MED CUP 2013: EPISODE 2
A NEW FIN
110m, this time I dived right in. It went better than last time, but not as well as expected. Strong swell, a little current, but still the same deep blue sea. My new monofin served me well during this 3'01 return journey.
You always need a little time to adjust to a new fin and tame its mood swings, seeing as it becomes our only travel buddy :
. New foot pocket. The foot pocket is where all the magic happens. It represents the essential link between the energy produced by the body and its transformation into blade movement, which is in fact the propulsion's pipeline.
. New blade. Length, stiffness, material, colour, thickness...its features our countless and make each fin a unique item. My new blade is white and stiffer than my old one, but is still made of fibre. A test dive in Nice made me doubt whether I would be capable of adjusting to its new features. The expert hands of its creator, Oleg Pudov, quickly removed several layers of fibres to make it more supple. Then I put it straight back on and was set to go. The chemistry slowly started to grow between us. It became less stiff but remained just as reactive, exactly the result I was looking for. Let's say it quickly recovered its first-time mistakes. I will be using it for my next 114m dive on Saturday to try it out again and hopefully adopt it for good !
At a time when everyone is opting for carbon, many are surprised to see that I prefer to stick to old-school fibre. Carbon is indeed very reactive, and immediately responds to body movement : perfectly adapted to high-frequency and low-amplitude undulation. Throughout the 2011 season, I used a carbon fin, which helped me win the individual world champion title at a depth of -117m. Yet I never really felt the connection between us that year. Then, by chance, during a free dive session at the beginning of 2012, I slipped on my fibre fin, and it just seemed like the obvious choice. The fibre's reaction is smoother and more long-lasting, it guides the movement gradually and gently, which suits my swimming technique much better (wider amplitude, medium frequency).
Free divers and their fins, a love story in the making !
However, I have never been obsessed by my equipment. Indeed, I chose free diving, and especially constant weight, so that I could have a simple, raw and intimate connection with the water, all unnecessary equipment considered as an added obstacle in the quest for harmony between my body, my mind and the sea. Once I have made up my mind, I don't go back and stay fully concentrated on what is important. This is how I function for all my activities, and like to concentrate my energy on improving my physical, physiological, technical, tactical and psychological qualities before thinking about a change in equipment.
Here's hoping that my new fin choice is the right one. Worst case scenario, the old one already helped me out through my -123m, so it will probably be able to manage a few more metres !