LET’S THINK OF SOME PRODUCTS that have made an unassailable niche for themselves with well-informed consumers. Looking around my own house, I suppose we should include Marmite, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate and PG Tips, together with Oxo Cubes, the VW Golf, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Heinz Beans, the Morphy Richards Toaster and Cherry Blossom shoe polish. You get the idea.
It’s hard to think that at some point none of these things existed, and it’s harder to imagine that the originators might have anticipated the amazing success of such products.
There isn’t much in the diving industry that comes close, unless it’s a certain brand and model of fins that adorn the feet of scuba professionals throughout the world.
Swimming along a reef wall with a group of divers recently, I noted that the younger man in front of me was making exactly twice the number of fin-strokes as me for the same effect.
He was wearing a posh pair of expensive fins but I was wearing a pair of Avanti Quattro Plus.
It’s an older design that has recently been upgraded with a more flexible technopolymer mix than was used before, and the fins are now fitted with flexible bungee straps as standard.
Mares set the standard for professional dive-guides worldwide when the people at the Italian factory first produced the Plana Avanti Quattro design some 25 years ago.
The fins have four flexible channels let into the blades and use a channel-thrust technology to squeeze all the water off the ultimate tip of the blade with the downthrust of the finning action.
There is little sideways skidding, as experienced with some other fins, and no sensation of your ankles twisting either.
The foot-pockets encompass most of your foot right up to the heel, and elastic rubber bungee straps keep your foot firmly in place, without any wobble.
There’s a loop to help pull them on and off, and it showed no signs of breaking during two weeks’ diving three times a day. Wear these fins and they become an extension of your leg.
They are by no means cheap, and yet they are a lot less expensive to buy than some other top-of-the-range fins on the market.
The Quattros have been a problem for their manufacturer in that it has been a victim of their success. Mares keeps bringing out so-called better fins such as the Excel and the X-Stream but, frankly, when you’ve had a pair of these Quattros Plus fins on your feet, you won’t bother looking any further.

Aqua-Lung Slingshot, £90
Oceanic Viper, £43
Scubapro Twinjet Max, £115
TUSA Imprex, £56

CONTACT www.mares.com
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