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Hollis F1s vs. Deep6 Eddy fins: a review

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by RyanT, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. RyanT

    RyanT ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    Ok, I know there was a recent discussion regarding neutrally buoyant tech fins. I've been on my own quest to find the ultimate fin, so I thought I would post my review of two very different fins here. My buddy and I received our new Eddy fins from @cerich a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday we went to our local quarry and gave them a whirl. In case it's helpful, I wear a size 10 men's shoe, dive wet, and use soft-soled wetsuit boots.

    Hollis F1s: After many years of diving with the original ScubaPro jet fins, I decided to give the F1s a try. After a few dives, they became the best fin, I had ever put on my foot...or so I thought. Here's what I love: 1) the system for connecting the spring straps to the fin is solid, there are no moving parts, so nothing to snag or get pulled out of alignment. 2) they have enormous power and this is important to me. I like a stiff, powerful fin. 99% of the time, I never use that power, but I want it there when I need it. Otherwise, I can do slow frog kicks/sculling kicks with stiff fins and still not use much energy. 3) the foot pocket is deep and this brings the top edge of the fin all the way to my ankle. This feels secure and comfortable. 4) All kicks are easy, except back kicks, I can't seem to do these in the F1s. 5) They are built like a tank. I like bulletproof equipment.

    As it turns out, this last point seems to be the rub. Being built like a tank means they also weigh as much, both in and out of the water! I often found myself sculling to keep my feet from sinking. Although this wasn't really a big deal, I just found it annoying after a while.

    Having heard great things about Deep6, my buddy and I decided to give them a try.

    Deep6 Eddy fins: 1) the system for connecting the spring strap is identical to that of the F1s. It's solid and awesome. I ordered the size large fin and found that I needed to adjust the strap one notch in, on one side, to get the fit right. 2) They do not seem to have quite as much power as the F1s. The fins seem to have slightly more flex, and to me, seemed to have less power. With that said, the thrust they provide is certainly adequate for moving me with a set of doubles. So even though they seem to generate less thrust than the F1s, I certainly wouldn't worry about them being "under powered." Again, my personal preference is for a really stiff fin, so I can imagine that the Eddy fins probably appeal to a broader range of divers. In addition, I can imagine that a few minutes of hard swimming would generate less fatigue compared to the F1s. 3) The foot pocket is comfortable, but it is not quite as deep as the F1s. The top edge of the Eddy fin stops maybe an inch short of where my foot meets my ankle. On my foot, they just didn't quite feel as "secure" or "connected to my foot" as the F1s. This is probably more of a perception relative to what I've been used to. The foot pocket actually fit my foot nicely, with no lateral movement. So the fins actually were comfortable and secure on my foot. I can imagine that many people might find a foot pocket that comes all the way up to the base of the ankle would rub, making them uncomfortable. So again, I suspect the foot pocket design would appeal to most divers. 4) All kick types were easy, and much to my surprise, I found I could do back kicks. I'm actually not sure why, but something about the design of these fins (maybe a tad shorter than the F1s) worked. I gave it a try and was totally jazzed to find I was going in reverse! 5) The Eddy fins are way lighter, both in and out of the water. And this was the liberating part! I instantly found myself feeling better trimmed from head-to-toe and didn't have to constantly scull to keep my feet from sinking.

    Also, my buddy tried her new Eddy fins as well. She had previously used a set of plastic SP split fins and the Atomic blades. She hated both of those. They both lacked power and she had tremendous trouble keeping them on her feet. She came out of the water smiling saying the Eddy fins made for the first dives where she didn't have to think about her fins!

    Obviously these are different fins and of course Hollis makes the LT version of their F1s, but given that both fins are suitable for tech dives, it's still worth a comparison. Oh yeah, did I mention the price? If you buy two pairs of Eddy fins, the price per pair is almost half what the F1s cost!

