Buckling the trend

Fin buckles -how boring, you may think. This was my impression until recently. I decided to buy some spare buckles for my Plana Avanti fins, and for fun decided to try them out when I went diving in Stoney Cove. My old type were of a Fastex style, two-piece clip, common to most fins these days.

The new buckles, introduced earlier this year, are one-piece - they simply articulate and so extend the length of the buckle. Instead of having to tighten the fin straps once on the foot, the Mares fin straps can be left adjusted to the correct length, then simply snapped shut once on the foot. This is very easy, even when wearing thick gloves, and saves a fair amount of time when you're about to enter the water - as well as being important, for example, if hurrying to get into the water for a drift dive, or responding to an emergency.

The most noticeable advantage is when you're getting out of the water. With the old-style buckles it was necessary to either unclip one half of the strap, or to loosen it; this can be quite a challenge, even with warm hands. With the new buckle, it is possible to open it up with just one finger; very quick and easy, regardless of what gloves the diver might be wearing.

It is good to see that a manufacturer has considered redesigning such a previously accepted item. In my experience, it is sometimes these little things that make more of a difference to a dive than some of the larger items of equipment!

The Mares Fin Buckles are now standard on all Mares fins and can be fitted to previous Mares fins models. They will also fit most modern open-heel fins, not just the Mares, though the manufacturers don't recommend it. Price £6.95 each, £13.90 a pair. For details of stockists, contact Blandford Sub-Aqua on 01923 801573.

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