Tag Archives: Material

First impressions: Waterway Glide vs Leaderfins Flyer Pro

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Last night Jorg and I had the chance to test our new Waterway Glide fin from www.finswimworld.com and it’s hard to not like it instantly. Although I’ve already tested with Daan and Judith’s Glide fin, we now had the chance to properly train some more with it. Although the technique to use for both these fins differs, I’ll try and put down my findings for both monofins independent from the technique used.

Buoyancy

WaterWayGlideFinFreediving
Waterway Glide Fin - Freediving
The first difference I noticed between the Leaderfin Flyer Pro and the Waterway Glide is the difference in buoyancy. The Leaderfins monofin has been built with 5 kilograms of lead in the arch, which contributes to the motion by stimulating it by lagging the motion. The Glide fin on the other hand has a positive buoyancy, which stimulates the glide phase by leveling the monofin out horizontally. I experienced the difference in buoyancy by trying to stay balanced through a 25 meter lane run. Where the Flyer Pro tends to start whirling left and right, the Glide seemed to stay at course. I checked with Jorg runs if these findings were also happening to him in the runs, which they did. So either this means, that the Flyer Pro needs more getting used to or more specific strength put into the blade. But out of the box it seems that the Glide does a better job at being balanced.

Turning

Leaderfins - Flyer
Leaderfins - Flyer
After swimming with the Flyer Pro I got used to having the weight from the arch help me in swinging the fin around and planting it against the wall quite effortless. But when I tried the Glide for a turn, I noticed that I needed to help out with my arms to swing around and plant the fin on the wall. Now of course this just needs some getting used to turning with the Glide fin, but it was a point which both Jorg and me immediately pointed out after trying it. Next training sessions will have more focus on making proper turns with the Glide, if we want to use it properly and not loose too much energy by pretending to be a bird underwater.

Pockets
Having a tight fit into the foot pockets is essential with both monofins, to keep the efficiency of the throughput of power into the fin optimal. Both fins go at this a different way and of course in that way it’s not fair to compare these versions. But as we’re giving our first impressions on the difference in these fins, we’ll do it anyway ;).

The Flyer Pro doesn’t really feature an internal profile of a foot, but just a pocket with a tight band around the heel. Where as the glide does feature a more profiled inside pocket, which genuinely has advantages over just having a tight fit like the Flyer Pro. Even though both fins do have a proper tight fit and do not loose a lot of energy that way, the profile in the Glide fin makes it overall more comfortable to swim with.

Overall performance
If I compare the first thing I noticed between the two fins, it’s the fact that I need far less kick cycles to reach 25 meters. Where I use 3 kick cycles or more to reach the 25 meters with the Flyer Pro, I now seemed to be able to reach the other side by only using 2 kick cycles and one arm stroke. This is due to the fact that one fin is a glide fin and the other fin for a continuous motion, but I did want to point it out. As I believe it felt less of a hard performance to reach 50 meters if I compare both fins. Which in the end matters most, because with less energy wasted it will leave you with more distance in the end.

I believe that the Flyer Pro is a very good fin, but it doesn’t work out good the way I seem to be able to utilize it. (Also the reason to put the fin up for sale.) So for the time ahead we will try and optimize the use of the new Waterway Glide fin and I will write a more detailed impression about the experience with the fin when I have been training with the fin for an extended period of time.

How to: choose a monofin (for the Pool)

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Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Hyper mono-fin
Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Flyer mono-fin.

…or actually how we think we should choose a mono-fin. As Jorg  and I were training last week, we tested a few different kinds of mono-fins. We wanted to see the difference between the fins in areas like;

  • if they were comfortable
  • how they performed
  • what the efficiency is
  • how the balance is using the mono-fin

The tested mono-fins were three kinds, two were from Leaderfins and one was from Special fins.

  1. Leaderfins Freediving Sport
  2. Special fins ‘Dolphin
  3. Leader fins Flyer

Continue reading How to: choose a monofin (for the Pool)

How to choose a freediving mask?

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20090515-cressi-superocchio
Cressi Superocchio

Freediving material is all about the right equipment for the best experience. As for freediving masks, there is a wide variety of masks available. What do you want to look out for and how did we come to our choice of freediving mask.

I think that if you narrow it down, a freediver will choose a mask and go by this mask for a long time. A good example of this is that I met Jorg in the end of 2003 and cressi superocchio was his choice, today he’s still using that same type of freediving mask (he actually bought this mask in 1998 and is using it as his primary mask since 11 years, the same one!). Although you might have different masks for different applications, your experience is improved by choosing a freediving mask of your liking. In the process of making a choice, every freediver has different reasons to choose a mask over another. Our choices were based on and influenced by the parameters; comfort, volume, material & durability. Ultimately these parameters also lead to a good freediving experience, which is the base for our choice.

Continue reading How to choose a freediving mask?

