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Spearfish! tested a pair of blades for Leaderfins!
От Wishbone

 

LEADERFINS STEREOBLADES CLASSIC

leaderfins_logo.jpgWhen Spearfish! was first approached by the Estonian company Leaderfins, we were somewhat surprised since we didn’t expect that Estonia is ready to offer new and quality products to the freediving and spearfishing community. Our surprise grew even bigger when we visited the company’s website and found out that the Leaderfins equipment helped many athletes to win competitions and set new world records. You can’t do that with any fins!

 

We understood the company is entering the spearfishing market and when Spearfish! was offered to test a pair of their fins, we didn’t hesitate at all! We immediately contacted one of Bulgaria’s best spearos to perform the field test. Valentin Lyutzkanov is one of the most active members of Spearfish! His successful career as a spearfishing competitor includes medals from many international and local events. The results from the latest Euro-African Championship (individual), held in Saint Jean de Luz (France) in the beginning of October 2005 showed Valentin between the top 15 Euro spearos. This made him the obvious choice for this task. We were glad when Valentin responded positively to our request and we couldn’t wait for the blades to arrive.

 

When the shipment arrived at the beginning of September we found out that the Leaderfins Classic Stereoblades were an “eye catcher” right from the box.

 

The dimensions of the blade are 120cm. x 70 cm. A rubber protector covers the entire edge of the blade to prevent breaks and increase the durability. Besides, we found out that a special protective layer is applied on the surface of the fin for even more durability. Full-length rubber rails run along the blade offering more protection and make obvious the added hydrodynamic stability of the fin.

The color is a quite peculiar sandy type of very light greenish – yellow mix.

Valentin Lyutzkanov

The applied material is fiberglass and we know it has proven its quality for years of rough field testing on competitions and other events with great results. It is elastic and lightweight material, which is used widely for production of fins, so only the performance and the better design are able to make one pair stand out in the crowd. When we did our research on the material, we found out that the Classic Steroblades are manufactured from 18-21 layers of fiberglass! A special technique used for the high-performance monofins is applied to offer four models with different stiffness (Soft, Medium, Hard and Extra Hard) – the layers of the material are removed by hand! We understood Leaderfins sent us the Soft version and rushed to send it to Valentin for the actual test.

Valentiun took his time and the test lasted almost 20 days – between September 5th and 23rd. In order to explore the maximal abilities of the fins he put them as close to the toughest conditions as possible. The Stereoblades were tested during the whole training camp for the 2005 National Championship and the Championship itself, where Valentin took the bronze medal in the individual standings! Another major endurance test for the blades was the XXVI “Silver Amphora” international championship where the Bulgarian team took the silver medals, and Valentin himself finished 7th.

 For presenting the test results we accepted an easily acceptable “stars” rating formula where the performance and the qualities of the fins are given different quantities of stars (*): from * - for “awful” to ****** for “Excellent”. We divided the properties and qualities we were interested in four different groups – the overall qualities of the fins, the vertical and horizontal finning performance, qualities for spearfishing and freediving and hunting and finally – the durability. Here are Valentin Lyutzkanov’s findings:

 

 

TESTED QUALITIES AND PERFORMANCE

RATING

I. Overall properties

Spearfishing

Freediving

Color

* * *

* * * * * *

Length

* * * * * *

* * * * *

Comfort (Beuchat footpocket used)

* * * * * *

* * * * * *

II. Horizontal surface swimming

Speed

* * * *

Flexibility

* * * * * *

Vibrations

None

Splashing

Very little

Distortion

None

III. Vertical swimming

Speed (Ascending)

* * * * *

Speed (Descending)

* * * * *

Flexibility

* * * * * *

Vibrations

None

Distortion

Very little

IV. Spearfishing

1. Ambush (Aspetto)

Color

* * *

Weight

* * * * * *

2. Search and Caves

Color

* * *

Maneuverability

* * * * * *

3. Deep hunt

Speed

* * * *

Flexibility

* * * * * *

V. Freediving

Speed (Ascending)

* * * * *

Speed (Descending)

* * * * * *

Flexibility

* * * * * *

Comfort

* * * * * *

VI. Durability

Wearing

None

Discoloration at sunlight

None

Surface scratches

Very little

A brief analysis of the test shows a lot of perfect results and only few minor flaws:

 

 

- The color of the blades is not among the most suitable for spearfishing, especially at sea and in higher visibility. However, this color scheme may prove to be a good choice for ambush on sand bottoms at lower visibility or when hunting in lakes.

 

- The lower marks regarding the speed comes from the typical stiffness of the tested pair. It is the Soft version of the Classic Stereoblades – this comes to show that the more demanding spearos and freedivers will be more satisfied with the Medium and Hard version of the blades. However this particular stiffness is highly recommended for beginners – to average freedivers, who are more susceptible to tiredness.

 

- During horizontal swimming at the bottom with light shallow kicking (lower amplitude) a slight vibration was experienced. Mr. Lyutzkanov describes it as a light thumping. This might be a problem since any vibration is easily detected by the lateral line of the fish. According to the tester, such phenomenon could be explained by the great flexibility of the Soft blades. Another reason might be the fact that the blades were tested with Beuchat footpockets and not with the O.ME.R or Technosport footpockets, used mostly by Leaderfins. And even though it could be a problem for the more demanding spearos when performing search hunting, the perfect flexibility useful for other types of hunting compensates it. Besides, our presumption is that this very minor flaw won’t exist with the harder versions of the Stereoblades.

 

The overall conclusion of Valentin Lyutzkanov is that the Leaderfins Stereoblades are a wonderful choice, since they hold very useful qualities both for freediving and spearfishing. They don’t tire the legs of the diver, which makes swimming with them a pleasure.

 

In addition Spearfish! was extremely pleased to find out that the blades are completely customizable and the guys at Leaderfins are happy to meet any demand of the freedivers. You can alter the dimensions of the blades, apply different kind of rubber protection or add additional small flippers. The overall design of the tip of the blade could also be redesigned in accordance with the customer’s needs.  Even the material itself could be changed and the company may use Etronax for your custom blades. And finally – the company offer personalization of every fin – you can put your name or logo on the blades and end up with a unique pair!

 

Great job Leaderfins!

 

The Leaderfins Classic Stereoblades are sold directly from the company website at a price of ? 99. The Sterеofins Classic are sold with footpockets of your choice for ? 149. All Leaderfins blades and fins come with 1-year full warranty.

 

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