Hello everyone, my name is Pavel Tomm, I'm a freediving instructor trainer and in this video, I would like to compare three different stiffnesses of Alchemy V330. I'm using Alchemy for about 10 years, I started with V2HS, then I had a V3 and since last year I'm using V330 with C4 footpockets. As a freediver I'm always on the scale of the soft blades, so for training, I chose soft fins in the beginning and I really liked them, but last year I was participating in the World Championship in Limassol as a safety diver so I got the medium fins because the soft is probably too soft for the rescue. This year I'm based here in Kalamata in FCG and there are a lot of people diving 200 plus meters and we are doing deep safety. I just found out that the medium fins are a bit too stiff for me and I don't really like to use them so I got the medium soft. So right now I have three identical fins, soft, medium soft, and medium, and I would like to compare them a bit.
Alchemy V330 are full carbon fins with C4 foot pockets, the C4 foot pocket could be either the 400 which is a rubber one, it's easy to put it on, that's the main benefit, and then there's a C4 300, which is silicone one. It's really light, it's a little bit more work to put it on, but I prefer this one. I feel a little bit tight with them. You can get them in black and white color so you can always look fancy and the angle between the blade and the foot pocket is 30 (degrees), that's the difference between V330 and V3, which are the ones with the Pathos foot pocket and then the angle is 23 (degrees).
What I'm going to compare now, I'm diving mainly in the sea so everything will be related to depth, I'm not doing anything in the pool. I just choose to do three identical dives with all these fins. I'm doing constant weight down to 30 meters - which is something that I as an instructor and people who teach do mainly - another one at 50 meters and a rescue from 20. I'm not a big guy, I'm 178 centimeters tall and I weigh a little bit less than 70 kilos. For these dives, for 30 and 50, I'm using a nose clip, I have a three-millimeter wetsuit, I have an Alchemy neck weight of 1.23 kilos, and one kilo on my weight belt. I'm neutral around 17 meters and my freefall during my dives usually start at 35 meters or maybe even deeper.
So in this first dive we will compare them on a constant weight down to 30. I'm not freefalling so I'm kicking all the way down and almost all the way up. I did three identical dives with all these blades, what is interesting is the dive time, the dive time is 47 (medium), 47 (medium-soft), and 48 seconds (soft). So just with soft fins, I lost one second which maybe I lost during the turn, it's not really accurate, so the dive time is really identical. What is important to understand is that I'm adjusting my technique for each blade. What is different is the number of kicks I need, so it was 44 (soft), 40 (medium-soft), and 36 (medium). From depth all the way to the surface.
For teaching, it doesn't really matter, all the fins are amazing. If you want to relax, take the soft fins, if you want to feel the propulsion and the power, take stiffer fins. I would go for a soft or medium-soft definitely.
For the first dive, I took the soft fins. The soft blade is the one I'm using mainly in the training, I really like it because I'm not getting tired, I don't feel any lactic, I feel very comfortable during the dive and even after the dive, and I still have a very good speed with them. The dive time to 50 meters is 1:26 seconds but I need 83 kicks from 50 to go back up to seven eight meters when I just stop kicking and let my body float. 83 kicks sound a little bit too much but you need to understand that you always adjusting the technique for the blade you have. So with soft blades, I'm doing smaller kicks and you cannot really use any power otherwise you just bend the blade underneath you because it's really soft and it's not doing anything so you need to adjust the technique. With soft fins I'm not really using the power, you cannot use the power, then you can have a good speed. Anyway, what I found out is that when I'm going deeper with these fins I really don't like the first few meters after the turn, because you don't feel the acceleration. There is some but it's not the best as it could be. Anyway, I still really love it.
