Title:
Swim or diving fin
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A swim or diving fin includes a footpocket for housing a foot, a blade extending from the front end of the footpocket member, a frame member extending for at least a portion of the blade. The frame member or members includes a closed loop perimetric rim member having two opposite longitudinal branches delimiting an inner hollow region and also having one or more transversal bridges connecting the longitudinal branches. The blade is connected to the frame member at one or more of the transversal bridges and/or at least at one or more ends of the rim member.



Inventors:
Testa, Fabio (Castellar Guidobono (AL), IT)
Application Number:
12/356577
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
01/21/2009
Assignee:
SALVAS SUB S.P.A. (Castelnuovo Scrivia (AL), IT)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B31/11
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Themis Law (La Jolla, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A swim or diving fin comprising: a footpocket configured to house a foot; a blade extending from a front end of the footpocket; and at least one frame member extending for at least a predetermined portion of the length of the blade along at least a longitudinal side edge of the blade, wherein the frame member comprises a closed loop perimetric rim member having two opposite longitudinal branches spaced one from the other and delimiting an inner hollow region, and one or more transversal bridges connecting the longitudinal branches at one or more points on a length thereof, and wherein the blade is connected to the frame member at one or more of: the one or more transversal bridges and one or more longitudinal ends of the rim member.

2. The fin of claim 1, wherein the fin comprises two frame members each disposed along at least portion of opposite longitudinal side edges of the blade.

3. The fin of claim 1, wherein each longitudinal side edge of the blade is fastened to the perimetric rim member such that the respective longitudinal side edge of the blade is disposed in a substantially intermediate position between the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member.

4. The fin of claim 1, wherein the perimetric rim member and the transversal bridges are made of materials having different flexibilities and/or resiliencies.

5. The fin of claim 4, wherein the perimetric rim member is made of a more rigid material than the transversal connection bridges.

6. The fin of claim 1, wherein there are a plurality of transversal bridges arranged at predetermined distances one from the other along a longitudinal extension of the perimetric rim member.

7. The fin of claim 1, wherein the one or more transversal connection bridges have a predetermined extension along a longitudinal direction of the blade.

8. The fin of claim 7, wherein the at least a longitudinal side edge of the blade is fastened to the frame member at one or more of the one or more transversal bridges with overmolded appendices of the one or more transversal connection bridges, and wherein the appendices branch off laterally faced toward the blade from the one or more transversal connection bridges and overlap lengthwise at least partially an upper and a lower side of the blade.

9. The fin of claim 7, wherein the blade is fastened to the one or more transversal connection bridges by one or more lateral projections extending from the longitudinal side edge of the blade, and wherein the one or more lateral projections engage one or more seats in the one or more transversal connection bridges.

10. The fin of claim 9, wherein the one or more seats are openings, and wherein the one or more lateral projections engage the one or more seats by elastic engagement.

11. The fin of claim 9, wherein the one or more lateral projections comprise tapered pins widening in the direction of the engagement and having a rounded or spherical engagement head.

12. The fin of claim 11, wherein the one or more lateral projections are dimensioned to project outwardly of the one or more seats after the engagement.

13. The fin of claim 1, further comprising an insert disposed in a gap between two adjacent transversal bridges, the insert being removable or fixed and partially or completely filling the gap.

14. The fin of claim 13, wherein the insert is made of a material having a flexibility and/or resiliency different from at least one of the perimetric rim member or the transversal bridges.

15. The fin of claim 13, wherein there are two or more inserts in two or more gaps connectable one to the other by a connection bracket.

16. The fin of claim 13, wherein the insert is fastened within the gap with an anti-slip off mechanical fastener.

17. The fin of claim 16, wherein the mechanical fastener comprises a pin or tooth oriented laterally of the longitudinal side edge of the blade, the pin or tooth engaging a dead end or through recess provided in the insert or the blade.

18. The fin of claim 17, wherein the pin or tooth is provided on at least one of an upper or lower surface of the blade at the longitudinal side edge thereof, and wherein the dead end or through recess is provided in the insert.

19. The fin of claim 18, wherein the pin or tooth is a plurality of engagement pins removably coupled to the insert by snap fit engagement into a plurality of spaced and parallel appendices of the insert.

20. The fin of claim 13, wherein the insert is provided with dead end or through recesses altering a flexible and/or resilient behavior of the fin when the insert is coupled to the gap.

21. The fin of claim 1, wherein the one or more transversal bridges are comprised within a resilient member filling a gap delimited by an inner side of the perimetric rim member, the resilient member comprising perimetric branches contacting the inner side the perimetric rim member, the transversal bridges branching off therefrom.

