The Arrival of the Apeks RK3 Fin
The Hollis F1 and F1 LTS have always been favourites of the Scuba Leeds dive team. However, the recent delivery of Apeks RK3s has got a few heads turning! Over the years there has been a whole host of weird and wonderful fin designs. Most of these turn up, marketed as the 'future of the fin world' and then slowly fade away into the darkness never to be seen or spoke of again. On the other hand, there has also been a few designs which have stood the test of time. I do like the saying "if it's not broken, don't fix it" and this is definitely the case when it comes to the Apeks RK3 fin.
The design used by Apeks for the RK3 fin dates back almost 50 years. This was the same design used by the US Navy Special Warfare teams. Made from hardy thermoplastic rubber, the RK3 fins have oversized foot-pockets. These are ideal for bulky drysuit wellies or rock boots. Similar to the Hollis F1 range, the robust construction of the RK3s results in a fin that is substantially heavier than your average plastic fin. The 'super-sized' being the heaviest at almost 1.3kgs per fin. The fin blades are wide and short with a vented strip across the middle. The vented blade design reduces resistance on the upstroke and enhances thrust on the downstroke. The vents also eliminate vortexes that can occur along the back of the blade. The fins are fitted with stainless steel spring-straps with rubber pull-tabs as standard. Apeks also make a stiffer, slightly heavier version of this fin called the RK3 HD. The super-sized RK3 HD weighs just shy of 1.5kgs per fin.
Mark Grieve from the Scuba Leeds Dive Team has been diving the Apeks RK3s for some time now. I asked Mark why he dives these fins and if he would recommend these fins to others.
"Over the 5 years I’ve been diving, I have used many different fins. Like most new divers I spoke to my dive centre who steered me towards split fins. Their reason was that due to the split design the force created on your calves is reduced and helps avoid cramp. Great stuff I thought and off I went and bought some TUSA EXPERT (red and black splits). For a new diver these where great, I could zoom around everywhere, but for anyone behind me, the force created by the splits was disturbing all the bottom and making visibility awful. I must change my fins I thought so I spoke to a great instructor who had serious passion for diving. He told me the only fins I would ever need are the HOLLIS F1’s. Great stuff. So once again, off to the shop and bought some F1’s. The weight of the F1’s took me by surprise but I thought "what the hell, let’s go diving". After one dive my calves where in bits. So I decided to try frog kick and this was when the F1’s really were at home. I then went down the more technical route with my diving and teaching style. For me, it was then I realised that the HOLLIS F1 fins just wouldn’t cut it anymore. The fin was too big and heavy. Also, as the blade was so damn big, if I went back to flutter kick it would instantly kick up the bottom and this just wouldn’t cut it for me. Once again off to the dive shop where I borrowed some APEKS RK3’s, SCUBAPRO JET FINS and HOLLIS F2’s. I then took myself off to a local dive location and tried all of the fins. I was shocked by how different they all felt in the water. Due to their performance in the water, how my foot felt in pocket, and the ease to don and remove, I settled on the RK3’s . Up to now I have dived my current RK3’s for about 70 dives and they look as good as ever. Due to their soft feel you can wear them for hours with no discomfort at all. Whether you prefer to dive using flutter kick or frog kick, the RK3’s will give you total control. Due to their neutrally buoyant design, you will not have the need to add extra air into the foot to aid fin support. If you the type of person who likes to colour coordinate all of your diving kit, the APEKS RK3’s come in a range of different colours. They also have a handy hole in the front of the fins. This can be used to hang up the fins for drying/storage and carrying to and from the dive site."
The design of the Apeks RK3 fin really has stood the test of time. The fact that this design has remained almost unchanged for almost half a century proves that they got this one right in the first place. Apeks have brought the design into the 21st century with the use of modern day materials. Upgrading to stainless steel spring-straps is probably the most visual change but other than that the fin has virtually been left alone with its original flawless design. Follow the link below to get your hands on your very own! Apeks RK3 Fins Apeks RK3 HD Fins