MY FIRST FINS WERE OF HEAVY BLACK RUBBER. They were Typhoon Surfmasters.
When clearing out my garage at the end of the 1980s I elected to take them to a car-boot sale, but nobody wanted them.
Since then, heavy black rubber fins have become a fashion item with certain technical divers, and we’ve seen their renaissance with the likes of Turtles and Hollis Tech F1 “bat-fin” models.
Hollis, through its UK distributor Oceanic, sent me a pair of its latest F2s to try. These are also black, but made from a lightweight single technopolymer. Otherwise they boast many of the features so beloved of those who like to decompress in a horizontal way.
Huge foot-pockets that would accept even my feet when clad in mighty Rock-boots; massive spring-straps permanently fixed (although there are alternative fixing points to accommodate different-sized feet); and a vented blade all seem to be good omens for sales to the intended target audience.
F2s don’t weigh a colossal amount either. At less than 2kg for a pair in the largest size, they’re ideal for travelling.
The vented blade design is said to be as effective on the upstroke as on the downstroke.

In The Water
I tried the fins while using some side-mounted tanks at Capernwray with the guys from Aqua-Lung and Manchester diving retailer DiveLife. Brett from DiveLife uses Hollis F1 fins, and sets great store by them.
The big foot-pockets, combined with mighty tags on the fin-straps, made it a cinch to get the fins on and off in the water, although I found that the rather small blades (only 27cm long by 23cm wide) meant that I had to fin rather a lot to get anywhere.
When I asked Brett to try them, he came back with the view that they gave insufficient “motorability”.
I told him that this was meaningless jargon, then went off to Google the word in case it really existed! I think he was confusing cars, wheelchairs and scooters for disabled people with manoeuvrability, but no matter, these fins simply didn’t shift enough water to be sufficiently effective.
They do offer the distinct advantage of not stirring up too much silt, but then, bare feet would stir up less. They are certainly useful in tight spaces.
I do know that some divers clad in thin wetsuits can get a lot of performance out of a set of small fins, so I guess that these will be the satisfied buyers of Hollis F2 fins.
For pushing two tanks and a drysuit through the water, they were simply not appropriate.

Hollis Tech F1, £99
Aqua-Lung Hotshot, £80
XS Scuba Turtle, £95

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