22. The fin of claim 21, further comprising one or more inserts disposed in one or more gaps between adjacent transversal bridges.

23. The fin of claim 21, wherein the resilient member is coupled by snap fit or by chemical or physical adhesion to the inner side of the perimetric rim member.

24. The fin of claim 1, wherein one frame member is provided between two positions of the blade, each of the two portions being coupled to a longitudinal side edge of the frame member and to the one or more of the transversal bridges.

25. The fin of claim 1, further comprising a set of inserts each configured to fill at least a portion of a gap between adjacent transversal bridges, the inserts having different resiliencies and/or flexibilities.

26. The fin of claim 25, wherein the inserts of different resiliencies and flexibilities are marked by different colors.

27. The fin of claim 1, wherein the inner hollow region delimited by the perimetric rim member is partially or completely filled with an insert, and wherein the blade is connected to the frame member at one or more points of the insert or at least an end of the rim member.

28. The fin of claim 27, wherein the insert is made of a material having resiliency and/or flexibility different from the one or more transversal bridges or from the rim member.

29. The fin of claim 27, wherein the insert is mechanically mounted within the perimetric rim member or is coupled to the perimetric rim member by chemical or physical adhesion.

30. The fin of claim 27, wherein the insert comprises a plurality of members assemblable to fill the entire inner hollow region.

31. The fin of claim 27, wherein the insert comprises stratified or laminated materials selected to provide the insert with a predetermined flexibility and/or resiliency.

32. The fin of claim 27, wherein an outer surface of the insert is provided with ribs, fairings, apertures or notches modifying resiliency and/or flexibility of the insert and adjusting water flow along the frame member.

33. The fin of claim 27, wherein the longitudinal side edge of the blade is connected to the perimetric rim member at one or more points of the insert such that the longitudinal edge of the blade is disposed in a substantially intermediate position between the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member.

34. The fin of claim 33, wherein connection points between the insert and the longitudinal edge of the blade are disposed at predetermined longitudinal distances.

35. The fin of claim 34, wherein the connection points are provided by one or more of overmolded appendices of the insert overlapping an upper and a lower surface of the blade for a certain width and longitudinal extension or by snap fit pins.

36. The fin of claim 35, wherein the connection points are provided by one or more pins branching off from the longitudinal side edge of the blade and elastically engaging one or more through openings in a wall of the insert.

37. The fin of claim 36, wherein the one or more pins are shaped and arranged along the longitudinal side edge of the blade to mate with the insert, with the transversal connection bridges, or with a resilient member having perimetric contact branches and bridges.

Description:

FIELD

The present invention relates to a swim or diving fin that includes a footpocket for housing a foot, a blade extending from the front end of the footpocket, and at least a frame member extending lengthwise for along at least a portion of one or more longitudinal side edges of the blade.

BACKGROUND

Several configurations of swim or diving fins have been proposed providing different levels of propelling thrust according to the selected configuration.

Moreover, the efficiency of the fin depends on its mechanical and hydrodynamic properties, which in turn depend on the shape and on the materials used for producing the blade.

US Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0053547 describes a fin comprising a blade made of a relatively rigid material, a footpocket made of relatively yielding material and two lateral ribs extending along edges of the blade. The ribs are composed of a material having rigidity that is intermediate between those ones of the footpocket and of the blade. Ribs extend both above and below the plane of the blade for improving propulsion efficiency without increasing the overall rigidity of the blade. Such ribs are lined with a yielding material of the same type as the footpocket is made, in order to protect the ribs against scratches and cuts caused by reefs, stones or the like. The lining of yielding material extends from side edges of the blade to near the flanks of the footpocket where the cross section of lining becomes considerably thicker such to generate fairings that convey water flow above a pair of buckles closing the footpocket, which project sideways hindering the free flow of the water along the fin.

In the prior art also teaches elastic hinges extending in the longitudinal and the diagonal directions of the blade to permit the deformation of the rigid blade not only perpendicularly but also transversally.

British patent 2392388 describes a fin having two side arms that allow the blade to be divided into two portions, a front rigid portion fastened to these arms and a movable portion mainly fastened to the front portion of the footpocket such that, during fin movement, water flow can be conveyed into the U-shaped channel placed between the two blade portions in order to achieve a low resistance to the water and at the same time a high propulsion efficiency.

Generally, the propulsive part of a fin is composed of a blade portion and at least two lateral ribs giving a certain rigidity and allowing the water flow to be conveyed along the blade toward the free edge such to guarantee a certain level of propulsive thrust.

The main object remains to take on the greatest amount of water and to push it backwardly such to generate the desired level of propulsion.

