Home / Fins / Product Review : Aqualung Slingshot fins

Aqualung slingshot finsApril 2009:

On a recent trip to the Poor Knights Islands, Andrew took a pair of Aqualung Slingshot fins.

Here is what he thought:

I must admit I was very sceptical about the claims made by Aqualung about their new fin the Slingshot.

I have tried many fins before, and found many of the high tech models to be lacking in one area or another.  I even spent a whole summer forcing myself to like split fins.  Only to discover that my diving style just isn’t compatible with them.  I loved the feeling of no resistance when using a traditional flutter kick when moving slowly, but became frustrated when facing a mild current.  Then when I wanted to use a frog kick to avoid silting the bottom or inside a wreck, they became all but useless.

I continued to happily recommend split fins to most divers, however I could not and would not state that I liked them for my diving, I accepted that I would belong to the minority of divers who would just have to live with old fashioned blade fins.

When the Slingshots were released in New Zealand I was keen for my instructors here at Global Dive to try them, they would be able to test the fins thoroughly in a variety of environments and also situations.
I began to notice a trend developing;  Each pair of demo fins I gave to an instructor would not be shared, instead the divers would become protective and refuse to give them back.  This happened on 4 occasions before I decided I should put an end to this silliness and try them for myself.

Aquanaut kindly lent me a pair of XL fins to test.
I had a trip coming up where I would be able to try them out.  Unfortunately I allowed a customer to test the fins the week before and he refused to bring them back, instead, he gave me his credit card details and bought the demo pair.

So finally there I was with another pair of XL Slingshots to try.
I had another trip planned, where I would be doing 6 dives at the Poor Knights Islands on a live-aboard.  The trip was a photography trip so I would be carrying my camera system on every dive.
The first dive was a fine pinnacle dive, so I didn’t cover a very large distance.  When I was getting back on the boat, one of the divers asked “how were the fins?” to which I replied “what? Fins? Oh! The slingshots, they were…. Well nothing really, I didn’t feel anything with them”.  So, initially I didn’t feel any particular thoughts about them, not bad, but then not good either.  I later thought about this and changed my opinion slightly. The fact that I had forgotten I was wearing a new style fin was a good thing.
For photography I want feel. I want to be able to hover in one spot and make tiny corrections to my position using my feet.  This is especially crucial when using a macro lens close into the subject.

alfinslingshot1As we went through each dive I tried to think about the fins more, this is where I started to like the adjustable power bands.
Set to 1, they feel like a good split fin when flutter kicking, except you get a little more spring!!  Then , if you want to move quickly, they don’t just flop about, they actually respond to your input.  On setting 3 they feel much more like a traditional blade fin, not quite the same stiffness as an old Jet-fin or Slipstream, from the 70’s but the feel of a good blade fin.

The best part?
You can use the frog kick in any of the settings with ease.  No change in technique needed.
Why use a frog kick?  Inside an old ship wreck or cave, you need to use anti silting techniques, the flutter kick is a sure fire way to stir up silt, making a safe exit much harder.  After years of diving in a drysuit, many of which were in the UK where silt is a part of every dive, I have just gotten used to using this technique most of the time.   I find it more comfortable and before moving to using a rebreather, I found my air lasted longer when I dived in this manner.

Back to my first weekend of diving with the Slingshots;
Day 2 started early, we were moored at Middle Arch, one of my favourite sites at the Poor Knights.  I planned a big dive, spending 30 mins at 40m, then I planned to swim around the outside of the Arch, to ascend up to 12m as I reached the back of the arch.  This then gave me a good 30 mins inside the archway leading me back to the boat.  My planned max dive time was 120mins which gave me plenty of opportunity to take many photos along the way.
The dive started well, I found a fantastic Long fin Boar fish at 36m, which I spent a good 10 mins approaching.  Having a rebreather helps with this because of the lack of bubbles, but these are still very shy fish and to get close enough to get good portrait shots I needed patience.  Next I found a speckled moray, and then a stingray in the sand.  The time was ticking by so I carried on along the reef.  Something wasn’t quite right?
It took me a few minutes to realise I had been swimming in the wrong direction for 10 mins!! So I retraced my route and found a part of the reef I was familiar with.  I was approx 30m from where I had started but had been diving for over 50 mins and had not even begun to go around the Archway. Time for a decision.  Do I end the dive now or go for it?
The fins really were a large part of the decision, I decided to go for it and continue to swim.  The outside of the arch had a bit of current running through, this meant there were heaps of fish and rays swimming by. This current also challenged the slingshots, which made easy work of the current. I managed to find my way round this time, no problems so spent a great 20 mins in the relative shallows of middle arch, really enjoying the colourful sponges and anemones on the walls.  I got back on the boat, with a run time of 110 mins, my first words……..

“These fins are awesome”

I did 2 more dives that day, for the weekend I spent 8 hours underwater.  My legs are usually pretty tired after that.  With the Slingshots I noticed a huge reduction in fatigue.  I strongly believe that this fin is the right fin almost every diver.  Regardless if you are strong, which ever technique you use or whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver you will gain an advantage over other fins.  However, with this fin, there are no compromises.

I feel so confident about this fin that I will be guaranteeing every pair we sell.
If they are not as good as we say, we will offer a full refund.  Plus if anyone wants to try them, we have all sizes available. The only catch?  You have to give them back after the trial!!