Kickstarter Funded Ski Boot Style Fin Clips for Divers
During the recent boot show in Düsseldorf, we came across an interesting piece of kit that could potentially make a difference to the way divers don and doff their fins.
The Kickstarter-funded Finclip was invented by Paolo Piumatti, a long-time dive instructor and owner of Ustica Dive resort, located on the tiny island of Ustica, some 36 nautical miles north of Palermo on the island of Sicily.
The philosophy behind the Finclip is based on Paolo's experience as an instructor, facing the perpetual problem of divers having difficulty donning their fins before a dive. Many divers will have experienced such difficulties, especially standing on the back of a dive boat, pitching in the swell, wearing full gear and perhaps with physical difficulties caused by injury, disability or simply age.
With this in mind, Paolo constructed a device called the Finclip, similar in design to the fastenings used on ski-boots, where skiers press down with their heels to lock the skis in place.
'While over the years ski bindings have evolved and become more functional, diving fins have remained very much the same,' says Paolo in the introduction to his Kickstarter page. 'On the basis of this observation, and thanks to my extensive knowledge in the field of diving, I invented Finclip. An accessory that makes donning and doffing fins fast and practicle… just like it is today to clip ski boots onto skis.'
The clips are attached to a standard set of fins using a clamp which fixes to the base of the fin's heel. The clamp is screwed into place, but no modification of the fin is required - as long as it has the standard set of posts to which most straps are connected. Opening the Finclip locks the bungee strap into place, and the diver closes the clip by pressing down with their heel. Removal is just as easy, pulling the clip outwards, which also separates the sole of the diver's boot from the fin pocket, removing the suction effect that causes some divers difficulty when removing their fins after a dive, or in the water.
A short survey on Facebook group Diver's Forum produced some mixed reactions, with some divers dismissing it as unnecessary, but others mentioning hip and knee problems, difficulties reaching their feet, and the general issue of moving dive boats making the Finclip a product of interest.
To date, the Kickstarter has raised €95,396, well above the €70,000 goal, and Paolo has been demonstrating the device at the Paris Dive show, as well as Boot. Having seen the Finclip in action in Düsseldorf, it's certainly a solid piece of kit. With an expected retail price of €56 per set, it would double the price of a basic pair of paddle fins, but still come in under the price of some more 'advanced' fin designs.