DIVER MAGAZINE REVIEW – warp speed! The aquabionic warp1 fin

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aquabionic warp1 …a different fin with every kick from aquabionic on Vimeo.

Fins. Not the most exciting piece of dive gear, but definitely one of the most under appreciated. A good pair of fins can make a world of difference to any diver, and the market is some what flooded with options.

The warp1 fin from CETATEK is another ‘revolutionary fin’ with a ‘unique design’. Yeah, we’ve heard it all before. But how good are they really and is there any noticeable difference?

In short: very, and yes.

The warp1 name doesn’t just suggest speed, it’s also a cunning acronym; “water adapting responsive propulsion”. It’s actually a very fitting description of how this fin differs from the many others on the market.

A Y-frame structure with rigid side struts contain a thin but durable membrane that expands when kicked. This membrane expansion provides noticeable, instantaneous thrust and power. Making for a very versatile and powerful fin, that can be used in many scenarios to great effect. Even the United States Navy have been impressed.

DIVER swam with the fins in the warm waters of Okinawa, and the cold waters of British Columbia, where the fins were designed. We dived in drysuits, loaded with weight, steel tanks, pony bottles and camera gear, and we dived in wetsuits with just a few pounds of lead. We dived in high currents such as the Yonaguni Ruins in Japan, but also at more relaxed sites vacation divers yearn for.

And the result? CETATEK’s warp1 fins are responsive, powerful, comfortable and look bad ass.

The fins are easy to put on, shipping with quick release, adjustable, rubber straps as standard. But with the optional extra of steel spring straps. The foot pockets are comfortable and flexible and fit snuggly around the different types of boots we swam with, and are sold in three different sizes.

The warp1‘s come in four different colours; blue, yellow and red – all with a transparent membrane. Then there’s the fourth option of completely black. What the black pair lacks in high visibility, it more than makes up for in pure sexy awesomeness.

In the water the fins are incredibly lightweight, never feeling too bulky or stiff, but at the same time feeling reassuringly more rigid than a split fin.

As soon as you kick they respond. A frog kick is a pleasure, propelling you forward with a surprising surge, and even back finning seemed a little easier than normal. The more traditional ‘flutter’ kick, or the more advanced ‘dolphin kick’ is where you can really feel an increase in power, perfect for those crazy drift dives or long surface swims.

The technology involved in producing fins, specifically the warp1, is mind boggling in depth. The R&D alone would put some hi-tech computer companies to shame. Yet all of this vanishes as soon as you dive with a pair, and rightly so. As a diver on a relaxing vacation dive, or a tech diver on a mission from God, all you want is a responsive, safe, comfortable and efficient pair of fins. warp1 fins deliver.

When diving Port Hardy, British Columbia you need some kick ass fins. As soon as you roll off the boat and onto the famous Browning Wall, you’re picked up and whisked away by an aggressive current. As a photographer, when you’re zooming past a wall and catch sight of a red Irish lord perched amongst the anemones, you can’t resist a shot. You swim as hard as you can against the current, just to grab that one photo. It may only take a few seconds, but it feels like you’re running a marathon, battling against the ocean’s power. This is where the value of good fins is apparent and every penny you spend becomes 100% worth it.

Swimming against strong current is never an easy task. We found the warp1 fins to be a valuable asset to DIVER’s gear bag, helping us enjoy our dives and maximize swimming efficiency.

Fins can often be an overlooked bit of dive gear. Shop around, find a local dealer that sells or rents the warp1, or purchase direct from the website. You won’t be disappointed.

Warp speed? Make it so.

Snorkel Types – What’s Best For You?

Thousands of years ago, someone discovered that if you cut a short length of hollow reed from the riverbank, you could breathe through it and sneak up on people underwater.

Now there are hundreds of models of snorkels on the market with so many gadgets and features it’s hard to make sense of it and choose what’s best for you. Just like with fins, it depends on what you are going to use it for. There are several main categories of snorkel users but there are a  few fundamental things to look for in a snorkel no matter what the end use. First, make sure it has a reasonable bore diameter. One that is too thin or too long can cause CO2 build up, reduce your stamina, make you dizzy, and give you a headache, none of which are fun. Then make sure that the mouthpiece is comfortable and will not exert pressure and give you sores from rubbing. Nearly all snorkels on the market today have a water purge valve at the lowest point on the mouthpiece, to make clearing the snorkel as easy as possible.

“Snorkelers” – probably the largest single group worldwide. They float around on the surface, looking down at the reef, and are usually the least experienced of the all the users. They may never have had any exposure to a dive shop, or had any lessons, and have a relatively low skill and comfort level. Snorkelers love the many styles of “Dry Top” snorkels, as they are almost completely dry, meaning they don’t allow waves splashing over the top of the snorkel to get into the tube. Water down the tube causes the novice to sputter and cough when they inhale it, which is never any fun. The down side to a completely dry snorkel is (Basic physics from your first dive class…) when you actually start to dive down, and reach any depth at all; the dry snorkel’s pressure imbalance because it is sealed at one end, will try to extrude your tongue into the mouthpiece. Not comfortable.

“Free divers” – very often much more skilled than snorkelers, and also may be certified SCUBA  divers taking a break, free divers don’t just float at the surface. They make repeated dives to the depths that the dry top becomes a nuisance, but they still don’t really want a lot of waves coming down the tube. This is where the “Semi-Dry” or “Splash Proof” snorkel top comes in handy. They are designed to deflect most of the water that comes along, and helps prevent those nasty surprises. It is important to keep in mind that any design that resists water flow can also create more air resistance and increase the work of breathing through the snorkel, possibly adding some CO2 build up.

“Scuba Divers” – Many divers today feel that a bulky snorkel dangling off their mask strap throughout the dive is a distraction they can live without, and like the simplest snorkel they can find. Some even are soft enough to roll up and store in a BC pocket, only to be pulled out and attached to the mask in case of emergencies, such as surfacing a long way from the boat or shore, with not enough air remaining to return on SCUBA. These often have no dry or semi dry top treatments at all, but the simplicity makes them compact, foolproof, and there when they are needed. Full circle back to the hollow reed…..