Hi all, I just found the news about the reviews after testing 18 fins done by Scuba Diving Magazine. It was quite long time ago but it is still relevant since most of suppliers have not changed their design till now. Besides that, they also recommended kick styles suitable for the fins
The Mako was the surprise hit in this year's test. Don't let the generic look fool you-this fin has a slightly wider blade, flexible center channel, high-performance vents and snappy rails that create an efficient, powerful kicker that scored near the top of every objective performance test. The Mako put up the second-fastest time in the speed test, the third-highest force in the thrust test and the second-fastest time through the slalom course. On the reef, test divers gave it high marks in every ergonomic category, but they particularly liked the fin's quick acceleration and effortless hovering ability.
Test Diver Comments "Nice straightforward fin, very functional"... "A very stable fin that loves to dolphin kick"...
"Respectable power to effort ratio."
Bottom Line The Mako is a solid fin that gets the job done with power, speed, maneuverability and comfort. It's also one of the least expensive fins in the test group.
The Mantaray is virtually identical to the Deep Outdoors 6-Gill we tested in 2005, with the noticeable addition of an improved nonskid surface. This all-rubber fin uses a multi-vent channeling system designed to focus thrust and reduce effort, and comes with a buckle-free fin strap system. The short, flexible blade is easy to kick and offers quick, off-the-line acceleration, though it tops out at average speed. It's very stable, thanks to flexible side wings that add surface area on the power stroke but relax on the upstroke. The smaller blade also shines in maneuverability, as well as the frog and dolphin kicks. The compact size makes it a good travel fin, and although the buckle-free strap system is a pain to set up, once adjusted to your foot, it allows for easy donning and doffing.
Test Diver Comments "A very maneuverable fin" ... "A soft flex that's easy on the legs"... "The straps are great
once they are set, but have a learning curve with adjusting."
Bottom Line The Mantaray offers comfort and average performance in a compact, travel-friendly package.
Apollo Sports Bio-Fin Pro C-Series
Not much has changed with the Bio-Fin Pro C-Series since our last review-it's now available in high-visibility white and Apollo's stainless steel spring straps are now standard in more sizes. But that sameness is a good thing if you're a fan of these heavy, all-rubber fins. The newest version has the same stiffness (70 durometer rubber) and 20-degree blade angle, while sharing the honor of the fastest average speed for the open-heel fins in this test (2.2 mph). It delivered the fastest slalom course time among open-heel fins, and it produced a whopping 40 pounds of thrust. The Bio-Fin Pro was the only open-heel fin to earn an Excellent rating from test divers for Power vs. Stress, and one of only two fins to earn that rating for Acceleration. The convenient spring straps make the fin easy to put on and take off, and while its negative buoyancy drew mixed reactions, test divers ultimately deemed this fin a Testers' Choice among open-heel split fins.
Test Diver Comments "Maneuverability and speed best describe this fin"... "No-hassle spring straps worked great"... "Getting used to sculling took some practice, but they are very comfy."
Bottom Line Comfortable rubber construction, killer spring straps and excellent all-round performance make this an easy fin to love, but it's also a little pricey.
Aqua Lung Blades 2 Flex
Bottom Line The Blades 2 Flex is a good all-around performer with a comfy foot pocket and cool quick-release buckle system.
With an "almost split fin" design and downward-angled blade, the Duo-Vortex is an intriguing design, but our tests indicate it still needs some work. The fin was the slowest on the speed course, slowest through the slalom course, and tied for lowest thrust measurement. Test divers rated it only Fair in three of our most important ergonomic evaluations (Power v. Stress, Maneuverability and Acceleration), but Good for Stability. Their general consensus: In spite of its multi-part, flow-through blade, it's a very stiff fin that's difficult to kick. Maneuvering was also difficult compared to the other fins in this review.
Test Diver Comments "Pretty stiff fins, but stable side to side" ...
"Length hampered maneuverability"... "Not sure this design works."
Bottom Line It's a fascinating concept, but a weak performer in the water.
