APS MantaRays are made from a pliable plastic material that is very lightweight. If you like traditional, heavy, negatively buoyant rubber fins, stop reading now.
Weight seems to have become of almost over-riding importance among divers who immerse themselves anywhere other than home waters. These fins are quite compact, and weigh less than 1.5kg per pair in the largest size available. The American diving press had raved about them and, probably because of this, I was anxious to try a pair and find out what all the fuss was about.
These fins come fitted with interesting universal techno-polymer straps that can be used either with fin buckles, the metal pin system, or fitted direct to the buckle-post of
a fin. They can be adjusted for a wide range of fittings, simply by connecting a different set of holes in the strap to the mushroom-post on the fin.

MantaRay fins sport dual-directional water-channelling in a double layer of material that is vented. This is claimed to derive good performance from a lightweight product that is smaller than most. APS stands for Advanced Propulsion System.
However, Im well aware that a lot of fin performance is down to the engine as much as to the propeller, so I set about doing a side-by-side comparison with Mares Plana Avanti Quattros and Mares Raptor split fins during the long surface swims required during our recent regulator comparison test.
I had been easily able to keep pace with the other divers during this exercise until
I tried the MantaRay fins, when I found that although there might have been a lot less effort in moving them through the water, stroke for stroke I was gradually left behind. I had to increase the rate of my kicking to keep up. Theres no gain without pain.
I didnt write them off at that moment, however. I felt that they would suit a diver with shorter legs than me, one who was comfortable doing a fast flutter kick.
Under water, I noticed that I had to kick a lot faster for the same result I might have achieved with the Mares, or any of many other top-quality fins.

I attempted to duck under myself as I swam, in order to photograph the fins on my own feet and in action. Thats when I encountered another, more important problem.
These fins are so buoyant that every time I did this I went vertical, feet upwards.
Do not try these fins while wearing a drysuit, or an inversion disaster might befall you. I had been using a new BC with integrated weights and, previously during the dive, when I had knelt on the sand to take a particular photograph,
I had kept falling forwards.
Naturally, I was inclined to blame this on the position of the weights within the BC, but in fact the buoyant fins were pushing my feet up, and pivoting me forward on my knees.
I waited to see what the next person made of the fins during the photo-shoot. He said that they were continually turning him head-down, legs-up, and he had to make a conscious effort to swim horizontally so that I could get suitable shots.
Although these fins have open heels and are patently designed for use with boots, I believe that they are more suitable for snorkellers than divers. If a snorkeller loses a fin, MantaRays do at least offer the advantage of being easy to find - they will be floating.


Almost any other fin

PRICE Expected to be around £100
CONTACT Likely to be distributed in Europe by SiTech, www.apsmantaray.com
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