From the experiences of CarbonioGFT and the Champion Federico Mana the new ONDA glass fiber blades are born.

One of the most active Italian firms in the design and manufacturing of composite fin blades, CarbonioGFT, and a great apnea Champion and Yoga Master such as Federico Mana, have come together in a collaboration that has brought to the birth of the ONDA blades. CarbonioGFT, known for its Pre Preg carbon fiber blades, manufatured utilizing the Hot Forming technique, but also present in the glass fiber blades sector, has decided to further develop the products made with this last material. Federico Mana is for sure the perfect Champion to involve for this project, as he has great experience and has been collaborating until lately with Alemanni company, an Italian firm specialized in the design and manufacturing of glass fiber blades.

The collaboration between the company from Brindisi (Puglia Region, Italy) and the Champion from Savigliano (Piemonte Region, Italy) has started one year ago and, after many prototypes and attempts, has seen the birth of the ONDA blades.

Interview to Federico Mana

AP: Federico, why have you chosen CarbonioGFT among the companies designing and manufacturing composite material fin blades?  Federico Mana: “I find the approach and the relationship with firms producing equipment for apnea and spearfihing very delicate, since accepting a sponsoring you could find yourself representing and wearing products that are not always top level. I have always thought that my image, as athlete, but even more as trainer and popularizer of innovation, should be credible, reliable and guarantee of quality. This is why in time I have preferred active collaborations instead of simple sponsorships. This approach has led me in the years to set up relations with those companies of which I recognize the quality of the products, and has permitted me to wear and utilize equipment with which I really feel comfortable.  CarbonioGFT has not really come as a choice, but as a sort of challenge born from the dialogue with who has the will to continue growing and question himself. More than a year ago, I was chatting about materials and geometry of the fins with Tony of GFT, and at a certain point he has told me: “Fede, why don’t you come a join my team?” Since I am a person who loves challenges and believes that the world of apnea still has a great margin for growth which is partially unexpressed, I replied provoking him “Why not, but first you have to create for me the “Ideal fin”, you must design and manufacture that blade that once I will wear it will make me say that it is the best fin I have ever worn! Tony looked at me, smiled without any tension and replied in an unexpected way: “Give me your address…I will send you our fins, you tell me which modifications you want to make, why you want to make them, and we will start working”.  From that moment on it has been a constant coming and going of fins, making tests, phone calls, technical variations, comparisons and investments. For more than a year Tony on the phone asked me: “Fede…so?…How do these work?” For more than a year I have replied: “No, too hard…No, still not reactive enough…No, too long….No, more angle….and sometimes I felt I was asking too much, but CarbonioGFT has never stopped working and has continued to believe in my ideas. Finally, one day another pair of fins were delivered to me….I worn them, and in that precise moment I felt exactly what I have always desired: reactivity and power, effectiveness and progression in the thrust, even though the blades were very soft, and finally an excellent lateral stability. At that point my message has anticipated the call from Tony: “We are there, you made it, we now only need to work on graphics!!!” The creation of this fin has had a long gestation, but the birth has given light to a product of which I am fond of declaring, together with CarbonioGFT, the paternity!”

AP: What have you found in CarbonioGFT that you have liked and what do you thing you have given them?  FM: “I think I have partially replied to this question in the previous answer. I have found in CarbonioGFT an interlocutor, a dynamic company that, despite the success reached in years, does not stop and invests continuously to make progresses. I have found a Team always focused on the exchange of ideas and the will to experiment. I recognize myself in such philosophy and I believe that together we will be able to develop very interesting and innovative products.  What do I offer CarbonioGFT? In years I believe I have demonstrated important capacities of listening, of analysing and of protocolling. The invention of the Mana Maneuver© and a didatic protocol that permits more and more freedivers and spearos to learn Hands Free equalization have demonstrated the credibility of my theories. Now with CarbonioGFT I would like to utilize such approach on the equipment and become an additional tool for the company to imagine, create new technical solutions and/or optimize the already existing products.”

