Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life on the Leading Edge of Fin Design

We have for some time now been smitten with the almost-otherworldly fin technology gushing from the Force Fin labs in sunny Santa Barbara, Calif.

You may remember Neutral Dive Gear Founder & CEO Mark Glesne, along with then-intern Jan, spent an afternoon with Bob, Susanne, and Blair from Force Fin last year to received a first-hand look into life on the leading edge of fin design.

So when we come across a terrifically insightful interview/article like this, we can't help but pass around.

Much maligned and misunderstood, Force Fins and their iconoclastic creators, Bob Evans and Susanne Chess, have been leading a quiet revolution within the dive industry. Long shunned by the dive industry power brokers, the pair are the propagators of the polyurethane fins shaped to resemble the tail end of tuna or a dolphin. Inspired by the natural locomotion of aquatic creatures and with barnacle-like tenacity, the pair have led Force Fin from the sketch pad to major market player over twenty-four tumultuous years. Along the way, they've experienced broad acceptance from the swimming community, yet almost total disdain from the mainstream of the dive industry. They've weathered unscrupulous efforts to undermine their stature here in the U.S., yet been embraced by the foreign dive press and have even been put to use by the Russian Navy. Ignored by the American dive press, they've been overwhelmed by the mainstream news media and general public here in the States.

But whether hailed as visionaries or ridiculed by members of their own industry, Evans and Chess have sailed their ship well, generating droves of loyal followers in swimming, fishing, and now, finally, in diving. "The industry is finally ready to accept us, to look beyond what our fins look like," says Evans.

Here, in an exclusive interview conducted at their offices in Santa Barbara, CA, is an inside look at a great American success story...

That's just the intro. Be sure to read the entire interview to glean from Bob and Susanne's experience with not only fin design, but the dive industry as a whole.

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