In known fins, hydrodynamic performance mainly depends on the length of the blade and on its resilient characteristics according to the material or materials of which the blade is made or on the provision of channels or webbing that adjust the flow of water. The resilient behavior required for effective propulsion depends on the deformability of the blade when moving in the water.

In some situations, water is taken on by the blade in an unsatisfactory manner or the blade is excessively heavy, causing large moving masses, which require a considerable effort by the user. In the water, the behavior of the ideal fin should relate to the muscular strength of the swimmer. When propulsion properties of the fin are not tailored to the muscular strength of the swimmer, the fin may cause an excessive fatigue and cramps in the user.

SUMMARY

It is an aspect of the present invention is to provide a swim or diving fin having an improved hydrodynamic behavior and a greater propulsion efficiency that conventional swim fins with a reduced muscular effort of the lower limbs, thereby reducing the risk of cramps.

It is another aspect of the present invention is to provide a fin, wherein even the user can act on the flexibility level such to set fin performances not only on the basis of use, for example amusement or agonistic use, but also on the basis of his own levels of physical ability.

These advantages are achieved by improving the mechanical and hydrodynamic profiles of the fin structure.

Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a fin provided having one or more frame members with improved hydrodynamic and mechanical performance in comparison with known fins, thereby generating a greater propulsion potential and allowing an aesthetically original and pleasant fin to be offered.

The invention achieves the above aspects by providing a fin as briefly described hereinbefore, in which the frame member or members include a closed loop perimetric rim member having two longitudinal branches spaced apart and opposite one to the other. The perimetric rim member delimits an inner hollow region, within which, at one or more points arranged on the length thereof, one or more transversal bridges connect the longitudinal branches. The blade is connected to the frame member at one or more of those transversal bridges and/or at least one of the ends of the rim member.

In one embodiment, the blade has two frame members, each disposed along a longitudinal edge of the blade, and the longitudinal edges of the blade are fastened to the perimetric rim member such to become placed in a substantially intermediate position between the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member.

The perimetric rim member is made of a relatively rigid, preferably thermoplastic, material, for example, is made of the same material as the blade portion. The transversal connection bridges are made of a material having different a flexibility and resiliency, for example, a resiliency like that rubber or the like.

The perimetric rim member of each frame member may have a shape tapered in its width and/or thickness, for example, in the direction of the free end of the blade. Thus, the perimetric rim member has a rigidity changing along its length, for example, has a flexibility increasing toward the free end of the blade.

The rim member forms leaf-shaped spring having a predetermined resiliency, which allows more rigid materials to be used while guaranteeing a resiliency adequate for frame members.

For a local increase in the stiffness of the frame member, a plurality of transversal connection bridges are arranged at predetermined distances all along the longitudinal extension of the perimetric rim member. These transversal connection members have a predetermined extension along a length of the blade.

The frame member may include one or more inserts at one or more regions or gaps between two adjacent transversal connection bridges. Inserts can be mounted in a movable or fixed manner and have a shape that partially or completely fills the gap delimited by two adjacent transversal connection bridges and longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member.

The inserts may be made from a material having flexibility or resiliency different from the perimetric rim member and/or of transversal connection bridges. In particularly, in order to close gaps between bridges, inserts made of materials may provided having suitable flexibility and extensibility, for example thermoset rubber or the like, so to achieve a specific hydrodynamic behavior of the frame member and of the blade.

The insert is mechanically fastened within the corresponding gap between adjacent bridges by means of an anti-slip off mechanical lock, for example with at least a pin and/or tooth oriented transversally to the longitudinal axis of the blade. This pin and/or tooth may be engaged into a corresponding recess or dead or through opening provided on the insert or vice versa. In particularly, the pin and/or tooth is provided on at least one of the two surfaces of the blade, preferably on both the lower and upper surfaces of the blade, at the longitudinal edge of the blade and is engaged into a corresponding recess or dead or through opening provided on the insert.

In one embodiment, thenpins and/or teeth are engagement pins which are removably introduced by elastic forcing and/or by snap fit engagement into through openings provided on a pair of spaced and parallel appendices of the insert.

In another embodiment, in order to adjust the flexibility of the blade, two or more inserts associated to two or more gaps between transversal connection bridges may be connected or connectable one to the other by connection brackets. Moreover, the inserts may be provided with through openings or recesses, for example, on their outer surface, opposite to the surface faced toward the blade, which provide for a flexible or resilient behavior of the insert and of the frame member to be modified when at least one insert coupled to a corresponding gap between adjacent bridges.

The blade is fastened to the frame member, and the blade edge is fastened to the frame member at at least one of the transversal bridges by physico-chemical adhesion, for example by welding, bonding or the like.