How to choose a freediving suit

Balance between Comfort & Warmth

The need for a freediving suit is highly recommended where ever you go , for sure when you’re freediving the dutch waters. But what kind of freediving suit do you want, as there are so many different out there. For me goes without saying that a suit can make a freedive or totally ruin it…

First-ever-freediving-setupWhen I first got into freediving me and my buddy got a scuba diving suit from about 7mm thick, the one with a zipper pushing up against my chin. The hood, arm and ankle seams were far from tight, so water came in immediately as we entered the water. Even though our motivation to check out the underwater world was high, the experience was far from relaxed or comfortable. But back then we didn’t know any better…

Now, a few years in with more experience with different suits, I like to share my findings. The whole deal with a proper suit is that it’s totally dependable on the freediver who wears it. Every freediver has other boundaries when it comes to cold and warm, but by explaining my own findings when choosing a suit might make your search a bit easier…

Layer thickness

2,5mm Smooth skin & Open Cell
2,5mm Smooth skin & Open Cell

You can vary the thickness of your suit ranging from 1mm to 10mm suits. The determinant factor is the types of water temperature you want to use the suit for. So ask yourself: “Am I going to use it in a sea, a lake or a swimming pool?”. Also keep in mind that the temperature of these can also vary throughout the season or location, which make it hard to go by only one freediving suit to do the job. When you’re selecting your first ever suit, choose it for the situation you’ll be in for 90% of the time. In my case I started out with a 5mm suit for both pool and lakes here in the Netherlands, but nowadays I prefer a 2,5mm for the pool competitions and a 6,5mm for the outdoor sessions. This change has to do with how comfortable I feel in those situations. Going to the seas in Egypt, Dominican Republic or other remote locations, I’d go by either 2,5mm for warmer waters and 5mm when I’m early in the season.

Surface types
Different sets of surface types are available for freediving suits, ranging from lining, smooth skin to open cell structure surfaces. The choice here also depends on what you’re going to use the suit for, or in which conditions or surroundings you’re using the suit. The first freediving suit I ever had, was an Elios with smooth skin on the outside and the inside featured open cell structure. In between I bought another similar type of suit, but this one was 2,5mm thick and from a slightly better neoprene. The last one I bought is a 6,5 mm, but now with lining on the inside and smooth skin on the outside.

Inside: Lining or Open cell?

Inside: Open Cell structure
Inside: Open Cell structure

At first I wasn’t very keen on the whole lining principle, but now since I tested one and eventually own a freediving suit with lining on the inside, I can say it’s just as comfortable as an open cell structure, but with less of a hassle to get into. Because an open cell structure will “suck” itself onto your skin with only a thin layer of water in between, you’ll have to keep in mind that by changing into this suit, you’ll need to have a bottle with soap water to prepare your suit before you put it on. Never the less an open cell structure on the inside is also very comfortable.

Outside: Smooth skin or Lining?

Inside: Lining | Outside: Smoothskin
Inside: Lining | Outside: Smoothskin

I’m the type of freediver that likes the outside to be smooth skin, this sololy to the fact that a smooth skin surface will dry fast when you’re at or above the water surface. On the other hand lining on the outside will better protect your suit from tearing when putting it on or swimming in rocky underwater areas.

Tailor made or standard size
Until now I’ve been a lucky guy, where I’d be able to send my body measurement over to the suit maker and they’d suggest one of their standard sized suits to go with. Only my 2,5mm suit I have is a tailor made suit, which fits very nice.

The only reason why I should consider going with a tailor made suit is the fact, that a tighter fit will improve the ability of the suit to keep the water from coming in and keep the water from flowing through your suit, thus keeping you warm for a longer period of time. A standard sized one will be cheaper than a tailor made suit. So if a standard size is within your options, then my suggestion would be to try one from a fellow freediver with the same body measurements, to see if you’re able to go with the standard sized one.  Otherwise the tailor made is the best alternative.

Comfort & Warmth
The most important thing you want to achieve by selecting your suit, is a balance between comfort and warmth. Although a thick suit may make you feel like a Michelin-man, if you really need the thickness in terms of not getting cold, this is a concession you might have to make. Believe me when I say that a very comfortable suit, like my 2,5mm, just didn’t do the trick for me in terms of staying warm whilst freediving outdoors at Panheel. This makes a freedive not only uncomfortable, but even dangerous. It’s all about the best experience and finding a balance between the different parameters is a very personal choice.

Concludig
By selecting the proper combination from the points described above, you should be able to find a suit that is a balance between comfort and warmth. Furthermore it must be functional and practical as well, because you’re going to be freediving with it for about a year or two. Making the selections is a process where you’ll have to decide for yourself what you like and where you want to use your suit. These are all personal decissions, so I hope this article will aid you into selecting the right freediving suit for you.

PS. I haven’t discussed the different types of material, because this differs so much, I’d be writing a whole new page. Plus the different manufacterers feature enough information about the materials on their websites.