A new Super Test by AP in a very battled and difficult field, the one of composite blades fin: glass and carbon fiber.

After having analyzed them in the First Impressions of composite blades fins, AP, as anticipated, has worked on the Super Test. Tests have been brought forward in the most astonishing, spectacular and deep structure worldwide, the Y-40– This “pool” with its – 40 meters, the amazing transparency, the ideal temperature and stability of the water, represents the ideal location for the test of diving equipment.


Companies involved

AP has involved the most impostant and key companies worldwide that design the highest quality fins in the international market. Companies who have believed in their product and have been part of the test are, in alphabetical order: Alemanni (Speedy), Beuchat (Mundial Carbone), Cressi (Gara Modular Carbon), Carbonio GFT (Alpha), Mares (Rasor Carbon), Pathos (Abyss), Salvimar (Boomblast), Seac (Motus Fibrex Pro) and Seatec (H2O).

Companies who have refused the challenge have been C4 and Cetma Composites.

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The test 

Practival test of fins goes through the evaluation of different characteristics such as lightness, softness, thrust, resistance, directionality, noise, ect. In this specific test AP has concentrated efforts on few measures linked to vertical dives: Softness, Lightness, Reactivity and Push. More general measures have not been made, such as efficiency, softness and push of the blades in transfers on the water surface, or the noise and directionality of the fins, qualities which are useful when spearfishing for example. The measures have been made in dives down to 20 and 30 meters, values of depths which are interesting for divers with medium-high capacities. Performing a number of dives with the different fins AP has analyzed sensations and data measured. On one side, the sensations of expert freedivers have been collected, on the other, AP has produced a unique study, with the meaure of the diving curves both in the descent and ascend phases, linking them with the number of kicks utilized by the diver, being so able to determine in the best possible way the efficiency of all the fins tested.


The testers

We have wanted to bring forward the practical tests with expert freedivers, to obtain an evaluation of the fins at different levels. The top level has been kindly covered by Marco Mardollo, who does not need any presentation, as founder of Apnea Academy together with Umberto Pelizzari, FIPSAS instructor and trainer, and able, in 2008, to reach 140 m in dynamic apnoea with monofin, and finally manager of Y-40. Second level has been covered by an Apnea Academy Instructor, who has not the CV of Mardollo, but represents anyway an extremely skilled freediver. Finally, AP has made evaluations focused on medium level freedivers, which actually represent the highest number of enthusiasts.



The tests done, especially the ones that have been measured, are influenced by aspects such as diving and finning technique, and also by some necessary approximations, and so results must not be taken at face value (differently from the Super Test of the masks, which gave more precise and controllable measures), but they are anyway good to help giving an idea of the efficiency of the fins analyzed, and indications on some of their strong and weak points. This is true especially for an avarage freediver or spearo, that utilizes a traditional and intuitive kicking technique. In general, it must also be considered that fins analyzed and tested are among the best on the market and that, as we will see, differences in thrust and efficiency are anyway quite small. Finally, evidently, in the tests with data acquisition the freediver has always been the same one and has tried as much as possible to maintain unvaried the diving technique, both in the descent and ascent phases.


Data acquisition and analysis

To help register the data of the dives AP has utilized an excellent computer watch, the Mares Smart Apnea, that easily permits to download the data on PC, and also indicates the vertical speed in every moment of the dive.

The registered dives, down to – 20 m, have been repeated 3 times for each pair of fins, so to have coherent values and avoid that one wrong dive could lead to incorrect data acquisition.

The graphs of the descent that have been registered for each pair of fins have indicated, with sampling rate of 1 second, the depth reached from the beginning of the dive, and have made it possible to compare different graphs.

Since in the descent phase the human factor (how turning upside down is done) impacts the initial phase of the dive, we have eliminated the first 3 seconds of the dive. It has then been possible to align the depths of the dives with the different fins starting from second 4, making all dives start from – 2.5 m. With good approximation we can state that starting from this moment on the push given by the fins has determined the downward speed of the diver.

In case of the ascent phase, instead, what has been fundamental is to exclude the data of the last meters from the surface, where the positive buoyancy influences too much the speed. It has been so decided to analyze data until 3 seconds before reaching the surface, while the starting point has been set at – 17 m to be able to exclude the effects of the turn done by the freediver at – 20 m.