In one embodiment, the blade and the frame member are coupled with overmolded appendices of the transversal connection bridges and the appendices, branching off from the side faced toward the blade, overlap the upper and lower side of the blade for a certain extension.

As an alternative to or in combination with the overmolding appendices, the blade may be fastened to one or more of the transversal connection bridges by side projections from the blade edge engaging, for example by elastical forcing, engagement seats in the wall of the transversal connection bridge, for example, holes passing through the thickness of the bridges.

In one embodiment, the side projections of the blade engaging openings provided on the bridges are composed of tapered pins widening toward the engagement end, which have a rounded or spherical heads. The pins are of such length to project by their rounded heads beyond the outer side of the corresponding transversal connection bridge i.e. project on the opposite side of the blade.

In one embodiment, a resilient filling member is housed inside the perimetric rim member by snap fit engagement or chemical or physical adhesion. The resilient member has perimetric branches in contact with the inner side of the branches of the perimetric rim member and transversal connection bridges departing therefrom at predetermined distances and arranged along the overall length of the perimetric rim member.

Similarly to previous embodiments, one or more inserts may be provided at gaps between adjacent transversal connection bridges in combination with the resilient filling member, allowing the flexibility of the frame member to be adjusted.

In this embodiment, the inserts may be inserted into gaps within the rim member of the frame member, between two adjacent transversal connection bridges and perimetric branches of the resilient filling member and in contact with the inner sides of the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member.

In one embodiment, the fin has a single frame member in a median position of the blade, preferably at the central longitudinal axis of the blade. The blade is then divided into two halves, not necessarily of equal size, each fastened to one of the two corresponding longitudinal side edges of the frame member and to one or more of the transversal bridges connecting the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member. The central frame member provides the blade with an increased stiffness, increasing the propulsion potential.

In one embodiment, the inner hollow region delimited by the perimetric rim member is partially or completely filled with an insert made of a material having a resiliency and/or flexibility different from those of the bridges or of the rim member. In particular, the insert may be composed of several stratified or laminated materials to provide the insert with a predetermined flexible or resilient behavior and may include ribs, fairings, apertures or grooves modifying the resilient or flexible behavior of the insert and adjusting the water flow along the frame member or members.

The insert is mounted within the frame member by a mechanical connection, for example by snap fit, or by shape-mating engagement or by chemical or physical adhesion such as binding or overmolding.

Each longitudinal edge of the blade is fastened to the perimetric rim member at one or more points of the insert, arranged along the longitudinal extension of the blade at predetermined distances, such that the edge of the blade is in a substantially intermediate position between the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member. The connection between the insert and the blade occurs by means of overmolding appendices and/or by one or more pins branching off from the side edge of the blade and elastically engaged by forcing into one or more through holes provided in the wall of the insert.

Advantages of the present invention are clear from the foregoing description and include producing a new type of fin through simple and inexpensive arrangements and having frame members that provide an improved hydrodynamic performance, closer to ideal performance. Moreover, the low weight of the blade and the behavior in water of the frame members coupled to the blade provide for a greater propulsion with a lower effort of leg muscles, above all due because the fin according to the invention is provided with a blade having at least a frame member with a structure by which all the blade, including the frame member, is lighter and more resilient than known fins.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention are disclosed in the independent and dependent claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above described and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood from the following description of some embodiments shown in the enclosed drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fin according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the fin of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the fin of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the fin of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the fin of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a cross-section view of the blade at the frame member in a fin according to the invention;

FIG. 7 is a cross-section view of a blade portion and of the frame member in a fin according to the invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross-section view of the frame member at the transversal bridge in a fin according to the invention;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged perspective view of the side portion of the blade with the insert in the introduced condition in a fin according to the invention.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged perspective view of the side portion of the blade in a fin according to the invention where the inserts are coupled;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view in a fin according to the invention having an insert in the introduced condition; and

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a fin according to the invention;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring first to FIG. 1, a fin cording to the invention includes a seat for the foot or footpocket 1 and a blade 2 extending from the front end thereof.

The footpocket 1 may be of the closed type or of the open-heel type with a fastening strap or any other retaining mechanism, and is preferably made of a soft material such as rubber or the like. The blade 2 is coupled to one or more a longitudinal frame members 3 for supporting and stiffening the blade 2.

According an embodiment not shown in the figures, the blade 2 may have a single central longitudinal frame member extending from the tip portion of the footpocket 1 and be connected with such frame member up to the free end edge of the blade 2. The frame member divides the blade 2 into two halves, and in one embodiment the fin is symmetric with respect to its median longitudinal axis.