    I suspect I will quickly get used to how the Eddy foot pocket feels and I think I've definitely found a winner!
  2. cerich

    cerich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Georgia
    if I were a better marketing type I would claim that I designed it to be the best back kick fin on the market.. except I'd be full of crap. I assumed it would be good, and I'm a better than average back kicker..however when I got in the water with the prototype I was blown away by how well they work for backing down. In design I wanted a light fin, comfortable pocket, the spring attachment like the Hollis (but use stainless for the posts) using a proven blade. I got all that with a pleasant surprise bonus of what is the best back kick fin I've ever tried.
    BlueTrin and RyanT like this.
  3. rjgiddings

    rjgiddings Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle
    " After many years of diving with the original ScubaPro jet fins, I decided to give the F1s a try. " Heck - I could have written this word for word myself. I'm thinking Ill still keep my split fins, take them to Grand Cayman...but Ill use the Hollis F1 for cold water for a bit. Some guy out in Issaquah sold me his F1's for $90.00.
  4. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    My F1s are XL (to fit over drysuit boots). They are 2# negative in fresh water. My F1 LTs are size Regular (for wetsuit use). They are 1.0# negative in fresh water. The Eddy fins I recently got are size L and they are just barely negative. Call it 0.2 # negative.

    It's definitely no surprise (to me) that your feet would be sinking with F1s on, in a wetsuit.

    On back kicks, I am starting to develop a feeling. My feeling is that the effectiveness of a back kick has a lot to do with the diver's trim. If you have good trim without having to scull, then your back kick can be very effective. But, if you are having to scull just to stay in trim, then what seems like happens is part of your back kick is actually working to keep you in trim and it basically just screws the whole thing up as far as actually going backwards.

    That is just a theory I have at this point.

    What you (@RyanT) said seems to jibe with this.

    I was actually working with one of the instructors from my shop yesterday trying to help her with her back kick. I guess she saw me scooting around the bottom of the pool in reverse yesterday. I was going pretty well, so she asked me to look at her and see if I could figure out why she can't back up. She was in sidemount and seriously could NOT back up. But, she said she can back up just fine in single tank back mount. I observed her for a bit and had her try a few things and, in the end, I concluded that it looked like she was fighting a slight tendency to rotate head up so she was sculling just a little bit almost all the time. It seemed like her fin position was accommodating that and the result was her back finning stroke wasn't really in the horizontal plane that she needed it to be in. She also said she had recently changed to a lighter fin and that she felt like she could back up okay in sidemount in her heavier fins.

    It all seems (to me) to point to a need to really have trim sorted out in order to have an effective back kick. As in, trim is way more important for a good back kick than it is for any other aspect of diving that I have experienced so far.

    This also reminds me of (I think) @DevonDiver talking about being able to back kick with no fins on at all, once you master the technique. I don't doubt that's true, which suggests that the right fin helps, but the difference between two good technical fins should not be dramatic.

    I tried the F1 LT and the Eddy in the pool yesterday (in sidemount) and was able to back up much more easily with the F1 LT. Now that you have spurred my thoughts, I'm going to try the same comparison again, next chance I get, except using single tank back mount. Maybe even experiment with some trim weights to compensate for the differences in the fins. I want to see if messing with my trim will "fix" me so that the Eddy fins work just as well for me for backing up as the F1 LT fins do.
    tech3324, RyanT and Lorenzoid like this.
  5. george_austin

    george_austin Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Los Angeles,CA. Alcoi, Espana, Los Barilles, Baja
    Tell me about how negative the F1's are - one slipped out of my hand at an offshore rig and disappeared like a rifle shot to about 560 ft deep. That was my 2nd dive with them. Grrrrrr
  6. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    The difference between fins can be quite dramatic. Even with tech fins. Length, shape, buoyancy of the fin, stiffness, and how well it fits. Longer fins I have seen divers struggle at first because they are pushing too hard and the fins either act as planes and tend to tilt the diver head down or flex too much and if powered excessively will flex and actually start the diver forward negating the backward motion. They just stay in one place.

    Shorter, stiffer, and even wider fins coupled with a smooth backward stroke keeping the fin level or even SLIGHTLY angled down and then a smooth pull back rather than a stiff jerk with usually result in a nice motion. The Eddy fins are similar in length and shape to my current favorites for back kicking and I see no reason they wouldn't be a great fin for this. I'm going to have to try a set.

    Although I have fins coming out the yin yang now.
    Oh and back kicking without fins. With the proper technique - no problem whatsoever. In fact, in the pool with wet suit boots on underwater I can make better progress backwards than forwards. But then I have been able to get decent backward motion in still water in Apollo Bio splits, Atomic splits, and even a set of Oceanic V-12 splits. Technique can overcome poor fins.

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