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FINS  Force Pro
No mention of Force fins should ever be made without reference to their inventor and manufacturer Bob Evans. he was born in Paris but is resident in California. Think of the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Meet the Fockers.
It took someone completely off-the-wall to radically rethink diving fins at a time when they all looked exactly the same and were made of the same black rubber. Bob uses solid polyurethane and casts the material by hand in his own moulds in small batches, and this gives him the opportunity to make ongoing adjustments.
Since his first fins came on the market, he has come up with hundreds of designs, some of which are wacky enough to make the original Force Pro fins look staid by comparison.
They have always done well in our side-by-side comparisons and under the precise eye of our underwater speedometers, but its been about 10 years since I last used a pair and reported on them in these pages.
I recently took some to the Red Sea, and enlisted the support of closed-circuit rebreather diver Simon Powell in investigating their unique properties.
Force fins are virtually indestructible. They are small and take up no room in the dive bag, but you could fold them up without doing any lasting damage. The material has a great ability to retain its original shape.

Forgotten your fins
They are kept on the foot by a simple length of elastic cord. Bob insists that because the action of using them forces them onto the foot, you need nothing more. The elastic is there simply to stop them falling off when you are at rest.
The foot rests in an arch of material and is gripped across the top so that the boot toes are free to wiggle. At first glance, one can hardly believe they will be effective.
First impressions on hitting the water are that you have forgotten to put your fins on, because they are so compact, even in size XL, and there seems to be so little water resistance. It is slightly disturbing at first.
They may be convenient for walking about on deck because they are so small, but Simon and I both found that they were very slippery when climbing back up the ladder of the boat after diving, so we chose to take them off in the water beforehand.
I followed Simon around the wreck of the Carnatic. He was wearing the Force Pros and I had another pair of fins that always come at or near the top of the performance table.
I was attempting to get a good rear-view photo of the Force Pro fins in action, and can tell you that when Simon put his head down and went for it, there seemed to be no catching him. These fins certainly work at sprinting speeds.
However, when he was simply cruising I was never able to anticipate which way he was going to move his fins next.
Once I put them on to my own feet, the reason became apparent. I found that the Force Pros put little or no loading onto my legs. They were as easy to use as no fins at all. If I straightened my legs and went for a fast flutter-kick, I made lots of quick forward progress.
That said, once I relaxed and dawdled, I encountered the polished-floor effect. There seemed to be nothing to stop my feet sliding through the water sideways. I felt I was always in danger of skidding. My feet tended to drift off in random directions.
When intent on hurtling forwards, they worked well. When I wanted to stop and hold a position, to look at or photograph something, I found it necessary to spread my legs wide to avoid rotating about my own axis.
The original VW Beetles were an undeniable sales success. Millions of people drove them worldwide. This did not stop me disliking them, and I never owned one. I always felt that the front end was about to lift off at motorway speeds, even though it never did.
I decided that a Beetle was OK once you got used to its quirkiness but that it was a car best for other people.
I feel the same about the Force Pro fins. I can understand why they have such a strong and loyal following, and I think theyre great, but for everyone else. Those who suffer from leg cramps due to the action of heavy finning should also consider them as an option. However, I enjoy a slow heartbeat and a long, leisurely finning action. The fast flutter kick is not something I can or want to sustain.
Remember, fins are merely like a set of tyres. You can choose your fins but you are stuck with the engine with which you were supplied, and my motor revs rather slowly.
Sizes are slightly weird, too. My size 11 feet in wetsuit boots were exceedingly snug in a pair of XL fins. I would not have got my drysuit boots into anything smaller than XXXL.
Made in small batches from an expensive raw material, these fins are not cheap, either.
Force Pro fins are available in notional sizes M to XXXL in yellow or black, and cost£137 per pair.
  • Poseidon Diving Systems 01420 8430909,
    www.poseidon-uk.co.uk


  • Divernet Divernet
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    + Effective
    + Long-lasting
    + Easy to pack
    + Good straight-line performance


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    - You need to know how to use them
    - Poor cornering