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Rod's View of the Viper V-5 Flex (Orange Dot) and V-5 (Yellow Dot) Models


Viper V-5 Flex (Orange Dot)



Viper V-5 (Yellow Dot) Stiff Blade


In the Beginning - Skin Diving Flippers.  I started bodysurfing, riding longboards and then shortboards, and at the same time paipo boarding, while growing up in Puerto Rico in the '60s. At that time I used whatever flippers were around, i.e., mostly scuba diving style fins (e.g., Cressi's). Sometime during the late '60s, or certainly beginning in the early 70s and into the early 80s, I used Voit Duck Feet. I was never crazy about the Voits but they worked and I couldn't afford trying out other brands.

Churchills - My Favorite Fins During the 80s and Into the New Millenium. For the next 20 years I have used Churchills almost exclusively, but the older ones made of rubber and having flexible blades. These fins did not have as much quick thrust as all the stiff blades that have blanketed the market the last decade or so. About 15 yrs ago Churchill changed the materials used in making the fins which resulted in a stiff blade. I've been buying old style, used Churchills wherever possible but that supply has pretty much run the course.

Emergency Replacement - Dec 2003 - Viper V-5 Flex.
  Mrs. Santa was so kind as to buy me some new Viper V-5 Flex Model (orange spot) flippers (fins) during our winter trip to PR, as my trusty ol' flexi Churchills lefty cracked below the foot pocket.
The V-5 Flex'ers have passed the test as a good replacement for my old-style, flexi Churchills. Actually, I like them even more than the original Churchills. Transitioning to the Orange Dots required some minor adjustments in how I paddled but it didn't take long. The Orange Dots provide more thrust during wave catching than my old Churchillls, have a softer foot pocket with the built-in padding strips and the ankle straps are less abrasive. Bottom line: a decent replacement and addition to the fin (flippers) quiver. Caveat: I bought a pair of XL-sized fins for cold water use but the foot pocket did not scale up for 5 to 7 ml of wetsuit socks. Read more about that experience here.

Viper V-5 Yellow Dots Now Part of My Fin Quiver - Fall 2010.  Since my first purchase of Viper V-5 Flex (Orange Dot) swim fins I have had to purchase one replacement pair due to cracking in the side ridges. My original pair still work fine but a replacement pair were prudent for overseas surf trips. For some reason the replacement pair seemed to have a lot more flex in them than my original pair. So, I monitored eBay for the past several months and when a decently priced pair became available they became mine. Hauled all three pairs of Vipers down to Cape Hatteras in case my test drive of the new Yellow Dots were unsatisfactory. Not to worry -- the Yellow Dots (short blades) worked like a charm.

Swim Fins Epilogue. During the past 10 years or so, I purchased several different fins in pursuit of finding some good replacements for my old Churchills: Redley's Flex, Hydro Techs, Tech2's and Churchill Slashers. None of these fins passed the test for me. They may be good for you depending upon your foot shape and size, your surf paddling and riding style (e.g., bodysurfer, drop-knee, etc.), and other factors.

Rod Rodgers
2 Jan 2004, updated 6 May 2009 and 11 Nov 2010.

General Description of Viper Fin Models (click on figure to read)




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Last updated on: 04/30/11