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FINSMares Plana Avanti Quattro with Beaver spring straps
ITS A SAD FACT THAT THE MOST EXCITING ANIMALS to encounter while diving always seem to be those associated with strong currents. This can make the experience arduous.
     I have never considered myself an athlete. The only award I ever won was in running for cover. So you can guess that I was bemused to hear an exceptionally fit dive-guide in a Third World country telling someone else that he thought I was very strong.
     Later, a young German man with whom I had been diving said he was impressed by the way I had swum against an opposing current, especially loaded down, as I always am, with a very large camera and two big flash units. I had left him for dead. I suggested that these feats were nothing to do with strength - it was simply that I had very good fins.
     Anyone who has read diver over the past few years will know that I am a fan of Mares Plana Avanti Quattro fins, as indeed are so many dive-guides throughout the world.
     In our comparison tests of fins, these nearly always come top or very near the top. The question was, how could they be made better than they already are
     My old Quattros were very fluffy round the edges, and had started to go a bit floppy. I recently obtained a new pair, and they were much more rigid.
     I like the way my foot gets incorporated completely within the foot-pocket, so that the fins become an extension of my leg. My weak ankles are omitted from the equation and my calf and thigh muscles take on all the load.

Shovelling water
Of course, it is important that the fins are held in position snugly, and I improved the security of the fit by replacing the otherwise faultless Mares Advanced Buckle System (ABS) with Beaver Stainless-Steel Fin Straps. These simply fit directly to the lugs on the fins.
     Hey presto! The fins were dramatically improved. I was able to transfer all of my effort to shovelling water, with none wasted in taking up the slack, even when I had my head down and was giving it my all in a current.
     The springs kept the straps tight, and the feet tight in the foot-pocket, but there was never any danger that an over-tightened fin-strap might break.
     And a finger in the loop at the back was all it took to step out of the fins after a dive.
     Mares Plana Avanti Quattro fins cost£91.75 a pair and are available in Small, Regular and Extra Large sizes. Beaver Stainless-Steel Fin Straps are available in three sizes and cost£16.95 a pair.
  • Blandford Sub-Aqua 01823 663849. Beaver Sports 01484 512354


  • Divernet
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    + Top-performing combination


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    - None