances in the pool, by all means, the premium you pay for more advanced fins will pay off. But if you are new to freediving or spearfishing or like me just don’t need the extra performance, spend your money on training and trips rather than on expensive fins. Diving WILL make you a better diver. Expensive fins will not.