Cresse Sub Freedive Fins

Not just for freediving
Oct 05 '00

Author's Product Rating
Product Rating: 5.0

Highly efficient, ultra-powerful

Both diver and environmental limits
Full Review
These fins provide tremendous propulsion while minimizing air consumption. Your bottom time will increase, you'll see more reef and you'll feel less fatigue. But there is a price.

Free divers have known about rigid, ultra-long fins for years. They're not some newfangled technological breakthrough that make you look and feel as silly as an oversized duck. They're just really rigid, really, really long fins.

The rigidity is needed to transmit every last calorie of energy into pushing water. The power wave travels down the considerable length of the fin, resolving after a surprisingly long time. I sometimes start a new kick before the old one is finished. The fitted foot pocket is key in transmitting the power. I do not recommend strapped freedive fins.

With these fins, your kick is a slower, measured meter. When I first used the fins, my buddy burnt twice as much air keeping up with me. Now I travel at a languid pace my buddy describes as "a sleepy bullet." Less exertion means less air consumption. My normal fins, Scubo Pro Blades, are pretty good, but I find my bottom times increasing by 10-15% just by using free dive fins.

Long fins make it possible to go places other divers could not. For example, on a surgy dive in Hawaii, only those with freedive fins where able to cruise near enough to the shore to view a remarkable undersea cavern complete with three turtles.

Due to the speeds these fins make possible, I've had to make a few modifications in my other gear. For example, I stopped wearing a snorkel on my mask because it would quiver and wiggle through the water. My jaw became fatigued after some dives until I put an inline swivel on the second stage, keeping the hose out of the way.

This all makes the fins sound incredible, and they are, but they're defiantly not for everyone.

If you dive only occasionally or are not in shape, freedive fins will very likely cause cramping and soreness in your feet and legs. To counter this, you can try keeping your potassium levels up by, say, eating a lot of bananas; but nothing will truly make up for being in shape.

As any free diver will tell you, traveling with these fins is a challenge in itself. The fins are too long to fit in any dive bag I've seen. Therefore they tend to stick out of the bag: just perfect for getting bent double by some baggage handling. Too much abuse like that and the fin will shatter.

Becoming accustomed to the fins is another matter. Even when you're acclimated, it's very hard to keep from biffing other divers when everyone is bunched up. I tend to hang off from the group during deco stops and other such "polarized schooling behavior." For this reason I would hesitate before wearing them in a wreck, cave or some overhead environments.

Due to the length of the stroke, they are close to useless at the surface. The worst possible choice for a vacation snorkeler. You learn to get moving with little flutter kicks or ploughing backwards. But if you're needing to get back to the boat, it's best to keep about 15 feet (5 meters) down.

In this same vain, I wouldn't recommend these fins for shore diving; especially if there's any wave action. The pick-up produced by fore or back wash is enough to dump you and your gear on your butt in even shallowest water.

For people who can handle them, and in the right conditions, these fins are, without reservation, the best.

The fins I have are from Cresse, but in all senses, identical to the Picasso America fins reviewed here.