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Rod's View of the Hydro Techs Model

"Rod's View of the Viper V-5 Flex (Orange Dot) Model" chronicles my search for replacement fins. I found some good ones for warm water surfing, the Viper V-5 Flex Model (Orange Dots). However, the Vipers didn't work well in cold water, when wearing 4mm to 7mm of wetsuit socks, even though I scaled up a fin size from L to XL: they are too narrow and shallow. Turns out this problem is a common amongst waveriders. I exchanged several emails with the company but was told nothing could be done to increase the size of the foot pocket (see Need for An Improved Fit for Viper Fins... Too Bad).

So, the search continued... and panic had really set-in because my existing cold water fins had been suffering a severe case of dry rot around the critical ankle straps in addition to the blades. For at least two years I had been searching for a pair of winter fins that fit my feet cramp-free, do not torque my ankles and provide sufficient thrust when paddling out to the line-up:
  • Churchill Makapuu's: The old rubber, more flexible bladed fins were great. These are the ones I used to use.
  • Churchill Slashers: The foot pocket seemed soft and pliable enough. These fins appeared to have a lot going for them, but for some reason they just didn't fit well when trying them out for warm water use. Maybe I have an odd foot and ankle structure!. Nonetheless, in desperation I bought a discounted pair of XL along with the Hydro Techs... after all, I was desperate! They do feel heavy and bulky. Update: They did not pass my in-water operational test.
  • Hydro Finz Originals: I bought these 3 or 4 years ago during the Shoreline Bodyboarding closeout sale. They were awful! The blades are so wide and have so much surface that I might as well strapped on 4x8's. Not for me. I sold them last September to somebody that likes them.
  • Hydro Tech2's: acquired these for my birthday this past October with great hopes. The fins felt great with a super soft foot pocket. The blade had a good balance of stiffness and flex--a really nice spring... but they were powerless out in the water. Huge disappointment.
  • Redley's Flex Model: tried these out a couple of years ago. They were very heavy, the foot pocket was very hard and unforgiving, and the fins had so much blade and stiffness even though they appeared to have some flex. These fins really torqued my ankles.
  • UDTs (Reformulated Deet's): I haven't cut down and trimmed my pair. These remains a future project.
What makes the Hydro Techs work for me? The foot pockets are amply sized, i.e., they have plenty of width and height so large feet and/or with plenty of cold water rubber will fit well without cramping. They may not be right for you if you have a very narrow feet. The company also did something right in optimizing the blade flex/stiffness, length and edges. These fins are not the lightest, but neither are they the heaviest. Not comparable to my warm water Orange Dots but they will have to do for now. Recommended. All rubber. Many thanks to Justine for encouraging me to try the Techs.

Rod Rodgers
01 Dec 2005

Hydro Tech -- not to be confused with Hydro's other two surf fins, the Hydro Finz Original and the Tech 2.
See my surf fins/flippers web page for additional information.

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Last updated on: 10/30/09