FINS Apollo Bio-fins Pros
After the results of Divers fin comparison test last month (Split Decision, September), I was gagging to try a pair of the winning Apollo Biofin Pros out in the open ocean.
     I had been sent them in sizes M, L and XL, but I had a problem. In the wetsuit boots I was using, my feet were still too big to fit any of them. Well, you know what they say about men with big feet. We need big boots.
     The problem seemed to be not in the width of the foot-pocket but in the height. Thick soles and reinforced uppers on wetsuit boots just blew my chances of getting my feet fully inside them. I had to search around for a less chunky pair of boots before I went anywhere with them, which begs the question, will they fit your drysuit boots It makes sense to try before you buy.
     The Apollo Biofin Pros are made entirely from natural rubber. I had begun to forget what that smelled like. Its not very pleasant and some people will find that they are allergic.
     Japanese Apollo was the first manufacturer to adopt the Natures Wing split-fin design and these are the latest version. I got them from Apollo USA.
     We have grown accustomed to thermoplastic fins, but while rubber is much heavier I can vouch for its toughness and longevity. My original black rubber SeaMaster fins lasted 30 years and were still in perfect condition when I tried to give them away at a car-boot sale.
     No-one was interested then, so they went into a skip with other unwanted clutter before I set off for home. If only I knew then what I know now. They started to be considered the latest thing in Japanese dive shops about five years later!
     The all-rubber Biofin Pros are available not only in black but in a rather attractive metallic blue. They have standard quick-release buckles and heavy side struts which keep them rigid along their length.
     I was full of enthusiasm for the first fins I tried. These gripped my foot in the foot-pocket right up to the heel and made me feel as if they were part of me, taking all the strain off my ankles.
     I was disappointed to find that the Biofin Pro has abandoned this design idea and that my heels protruded. It was inevitable that this would prove a bad idea and I noticed after some time in the water that my legs ached in places where they hadnt ached for a long while. Get used to it, I hear you say.
     The Biofin Pros propelled me along all right, though I was inclined to turn round to see who was behind me until I deduced that the sound was the effect of the two parts of the fin blades coming together and knocking from time to time.
     Their unusual weight helped keep my feet at a good angle relative to my body, so no ankle-weights would be needed, even with a drysuit.
     I admit to having been scathing about some other split-fin designs which I have found disappointing, especially in an oncoming current. These split-fins were not disappointing - they work. In fact, theyre excellent.
Apollo Biofin Pros cost around US $200 (£130) a pair.
  • Apollo, www.apollosportsusa.com

  • Divernet
    + Some of the best-performing fins around

    - Expensive
    - Smelly