Category Archives: Freediving Equipment

New N.E.D. Insole by Carbonio G.F.T.

Carbonio GFT insoles

New Slippers Foot-pocket with N.E.D. Insole by Carbonio G.F.T.

 by Marco Nones

I have been waiting the box for few months and finally, few days ago, I have received my new pair of fiberglass fins made by Italian brand Carbonio G.F.T.

Fiberglass blades are already well known and appreciated by me. In fact, they have been my favorite blades in the last 3 years, since I have tried them by the first time… so, what’s new in it?
The very big difference, this time, is the SLIPPERS foot-pocket or, better, what is inside the foot-pocket: a pure carbon insole called N.E.D. (No Energy Dispersion)!!!
The idea of the insole is not new, in fact, since few years other big brands are producing plastic insoles with the purpose of reducing the undesirable gap between feet and pocket in case of needs. So, why to use an expensive material such as carbon fiber? …madness? … marketing? No, none of them! These insoles, believe it or not, have been developed simply to increase the efficiency of the kicking technique!!!
I can easily say this, because I have been using the same blades (with a different foot-pocket) for several years: I know them so well, that I can perfectly recognize the different feeling due only to the change of the pocket… good to me!!!

Once I have opened the box, I was admiring the perfection of both fins details: nice finishing, no scratches anywhere, no glue signs… everything was looking great. I could not resist in watching straight away inside the pocket and the view of the carbon fiber inside was simply amazing, no doubt!
The N.E.D. insole is connected to the foot-pocket in a very typical way: two small Phillips-head screws on top, keeping the blade as well, and one extra Phillips-head bolt on the middle, to keep the insole connected to the pocket.
I have immediately tried to bend a bit the SLIPPERS pockets, to check their flexibility and, for the first time ever, I saw that the soft rubber, of which they are made with, can be easily bent but not on the “floor”, because of the carbon insoles. This looks interesting, in fact, once I have removed the insole to see the difference, the feet-pocket became suddenly too much flexible to be properly able to transmit the energy in the correct way… the name SLIPPERS is really appropriate!

Thanks to the new N.E.D. insoles, Carbonio G.F.T. could choose a very soft and comfortable rubber (amazing for the feet), without compromising the efficiency of the kicking technique. We don’t have to forget that the biggest loss of energy comes generally from a non perfect transmission of the legs power to the blades: with N.E.D. insole, you can be sure that no loss of power will happen again!

The morning after, I went to our house reef very early (not too early honestly!) for a quick test of the efficiency of those new fins in the sea and I was nicely surprised by having the confirmation of what I have imaged the evening before: despite the very soft and comfort rubber, I couldn’t feel at all the end of the blade under my feet (as it usually happen with other well known brands and models) and the feeling of a solid connection between feet, pocket and blades, was very nice and strong… no bad!
Once I started to dive, the same feeling of “control” and solid contact with all parts involved in the kicking technique were confirmed and gave me a very good sense of power, overall at depth, where the beginning of the ascent were efficient and without any leak of speed, despite my extreme negative bouncy.
Honestly, I haven’t checked with the timer if the insoles produced a real improvement of my performances, in term of dive-time for a fixed depth. Since free diving is pretty much based on feeling and relaxation, I strongly believe in my sensations and this time the difference was so evident! I’m sure that, after a very short time of adaptation, anyone can see better performances due to the optimization of his own favorite kicking technique.

If you are often traveling with your free diving equipment, the only small note I could suggest about the insoles, is to replace the central Phillips-head bolt with Allen-head bolt. In fact, due to its position inside the foot-pocket, an Allan key would simplify the unscrewing and, therefore, make it easier to carry on your fins all around the world, into your favorite top dives sites.

Currently Carbonio G.F.T. produces N.E.D. insoles only for SLIPPERS foot-pocket. I really hope in the future they will be able to provide them for every foot-pocket in commerce… with a fair price of 32.00€, this is surely a “must have” for all advanced free divers!

Enjoy the blue and dive safe!!

New SUBGEAR fins by Trygons

subgear new carbon fins

We have recently had the chance to touch with our hands (or better say, our feet!!!) the prototype of the latest and most waited production of SUBGEAR: long free diving fins developed by Trygons.

Since this young brand (SUBGEAR) jump into the jungle of free diving equipment, our community were expecting them to come out with some basic “advanced snorkeling” equipment but… they haven’t done it, and, more and more, seems to be important for them to show, since the beginning, a serious and constant dedication to develop better and specific free diving equipment.

This time we had the luck to try in the water (few dives only!) the prototype of the first generation of top-performances carbon fins produce by SUBGEAR and we have been really shocked by the quality (not a real surprise by the way…) of this model compared to other much well known brands. Surely the partnership with Trygons gave them a certain boost on the quality of the blades but still the result is very impressive.