AP: What have, in your opinion, the ONDA as plus compared to other blades on the market? : “The World of apnea and spearfishing is often accompanied by the words “RELAXATION” and “COMFORT. My objective was to be able to obtain a fin that could permit to put together the “MAXIMUM THRUST PERFORMANCE” with the “MINIMUM FINNING FATIGUE”. It is many years that I support the philosophy of soft blades with geometric innovations that permit to reinterpret finning and the way to go in the water. Once buying a soft fin was equivalent to driving in the slowest lane on the highway; a soft blade was synonimous of poor training and/or weak legs. Today, thanks to the ONDA, soft blades are going to spread among all of the freedivers and spearos able of accept the novelty. The ONDA are meant for technically very attent athletes, capable of changing their finning technique to take advantage of the enourmous efficiency of the new blades. These, in fact, reduce significantly the energetic dispersion, and muscular work becomes more fluid and dynamic. The construction parameters minimize oxygen consumption and translate in longer permanence underwater, and also the possibility to travel long distances in apnea without feeling fatigue to the muscles. A dive with the ONDA blades in terms of energy consumption can be compared with the same consumption of a Free Immersion (dive using the arms) at the same depth…if at this point you will feel the need to try the ONDA I completely understand!!! Also, it must not be forgotten how the joints are stresses in a harmonic way, and the 32° angle geometry together with the flexion modality of the blade guarantees the correct load distribution to the hips, knees and ankles. With the ONDA blades it is possible to partially download the work that has top be done by the Psoas muscle, the action of the quadriceps is more effective, and stress on the knees is reduced. All of this translates in hours of utilization and kicking without aches to the joints. What else is there to say….”ONDA … ADD TIME AND COMFORT TO YOUR APNEA”.

AP: Why don’t you utilize carbon fiber fins? FM: “Carbon fiber is surely an excellent material, but it is not said that a carbon fiber blade is always better. It is now 14 years that I live of apnea and for personal curiosity I have almost tested any fin on the market and often I have found glass fiber fins which were better than carbon fiber ones. The quality of the blade depends on different variables: material, the manufacturing process of the material and the geometry of the blade. If the material is excellent, but the other two variables are poor, the result is moderate. Carbon fiber has different properties compared to glass fiber, so also manufacturing needs aspects and thicknesses which are different, giving, with the same geometry, different characteristics both in the progression of the flexion and in the power needed to utilize the blades in the adequate way. This does not mean I am rigid in diving only with glass fiber fins. To the contrary, you will soon find on the market the carbon fiber version of the ONDA. We are already working and soon we will start the testing. I believe more and more that both the freediver and the spearo, who are attent and sensitive, can find great satisfaciton in utilizing different blades depending on the specific needs. I am sure that many athletes will find themselves owning more fins to be able to choose the more adequate one for each need. Personally, I have a blade for each situation: from the blades I use for diving at Y-40, to the ones I use for deep apnea, to the ones I use for spearfishing. The apnea world is in great expansion and the correct diffusion of techniques must be supported by equipment that is able to optimize concepts of consumption and comfort. In this revolution the ONDA blades will for sure be protagonists.”

