INNOCENTLY WEARING A PAIR of lightweight plastic Birkenstock sandals the other day, I found myself having a somewhat surreal conversation with a person extolling the virtues of Crocs. Are they more comfortable I don't know, but if the pair of plastic sandals I was wearing had not been sufficiently comfortable, they would not have been on my feet. It's what suits you or what suits me, sir.
Similarly, I was diving with a technical-diving guru who voiced the opinion that the fins I was wearing looked silly. Ever forceful, he was wearing a pair of Californian-made ducks feet.
The new Cressi Frog Plus fins will attract little of this, some would say, unwanted attention. They look very conventional, apart from the large indent along the leading edge of the blade.
The Cressi family business has been making injection-moulded fins virtually since the Italians ditched Mussolini and opted for a less reliable train service. Theres very little Cressi doesnt know about combining different technopolymers, and these fins are produced in its factory set among the hills of Christopher Columbus birthplace, Genoa. There is not a hint of rice bowl, unless its risotto.
The original Frog fin was one of the first fin designs to pitch the blade at an angle distinctly different to that of the foot-pocket. Its remarkable that it caused such a stir at the time.
However, it was quite substantially built and, though largely well received, weighed a lot in the dive bag. In todays climate of carbon-footprint awareness, thats a distinct no-no.
I brought a pair of these Frog Plus fins back from the international DEMA show in the
USA. Entirely new, they use a combination of technopolymers to ensure that they are
soft and pliable where they need to be, and rigid elsewhere.

Foot-pocket
Set well below the line of the blade, as with other Cressi fins, the foot-pocket on size M-L
fins accepts about 27cm of my foot in a slim wetsuit boot, but not enough to encompass my heel. They felt comfortable, but I would have preferred the next size up, because the shorter pocket can add a little strain to the calf muscle - at least, it does in my case, though it may fit you more comfortably.
Each foot-pocket has a couple of holes at the toe end through which water drains in a satisfying manner - unless you are passing the fins up from the water, in which case it pees all over you.
The fins have a good non-slip surface on the underside.

Blade
The design of these latest Frog Plus fins looks a little unadventurous compared to some of todays fins. However, while the blades look conventional,
I found that the material from which they are constructed has such a good memory effect that you can actually roll them into a tight shape and once released they recover immediately.
This certainly helps with packing a dive bag, as does the overall minimal weight of these fins.

Straps & Buckles
Although Frog Plus fins appear to use conventional straps with quick-release buckles, the manner in which these are attached to the fins makes some other makes look fairly primitive.
The buckles snap in and out in a satisfyingly precise way and they can revolve smoothly
on their axles.
If you buy these fins, however, I suggest that you also buy a pair of Cressi spring-straps. This takes away all the anguish of a rubber fin-strap breaking just as youre about to get
in the water, and they keep the feet snugly in place and make the most of your finning efforts.

Efficacy
Cressi fins have always worked well for those with the right muscles. In common with other fins from this manufacturer, they have a rigid centre to the blade that undoubtedly shoves the water back and the user forwards.
I always found that other Cressi flat-bladed fins needed a lot of concentration on my part
to stop them skidding sideways with my downwards kick.
These fins have strong side-bars that make the blade tend to form more of a shovel in the manner (dare I say it) of a Mares Plana Avanti Quattro, and that certainly suits my rather more lethargic style of finning.
I suffered a little calf cramp when really going for it with the Frog Plus fins, but I guess that if I had worn them one size larger this would not have happened.
For most people, these fins would make a pretty safe choice, and spring them forward effectively, even in a head-on current.

Comparable Fins to Consider:
Aeris Velocity, £70
Seac Propulsion, £60
TUSA Tri Ex, £69

SPECS
PRICE £52
SIZES XS/S, S/M, M/L, L/XL
COLOURS Black/Grey, Yellow, Blue
DRY WEIGHT 1.8kg
CONTACT www.cressi-it
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