The first impact with the fins is very good and positive, they look like a typical Trygons blade: 70 cm long, 19,5 cm wide,  22 degrees angle, carbon finishing on the front and “shark skin” effect on the back and with very tiny water rails. Just few small details are different from their usual production: you don’t change a winning team!

What immediately caught our attention, was the foot-pocket and the very original shape of its arms: both are made by a very soft and comfortable rubber but, strangely, are not built to be separate from the blade (at least on this prototype), in fact, foot pocket and arms are melted with the blade. This unusual solution allowed them to reduce (very smartly, I would say!) the thickness of the arms as never before in any other fins type, improving the softness and radically reducing the loss of flexibility in the part of the blade (close to the feet) that generally creates the bad feeling of a heavy blade… we will check in the water if they have reached their goal!!!

Once arrived on our platform, we start to wear our gear and immediately the softness of the feet-pockets seems to be a little… too much soft!! I can feel the end of the blade under my feet while I’m simulating a kicking in the surface: strange! A few minutes of practice on the surface (horizontal) gave me back a better feeling. I can still feel the end of the blade, straight in the middle of my feet, but not so much as I thought before. The reaction (answer) of the fin is very good and quick… we like it so much!!

As soon as we start our CWT session, the power of the blade came out and galvanized all of us. In fact, changing depth or quantity of leads in the belt (to simulate the use in different situations, such as spear fishing) did not affect the average speed of our dives and, in addition to this, at the end of the session our legs were still efficient and fresh without symptoms of high lactic-acid production… simply nice, if you have to go for a very long water session!! As expected, the extra slim shape of the arms helps to control the amount of energy lost in the first part of the kick and creates a very good soft feeling during the all cycle… considering that we were using the “hard” blade, we can only image how comfortable and relaxing it would be with even softer blades!!!

Our only doubt  is about the foot pocket that hasn’t fully satisfy our expectation, due to his high softness, but we have been told that SUBGEAR is already developing a different foot-pocket that should better support the under feet, so… we really look forward to test them again in the future!!!

We strongly hope that SUBGEAR will take under consideration to create a two-pieces fin (foot-pocket + blade) in order to better meet everyone’s needs. In fact, we are convinced that giving the chances to the customers to change the feet-pockets (or the blades) would help this new fins to emerge much faster in the market… as for sure they deserve!!

Now, guys, turn off the pc and go in the sea for a bit of underwater fun…

Enjoy the blue and dive safe!!




Nuove pinne SUBGEAR by Trygons

Recentemente abbiamo avuto la possibilità di toccare con le nostre mani (o meglio dire, con i nostri piedi!), il prototipo del più recente e più atteso prodotto di SUBGEAR: le pinne da apnea sviluppate da Trygons.

Dal momento in cui SUBGEAR è entrata nella giungla dei produttori di attrezzature da apnea, la nostra comunità si aspettava che sarebbero usciti con alcune attrezzature di base per “snorkeling avanzato”, ma… no! non lo hanno fatto! Anzi, sembra che per loro sia molto importante dimostrare, sin dall’inizio, un serio e costante impegno nello sviluppo di migliori e specifiche attrezzature per l’apnea.

Quando abbiamo provato in acqua (solo per alcune immersioni!) il prototipo di questa prima generazione di pinne ‘top-performance’ in carbonio, siamo rimasti davvero scioccati dalla qualità (… in effetti non una vera e propria sorpresa… ) di questo modello rispetto ad altre marche molto più note. Sicuramente la collaborazione con Trygons ha dato loro una certa spinta sulla qualità delle pale, ed il risultato è impressionante.

Il primo impatto con le pinne è molto buono e positivo, appaiono come una tipica pala Trygons: lunghezza 70 cm, larghezza 19,5 cm, angolo di 22 gradi, finitura in carbonio sulla parte anteriore ed effetto “pelle di squalo” sul retro, con water rails molto sottili. Solo pochi e piccoli, i dettagli differenti dalla loro solita produzione: squadra che vince non si cambia!!!

Ciò che subito ha attirato la nostra attenzione, è stata la scarpetta e la forma molto originale dei longheroni: entrambi sono fatti di una gomma molto morbida e confortevole, ma, stranamente, non sono stati progettati  per essere separati dalla pala (almeno su questo prototipo) , infatti, scarpetta e longheroni sono fusi insieme con la pala. Questa soluzione insolita, ha permesso di ridurre lo spessore dei longheroni (in maniera molto intelligente, direi!) come mai prima in nessun altro tipo di pinna, migliorandone la morbidezza e riducendo drasticamente la perdita di flessibilità della pala nella parte vicino ai piedi, quella che generalmente crea la brutta sensazione di indossare una pala “pesante”.

