Have you ever been on a crowded dive boat and had to do the web-footed shuffle to the stern so you could perform a giant stride? You stand in a line with other divers, everyone geared up and trying not to fall over as the boat rocks. People are making jerky, semi-rhythmic movements reminiscent of the mambo line at Uncle Leo's wedding. The whole time you're concentrating like a brain surgeon on one thing: Slide don't step, slide don't step.
It may sound odd, but one of the first things I noticed about the new Caravelle ADJ fins is that they're easy to wear out of the water. The angle of the foot pocket is moderate and the heel is extended. Both of these details contribute to a flat, stable boot that's easy to maneuver in. This will be especially appreciated by relatively new divers and those who haven't logged a lot of boat time.
The Caravelle is a lightweight fin with a ton of snap. In fact, the real power source in this fin is in the blade material, which responds crisply to the force exerted against it as you push through the water. The blade's snap provides a little boost of power at the end of each kick cycle. Big kicks with a wide arc don't really work well with this design, but with a steady, modified flutter kick the Caravelle will send you gently cruising over the reef at a level of exertion you can maintain for the whole dive (and for a few dives after that). Keep your kicks short and steady and the blade will do the work. Incidentally, a generous surface area for each blade also makes the Caravelle a solid performer when it comes to "sculling," which might be described as using your fins to maneuver in tight spaces.
Of course, Aqua Lung has done a nice job in the fit-and-finish category. I especially like the clips on the Caravelle's heel straps. Yes, they swivel. Yes, they're the standard tension-clip design that is familiar to us all. But Aqua Lung has used a clip with slightly longer tabs that, when depressed, provide enough leverage to easily release them from their retainer. The result is a clip that holds with plenty of pressure but doesn't take the strength of a Japanese masseuse to operate. On behalf of divers everywhere, let me say thank you.
Aqua Lung Caravelle ADJ Fin
Impressions These are light, easy-kicking fins ideal for new divers or those worried about fatigue; they're good for cruising and maneuvering around the reef. Key Features A stable foot pocket and well-designed tension clips make pre- and post-dive rituals a breeze. Blade design has lots of natural snap. MSRP $89 Contact www.aqualung.com