Friday, 15 November 2013

Mares Avanti Quattro + Fin Review

Mares Avanti Quattro + Fin Review

There are fins of every shape, size and colour on the market today. Some use split fin technology and some are retro harping back to the heavy rubber fins many of us would have learnt to dive in. I currently use Mares Avanti Quattro fins in a delightful shade of green. I have owned them for what must be 15 years.  When Split fins became the fashion I did flirt with some of these designs but even though they were new and shiny I always reverted back to my Quattros.  Many divers must feel the same, as in any dive party there will always be sets of Quattros in the mix.

Needless to say I was delighted when Mares upgraded the fin producing the Mares Avanti Quattro + Fin.  Mares sent me a set to try and they were in the same beautiful green colour. On first inspection the old and new models look identical apart from the obvious change of strap style. There other changes some subtle and some in the materials used. I took them on a dive to find out how they performed.
Notice the differences
The visual differences are very minor. The brand badge is in a different position and it has a + at the end. Would this just be a go faster stripe?
Strengthening bars at the front of the foot pocket have been removed on the new model
The most visual difference is the heel strap. This has been replaced with rubber bungee cord with a large rubber section for the heel. This incorporates a large thumb loop which made donning and removing the fins a breeze. The original fin straps where the only thing I didn’t like on the original fins. The buckles were rather fragile and didn’t take much to break the locking mechanism. So the new bungee fin straps are all good news and even better than the spring straps I put on the old pair. Mares supply a couple of spacers to lengthen the strap should you require more room.
The other differences are in the upgraded materials used to construct the fin.  The stiffer material in the blade (green in the images) is now more flexible.  The rubber in the 4 super channels in each blade is more elastic. These improvements along with the removal of the strengthening bars at the foot pocket improve performance right along the fin blade, making the fins even more responsive.
In the water
As stated already I’m used to diving with these fins and as expected I didn’t expect to notice a massive difference in performance.  As I waded into Loch Long to don the fins. I found the bungee strap easy to use thanks to the large thumb loop. They certainly where very comfortable and with the slightly softer and more elastic foot pocket they felt very secure on my feet.
Taking the first few fin strokes I felt immediately at home. Did I feel any difference in performance? Short answer yes.  I felt as if I had a spring in my step and there was just a little bit more of a snap from each stroke. It was subtle and I’m not talking about ploughing a bow wave across the Loch, it was more a feeling like having a good day at the office. The fins felt comfortable and the reinforcing bars at the side of the blades did their job and kept the water from spilling over the side of the blades. This water was channelled along the fin blade over all those lovely new materials. I did notice that the fins are even more responsive when making manoeuvres in the water. This was especially noticeable when I was making adjustments to my position to take pictures.
Getting out of the water was great too as I located the thumb loop on the straps and removed the fins with ease.
So it’s all good news then and it gets even better. Back in the day when I bought my original set, the Quattros were to top of the Mares range. Today they are near the bottom of the range. This means that while I paid a lot for them 15 years ago the current range of the Avanti Quattro + is a lot cheaper and a quick browse of the internet is showing prices between £55 and £70 which I think makes these fins extremely good value. Being around half the price of more new-fangled split fin designs.
So what you do get with the Mares Avanti Quattro + is a high performing, reasonably priced fin carrying on the tradition of being firm favourite from its predecessor.

Highly recommended.

Mike Clark

1 comment:

Artur Gdanski said...

Thank you for this review! I'm buying a pair tomorrow for myself :)