In another embodiment also not shown in the figures, the blade 2 may have a single frame member 3 substantially extending from the front end of the footpocket, or from the sides of the footpocket, in the lengthwise direction of the blade 2 toward the end opposite to the footpocket and along a single longitudinal side edge of the blade 2. In such case, pairs of fins will be worn such that the frame member of each blade is faced toward the outer side of the foot and such that in water the two fins simulate the behavior of a single fin provided with two side frame members.

According to a preferred embodiment shown in the figures, a fin according to the invention includes a footpocket 1 made of a relatively soft material, a blade 2 made of a relatively rigid material and two side frame members 3 extending at least partially along side edges of the blade 2, substantially from the front end of the footpocket 1 in the lengthwise direction of the blade 2 toward the end opposite to the footpocket 1.

Also as shown in the figures, particularly in FIG. 3, the frame member 3 extends from the sides of the footpocket 1 starting at an intermediate portion between the neck and the front end of the footpocket 1, and then along side edges of the fin up to the front portion of the blade 2. As it can be seen in FIG. 4, the frame member 3 may not extend along the entire side edge of the blade portion 2, so that a front strip of the fin with a predetermined longitudinal extension may be able to bend.

The frame member may also extend along the side walls 101 of the footpocket from the tip up to the front edge of the blade 2.

As above described, the frame member 3 can extend all along the side edge of the blade or only along a portion of that edge.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the blade 2 extends in the area between the two frame members 3 and each frame member 3 is composed of a perimetric rim member 103, which is closed on itself to form a closed loop and which has two longitudinal branches opposite and spaced with respect to each other delimiting an inner hollow region 503.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, the frame member 3 is a substantially spindle-shaped elongated member having a substantially triangular widening region close to the point where it is connected to the footpocket 1 and tapering toward the free edge of the blade 2 with a thickness that decreases approaching the free front end of the blade 2.

The perimetric rim member 103 also includes one or more transversal bridges 203 connecting the two opposite longitudinal branches of the rim member 103 at one or more points along its length. The blade 2 is connected to the frame member 3 at one or more of these transversal bridges or members 203 and/or at at least one of the ends of the rim member 103.

When the fin has two side frame members, each frame member 3 is connected to the corresponding edge of the blade 2 at at least some or all the transversal bridges or members 203 and/or at at least one of the ends of the rim member 103.

In another embodiment, the fin has a single frame member 3 in a median position relative to the blade 2, preferably at the central longitudinal axis of the blade 2, and the blade 2 is divided into two half-blades each fastened to one of the two corresponding longitudinal side edges of the frame member 3 and to one or more of the transversal bridges 203 connecting the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member 103.

The frame member 3, similarly to the blade 2, has a resilient bending behavior and yields to a greater or lower extent according to the resistance of the water, facilitating a bending of the fin according to desired performance behaviors.

The frame member 3 is a resiliently flexible elongated member having a rim member 103 made of a relatively rigid material, preferably a thermoplastic material, and transversal connection bridges 203 made of a material of a flexibility and resiliency different from the material of the rim 103.

Preferably, transversal connection bridges 203 are made of a less rigid material with a resiliency comparable to rubber or the like. Instead, the rim member 103 is made of a rigid material, and acts like a stiffening rib.

The spindle-like shape of the frame member 3, whose perimetric rim 103 starts at an intermediate portion of the footpocket 1, widens with two longitudinal branches at the front-central portion of the blade 2, then narrows again and connects the two branches at the front blade portion. This design provides the frame member 3 with rigidity in the region where it is connected to the footpocket and with increasing flexibility in the direction of the free end of the blade 2.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each frame member includes a plurality of transversal connection bridges 203 placed at a predetermined distance one with respect to the other all along the longitudinal extension of the perimetric rim member 103. Inside the rim member 103, bridges 203 are placed at a certain distance one with respect to the other, leaving hollow regions 503, and have a predetermined width.

The shape of the frame member 3 and the provision of transversal connection bridges 203 provide the blade 2 with an arched shape during fin movement, improving fin performance. In particular, the provision of bridges 203 connecting the two longitudinal branches of the rim member 103 and the provision of gaps 503 between adjacent bridges allow predetermined extension and compression points to be provided and the adjustment of the position of bending points of the blade 2 during movement.

In another embodiment of the invention, the frame member 3 has no transversal connection bridges 203 and the frame member 3 is composed of a closed loop perimetric rim member 103, with two longitudinal branches which are opposite and spaced one with respect to the other and which delimit an inner hollow region. In this configuration, the stiffness of the frame member and bending movements of the blade 2 into the water will be dependent on the hardness of the frame material.