Not only. Even though the descent and ascent technique has been kept as constant as possible, trying to maintain kicks unvaried in intesity and numbers with all fins, some difference has been registered. In particular, with different fins the number of kicks in the two phases of the dive has been sometimes slightly different, even considering the avarage number of kicks of the 3 dives done per each pair of fins. To be able to evaluate correctly the efficiency of the different pairs of fins, it has been necessary to “normalize” the different number of kicks to a unique value. For example, taking as reference 30 kicks in the descent phase, a pair of fins that has needed only 29 kicks to reach – 20 m will have values of depth per unit of time multiplied by 30/29. In such a way, it has been possible to better analyze the efficiency of eack kick with the various pairs of fins.


Measured data

The graphs obtained show values of depth in meters (vertical axis) at each instant of time in seconds (horizontal axis).

In the graph that shows the descent phase the diving curve is shown. The more such curve goes down rapidly and the more the fins are efficient and the downward movement has been fast. Practically, the inclination of the curve represents the downward speed: the more the curve is inclined towards the bottom and the more the descent phase has been rapid.

On the ascent phase graph the curves that are inclined more towards the top show faster upward movement and so more efficient fins.



Below the graph that shows the descent curves of the different pairs of fins is represented. The curves that appear lower to the others, which means with greater inclination, indicate more efficient fins. In particular the Pathos Abyss appear with a greater inclination compared to most competition practically on most of the descent curve. Very good are also the curves of Salvimar Boomblast, Mares Rasor Carbon and GFT Alpha. The final values after the 23rd second have been eliminated since they are influenced by the turn made by the freediver at the end of the descent, considering that in such moment the buoyancy is already very negative.


Descent comparison graphs chart

To better be able to read the global graph, below is a chart of comparison of each pair of fins using the graphs coming from the data registered by the Mares Smart Apnea. Data is double simply to make it easier and faster to find the comparison we want, but there is absolutely no difference between the graphs above or below the diagonal of the chart (indicated with the – symbol in the boxes).

Alemanni Speedy Beuchat Mundial Carbone Cressi Gara Modular Carbon GFT Alpha Mares Rasor Carbon Pathos Abyss Salvimar Boomblast Seac Motus Fibrex Pro Seatec H2O
Alemanni Speedy  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Beuchat Mundial Carbone  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Cressi Gara Modular Carbon  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
GFT Alpha  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Mares Rasor Carbon  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Pathos Abyss  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Salvimar Boomblast  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Seac Motus Fibrex Pro  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Seatec H2O  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click


From the general graph and the above chart let us analyze performance of each pair of fins in the descent phase.

Alemanny Speedy

The Alemanni Speedy blades have been mounted on Pathos foot-pockets, since Alemanni only manufactures blades. The Speedy are aligned with average performance in the initial phase of the descent, where length and a less reactive material (glass fiber) do not permit excellence, while speed improves more and more after – 10 m, reaching performance aligned with the best fins tested.

Beuchat Mundial Carbone

Even though visually very well refined, complete with nice Beuchat foot-pocket, the Mundial Carbone appear to be quite weak compared to the other fins tested, more or less at all depths. Surely the age of the design of these fins shows its limits in comparison with the other fins tested.

Cressi Gara Modular Carbon

Supported by a very comfortable and soft foot-pocket, with patented “Self Adjusting” system, the Cressi Gara Modular Carbon perform well in the first part of the dive, after which the fins maintain constant push, but inferior compared to the best performers. We remind that Cressi has, in the meantime, slightly softened the harder of the two kinds of rubber of the foot-pocket (which in particular is used to build the longerons), to better adapt to different kinds of blades, including the carbon fiber ones. This, evidently, could determine an improvement of performance also of the Gara Modular Carbon.

GFT Alpha

As GFT has also confirmed, the Alpha blades, mounted on the Salvimar K-Reinforced (not modified), give their best after the initial acceleration phase, meaning at regime, and in particular deeper than – 8 m.

Mares Rasor Carbon

The Mares Raser Carbon are not excellent in the very first meters, until – 5 m, but after such depth they accelerate considerably with amazing performance  from – 12 m downward.

Pathos Abyss

Fins complete with Pathos foot-pocket, the Abyss have shown amazing performance in the test, with speed that, after the – 3.5 m, shows these fins actually the best performing ones of the entire lot, until practically maximum depth analyzed. This is also thanks to their lightness and the reactivity of the blades.

Salvimar Boomblast

With their strongly V shape flap the Salvimar Boomblast where somehow a question mark, but in the end the results analyzed in the descent phase are extremely good. From the start of the descent down to – 15 m the Boomblast are practically the best performing fins, behind only to the Pathos Abyss. After that, performance of the Boomblast continues to be extremely good and aligns to the excellent Mares Rasor Carbon.

