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Original Jet Fins

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by BlueTrin, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. BlueTrin

    BlueTrin DIR Practitioner

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    David Wilson likes this.
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    I'm old enough to have been around in the early 1960s when the original Beuchat Jetfin first came out. The model was described in French as a "palme à tuyères" ("fin with jets" or "jetted fin" in English) and given the product name "Jetfin" as a single word. Here is an early flyer in French about the fin's mechanics:
    Jetfin_1_1.jpg
    Jetfin_1_2.jpg
    Note how the fin was first conceived in the early 1960s as a full-foot fin because "palmes chaussantes" were considered to be the design of choice at the time for serious divers in Europe. Closed-heel fins back then were much more expensive than open-heel ones. As you have discovered, however, Beuchat did produce an open-heel version of the Jetfin to fit bigger foot sizes and Scubapro stuck to open-heels when the American company sold Jet Fins (two-word spelling) States-side.

    If you want further information about Beuchat's Jetfins and Scubapro's early Jet Fins, post in the Vintage Diving Forum here where there are plenty of "old-timers" and diving equipment historians in the know.:)
     
  3. BlueTrin

    BlueTrin DIR Practitioner

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    That’s a fantastic post and nice pictures, I’ll ask a Mod to move the post to the vintage section.
     
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  4. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich Solo Diver

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    My daughter is using a pair of jets fins from the mid 1980s. You would have trouble telling them from a new pair.
     
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  5. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

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    Here is Scubapro's explanation of their Jet Fins:

    ScubaproCatalogJetFinDescription.jpg

    Below is a photo of me on the hoist with John Pierson, another USAF Pararescueman as we practice water hoist operations in about 1973. As you can see, I am using my Scubapro Lightning Jet Fins, which I still have. The helicopter is a HH-34 from the 304th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Reserve flying out of Portland, Oregon, and we are hovering over the Columbia River.

    HH-34%20Water%20Pickup_zpsuwn2aagp.jpg

    SeaRat
     
  6. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

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    If you want to see one of the first public use of Jetfins, the Beuchet version, I think, watch Cousteau's World Without Sun.



    I think Scubapro was a bit unhappy with Cousteau's use of these fins at that time (I seem to remember something along these lines), but could do nothing as the fins came from Beuchet.

    SeaRat
     
  7. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    That is where I first saw them. (for other readers) The Academy Award winning 1964 movie World Without Sun documented Cousteau's Conshelf 2 saturation diving experiment in 1962. Scubapro was not founded until 1963.
     
  8. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    Beauchat made original Jet Fin not Scubapro.
     
  9. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

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    @BlueTrin

    Your reference requires a bit of correction-- The author writes with great authority about a subject he has little or no historical knowledge -- so typical !

    Diving Icons: Jet Fins


    @John C. Ratliff @David Wilson

    John & David thank you for your always informative posts -

    David, this was the very first time I saw the original Jet Fin Box-- Thank you for researching it and posting

    John-- World with out sun (WWOS)

    It was premiered in LA in 1962 (?) (56 years ago) maybe 1963 (?) (55 Years ago) in a small off the main street movie theater in Hollywood. Cousteau was relative unknown outside the diving community .. The audience was small, probably numbering 200 or so composed of a number of LA Co UW instructors and family and friends.

    We all departed the theater destining what kind of fins were they using-- such a strange configuration.

    In winter of 1964 during the LA Co UW instructor's association pre test event, which was always a gathering of the tribe Jim Christiansen, an LA CO UW instructor and an official with SCUBA Pro brought several pairs of Jet fins to introduced them to the at that time elite of the diving world for as test dive and evaluation.

    The reception was less than warm- We were all strong swimmers and had been indoctrinated and use to the stiff as a board non adjustable Duck Feet. Those who tested the Jets that day over swam them and bent them double- Not a good reception

    Never the less in the 1965 SCUBA Pro catalog Jet fins appeared == Page 17. 1/4 page ad, catalog number 7050 one size fits all $17.00.

    The reception and transition to Jets was slow by the establishment but apparently the Jet fins were well received in the emerging diving community of the hinterlands who two years later watched an episode or two of JYCs TV specials and suddenly embraced the UW world --"Now I Are a Diver!"

    Dick, Gus and Jim and I were all members of the same spearfishing club. Gus was the national Spearfishing team coach for a number of years and Jim was a national champion and later assumed the coaching position from Gus. So I had a unique position with the company.

    Dick gave me a pair of Jets to wear - at first I was disappointed of the amount of thrust on every kick - then I altered my kicking and settled down - but not satisfied with the performance -- One female LA CO UW instructor I was diving with and told me that I was bending the fins almost double on every kick.

    Not too long afterwards they began cracking - So called Dick who sent me a pair of the Jet giant fins which I used for years with out a problem.

    'Gus was the first to go, followed by Jim and a few years ago Dick left us-- all dear friend whom I miss

    SAM Miller, III

    @Akimbo
    @50 years under (FYI)
     
  10. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

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    Jet Fins001.jpg
    I have a book, This Is Diving, A Complete Underwater Course, by Duilio Marcante, Copyright United Nautical Publishers S.A., Basel, Switzerland, 1976. In it there is a photo of a free diver using the Beuchet Jetfins. What is not shown on David Richie Wilson's catelog above is that these closed-heel fins were also open-toe fins.

    Below is a photo I took in Clear Lake of a diver using Scubapro Jet Fins.
    Rowingoverdiver.jpg

    Here is a comparison of my Lightning Jet Fins with my modified scoop fins by Mares.
    Avanti-ScoopJetFin.jpg

    [​IMG]

    SeaRat
     
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