Remarkably, however, I had never taken a pair away on an extended diving trip. How remiss of me!
It’s probably because the importer could never find a pair to fit me comfortably, but it has certainly made amends now.
I was scratching my head to find a pair of fins in my cupboard that would accept my big plates of meat once encased in a pair of Fourth Element’s robust Neoprene wetsuit boots when the V16s arrived in size XL. As Jacques Cousteau would say: “Voila!”
Oceanic is a US company and, as you are probably aware, everything is bigger over there, including feet. Despite this, V16s come from the injection-moulding machines of Italy, and the Italians are masters of the process.
Split-fins are in demand in America because people there would rather have an easier-to-use fin than be told they are overweight and out of condition. This has led to some rather unimpressive performances among a few of the market-leaders, leading many to believe that split-fins are no good in a head-on current.
V16 fins were among the first to adopt Pete McCarthy’s Nature’s Wing split-fin design. In tests, we have previously found that they fall into the “effective” category, with a measured performance up with, if not the very best, at least some of the better examples.

The blade is relatively compact, measuring only 41 by 23cm in the largest size. It has moderately heavy sidebars and rigid panels, so the blade has a stiffness along its length, but the overall effect is to leave it quite floppy laterally around the split.
These fins look lightweight, but may not be quite as lightweight as some recent arrivals on the market.

The foot-pocket has a well-ribbed base, and a big drain-hole means that tightly fitting boots do not get sucked on, becoming nigh-on impossible to separate in the process.
My original criticism of the previous foot-pockets was that they were shorter than they looked, and left the boot-heel protruding. This meant that the calf-muscles were called into play (as well as the thighs) when finning heavily.
The addition of spring-straps has made all the difference, turning fin and boot into a single unit. I felt no strain on the calf muscles at all.

Straps & Buckles
The substitution of the superb stainless-steel spring-straps for the conventional rubber kind has improved these fins dramatically.
They still, however, employ the old plastic quick-release buckle. This could become a weak point after a lot of use, and it gets annoying when helpful boat-crews in Egypt insist on undoing it, which is entirely unnecessary.
It risks the buckle-end popping off the fin in an “Oops! Plop! Expletive!” scenario.
The loops used to pull the spring-straps on and off are designed to be less likely to break off in your hand, which is what has happened with nearly all the ones I have fitted as an afterthought to other fins.
If you have an older pair of V16 fins and want spring-straps, you can buy them from Oceanic as an after-sale extra at £26.50. They come in three sizes.

In still water, the V16s felt quite effective and very comfortable, but once I was trying to make headway while wearing a big twin-set and heading into a gentle current, things weren’t quite so good. I felt a bit like I was pushing a wardrobe while standing on ice.
My dive buddy reported seeing the fins bending back right up on themselves as
I worked. He said they looked extremely floppy, and I got quite tired after some time, while making little headway. These are obviously good fins for use in the benign conditions usually found around the Florida Keys, but less good for someone in a drysuit with multiple tanks.

Atomic Splitfin, £125
Mares Raptor, £115
Scubapro Twin Jet Max, £100

WEIGHT 2.4 kg (XL)
COLOURS Black, red, yellow, ice blue & blue
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