A RECENT trip across the border to the Farne Islands was the perfect trip to try out a new pair of fins. Lomo, the Glasgow based company is distributing a power split fin which is produced for Lomo by IST, and I first noticed these fins while flicking through the pages of SCOTTISH DIVER. I was impressed! A fin for under £50 that incorporates the patented ‘Nature’s Wing’ split fin design. It sounded too good to be true.
Up until recently, I had been using Mares Avanti Quatro fins and after a slow start, I had been getting to like them. These fins, a popular choice by many divers, are widely regarded as being the best non-split fin style fins available. They make an excellent high-quality benchmark for comparison with the Lomo fins. I’ve got size 10 feet and I found I needed the XL size in the Lomo fins which is exactly the same as the Quatros. (This is what I agreed on the phone with Lomo but watch out if you order over the net as it states size 10 – large) I found that size too small even with wetsuit boots.
The Lomo fins are made out of rubber and the quality is excellent. The foot pocket is comfy and sturdy and its base runs right up the length of your foot. The quick-release buckles are a joy to use. The Lomo units look like standard units but they have raised lobes on the quick release buckles which made removing the strap a one-handed operation, even with numb fingers. The strap is standard but has a nice loop to assist in getting the strap over the heel.
In the water, they felt strange initially. It seemed as if I had nothing on my feet, which was great, as I was certainly moving forward as I finned. By the end of the first dive, I was really getting used to them, and I agree with what the manufacturers say ‘excellent propulsion for very little effort. This suited my style of diving perfectly as I generally use a frog kick to propel myself. If you are moving from standard fins using a standard straight leg kick, you may take a little longer to get used to them.
In the stiff tide of a gully on the Knivestone, I was interested to see how the fins would perform with a bit of tide to contend with. With the Mares fins, you get out what you put in, so if you find yourself in a tide, and are fit, you can power through it even though the effort may be exhausting. With the Lomo fins, I felt the result was a bit different. When the tide got up and extra effort was put in, I found I got forward propulsion but it felt as if my extra exertion was beating the fin. I don’t think you have to put in a big effort to get the best out of these fins. I made good headway along the gully with the Lomo fins, perhaps not as fast as with the Mares fins on but certainly not having to put the same high levels of energy into each fin stroke.
In conclusion, I liked the product. I thought it was well made and I really liked the straps and quick release system. The fins appear to be very abrasive resistant and after the first few dives showed no damage at all. Performance-wise, I thought they were excellent but that may be because they suit my style of diving with the cameras. They were very easy to use and once I got the hang of them, I could keep myself in the precise position whilst focusing through the viewfinder.
So, should you ditch your current fins and go out and buy yourself a new pair of Lomo fins? I certainly found great benefits from the Lomo fin and the split wing design. You get a lot of propulsion whilst putting in far less effort than with conventional fins. It truly is like having nothing on your feet. Compared to the top end conventional fins like Mares Avanti Quatro I did feel like the Mares fins can push you through the water more quickly although at the expense of a larger effort. I found the Lomo fin to be a quality product, and importantly, at £49.99 they represent excellent value for money.
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