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April 2006 Vol. 21, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Putting Spring Straps in Your Kick

from the April, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

After replacing broken buckles on both my TUSA Imprex and Scubapro Twin Jets, I finally popped for a set of spring straps. It is one of my best purchases ever. I’d first seen these unique after-market straps on California dive boats and realized that their sleek design, attaching directly to the fin with no buckles, would be resistant to catching on kelp. Then I discovered added bonuses.

Putting Spring in Your KickWearing my tank, BCD, and weight belt, supporting myself at the exit gate with one hand and pulling on each fin with the other was tough. (I’m not one of those silly people who walk across a dive boat deck with my fins on and I’m sure you’re not either.) However, my spring straps slide on and off with little effort. Because they compensate for the compression of boots at depth, they keep my fins secure and comfortable whether I’m wearing 7-mil boots or tropical slippers. Unbreakable springs mean you won’t lose a fin to a snapped strap. And a protective sleeve around the coiled steel keeps them from chafing.

John Bantin, technical editor of Britain’s Diver Magazine, found another advantage while testing Apollo Spring Straps. “During finning the pressure of the springs pushed my boots further into the foot-pocket of the fins, so that they really felt like extensions of my legs.” That fit, plus added stability and reduced drag, makes some divers feel that spring straps improve the performance of their fins. I can’t vouch for that, but for comfort and convenience, they’re a winner.

There are several brands on the market, and many, like the XS scuba line, can fit a wide range of fins. Be sure they fit your fins and feet. Some models feature pull loops or grips, rubber or nylon spring covers, heel pads (some in a choice of colors), or quick release buckles (if you think you need them).

Expect to spend from $65 to $95 a pair. That’s steep, but these straps will probably outlast your fins. Many models are challenging to install, so it makes sense to buy them from a dive store that can attach them. Fin marketers Apollo and Scubapro have their own lines of straps. For comparison shopping, go to Leisure Pro’s selection at www.leisurepro.com and search for “spring straps.” Most manufacturers have their own websites with more information and local dealer listings.

Do-it-yourselfers can get instructions for making their own at:

www.cisatlantic.com/trimix/fins/sprstrps.htm
www.scubase.net/pers/FinStraps.html

– Larry Clinton

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