Diane Reid is employed as a Senior Engineering Systems Specialist at an international Engineering Procurement and Construction Management firm in Vancouver, B.C.
What’s this, a revolutionary fin? Developed by aquabionic and branded ‘warp1’ – when I heard this I thought “catchy name”. I sincerely doubted that fin technology could be, or needed to be advanced in this day and age. The on-line promotional video is insightful and from it I gained an appreciation of the design philosophy but was skeptical as to whether this fin could possibly impress me.
I’ve been an avid diver since 1989 and average 100 cold water dives annually, photography is my main focus these days and my aim is to take only pictures and disturb nothing. In the early days of gear floundering, I bought and discarded several pairs of fins but eventually settled on SCUBAPRO Jet Fins. They were very heavy but I could really motor. In those days I had a lot of ocean to discover and my priority was to go the distance on every dive. In the late 90’s I was introduced to Force Fins and it was not love at first kick, as the feeling of nothingness at the end of my legs was peculiar, but after 4 dives I refused to dive with anything but.
My pet peeve when it comes to fin design is length: fins that are too long often decrease sensitivity through the boot, allowing the oblivious diver to make contact with marine life, cameras and masks, while stirring up silt.
When Simon Morris of aquabionic offered me the opportunity to dive a prototype of the warp1 fins, I accepted. The fins are much longer than my beloved Force Fins and my chief concerns were: sensitivity, contact and cramping, so I left the camera at home. The Cut at Whycliffe Park in West Vancouver B.C. was our dive site of choice and the surface swim was fast and effortless, but I had no camera and was accustomed to very soft fins.
[quote]I actually felt the fins engage…the acceleration was incredible[/quote]
While descending, my first impression of note was that they were light on my feet. In the shallows I did an initial fin pivot on the sandy bottom and could feel the touch through the boot, like the fins were extensions of my feet. From that position I flutter kicked at 3’ from the bottom, looking back in amazement to see that I had stirred up no silt. I sculled, I backwards kicked and scissor kicked and was very impressed at the comfort and weightlessness of the fins. Simon signaled me to fin ahead and when I did he stayed with me, so I went faster, that’s when I actually felt the fins engage and stiffen with a snap; the acceleration was incredible and with little effort I reached a speed at which my regulator hose was flapping. The catchy name made sense! To my relief I experienced no cramping when the fins stiffened. Up top there was a fairly strong outbound surface current and it was windy. Getting to the exit point would have caused my quads to burn using my old fins but I was aware that I could have gone twice the distance using the warp1s.
I was so impressed with the fins that I tried them again and this time brought the camera. To be honest, while maneuvering between shots I forgot that the fins on my feet were not my own. It was a live boat dive and I motored effortlessly 100m to the boat while other divers were getting out of the water.
In my opinion, warp1 fins offer the comfort, mobility and sensitivity of a short soft fin but they pack the punch of a stiff fin when acceleration or a long swim is required.
Scuba diving is a big part of my life and I will carry on diving for many, many years. The only gear enhancements in my future will decrease effort and increase the clarity of the fine print on my camera. Seriously, with the amount of current and shore diving I do, warp1 fins will be an asset to me.