For the second dive I took a medium soft and that's the blade I'm using mainly during the last few days. If I would go now for the training I would probably take the medium soft blade. I feel comfortable as with soft fins, I don't feel any lactic, I feel very relaxed during the dive and I feel really fresh after the dive, but after the turn, I can feel more acceleration and it makes me feel better that I'm moving somewhere. I don't need that many kicks it was just 70 kicks, so it's 13 blades, and definitely from greater depth it would be even more and more extra kicks you need with soft fins and I have a very nice rhythm with them. It makes me feel very very good. Anyway, the dive time is identical, sorry it was just one second shorter than with soft blades but I love it.
For the last dive, I took a medium fin which I'm really not using for training because I have these lazy ankles with them and I feel they are too stiff for me. I can't say I really feel any lactic but definitely during the ascent I feel a bit more tired, I don't feel that comfortable and that relaxed with them, and get this little feeling at 20 that I really want to be there already. I need 70 kicks, same as with medium soft fins, but probably if I will be a bit stronger it will be fewer kicks. The dive time was a little bit longer, but I'm talking again about one second, so with these three stiffnesses, I did 50 meters in 125 (soft), 126 (medium-soft), and 127 with medium fins.
I'm not really sure, you can't really compare if I lost something during the turn or maybe on the duck dive. The dive times are identical but I feel that with medium fins if I would go deeper, I will probably slow down because it cost me some extra energy. Ok, and which blade I would recommend in the end for deep diving, for deep training? Definitely soft or medium soft. With soft blades, you need to be a little bit careful because you cannot use your power that much, you really need to adjust your technique to the stiffness of the blade, otherwise you just bend it too much and you're not moving anywhere. You need to be ready that after the turn, where you're really negative, you need some time to really start moving but then you're moving very fast anyway. The dive time as I showed you, it was identical then with medium soft, and medium. Medium soft, for me, this is a magic blade, I really love it, I feel the power of the blade on all lengths of the fin, I have a very nice rhythm, and I feel the same comfortable and relaxed as with soft blades and I really like the feeling that I'm moving somewhere from the beginning. It costs me fewer kicks, and the same dive time, but I really love the feeling. Medium fins, I think it's a bit too much for deep diving.
I did a rescue from 20 meters with Molchanovs rescue is a different grab and this is the rescue we're doing here when we're grabbing the victim under the pulpit, it's not like an SSI when you're just grabbing the head and lifting the victim up, and from 20 meters. So for the first rescue, I took the soft fins. You really feel from the beginning that you need to kick and that you're not really going anywhere. But it's just the first few meters. As soon as you get a little bit buoyant it gets better. But for rescue, if someone is doing deep safety and there's a potential chance to rescue someone from a big depth I would not go for them, it's too soft. The dive time from -20 to the surface was 24 seconds, which is not bad, but I need 50 kicks, it's quite a lot. For the second rescue, I took the medium soft fins. You really feel the difference from the beginning again, it's quite significant. The dive time from 20 to the surface was just two seconds shorter, so it was 22 seconds, I need 44 kicks so it's 6 less, but the feeling overall as soon as I grab him, I feel that I'm really going somewhere. So for rescue, they are perfect, I can really imagine going with them way deeper for the rescue, 30-40 meters, no problem. For the last dive, I took medium fins and as you can expect it was again a little bit faster. I need just 40 kicks, so it's again less than with medium soft, and the dive time also again shorter and it was 20 seconds. If you compare 20 seconds or 24 from 20 meters, it is already different. If you imagine that you have to go deeper, you will lose even more with the soft blade. So if someone is doing safety, if someone wants fins for deep safety for rescue, I would probably not go for the softest. Medium or medium soft.
Ok so what is the final result? If I may recommend you one pair of fins definitely it will be medium-soft. You can use them for training, for me they are the best for training, you can do very good rescue even for great depth and you can use them all day long. They're amazing even for underwater photography when you're pushing quite a big camera in front of you. Medium fins, if you have a lot of power, if you are doing mainly spearfishing let's say, underwater photography and safety, then it's a good option. If you are more on the side of training and you're doing deep dives, soft fins are very good for that. For me, the winner is medium soft.