Product Type: ELC Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... I found her position in the water was good - it encouraged her to put her face in but she was in control at all times. The fact that he... more
Swim like a shark?
ELC SwimFin - Pink
Member Name: chrisandmark
ELC SwimFin - Pink
Date: 30/04/12, updated on 30/04/12 (467 review reads)
Advantages: It's nice and pink...
Disadvantages: Doesn't really work as it should, very pricey for a piece of (ineffective) foam
I'm a complete mug for a gimmick, if it's an unusual way of doing something then I'll usually buy it regardless of whether or not it seems a genuinely good idea. This is how I came to be in possession of an ELC SwinFin, it looked fab in the shop and more importantly was a float designed to look like a sharks fin - how cool is that?! After paying my £21.99 (a non-fin float is a good tenner cheaper) I went home and offered to take Hollie swimming so we could try it out.
This was six months ago and since then the float has been used, erm, twice. While the (stupid) design might suit some children, Hollie (as a reasonably proficient swimmer for a four year old) was decidedly unhappy with it. The main issue for her were the straps, the SwinFin does up across the chest and the midriff and she found it very restrictive and 'annoying' (her word) - I'd set the straps to the perfect snugness against her body so I can only assume that it was the weight of the fin hanging off them which caused this, she couldn't properly articulate what the problem was but I have to say it looked extremely uncomfortable as I watched her make her way to the water.
The fin is made from EVA foam, which is pretty much the same stuff that the more traditional flat floats are made out of. The idea behind the design is that arm bands and swim rings keep the body too upright in the water, preventing children from learning how to move properly in the water and putting their bodies into a position that's not particularly helpful for learning the important skill of swimming. But then neither does the SwimFin, unless you work for the ELC marketing department. I can see the thinking behind the idea; after all, sharks have remained pretty much unchanged for millennia, but having a float shaped like an (immobile foam) fin does not make you shark-like, it just doesn't. In reality, what you have here is a fairly heavy *thing* attached to your back - as a land dwelling mammal, Hollie was neither comfortable nor impressed.
Watching her swim in it showed me that it didn't pull her into a comfortable swimming position at all, the buoyancy of the fin pulled her back into a strange kind of subtle V-shape which I could see her fighting as she swam. This, I suppose, is testament to how well the SwimFin will keep your kiddy afloat although is definitely not ideal for the young swimmer. The last time she used it was during a backstroke lesson with her dad, and we actually had a little more success this time - the float seemed to push her back upwards to keep her more vertical in the water, although when she turned over the fin unbalanced her in the water and sent her gambolling face first. Which impressed her no end.
It's having one star because I physically cannot give it any less - I shall dedicate that star to the fact that the SwimFin is pink, the colour of choice for both me and Hollie. It's an overpriced silly idea and if ELC wasn't such a nightmare to get to then I'd have returned it months ago - it hasn't even got 'another use', something to soften the blow of having been coerced into paying good money for a rubbish product. On the plus side it looks kinda cool (ie. pink and ever so slightly wacky) hanging on the hook in our downstairs bathroom - I suspect it will look equally cool when it's lying at the bottom of tomorrows bin bag.
Summary: A good idea, unfortunately foam doesn't imitate nature as well as ELC would like!