THE ITALIANS ARE AN EMOTIONAL LOT. It's probably how they were able to give us the Renaissance. All the best operas are written in Italian and they would make the fastest and most beautiful-looking cars, if only they could remember to tighten all the self-tapping screws before they let them off the production line.
It seems a contradiction that they also lead the world in something as mundane as the injection moulding of plastics, or technopolymers, as they would prefer us to call them. Perhaps its the result of a long history of making pasta in so many different and interesting shapes.
Although we are all Europeans now, these different national traits can sometimes lead to misunderstandings, too.
The Italian boss of one important brand was, we hear, disappointed when his company failed to win a DIVER Award. He thought that because his UK manager was on good terms with staff at the magazine, it was a done deal.
I'm not saying we're always right, but we let DIVER readers decide who wins the awards, even at the risk of disappointing advertisers!
I also seem to have upset Marco Arata, the boss of Seac-sub, because I likened his new fin to a market leader that continues to be a favourite of mine.
Thats what I would have called praise indeed, but it didnt stop him writing angry letters and emails.
Well, the new Seac-sub Propulsion is a good fin and, to me, not at all like the Seac-sub Vela Flex fin from which it is said to have evolved.
Mr Arata claims that his new fin is so beautiful and functional that it scares the competition.
Fins must represent the single biggest contrast between the dive gear you buy and the dive gear it becomes. These Seac-sub Propulsion fins look very sleek and sexy when they are unwrapped, but what will they look like after a few visits to some rusty metal deep in the ocean, or a few accidental contacts with rocks, not to mention boat-ladders
Look at the rail on the aft deck of any Egyptian liveaboard boat and you will see a collection of fins that are taken for granted by their owners, provided they work well.
They soon become the aquatic equivalent of a comfortable old pair of slippers, rather than a pair of Manolos or Jimmy Choos.

The blade is a mix of hard plastic with soft rubber-like inserts that give an effective scoop with a downward kick. Its big. The Propulsion fin measures 68cm overall in lengths L-XL.
At first glance it reminded me of a 10% upscaled version of another famous Italian
fin, but what am I saying This resemblance is only superficial.

All the new fins to arrive on the market recently seem to be a little short in the foot-pocket, and this includes the latest versions of some old favourites.
At 26cm long, the Propulsion could hardly be called generous, but that extra 3cm now abandoned by most manufacturers used to encompass my 30cm foot right up to the heel, and avoided me feeling any strain at the shin. Even the old Seac-sub Manta had a much longer foot-pocket than these new fins.
I'm told that the foot-pocket of these fins is, unlike the fins of some competitors, made from a third material, a really soft technopolymer.
I suppose this adds comfort.
At least Seac-sub has thought about climbing boat-ladders and standing on slippery decks while wearing these fins, and has incorporated an effective grippy area the full length of the underside. Why don't more makers do this
I noticed that the interior of the foot pockets made the fins suck well onto smooth-soled wetsuit boots, but they are a bit of a beggar to get off, despite the vent-hole on the sole near the toe area.

Straps & Buckles
The buckles are not the same as those that seem to be fitted to every other fin on the market.
I sometimes get the feeling that all plastic buckles come from the same buckle-mine somewhere in the Republic of China.
These are different. They feature a pinch-release that does not separate the buckle into two parts but just allows about 1.5cm of slack (when released both sides) on the strap to enable you to pull the fins off easily.
Even the stud to which the buckle fixes is unusual, in that it has a little button and spring that locates it. Never try to replace a strap buckle on this while out at sea, because the little plastic pin and metal spring are free once the buckle is removed, and when the spring goes ping you'll be hunting for it in the gunwales.
I stuffed a pair of replacement Beaver stainless-steel spring straps in my bag, just in case, and was glad I did when two pairs of those silly little pins and springs went missing in ordinary day-to-day liveaboard diving.

I felt duty-bound to try these Seac-sub Propulsion fins with a speedometer in the pool first, to establish some sort of comparison with the fins we recently compared in our group test. I consistently achieved more than 4kmph, which puts these fins in the top category.
If you like fins that use channel-thrust technology (a term used by a competing manufacturer) youll like these too.
Out at sea, their efficacy was nothing short of prodigious. They felt exactly like a pair of my favourite fins on the end of my legs, though that is of course purely subjective.
I actually enjoyed thrusting forward, head-on into a current. In fact my ankles told me that these fins were probably more efficient than those of their rivals.
Frank Van der Lindt of the liveaboard Siren was complaining bitterly about some ineffective fins he had borrowed, so I lent the Propulsions to him for a dive.
He came back with a smile on his face. Something of a he-man, he liked the fins performance, while reckoning that for some users they would simply be too powerful.

Mares Avanti Quattro, £70
Cressi Rondine A, £47
Mares Avanti Superchannel, £50

Divernet Divernet
WEIGHT .4kg in L-XL
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