The Sport Diver Test Team ju­niors trial a kid’s monofin, and a round up of test-team silli­ness over the past 18 years.

Sport Diver - - Contents -

MARK EVANS: Cal­i­for­nia-based Lin­den Wol­bert has an un­susual pro­fes­sion - among other things, this highly tal­ented free­d­iver is a pro­fes­sional mer­maid. Now her pur­pose-built, cus­tom-made tail cost sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars, but she has utilised all of her ex­pe­ri­ence with a va­ri­ety of monofins to team up with Bodyglove and cre­ate a lit­tle monofin es­pe­cially for chil­dren that is es­sen­tially a dinky ver­sion of full-blown adult ver­sions. Lin­den, who presents the Mer­maid Minute ed­u­ca­tional videos on Youtube and other chan­nels, is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for get­ting more young­sters in­volved in the sea, be it through div­ing, snorkelling, swim­ming, con­ser­va­tion or a blend of them all, and so be­ing able to get a monofin that has all the per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics of an adult monofin on to the mar­ket was a dream come true. She said: “By team­ing up with Bodyglove, I have been able to cre­ate a monofin that is per­fect for all my lit­tle Mer­men and Mer­maids.” The large plas­tic blade has high-ef­fi­ciency wa­ter chan­nels for added con­trol, and rub­ber sup­ports down ei­ther side, which not only help with the per­for­mance but also cover any sharp plas­tic edges. The su­per-soft foot pock­ets have quick-ad­just­ing Vel­cro straps which can be re­leased eas­ily and ef­fi­ciently, in the event the child needs to re­move it in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion. The Monofin fits US shoe size 1-4 (and Ju­nior 7-13 with the in­cluded soft foam in­serts in­side the foot pock­ets). The age rec­om­men­da­tion is for ages four and up­wards, and I know of sev­eral smaller women who can eas­ily fit their feet into this monofin. To test dive this monofin, I drafted in my son Luke, who has been snorkelling since he was four and has com­pleted his Bub­ble­maker and SEAL Team pro­grammes with PADI. I knew that he had the dol­phin un­du­la­tion move­ment down pat af­ter see­ing him demon­strate it in his swim­ming lessons, so I told him to main­tain the same move­ment while wear­ing the monofin, just at a slower pace. His first cou­ple of runs were along the sur­face, and he was splash­ing move than get­ting any propul­sion, but once I ex­plained he’d be bet­ter in mid-wa­ter, he started to come on in leaps and bounds. Within lit­er­ally five min­utes of don­ning the monofin for the first time ever, he was eas­ily swim­ming 15 me­tres plus. As you can see from the pho­to­graphs, he was very com­fort­able us­ing the monofin, and even flashed me a cheeky grin as he glided past on one par­tic­u­larly long run.

I asked him what he thought of the monofin once we were done for the day, and he replied: “It’s awe­some! I can get loads of power and it didn’t feel like I was try­ing that hard com­pared with a dol­phin kick with no fin on. I can’t wait to try it out in the sea and go swim­ming with the fish and other an­i­mals.” In the in­ter­ests of mak­ing the test­ing more ro­bust, we also got one of Luke’s class­mates, Iso­bel Gray, to trial the monofin. She is a con­fi­dent, pro­fi­cient swim­mer, though she had not re­ally done much snorkelling, but within a mat­ter of min­utes she was hap­pily glid­ing smoothly a good 10-12 me­tres through mid-wa­ter us­ing the monofin and looked very com­fort­able. Asked what she thought, Iso­bel said: “The monofin was light­weight and very easy to fit. I loved it be­cause you went re­ally fast and you didn’t ac­tu­ally need to kick that hard - it felt like you were glid­ing through the wa­ter.”

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