Last month, we checked out my travel bag. This month, we're going to begin pulling gear out of the bag, and we're grabbing what my kids like to call my flippers, my SCUBAPRO graphite split fins.
I admit, I was skeptical of this split-fin phenomenon when it first appeared on the market. I'd heard they didn't provide enough oomph, with weak, out-of-the-gate kind of acceleration. But after finning into currents (with a big, honkin' camera rig to boot) off Fiji, Tahiti, Coco and Papua New Guinea, as well as numerous other less challenging locales like Cayman and Curaçao, the only weakness I've found has been that I can't use them out of the water. Before I tried these, my sports-scarred knees and ankles ached and throbbed after surface swims and basically every other kind of continuous movement underwater while using a "normal" fin. With split fins, my knees and ankles have never suffered. For me, that has been a saving grace. I've had this pair for almost three years and worn them during hundreds of dives, and when I dive with regular fins now, they feel like boards strapped to my feet in comparison.
At the end of most of my dive days, though, I spend a lot of time barely moving (some might call it apathy) as I take my sweet time soaking up the reef looking for photo subjects. And these fins have been exceptional when making small, subtle adjustments to my position in the water column. They've also had plenty of oomph and maneuverability when I needed to change my position in a hurry. I use several fin strokes -- straight kicks, sculling, frog kicks and one I like to call the rocking-undulating kick (which I've modeled after a pufferfish undulating its pectoral fins to remain in one position despite water movement). These fins performed well no matter how I've flailed my legs about. And I've yet to find a compelling reason to wear a different pair or style of fins while scuba diving.
The model I use the most is the open-heel version, because I can use the fins whether I'm wearing my drysuit or getting ready for a shore dive off Bonaire. I prefer the graphite or black versions, both of which are my fins of choice and in my dive bag right now, awaiting my next trip.