Interview to Tony Canario – CarbonioGFT

AP: CarbonioGFT has always concentrated many efforts on carbon fiber, even though it has also a line of glass fiber blades. What does this collaboration with Federico Mana represent and what has it brought to CarbonioGFT as experience and improvements?  Tony Canario: “CarbonioGFT is born as a company for the “manufaturing with Pre Preg composite fibers”, and has been immediately focused on blades for spearfishing and freediving. Owr strength on the market have been the total convinction in our work, confident in being able to bring this market to a strong evolution with substantial improvements moving from a situation of many years of stillness, even though there had been a great intuition of utilizing composite materials for the blades.  Many composite materials, each one with different characteristics, have a great application on fin blades. Carbon fiber for the customer rapresents the maximum expression of technology. The fact that the external appearence is great must not be underestimated, but this aspect does not have the same meaning for each person working in this field. The amazing quality of this material for us in CarbonioGFT is first of all anisotropy, meaning the characteristic that changes mechanical properties depending on the direction of the fibers. Being able to design components with such characteristic represents a high level of technology, both structural and easthetic.  The insertion of technology such as Pre-preg, Hot Forming and indelible camouflage, the possibility to design different blades for the different needs of the customer, are all aspects that have made CarbonioGFT well known and appreciated around the world. Our thought for which every spearo or freediver is different under many aspects and has unique aquatic needs has been a success also in approaching Federico Mana, a prepared and demanding athlete, always focused on the improvement of his personal capacities and of the world of apnea. Chance, destiny, circumstances and similar thoughts have played an important role. We have immediately been accomplices, with a unique vision  and tendency of our sector for the future.  The idea to design blades with the characteristics wanted by Federico has really given new lymph to continue improving. The great success obtained worldwide with the Alpha blades, designed together with the Sciurti brothers, seemed to have returned much of our effort, but we believe in challenges and in the constant improvement of our products. Federico has a great career, an excellent cultural knowledge and is a great expert of equipment, also because he has in his career tested almost all materials. Not only, in the didactic I believe he is point of reference of the sector. We trust this collaboration represents only the start of a new evolution, for the career of Federico, for CarbonioGFT and, who knows, maybe for all th world of apnea.”

AP: Tony, tell us about this last year of work on the ONDA.

TC: “Federico, with all necessary parameters and having well studied our sofisticated technology, has started communicating to us his needs”, says Tony Canario, one of the two founders of CarbonioGFT. “It has been a very instructive, rich and difficult experience, where from each prototype we have learned a different lesson. Putting together the requests from Federico with our knowledge of the stratification of the texture and being able to apply all this to our technology has become a daily challenge. At a certain point it has seemed to be like a boxing challenge between Federico Mana and Francesco Luggeri, our designer and head of production, with a battle to the last millimeter to apply reinforcements and obtain at the same time the requested performance of the blades.  All of this has lasted more or less a year, until the liberatory phone call: Federico mana has said YES”.

The ONDA blades are made of glass fiber, but maintain all the qualities that have made CarbonioGFT products appreciated all over the World, and these qualities are, in particular, the Pre preg technology, the solution that utilizes pre-impregnated fiber with resin in controlled and optimized quantities, together with the Hot Forming process, where polymerization (hardening) of the material is obtained in vacuum and at controlled temperature that eliminates pretensioning of the fiber. Dimensions of ONDA blades are 20 cm wide and 87 cm long, while the angle between foot-pocket and blade is 32°.

ONDA blades can be designed with specific geometries so that they can be mounted on any foot-pocket on the market. The new blades are designed as HFF (High Frequency Finstroke), meaning those blades that need a quicker stroke compared to classic solutions. Exactly as in the classic motory movements, it has been proved also in apnea that a higher finning frequency together with a specific geometry of the blade that permits to make the muscles work at a lower energetic regime, determines longer apneas and long lasting muscular efficiency.

ONDA blades utilize the 32° angle between foot-pocket and blade to improve the alignment leg-blade. This geometry improves the positioning of the blades both in the propulsion phase (distributing in a very uniform way the percentage of the frontal and rear thrust), and in the passive phase, meaning the phases of descent in freediving and gliding in spearfishing. The great angle, that on classic fins can represent a point of fragility, on the ONDA blades has an “Arch Corner” profile, meaning it follows a geometry that connects the angle, distributing in an homogenuos way tensions and reducing greatly the possibility of breaking. Great attention has been finally put on the aesthetic look, without though positioning additional layers of paint or films on the blade, a solution that could influence and worthen the mechanical properties of the blades. The technique has been to use indelible colours as tipically done by CarbonioGFT. The white colouring is used for the Soft version and the blue for the Medium.

Price of the ONDA blades start from 269€.