FIG. 12 shows an embodiment, in which the perimetric rim member 103 is closed loop and delimits an inner area where an insert 51 is housed. Such insert 51 is made of a material having resiliency and/or flexibility different from bridges 203 or from the rim member 103.

The insert 51 completely fills the hollow region delimited by the perimetric rim member 103, that is, has a shape complementary to the region delimited by the rim 103, and may be mounted within the frame member 3 by a mechanical connection, for example by snap fit means, by shape-mating engagement, or by chemical-physical adhesion such as bonding or overmolding.

FIG. 12 shows the insert 51 as a single member but insert 51 may be composed of several members that, once assembled together, fill the entire region delimited by the rim 103 of the frame member 3. In particular, the insert 51 may be composed of several stratified or laminated materials in a longitudinal or perpendicular direction with respect to the frame member 3 such to give the insert a predetermined flexibility or resiliency and altering the flexibility of the frame member 3 and its movement into the water once the insert 51 is overmolded or engaged into its seat within the rim 103 of the frame member 3.

Also as shown in FIG. 12, the outer surface of the insert 51 is smooth but such outer surface and sides of the frame member 3 may be provided with ribs, fairings, apertures or notches modifying the resilient or flexible behavior of the insert 51 and at the same time adjusting the water flow along frame members 3.

The perimetric rim member 103 is connected to the blade 2 at at least one of its two ends, for example, one end is connected to one or more points of the footpocket 1 and the second end is connected to the blade 2 near its free end.

The blade in FIG. 12 has two frame members 3, each disposed along a longitudinal side edge of the blade 2, and each frame member 3 is connected to the footpocket 1 and to the blade 2 at one or more points of the insert 51, such that the edge of the blade 2 is in a substantially intermediate position between the longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member 103.

The connection points between the insert 51 and the blade 2 are arranged along the longitudinal extension of the blade 2 at predetermined distances.

As shown in FIG. 12, the connection between the insert 51 and the blade 2 can occur by means of overmolding appendices overlapping a portion of the blade 2 along a certain width and longitudinal extension from the inner side of the insert 51 facing the blade 2, at the lower and upper surfaces of the blade 2, and/or by means of snap fit pins 102.

In particular, such connection to be made by means of one or more pins 102 branching off from the side edge of the blade 2, which are engaged by elastically forcing the one or more pins 102 through openings provided in the wall of the insert 51.

As shown in FIG. 12, the pins have such a length that, when mounted by being elastically forced, they have heads projecting beyond the outer side of the insert 51. In one embodiment, the pins 102 of the blade are arranged to allow the user to replace transversal connection bridges 203 with the insert 51 or vice versa, modifying the behavior of the frame member 3 during the movement into the water.

As shown in the figures, the blade 2 may be provided with channels, for example two side channels, and inserts such as webs or the like, on the upper and/or lower surface of the blade 2 in order to improve the hydrodynamic performances of the fin.

Even if, for the sake of simplicity, the figures show transversal connection bridges 203 having the same width, considering the frame member 3 in the lengthwise direction, such bridges 203, depending on the desired effect on the overall deformability of the blade and of the material used for the bridges 203, may have different widths, i.e. the same rim member 103 may be provided with a series of transversal connection bridges having different widths, for example, widths decreasing from the median portion of the frame member as one approaches the two ends.

Considering that, when finning, the blade 2 bends due to the water resistance, the in-fluid motion resistance of the blade 2 may be adjusted without affecting dynamic performance of the fin by providing in one or more of the regions 503 between adjacent bridges 203 one or more removable or fixed inserts 5 filling partially or completely the region 503 between one bridge and the next.

The inserts 5, arranged within gaps 503 between one transversal bridge 203 and the next for modifying the resilient behavior of the frame member 3, are made of a third type of material having resiliency and/or flexibility different from bridges 203 or from the rim member 103.

One or more inserts 5 for one or more gaps 503 between two adjacent transversal bridges may be provided, and the inserts 5 may be placed in a movable or fixed manner into the gap 503 and have such a shape to partially or completely fill the gap 503 delimited by two adjacent bridges 203 and longitudinal branches of the rim 103 of the frame member 3.

Inserts 5 may be fitted into gaps 503 for example by elastically forcing them, or may be fastened by a shape-mating engagement or by snap fit.

As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, the insert 5 is mechanically fastened into the corresponding gap 503, delimited by two adjacent bridges 203, by anti-slip off mechanical lock. In particular, the insert 5 may be locked inside the corresponding gap 503 by a pin and/or tooth 202 oriented transversally to the longitudinal axis of the blade 2.

