Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gear Review: Churchill Makapuu Fins

Touted as the original swimfins, Churchill Makapuu fins, or simply Churchills, have been around since the 1930s. Can a swim fin that was designed almost 50 years before bodyboarding was even conceived match up with the modern designs of today's fins?

Yes and no. If you're looking for one of the most comfortable bodyboarding fins, yes. If you're looking for one of the most powerful bodyboarding fins, specifically in terms of thrust, no.

For me personally, the biggest pro of Churchills is their comfort. Due mainly to their super soft foot pocket, these fins are hands down the most comfortable fins that I have ever used. Other pros include good thrust, light weight, a design that works well for drop knee, and a great price point (they're one of the lowest priced bodyboarding fins on the market).

The only con that I found with Churchills is their drainage system. The drainage hole is located in the middle of the underside of the foot pocket. This design doesn't drain sand and pebbles as well as drainage systems that have their drainage holes at the bottom of the foot pocket. I mentioned earlier that Churchills aren't the most powerful fins. That's not necessarily a con though, since they do provide enough thrust to get the job done.

Although not the most powerful bodyboarding fins on the market, Churchills' pros make them solid bodyboarding fins that I definitely recommend.

Of note, but not necessarily part of the review, Churchills primarily come in a blue and yellow colorway. However, for about the past five years, Churchills have been released in limited edition colorways, with one new colorway being released each year. So far, all-green, all-black, black and orange, grey and blue, and black and lime-green colorways have been released. Additionally, other colorways are available in other parts of the world, namely Australia.

Also of note, Hubb edition Churchills are set to be released this year. From the initial photos I've seen, they feature built-in foot padding, ankle padding and fin tethers. I've also heard that the fin blade is stiffer than the original Churchills.

Churchills feature an asymmetrical "dolphfin design" which, according to their manufacturer, "gives you optimum power and acceleration for catching waves". It also features two types of rubber - a soft rubber for the foot pocket and a stiff rubber for the fin blade.

The only con I found with Churchills is the drainage system. With the drainage hole located in the middle of the underside of the foot pocket, sand and pebbles don't drain out as well as other drainage systems.

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