Bene, in acqua capiremo se sono riusciti a raggiungere il loro obiettivo!

Arrivati ​​sulla nostra piattaforma, cominciamo ad indossare l’attrezzatura e subito la morbidezza delle scarpette ci è sembrata essere un pò… esagerata! Simulando il movimento della pinneggiata in superficie, si sente la fine della pala sotto i piedi: strano! Però, solo pochi minuti di pratica aggiuntiva in superficie, sono stati sufficienti per avere delle migliori sensazioni: si avvertiva ancora la fine della pala, in mezzo alla pianta dei piedi, ma non così tanto come appena indossate. La reazione (risposta) della pinna è molto buona e rapida … decisamente interessante!

Non appena iniziamo la nostra sessione di CWT, la potenza della pala si manifesta prontamente in tutta la sua forma, galvanizzandoci per leggerezza e la trasmissione della spinta. Facendo diverse prove, cambiando la profondità e la quantità di zavorra, per simulare l’uso in situazioni diverse (come la pesca subacquea), notiamo con piacere che la velocità media delle immersioni non ne viene influenzata.

Ma la più bella sorpresa è arrivata quando, dopo più di un’ora di movimento, ci siamo accorti che le nostre gambe erano ancora fresche ed efficienti, senza sintomi di alta produzione di acido lattico… semplicemente BELLO, soprattutto se si considera che spesso le sessioni in acqua durano diverse ore! Come previsto, la forma più sottile dei longheroni ha aiutato a tenere sotto controllo la quantità di energia utilizzata nella prima parte della pinneggiata e a creare una buona sensazione di morbidezza durante l’intero ciclo di pinneggiata. Considerando che stavamo provando una pala “dura”, possiamo solo immagine come possa essere confortevole e rilassante con una pala più morbida!

Il nostro unico dubbio riguarda la scarpetta, che non soddisfa pienamente le nostre aspettative, a causa della sua elevata morbidezza, ma ci è già stato riferito che SUBGEAR ne sta sviluppando una diversa, che dovrebbe essere più rinforzata sotto il piede, quindi….  non vediamo l’ora di riprovarle in futuro!!!

Speriamo vivamente che SUBGEAR prenda in considerazione la creazione una pinna ‘due pezzi’ (scarpetta  +  pala), al fine di soddisfare al meglio le esigenze di tutti. Infatti, siamo convinti che dare la possibilità di sostituire la scarpetta o la pala, aiuterebbe queste nuove pinne ad emergere molto più veloce nel mercato… cosa che sicuramente meritano!

Ora, ragazzi, spegnete il computer e andate in mare per un pò di sano divertimento subacqueo…

Enjoy the blue and dive safe!

New Pocket mask by SUBGEAR

new pocket mask by SUBGEAR

Review by Marco Nones

The news of the week seems to be the arrival on the market of the last mask produced by Subgear: the Pocket Mask.

Since I have seen it on the shelves of the local Subgear dealer, I felt very interested on it because is very nice looking – I’m Italian and that is a master point!! – and because the quality of the silicone seems to be hyper soft and very comfortable. I have mustaches and still stays on my face!

At a first look it can be easily confused with a classic free diving model: black color, squared lenses and a general flat shape, but after a closer look we can immediately recognize few new amazing details. For example the total absence of the frame, for a consequent very small distance between eyes and lenses, which improve visibility and reduce the inner volume. The strap is connected to the silicone part, instead of the plastic frame, for a perfect fitting on different face shapes.

What really shock me the most, is the idea to remove the usual hard connection between two lenses, in order to give an extreme flexibility to all the mask. It can be twisted in any direction as no one else before and, over all for us free divers, has an exceptional “squeezing factor”.

Per “squeezing factor” I personally mean the ability of a mask to get squeezed on our face during the descent without hurting us or getting flooded… this is a very important factor to consider when divers approach to deep free diving (40+ meters). Latest technique for deep free diving requires to don’t equalize the mask anymore after a certain depth, to increase the air left for the equalization of our ears, as a consequence the more the mask can be squeezed the less often we need to equalize it!!!

Of course this is not the only mask on market that can do that (ex. Sphera mask) but for sure is the only one that doesn’t create any visual distortion, thanks to the flat glass lens that Subgear has cleverly used instead of the curved plastic lenses, typical of the direct concurrency masks.

For all these reasons it can be easily used for many different underwater activities, eliminating the need to purchase many different masks, one for each single activity you like to do. In fact, it combines at the best a wide view angle (typical for scuba divers) and a small inner volume (typical for free divers) with a very high squeezing factor (typical of deep divers!).

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