Atomic Aquatics Smoke on the Water
This impressive new fin gets its name from the smoky transparent panels on its long split blades. They are a bit more flexible than previous versions of the Atomic Splitfin, but still generated the highest thrust measurement of all the fins in this review. The Smoke on the Water fins also tied for the fastest speed score among open-heel fins and slashed through the slalom course with a top-three performance. In ergonomic tests, it was one of only two open-heel fins to earn an Excellent rating from test divers for Acceleration, and it also earned the highest score possible for ease of donning and doffing, thanks to the new spring straps with oversized finger grip. Firm rubber rails produce great power with little effort and provide stability with all kick styles.
Test Diver Comments "The perfect balance of comfort, speed and maneuverability"... "An all-around great fin made better with the spring strap"... "Power and control: What more can you say?"
Bottom Line The numbers and the comments speak for themselves, as did the consensus of test divers in naming this fin a Testers' Choice among open-heel split fins.
The Reaction is a solid fin with traditional performance characteristics. It features a long, stiff blade that is made more flexible by combining three different material thicknesses, but still takes some muscle to move efficiently. It's also smooth from foot pocket to blade tip for less turbulence, and it's stabilized by efficient side rails. The result is better-than-average thrust compared to the other fins in this review, but slightly slower speed measurements and slalom course times. Test divers said the wide, traditional blade was great for sculling and remained very stable in all kicking styles. Buckles and straps were easy to adjust and earned the Reaction a Very Good rating for Donning and Doffing. The wide heel straps in particular were very secure and comfortable.
Test Diver Comments
"It has a snappy blade that is either on or off"... "The flutter and dolphin kick produced rapid acceleration"... "As someone who likes a stiffer blade, they worked for me."
Bottom Line The Reaction was lauded most by those who like a stiffer blade. While it offers variable flexibility with a blending of materials, its large surface area still needs some muscle to move.
The new Eclipse is a light, stiff fin that gets the job done without much fanfare. It boasts a super angulated blade design and easy-to-adjust quick-release buckles, but the coolest thing about these fins is the $49 price tag. The Eclipse found itself in the middle of the pack in terms of speed, thrust and maneuverability, and test divers consistently rated it a Good performer in all ergonomic categories and with all styles of kicks. Divers who like their fins on the stiff side were able to get nice acceleration and power, but fans of softer fins felt those gains took too much effort.
Test Diver Comments "Fin is stiff and rigid, a lot of work for power"... "Very easy to accelerate quickly"... "Great fins, nice power when needed."
Bottom Line A stiff fin best suited to divers with strong legs-but you can't beat the manufacturer's suggested retail price.
Mares Quattro Excel
The Quattro Excel came out shortly after our last fin test, so we had to wait until this year to see how it would stack up against an increasingly competitive field. It features Mares' patented Channel Thrust Technology, which combines flexible thermoplastic rubber channels with Technopolymer stiffening stringers to control water flow for efficiency and power. Also new are the ABS Plus buckles that allow quick cam action for easy removal without having to alter the strap adjustment. During objective tests, it scored among the top three paddle fins for thrust produced and came in above-average in the speed and maneuverability tests. Test divers considered them one of the stiffer fins in the test group, but found them equally good for flutter, dolphin and frog kicks. The consensus opinion was that the Quattro Excel offers good power, stability and acceleration and works best for divers with big legs pushing heavy loads.
Test Diver Comments "Fins very easy to remove and replace"... "This fin gives you more power than maneuverability" ... "A good, powerful fin, but you need to be strong enough to use it."
Bottom Line The Quattro Excel offers a traditional feel with state-of-the-art technology in materials and design.
Mares Quattro Excel
Mares Avanti Superchannel
The Avanti Superchannel is brand-new this year and comes with a soft center channel for flex and efficiency and a full rubber foot pocket upper for comfort. It also sports the new ABS Plus buckle system, and in our series of tests, it kicked some serious bottom time. The blade has a smooth flex that turned in speed performance almost as fast as the top open-heel fins in this review. It produced average thrust and snaked through the slalom course in good time, but what test divers noticed was its stability. Divers who prefer a stiffer feel really liked this fin, and found it worked well for pushing heavy loads through the water. Our team also found the fin comfortable to wear, easy to control and a snap to propel with any kick style.
