FINSCressi Rondine A
Some people think that the most important thing to come out of Genoa was Christopher Columbuss idea of finding the New World, but thats not all.
     When it comes to injection moulding of thermoplastics, nobody can beat the Genoese. Cressi-sub was one of the first in the business after World War Two and the company continues to be at the forefront of the industry.
     What does the company make in this way Fins and masks of course!
     Thats not to say that Cressi always gets it right. It produced one beautiful style of fin, the Space Frog, that I rated highly when I tried it. But some divers clumsily climbing ladders to reboard rolling dive-boats found that they could trip and snap these earlier fins in two. So it was back to the drawing board for the Italian fin-makers.
     The Cressi Rondine name is an old one. Rondine Garas are those long fins beloved of competitive freedivers and certain scuba divers who always dive alone. Well, they end up diving alone after theyve kicked their buddies in the face a couple of times.
     These massive Rondine Garas should not be confused with the latest Cressi Rondine A fins, which are intended for use by scuba divers.
     Also, do not confuse these fins with those floppy, soft rubber split-fin products beloved of obese American divers because they can flap their legs as much as they want without getting cramp. These fins have the fairly rigid plastic paddle that characterises so many Cressi fin designs.
     In effect, these fins are for people equipped with muscles in their legs. Like so many other things in life, you need to be fit to enjoy them.
     A soft edge and foot-pocket are provided by combining this harder plastic with a soft rubber compound. Rigidity at the edges is obtained through use of a material thats harder still.
     The massively long foot-pockets easily swallowed all of my size 12s, with a bit of overhang left at the heels. This meant that there was no energy lost at the ankles, and I could get all of my thigh and calf effort out into the water.
     When I found myself needing to swim out from a shore in Grand Cayman to reach a distant reef wall, there was no problem.

Racing the scooter
The hotels little dinghy had been lost to Hurricane Ivan, and the dive centre offered the hire of small diver propulsion vehicles to ease the pain of the 500m swim, but I needed to take my camera, so had no hands free for the DPV.
     I resorted to paddling out on my back with my BC partially inflated, and finning as efficiently as I could. I was surprised that my young buddy had trouble keeping up with me, equipped as I was with the Cressi Rondine As - even though he was being towed in electronic luxury! So I can confirm that the Cressi Rondines do work.
     When it came to taking the fins off, I encountered a slight problem in that with the straps pulled tight it was impossibleto stretch them over that extended lip at the heels.
     I needed to develop the technique of loosening the straps at the adjustment buckle before I reached boat or shore. Better buckles would see this issue resolved.
     That said, if you have the legs for them, these fins could be the perfect ones for you.
Cressi Rondine A fins are available in four colours and sizes XS-S, S-M, M-L, L-XL. They represent reasonable value at £69 per pair.
  • Cressi-sub UK, 01484 711113,

  • Divernet
    + Very effective if you have the legs for them
    + Good value

    - If you get cramp - get fit!
    - Buckles could be improved