i probably have around six pairs of swimfins / flippers in my garage. from those long fins used for spearfishing, to the short stubby fins used for bodyboarding and then a few variations in between. truth be told, i have something of a ‘soft spot’ for swimfins. all swimfins.
it started when i got into bodyboarding as a young teenager. back then churchill’s makapuu fins were the business and, in my opinion, probably still are some of the best fins around for bodyboarding. i remember how my feet got chafed and developed foot ulcers that were so bad i couldnt wear shoes for a period of time. then, eventually, your body relents and callouses form in all the spots where you used to chafe and the problem is solved. for a period of time i was also sponsored by a local swimfin manufacturer who had styled their fins to look and work much like the makapuu’s. the fins were called WAP, an acronym for ‘wonderful aquatic propulsion’. must say, i always thought that was a pretty cool name, and the fins were pretty decent also.
over the years i have owned and lost many swimfins, mostly those used for bodyboarding and bodysurfing, and to my mind, these rubber extensions to my legs are the most essential surfing tool i own. certainly bodyboarding is all but impossible without the use of good swimfins, and though some purist bodysurfers may argue that they dont even need to use fins, that notion is fine for waves breaking on shallow sandbanks where you can push off the bottom into the wave, it is when you start swimming out to backlines and having to battle with surfers or bodyboarders for waves that you will soon realise it is not viable doing so without fins.
recently, i have become friends with a guy named Pierre Liebenberg, who lives round the corner from me. Pierre is the owner of SPIERRE, a company that makes specialist fins for freediving & spearfishing. More specifically, Pierre specialises in making pure carbon blades which fit into rubber footpockets. these blades are fashioned to provide variable flex which allow top freedivers and spearfishermen to dive to depths in excess of 70 or 80 m’s. the company also sells composite carbon and carbon fibre blades as well as all kinds of spearfishing equipment.
as someone who has been interested in aquatic propulsion for a long time, it has been really fortuitous for me to meet up with Pierre and be able to extend my knowledge of this fascinating science.
whilst doing some research into swimfin design recently i came across the apnea.cz website which gives a great overview of the various types of swimfins available. though mostly diving focused, it is a must-see for anyone interested in swimfins.
to find out more about the products offered by SPIERRE, send Pierre an email to: SPIERRE CONTACT