The pin and/or tooth 202 may be provided on at least one of the two surfaces of the blade 2, preferably on both the lower and upper surfaces of the blade 2, at the longitudinal side edge of the blade 2. In order to allow the insert 5 to be fastened into the gap 503 of the frame member 3, the insert 5 has to be engaged into a corresponding recess or dead or through opening provided on the insert 5.

Teeth and/or pins 202 may be provided on the insert 5 for engagement into corresponding recesses or dead or through holes provided along the edge of the blade 2 on one or both the upper and lower surfaces at the insertion gap 503.

According to an embodiment shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, there are two pins and/or teeth 202 provided on the blade 2, which are placed on the upper and lower face of the blade 2 along the edge of the blade 2 at the gap 503.

When the insert 5 is inserted into the corresponding gap 503, the pins and/or teeth 202 engage with two corresponding recesses or dead or through holes provided on appendices of the insert 5.

As shown in FIG. 10, the plug-like insert 5 has at least a pair of appendices 105 placed along edges of the insert 5 and spaced apart and parallel one to the other, which are shaped for resting on the lower and upper surface of the blade 2.

In order to ensure a sure fastening of the insert 5 on the frame member 3, pins and/or teeth may be movably introduced by elastic forcing and/or by snap fit into through openings provided on a pair of opposite appendices of the insert 5.

In one embodiment, the insert 5 may be fastened into the corresponding gap 503 by means of an uninterrupted perimetric flange provided on the outer surface of the insert 5, which may be engaged with a corresponding uninterrupted groove provided on the inner surface of the gap 503 or vice versa.

As an alternative, the insert 5 may be provided with longitudinal spaced tabs elastically snap fitting into apertures disposed on the inner surface of the gap 503 or on surfaces of the blade 2.

In order to guarantee the mutual connection between the insert 5 and the frame member 3, each gap 503 may be provided with several pins and/or teeth on each surface of the blade 2, depending on the length of the insert 5.

FIG. 11 shows an embodiment of the fin having two side frame members 3 and a pair of inserts 5 placed into gaps 503 at the median portion of the frame member 3. In particular, considering the blade portion 2, inserts 5 are inserted into the front portion of the blade 2, near the region connecting with the footpocket 1. The provision of the insert 5 gives a greater stiffness to the frame member 3 and particularly gives a greater stiffness to the blade 2 at the footpocket 1, where the insert 5 is provided, allowing the final portion of the blade 2 to bend when finning.

The flexural behavior of the blade 2 may be adjusted both by introducing one or more inserts 5 into corresponding gaps 503 placed along the longitudinal extension of the frame member 3, and by using different materials for producing individual inserts 5, i.e. by using materials having different flexibilities and resiliencies. The provision of inserts 5 allows the stiffness of the frame member 3 to be modified as well as the behavior of the blade 2, which is associated to one or more frame members 3.

As shown in FIG. 11, inserts may be provided with through holes or recesses, particularly on their outer surfaces, opposite to the surfaces faced toward the blade 2, in which through openings or recesses allow the flexible or resilient behavior of the insert 5 and of the frame member 3 to be modified.

In one embodiment, the outer wall of the insert 51 may be smooth or, as an alternative, ribs, fairings, apertures or grooves may be provided on the outer surface and on flanks of the frame member 3, modifying the resilient or flexible behavior of the insert 5 and at the same time adjusting the water flow along frame members 3.

In another embodiment (not shown), two or more inserts 5 associated with two or more gaps 503 between bridges 203 may be connected one to the other by means of brackets or connection means connecting outer sides of the different inserts 5.

Connection brackets between two or more inserts 5 may be made of different types of materials, for example of a rigid, flexible or resilient material or anyway a material having resiliency or flexibility characteristics different from the materials of the inserts 5 and/or of the perimetric rim 103 of the frame member 3 and/or of transversal connection bridges 203.

Inserts 5 gives may adjust structurally the flexibility of the blade according to the materials used for making the fin, adjusting it to the use for which it is intended and to the degree of ability and physical force of the user.

Moreover, inserts 5 moreover allow the user to change the behavior of the fin in the water even according to climatic conditions, for example streams and wave motion to which the user is subjected.

A fin such as the one described above may be supplied in combination with a set of inserts 5. The set comprises different inserts 5 for at least a part of individual gaps 503 between adjacent bridges 203 and each of the inserts 5 may have different resiliency and flexibility characteristics. Furthermore, inserts 5 of the set with different resiliencies and flexibilities may be marked by a different color.

By introducing one or more inserts 5 having different resiliencies and flexibilities, the greatest flexural point of the blade 2 may changed along the extension of the fin. Moreover, connecting two or more inserts 5 with connection brackets allows the stiffness of the fin to be controlled and to be adjusted as desired.

