TopKit KitReviews


2,000  Dives And Still Kicking - Review of the Mares Volo Power Fins



volopower 1000


Back in my career as a full-time instructor and guide, I have worn – as you might imagine – a fair number of different fins. Of all of those, the Mares Volo Power are, by a very long way, my favourites. So much so that although they’ve been around for a while now, I’ve just bought a new set.

I’ve always been a big fan of Mares fins ever since I bought my very first pair of AvantiX-3 and later a set Avanti Quattro +, my preferred choice of ‘entry-level’ paddle fin for beginners.

Somewhere in 2007 I inherited a set of the original Volo range and the first time I wore them I was astounded at the difference in feel they provided, without sacrificing too much of the thrust available from stiffer fins. My feet felt lighter in the water, and the old achilles tendon injury that keeps niggling away at me, stopped niggling. I was sold within minutes of slipping them on, although it did take a while to get used to the extra bendiness of the Volos.

Over the years I tried various types of split-fin but they just didn’t agree with where I wanted to put my feet at any given time, and although the tech school might swear by jet fins, I’m not a techie, and they made me feel like I was diving with lead boots.

Forced back into paddle fins for a time, I realised how much strain they were placing on my calf muscles and ankles. Needless to say, this is something that divers who wear paddle fins regularly – as I had previously done – will become accustomed to, but it suddenly felt like I was having to work so much harder to get around.

When I moved to Sharm in 2009 I found a set of Volo Power fins in one of the local dive shops and although they were twice the price of the Avanti Quattro Plus, I took a chance and have never looked back.

The Volo Power fins are longer than the original Volo series (which are no longer available) and the increased surface area and channel length provide much greater thrust as a result.

volopower thg1000

The downside is that the lack of rigidity, which works so well for power, does mean the fins tend to get pushed around by currents, particularly when you’re not moving, or swimming across a current, and this can take a few seconds of manoeuvring to overcome.

At the same time, one of the accusations levelled against the Volo Power is that they are no good while swimming against a current, and after several thousand dives in these fins in some extremely currenty places, I can assure you that this is not the case.

The best analogy I can come up with is that it’s like riding a bicycle up a hill. If you try to do this in a high gear then it takes a lot more effort to turn the pedals, but if you can, then you will make progress. Conversely, it’s much easier to spin the pedals in a low gear, but then you have to pedal more rapidly to progress at the same pace.

It looks a bit daft but rapid, fairly shallow flutter-kicking within the wake of your own body works very well indeed, and the flexible curve of the Volo Power’s blades will propel you along very nicely indeed. You need to move your legs faster, but the overall effort is less.

It is also possible to back-fin.  While this is hardly the preserve of regular recreational divers, it is nevertheless possible with Volos. I freely admit that the ‘standard’ technique employed by GUE divers with jetfins does not work, it looks quite ridiculous and is only possible with Volos in completely slack water. But given that back-finning is not really a recreational thing, this bothers me not in the slightest.

Volo Power ABS Buckle

I like Mares’ ABS buckle system, which is effectively a regular strap but with lockable clips – a bit like ski boots – which makes donning and doffing the fins easy without having to adjust straps or unclip things that fall off. Although springed ‘bungee’ straps are becoming very popular, I don’t particularly like them.

In terms of wear, my first set of Volo Power fins lasted me the better part of 2,000 dives, although realistically I should have replaced them before they got that far. Nevertheless, despite a few cracks, a small split in one of the channels, and a fair number of bite marks acquired during an absolutely epic battle with a titan triggerfish at Gordon reef in 2010, they served me fantastically well with the only problems to report being two broken fin straps.

I bought them for €149.99 in 2009 so at around 5p per dive, I would suggest they were more than excellent value. I do, however, describe them as ‘Marmite’ fins – wearers either love them or hate them – and although they are fairly old now, I do recommend that people try before they buy – as I would with any fin that deviates from the standard, all-purpose paddle.





Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection of real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar philippines sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize sidebar banner south africa

DIVE Partners

sidebar banner egypt new ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui

Latest Articles

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below

PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...