THE VIPER OPEN-HEEL FIN is produced by our American friends, so I felt that it was appropriate to be taking a pair wreck-diving in Oceanic’s backyard in Florida.
Cory Hickson, our boat-owner, driver and guide, commented: “You British divers like to be traditional, don’t you-all They’re not split-fins, and that’s just so old-fashioned.”
I didn’t argue, because in his other job Cory hunts bail-jumpers with his wife and carries multiple firearms (not that he probably needs them, see photo).
I knew I was on a losing battle trying to convince these guys that the “old traditional” fins I was using were good enough accessories with which to dive.

The Design
Vipers are mid-priced lightweight fins, weighing in at 1.58kg a pair, so they won’t eat much of your valuable baggage allowance when you’re travelling by air.
They have a streamlined but nice-sized foot-pocket that provided me with two advantages – firstly, they’re really easy to get on and off and, secondly, they’re extremely comfortable to use.
Twin channels direct water off the tip of the blade and the side-rails prevent the water from spilling over the outer edges.
The dual materials create a fin blade that’s rigid but pliant where it needs to be, which creates a nice blend of agility and power.
In use the Vipers felt stable and provided enough forward propulsion to deal easily with the moderate currents we encountered in the Gulf of Mexico.
For wrecks I was told that they might be a little long, but in practice they didn’t get me into any trouble.
Mind you, I was mindful that if I trashed the visibility or made contact with any wreckage I was going to “get a slap” from the giant of a man filling the wheelhouse – a great incentive to be on my best behaviour.

Conclusion
A few dives into the trip and Cory asked if he could try the fins out. Call me a chicken if
you like, but I instantly agreed and handed them over.
I followed him around the wreck, noticing how easily the Vipers pushed his muscled bulk through the water. Back on the boat he asked me: “Where I can get a pair of these from”
Says it all, really.

SPECS
PRICE £45
COLOURS Five
SIZES XS, S, R, XL
WEIGHT 1.58kg
CONTACT www.oceanicuk.com
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