I needs some fins for scuba diving. I have been impressed with the spilt fins and have narrowed it down to two or three possibilities. The Oceanic Vortex V16 or the V8. The V16 are about £25 more expensive. I was wondering what the main differences are, and whether its worth spending the extra money for the V16 if they are that much different.

Thanks in advance.

The fins that are ‘better’ are the ones that you find most comfortable to wear/swim with, so everyone will have a different opinion (and very few casual scuba divers will have tried both makes, so can’t offer a comparitive opinon).

Ideally try out both models, maybe in a pool attached to a dive centre, and see which you like better. If you can’t feel any difference, then it doesn’t really make a difference which you go for, except for your wallet. But even trying-before-you-buy gives you no information about long-term durability. If you go for the cheaper option, you may need to replace them much sooner than the more expensive pair.

Alternatively you could look online. DIVER magazine’s online version (www.divernet.com) may have a useful comparison, and old articles (and forums) can be viewed without a subscription. They get ex-Olympian Chris Boardman to do their fin tests, which happen every couple of years–I haven’t checked to see when the last one was done, but you might get lucky. But remember, while he may at least have compared the fins, any verdict still comes down to personal opinion (maybe he kicks differently to you!).

Personally I swear by my Mares Avanti Quattros. I’ve been using the same pair since 2001, and that’s including 4 years as a full-time diving instructor. They’ve literally been all round the world with me, and when they die, I’ll probably get another pair, if they’re still being sold.