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Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring clips for scuba diving fins

You scuba divers all know the silly dance and have probably done it yourself more than once. Dressed in full scuba gear and at the water's edge you are desperately trying to tighten your rubber fin straps.

With one leg cranked behind your back in a position even Houdini himself would have found a tad difficult you reach down with the other arm to grab the lively end of the strap that seems intent on escaping the pinch of your fingers all the while balancing on the other leg like some graceless overburdened flamingo.

Go to any dive site and the dance is obvious all to the repeated clicking tune of rubber running through plastic buckles.

Fed up with looking like a right plonker (after all, I have the rhythm of a concrete bollard) I decided to invest in some spring clips for my Scubapro Twin Jets. A lot of the PADI pros I work with told me they were the way to go and I was eventually won over.

As most things in life can never be simple, trying to find a pair of Scubapro's own spring straps at anything near a reasonable price proved a nightmare.

Thanks to the advice of Paull Goodall at Aquasport International, I managed to get around the problem with a little bit of work which I thought I'd share for any other Twin Jet users.

So in the style of a Haynes manual (all those people who had to repair their own cars a few years back with know the reference) hear goes......

I bought a set of IST Proline FS 12 finstraps (retailing about £22 sterling).

The first step is to remove the metal fixing plate at either end of the straps. You'll need two screwdrivers to removed the fixing bolt. The plate is now redundant but keep the fixing bolt and the two smooth black runners.

Next, remove the rubber straps from your fins using the buckle pinch clips. Flip them over and find the plastic runner that the strap runs behind and helps you to adjust the size of the strap. Using a flat-ended screwdriver prize the plastic runner out of the buckle. It is probably easier to break them in half with a bit of force.

Take the fixing bolt you removed from the steel buckle of the spring strap, feed it through the hole in the plastic buckle of the Scubapro fin, through the one half of the black plastic runner removed from the spring strap , through the end of the spring coil and the remaining half of the black plastic runner and through to the other end of the buckle. Take the other end of the fixing bolt and tighten together.

Again you will need two screwdrivers to get the bolt tight. Don't over tighten as you may damage the buckle and will need to replace the whole strap.

Repeat on the other end (remember to get them facing the same way) and do the same for the second fin and clip them back into the fixing buckle on the fin itself and there you go, no more hopping around with your leg cranked behind your back trying to tighten fin straps.

If you are unsure of carrying out the work yourself, get technicians at your local dive centre to do it for you. I take no responsibility for any damaged fin straps.

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