In one embodiment, inserts 5 are part of an integral member filling the gap defined by the rim member 103 of the frame member 3.

As shown in the figures, the rim member 103 defines a space, in which a resilient filling member is housed. The resilient member includes perimetric branches 403 contacting the inner side of longitudinal branches of the perimetric rim member 103 and transversal connection bridges 203 branching off therefrom, at predetermined distances and arranged along the entire length.

In this embodiment, transversal connection bridges 203 are a part of a member filling the space delimited by the perimetric rim member 103 of the frame member 3.

As shown in the figures, the filling member is composed of a set of transversal connection bridges 203 connected one to the other by perimetric contact branches 403 and the filling member has such a shape to be inserted into the hollow region of the frame member 3.

The filling member is mechanically fastened into the rim 103 by snap fit engagement or by forcing it or by adhesion to the inner side of the rim 103 of the frame member 3, for example, by chemical or physical adhesion such as bonding, welding or overmolding.

In combination with the filling member for one or more of the gaps between adjacent bridges, there are provided one or more of the inserts 5 described above, which in this embodiment will be disposed between two adjacent transversal bridges 203 and perimetric contact branches 403 of the resilient filling member.

Each edge of the blade 2 is fastened to the corresponding frame member 3 in such a position that the edge of the blade 2 is at an intermediate position with respect to two longitudinal branches of the rim member 103.

As shown in FIG. 6, the edge of the blade 2 can be fastened to the frame member 3 at transversal connection bridges 203 by overmolding appendices 303 which overlap the lower and upper face respectively of the blade 2 for a certain extension in the lengthwise direction of the blade 2. Thus, during the manufacture the fin, the molding parts made of relatively yielding materials, such as for example bridges 203, may be overmolded with appendices 303 branching off the side of the bridge 203 adjacent to the edge of the blade 2 and overlapping the blade 2 for a certain end strip, locking it.

As shown in FIG. 8, the blade 2 may be fastened to one or more of the transversal connection bridges 203 by side projections or appendices 102 engaged inside through openings or engagement or snap fit seats provided in the wall of the transversal connection bridge 203.

Side projections 102 of the edge of the blade 2 engage by being elastically forced into the through hole within the thickness of the transversal connection bridge 203.

As shown in the figures, side engagement projections 102 of the blade 2 are composed of tapered pins becoming wider toward the engagement end and having a rounded or spherical engaging head.

The length of the side engagement projections 102 or pins is such that the side projections or pins 102 are mounted condition by elastic forcing and project with their rounded heads beyond the outer side of the corresponding transversal connection bridge 203 i.e. project on the side opposite to the blade 2.

As shown in FIG. 8, the connection between the blade 2 and the frame member 3 occurs by a pin 102 having a rounded point and inserted into an opening passing through the thickness of the transversal connection bridge 203. In this embodiment there are provided overmolding appendices 303 overlapping for a certain extension the upper and lower faces of the blade 2 at the point wherein pins 102 enter the opening of the transversal bridge 203.

As shown in FIGS. 6, 7, 8, the connection between the blade 2 and frame members 3 along the side edge of the blade 2 occurs both by means of overmolding appendices 303 and snap fit pins 102. In particular, pins 102 may be engaged into through openings in the transversal bridges 203 at points where the blade 2 has the greatest flexural level, for example at the front end of the footpocket 1, while the connection by overmolding appendices 303 may be provided for the remaining connection points along the longitudinal extension of the blade 2.

As shown in FIG. 12, in which one embodiment is shown having the perimetric rim member 103 closed on itself and delimiting an inner region completely filled with the insert 51, the connection between the blade 2 and the frame member 3 occurs at one or more points of the insert 51 and/or at least at one of the ends of the rim member 103. In particular, the connection between the blade 2 and the insert occurs by means of one or more pins inserted into one or more through holes into the wall of the insert 51. Such pins may be provided with a shape substantially equal to the pins described above, thereby allowing the blade 2 and transversal connection bridges 203 to be connected and for the openings passing through inserts 51 to be placed such that, during the manufacture the fin or when it is used by the user, within the perimetric rim member 103, the insert 51 may be interchanged with connection bridges 203 or with the resilient filling member composed of perimetric contact branches 403 and of bridges 203. Thus, the behavior of the fin in the water is modified by changing the members inserted inside the rim member 103 of the frame member 3 while maintaining the same structure of the blade 2.

A person skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention is not limited to the embodiment described and shown above but can be widely varied and have equivalents, including in its structural aspects, without departing from the principles of the invention disclosed above and claimed below.