After launching the first version of the Cobradive fins (see our article), we’ve just released the new generation. After extensive developments and excellent feedback on the various versions, we have focused on optimising the technical aspects of the product as much as possible, adding lightness and responsiveness. Our main aim is to answer all the comments made about the second generation, which, for example, revealed a slight heaviness at the tip of the fin. The 3rd generation has just been tested by two professionals in the sector, and we invite you to discover their feedback…
Laurent Breidenbach, multi-medallist in international freediving competitions and reigning world champion in Speed apnea 2x50m at the 2023 world championships in Kuwait. Here is the verbatim report of the discussions we had during the test day :
First series of bamboo fin tests
Laurent : They’re more flexible and progressive than the previous version. That’s what you need, because if the fin is too rigid, it takes over your thighs and ankles, and that’s really not good. You have to prioritise duration for the comfort and pleasure you get from swimming with fins.
After several series of bamboo fin tests
Laurent : They’re much more flexible, they’re responsive, and if you want to accelerate, they react. I feel they’re much smoother than previous versions. It’s good… it’s really not bad. It really gives a very, very good impression of good consistency when pushing. That’s more than enough if you want to push. If you want to swim ‘comfortably’, it follows the movement very well.
Cobratex : When you last tested the second generation of Cobradive fins, you said they were more versatile ?
Laurent : People sometimes say that being versatile isn’t always good, but it’s not really being versatile, it’s more that there’s no discontinuity. Just because the fin is rigid doesn’t mean it’s nervous. If I want to swim calmly, it’s comfortable and I can swim for a long time at a slow pace. I know it’s nervous, so if I want to go faster I know the fin will react. That’s what makes it so versatile. For me, the aim is to find something that’s flexible and has a good response when I want to accelerate. This type of material (the latest cobradive version) really meets both parameters: amplitude and responsiveness.
After several series of tests with identical carbon fins
Laurent : In terms of propulsion, it’s similar to the bamboo fins, giving you the same rolling sensation. The bamboo fins are lighter and more flexible. Carbon fins are a little thicker and stiffer. It requires more physical effort because at the same pace I have to go up a notch.
Cobratex : Does this mean you save energy to get the same power ?
Laurent : With the bamboo one, yes, I think so. It’s really comfortable, which is very pleasant: you don’t feel tired. With the carbon fins, after 20 m I can already feel that I’ve done a bit of physical work on my thighs, whereas with the bamboo ones I don’t feel it at all. The movement is much more regular and the weariness is much less noticeable. I think that’s the way to go. When you test bi-fins, that’s the kind of detail you’re looking for: smoothness and responsiveness.
Cobratex : Would you say that carbon fins are more demanding ?
Laurent : Physically, in the water they require a much greater commitment. What’s strange is that outside I don’t have the impression that there’s much of a gap, whereas in the water you really feel it, it’s completely different !
Cobratex : We opted for unidirectional bamboo in the direction of the fin to meet this need. So it does seem that we’ve found the right compromise… On the other hand, do you feel that the fin twists as there is no bamboo in the 90° direction ?
Laurent : No, it’s very stable.
Cobratex : What do you think we look for when we do activities where we stay in the water for a long time ?
Laurent : What we value most is comfort and manageability, having fins that respond well when you need them, so you can stay in the water for longer without your thighs getting tired.
After a series of tests with identical glass fins
Laurent : It’s flexible but sluggish. They’re not responsive at all. That’s really the bottom of the range, the lowest grade. If you want to go for a little ride in the sea, that’s enough, but you’re not going to have any fun either. You can do that with the carbon ones, but you’ve got to put some physical effort into it, whereas with the bamboo ones, you’ve got everything !
Philippe Balch Co-Founder of Watch The Sea :
Watch The Sea is an organisation that arranges seatrekking trips along the coastline. Seatrekking consists of going out to sea and on land independently and trekking for one or more days, while taking practical actions to protect the ocean. Philippe took the time to test our new model and here is his feedback :
First of all, I found the fins extremely pleasant! I’m starting with this feedback because as we swim for 4 to 6 hours a day on our tours, this is an essential factor for me.
The new fins are really very pleasant because you don’t feel them on your feet: they’re light and silent, you can even forget about them, unlike some carbon fins which vibrate and clatter on the surface of the water. It’s disturbing because these vibrations and rattles tend to scare away the wildlife I’m trying to observe.
In terms of power, the fins are a little less responsive and a little less powerful than the best carbon models on the market, but they go fast and deliver a real sense of speed and power. Ironically, face-lift enthusiasts will get their money’s worth, while still enjoying a comfortable, smooth stroke, which I really appreciate.
During our seatrekking outings, we swim on the surface for kilometres and do apneas at depths of 5 to 20 metres. Sometimes we need to accelerate to get through current veins on the Brittany coast. The power delivered by the Cobradive fins is more than sufficient for our leisure activities, exploring and discovering the marine environment.
Sea and pool tests have led me to believe that a slightly shorter version would be easier to handle, more compact and lighter without losing out on performance. Considering a 700mm long version seems like a good idea and would be very interesting to test.
Another point for testing: for our exploration practice, a wider fin angle would improve surface swimming comfort over long distances. An angle of around 25-30 degrees would be ideal for reducing the strain on the ankles for most divers, without significantly reducing their efficiency when submerged.
To conclude, as well as being beautiful, fun, unique, high-performance and using natural materials, I think this new model could be just the thing for open water swimmers, hikers, freedivers and hunters…
This feedback has led us to launch two versions of the fins :
• Freediving version : model tested
• Seatrekking & hunting version: shorter with a greater fin angle than the model tested !
We would like to thank our partners for their efforts in developing the Cobradive fins and for the interest shown by our customers and testers. We now have a range of fins that meet users’ expectations. Well done !