Test Diver Comments "A good solid fin"... "Very comfortable and efficient"...
"Very good control with small movements."
Bottom Line When the votes were tallied, the Avanti Superchannel came out on top as the favorite open-heel, paddle fin, earning a Testers' Choice Rating. It also comes in with a retail price lower than most in the pack, making it a Best Buy, too.
Mor-fin Natural Delfin
The Natural Delfin is made from 100 percent natural rubber, a big change from the first generation of Mor-fins, which were made from a plastic compound that resulted in sharp edges and a slippery feel on wet boat decks. The new rubber compound has a much more natural feel and better traction, but with less snap to the blade, they're not as fast as their predecessors-though test divers felt they put out decent power with low effort and accelerated smartly with short, quick kicks. The Delfin landed in the middle of the pack for thrust measurements and maneuverability. Test divers said it works best with a dolphin kick, and noticed that due to a lack of side rails, the fins have a tendency to slice sideways. The Delfin uses the same buckle-free strap system that is found on the Mantaray with the same results-easy donning and doffing once it's adjusted, but it's a bit of a pain to set up.
Test Diver Comments "Quick acceleration with low effort"... "Very light and comfy"... "Agile and responsive."
Bottom Line The new rubber compound is a marked improvement in comfort. These fins pack well for travel, and work best with a short kick style.
Test divers found a lot to like about the Viper, a light, comfortable fin with a winning combination of materials, design and a very reasonable price. A soft center channel with lively stiffening panels and resilient rails on a slightly oversized blade work together to produce above-average speed and a respectable amount of thrust, but this fin really seemed to hit its stride in the turns. There wasn't a kicking style it didn't like, and it was one of only two fins that divers rated Very Good in every ergo category. Test divers also found the fin very comfortable, thanks to a soft rubber foot pocket and wide heel strap.
Test Diver Comments "These fins delivered"... "They gave more push than I expected"... "Good speed with little
Bottom Line The Viper is a quick, light fin that provides a smooth powerful kick-and all at a great price
The Kinetix is lightweight and slim, making for a versatile travel fin. Three materials blend together for a smooth flex with an added spunk provided by springy reinforcement on the back. The thermoplastic rubber foot pocket is comfortable with a wide strap and quick-release buckles. Speed was its strongest point, landing it in the middle of the test group. Test divers found it to be a consistent performer with a light snappy feel and gave the fin Good ratings for Power, Stability and Maneuverability
Test Diver Comments
"I could maneuver easily with these"... " A good cruising fin"...
"Comfortable and maneuverable."
Bottom Line A nice thin paddle fin that offers good all-around performance and travels well.
Scubapro Twin Jet Max
This new split fin has evolved from all-rubber construction to a dual-compound design, resulting in a stiffer blade. The fin's open-heel foot pocket design is also new, made of a softer compound for greater comfort. The soleplate has been extended to provide more leverage when transferring power and energy to the fin, and the heel straps are thick with a large finger loop and easy-adjust, quick-release buckles. It landed in the middle of the pack on most objective test measurements, but became a favorite among test divers during ergo tests, earning Very Good ratings in virtually all categories. Our divers thought it worked best with a short, quick flutter kick or dolphin kick, and praised it for a comfortable foot pocket and lack of leg strain.
Test Diver Comments "Low leg stress and an easy kicker" ... "I like the large loop in the strap"... "Comfortable
with any kick."
Bottom Line The Twin Jet Max is a solid all-around performer that stands out in comfort.
Oceanic Vortex V-8
The Vortex V-8 is a comfortable split fin that hits the shelf with a price tag that's $100 less than the next closest split fin in this review. Oceanic utilizes composite materials for flex and firm side rails to direct water flow. On the test courses, the Vortex V-8 delivered near identical performance to its Viper cousin, though the Vortex V-8 took two seconds longer to get through the slalom course. Divers found it a good all-round performer, offering good power to effort attributes.
Test Diver Comments "Accelerated quickly with short flutter"... "Easy to adjust
and remove"... "Nice finger loop
Bottom Line The Vortex V-8 is a good entry-level split fin offering efficient fin performance at a fair price.
P/S: Apollo Bio Fin still achieved highest raking ^^