Seac Motus Fibrex Pro

Harder version compared to the Motus Fibrex (non Pro), the glass fiber fins by Seac seem to be made of carbon fiber thanks to their great reactivity. These fins, with extremely neat double hardness rubber, have descent performance more or less aligned to Cressi Gara Modular Carbon (see comparison graph on chart for details).

Seatec H2O

Quite good down to – 5 m, the Seatec H2O loose performance going down and positioning themselves on average-low levels from – 6 m on. It must be underlined that, especially from – 6 m to – 13 m, the Seatec underperform compared to competition, while recovering partially in the last meters of the descent. Seatec H2O are long fins that seem to require maybe a finning technique different from the standard one used in the test.


As for descent, the graph shows the depth on the vertical axis and the time in seconds on the horizontal axis. Ascent is aligned for all pairs of fins from – 17 m, since the turn at – 20 m and the start of the first kick to move upward bring depth of the computer watch to more or less such depth.

Ascent graphs comparison chart

Below the comparison chart for each pair of fins to better analyze the ascent graphs resulting from the data registered by the Mares Smart Apnea.

Alemanni Speedy Beuchat Mundial Carbone Cressi Gara Modular Carbon GFT Alpha Mares Rasor Carbon Pathos Abyss Salvimar Boomblast Seac Motus Fibrex Pro Seatec H2O
Alemanni Speedy  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Beuchat Mundial Carbone  click  click  click  click  click  click  click  click
Cressi Gara Modular Carbon  click click  click  click  click  click  click  click
GFT Alpha  click click click  click  click  click  click  click
Mares Rasor Carbon  click click click click  click  click  click  click
Pathos Abyss  click click click click click  click  click  click
Salvimar Boomblast  click click click click click click  click  click
Seac Motus Fibrex Pro  click click click click click click click  click
Seatec H2O  click click click click click click click click


From the general descent graph and the above chart let us analyze performance of all fins during ascent.


Alemanny Speedy

During ascent phase the Alemanni Speedy perform very well at all depths, with above average values.


Beuchat Mundial Carbone

As for the descent phase, also during ascent the Beuchat Mundial Carbone result to be the weakest of the lot and somehow the age of the project weighs on their shoulders. They anyway have relatively good performance until – 12 m, depth starting from which the fins do not manage to accelerate anymore and are considerably less performing than competition. We are waiting with trepidation the new composite fins by Beuchat!


Cressi Gara Modular Carbon

Ok in the first acceleration from the bottom, the Cressi Gara Modular Carbon are extremely good in the first meters of the ascent, from – 16 m to – 13 m, and after that they maintain good performance, but loose some efficiency compared to the best fins moving closer towards the surface.


GFT Alpha

Once more the GFT Alpha confirm a not excellent acceleration from the bottom, opposed to a speed which is absolutely amazing already before – 14 m, and that positions the Alpha at the top for what concernes maximum speed, with a curve that is definately the most inclined among competition, confirming the extreme speed of these fins, once they have reached regime.


Mares Rasor Carbon

The Mares Raser Carbon do not show excellent performance in the very first meters, but then they accelerate, as already seen in the descent phase, with powerful thrust from – 14 m on, confirming outstanding top speed.


Pathos Abyss

Just below Salvimar Boomblast in the very first meters, the Pathos Abyss also in the ascent phase, even though in a less net way, are the point of reference fins for constancy and performance.


Salvimar Boomblast

The best in the acceleration from the bottom, the Boomblast are axcellent up to – 13 m, and after they align with competition until – 9 m, when finally, as already seen during descent, loose something as top speed.


Seac Motus Fibrex Pro

Good all along the ascent, the Seac though do not really ever reach excellence, loosing constantly in efficiency compared to the best competitors.


Seatec H2O

Under average performance compared to competiton, especially from – 14 m to – 9 m, the Seatec then recover speed in the last meters to the surface. Even though they give positive sensations of soft and comfortable fins, once more the H2O seem to need a specific finning technique.


Evaluations from the testers

After this very technical analysis of the registered data, evidently the practical evaluation of the fins based on the experience and sensations of Marco Mardollo, the Apnea Academy instructor and AP, could not be missed. In this case the voices taken into consideration have been: Softness, Lightness, Reactivity and Push/Thrust. Votes go from 1 to 10. Below you can download and print the evaluations of the testers and of AP and the comments just after the dives by clicking the links.

Marco Mardollo

Tester Apnea Academy