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Basic gear from mid-twentieth-century Italy: Cressi

Discussion in 'History of Diving Gear' started by David Wilson, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    A change in caption two years later, though.

    1976
    upload_2020-6-28_11-7-33.jpeg
    Italian: "La Rondine «V» è asimmetrica destra-sinistra nella pala e anatomica con arco plantare nella scarpetta; garantisce perciò ottimo comfort anche nelle lunghe immersioni. In mescola rigida e scattante è consigliata per immersioni in apnea e con ARA. Disponibile in tre calzate: dal 41/42 al 45/46. Non galleggiante".
    Official translation: "Rondine V is asymmetrical (left and right) in the blade and anatomical with plantar arch in the shoe. it grants the best
    during long and deep diving. Manufactured in rigid durable rubber compound. They are recommended for free diving and breathing apparatus; in three sizes, trom 41/42 to 45/46, non-floating".
    My translation: "The Rondine 'V' comes with the right shoe different from the left shoe and an asymmetrical blade with arch support in the shoe.
    Hence it guarantees excellent comfort even on long dives. Made from a stiff and snappy compound, it is recommended for both breathhold and scuba diving. Available in three fittings, from 41/42 to 45/46. Non-floating".

    There is a perceptible shift from exceptionality during the early 1970s to a more inclusive pitch from the mid-1970s, when comfort appears to have become a prime consideration.

    1982
    upload_2020-6-28_11-32-41.jpeg
    Italian: "Rondine «V» allungata. Pinna asimmetrica anatomica destra-sinistra per il massimo confort nelle immersioni prolungate ed uso autorespirazione ed apnea, professionale, in gomma nera non galleggiante, calzata dal 39/40 ai 45/46".
    Official translation: "Assymetrical anatomical (left-right) fins for maximum comfort during prolonged diving with aqualungs and in skin diving. For
    professional use, they are made in non-floating black rubber, fitting sizes 39/40 to 45/46".
    My translation: "Rondine 'V' elongated. Asymmetrical anatomical right-left fin for maximum comfort on protracted scuba and breathhold dives, for professional use, made from non-floating black rubber, fittings from 39/40 to 45/46".

    So the Rondine "V" came with an extended blade in the early 1980s, doubtless to satisfy the demands of a growing band of freedivers in particular.
     
    jale and АлександрД like this.
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    Last posting of the day. Here is an undated ad for the Rondine "V":
    upload_2020-6-28_12-1-16.jpeg

    And here are some auction images of the Rondine "V":
    upload_2020-6-28_12-3-51.jpeg
    upload_2020-6-28_12-4-21.jpeg upload_2020-6-28_12-4-54.jpeg
    upload_2020-6-28_12-5-29.jpeg
    upload_2020-6-28_12-5-50.jpeg

    So now we have covered almost the entire Cressi Rondine family of fins. We're not quite finished yet, though. More anon, some time midweek. Stay safe!
     
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  3. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

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    Waiting for the Rondine Gara. There is photo of its very early prototype in your post of 1982, but you did not provide further info on it...
    I bought the first pair in 1986, with yellow blades, but they were too soft for scuba diving.
    Then several others, ending up in 1989 with the ones I am still using today: Rondine Gara with open-heel pocket ad rubber band, mid-length yellow blades (they were made in three lengths) and middle stiffness. My wife has the same but she has black blades of the hard type (her legs are stronger than mine).
    I really hope that you have material covering them, as I have nothing! They evolved a lot in those early years, I think they were the first commercial fins with user-replaceable blades of different colours, lengths and stiffness...
     
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  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    The Rondine Gara falls a little outside the remit of this thread, which centres on products available in the mid twentieth century, in practice from the late 1940s to the early 1980s at the latest. As you pointed out, the 1982 Cressi catalogue picture I posted shows the Rondine "V" at the end of its career and the Rondine Gara at the beginning of its service life. This said, I intended to showcase three more fins from the later Cressi stable: X-Rubber, Pro-Rubber and Gordon, all of them all-rubber fins of the type that made the Rondine family of fins world-famous. The Gara is a very different kind of fin because it is a composite fin with an elastomer foot pocket and a plastic blade, more typical of the modern era than the middle of the last century, which is why I had not originally intended to include it in this fin review.

    Anyway, I will do my best to present what I have in the way of source information about the Gara. Here it is again from the 1982 catalogue:
    upload_2020-6-28_11-32-41-jpeg.594743.jpg
    Italian: "Rondine gara (prototipo). Pinna con scarpetta morbida e pala in resina, adatta per gare di apnea e nuoto pinnato, particolarmente studiata per ottenere il miglior rendimento con il minimo sforzo.
    Official translation: "Rondine gara (prototype). Fin with soft shoe and resin blade for skin diving competitions and finned swimming: especially studied for achieving best performances with minimum effort".
    My translation: "Rondine gara (prototype). Fin with soft shoe and resin blade, ideal for freediving and finswimming competitions, specially designed to obtain the best performance with the minimum effort".

    At this stage, the foot pocket of the Rondine Gara appears to be made from the same material as other members of the Rondine family, while the nature of the "resin" blade is indeterminate. The name "Gara" is Italian for "match" or "contest".

    Here again is the Gara from a 1998 catalogue:
    upload_2020-6-28_18-30-24.jpeg
     
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  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    I'll follow up with a number of catalogue images from the noughties:

    2000
    upload_2020-6-28_18-32-4.jpeg

    2003
    upload_2020-6-28_18-32-41.jpeg

    2010
    upload_2020-6-28_18-33-16.jpeg
    upload_2020-6-28_18-33-36.jpeg

    That's all I have in the way of catalogue images of the Gara. I hope they help build up a picture of the development of this fin. I may have others from magazine ads, but that must wait for another day.
     
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  6. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

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    Great, thanks...
    The latest ones (2000, 3000) have lost the capability of changing the blades, hence are much less interesting in my opinion, and similar to products of other makers. The original Gara, instead, with its modular concept, was really a breakthrough in the eighties...
     
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  7. Dominik_E

    Dominik_E Barracuda

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    Almost evolutionary, the fin "development" :wink:
     
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  8. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
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    Thank you about Gara! One of my most favorite fins (LD).
    Gara, as I understood, more exact translation is Race
    btw:
    LD - Long Distance.
    HF - High Force (not shure about it, but most similar)

    One of big advantage of Gara pockets is two kinds of rubber - e.g. black - is hard, and it transfer froce from leg to the fin. And gray rubber - it is soft, and prevent foot from scratches and chafing.



    P.S. Gara Pro - sucks! :) I try it... not so comfortable and chafing of foot easy.
     
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  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    Thanks, guys!

    I have a couple of 1980s ads for you in the matter of the Cressi Gara, both from British stockists of the fin.

    1983
    upload_2020-7-1_9-40-38.jpeg
    The Gara, unidentified, is bottom right.

    1985
    upload_2020-7-1_9-41-40.jpeg
    And there is the Gara centre.
     
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  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    Now back to latecomers to the Cressi range of all-rubber full-foot fins First up is the Cressi X-Rubber model:
    upload_2020-7-1_9-50-45.jpeg
    upload_2020-7-1_9-51-12.jpeg
    upload_2020-7-1_9-51-40.jpeg
    The "X" may be a nod in the direction of the Rondine Extra fin of the past, which was Cressi's original Rondine fin. The "Rubber" is a reminder that from the 1980s fins were no longer automatically made from natural rubber and were likliier in Western Europe to be composite affairs wuth blades made from plastic and foot pockets made from some indeterminate thermoplastic elastomer derived from Middle-East petroleum and not from Far-East rubber tree plantations. I own a pair of X-Rubbers and I have to say that they lack the elasticity pf natural rubber, leading me to conlude that they too may be made from a synthetic elastomer.

    More imagery:
    upload_2020-7-1_10-3-47.jpeg
    upload_2020-7-1_10-4-5.jpeg
    upload_2020-7-1_10-4-30.jpeg
     
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