I bought myself a LUNOCET 015 monofin [manufacturer] [SciAm article]. Certainly one of the more wicked pieces of equipment for people with too much energies to burn off. It basically is an extremely well designed fin that enhances your body waves and leg kicks that you can then do with a full blast to speed ahead.
People that read this blog know that I find some 30'000 USD or more for a piece of prosthetic arm gadgetry too much. Some people fail to understand why. Buying a contraption is one thing - but seeing what it does to you emotionally and mentally (once you have it) is quite another. Too much focus on ill-guided gadgetry with the wrong gadgets - and you will end up with a serious depression. Maybe it is because there are so many *other* things to do that really fill my heart.
This here is just a small snow flake, on a tip of an iceberg of what there is to do to fill one's heart with the sheer joy of motion. And so one of the things I can do instead of buying an iLimb, Michelangelo hand or BeBionic, is to park my ~ 30'000 USD or howevermuch money in the right spot, and simply use the interest rate to ride off into the sunset, to buy a Lunocet, and / or to go on holidays somewhere outlandish or do some other stuff that's really good for me.
There are folks that - missing a limb - look for replacement for that missing limb to do anything - to go swimming, for other stuff they do. It is not hard to understand that approach but it is not the only approach there is. One other approach that I started to work on is to manualize the rest of the world instead - including other body parts, immediate surroundings and even by including other people for certain moment of assistance for example. One can then pull apart certain aspects of this - posture, tasks, appearance, balance in motion, to find more creative and even more powerful solutions. In fact, the research head of a robot lab highlighted this to me when - upon visiting their lab - he admitted that robotics (or prosthetics) never would solve the task of replacing a human hand, and that already me adopting other people - for company, for sports, you name it - to solve my own amputation based problems - social, practical, et cetera - was the far better solution in many ways than society spending millions on trying to find the perfect robot hand. But the public doesn't know about this, so let us keep it a secret. In a way this confirms my rather simple minded attempts to assemble a really robust body powered prosthetic arm as a simple tool that holds up to daily requirements - a feasible and realistic task, one where there is light at the end of the tunnel. Real joy and fun is found elsewhere - it is, what you do with (or without) these tools.
This is me, doing some peaceful LUNOCET 015 cruises in the Lake of Zurich. Yes, without added push, I am that fast. I already loved butterfly swimming but this really pushes it. This, by far, surpasses the amount of calm joy that can be gotten out of a number of other activities, including purchase of a myoelectric hand. And if someone offers me one gadget, I'd be a fool not evaluate some other gadgets, wouldn't I. Water sports was always something I liked but I never stopped missing my right hand so much than when going full speed with my Lunocet, and that is maybe why this blog entry belongs here, rather than just on some general water fun webpage.
The relaxed aspects of playful whale watching is intended. This is one of the most power demanding sports tools I ever had. It is far more efficient and at the same time far more fun than any rowing machine, spinner, weight lifting or Pilates.
While I slowly break in my new Lunocet monofin, it becomes apparent that this is just scraping at the surface of its potential. Sure one can swim for speed - but I would suggest to swim for style and motion, and for pure fun.
Butterfly style obviously works but really, there is no conventional swimming style that matches the beauty of this perfect water toy. So I decided to freestyle it (in the pure sense of the word) playing with stroke rates and angles. Trying two or three kicks for one fly arm stroke seems to work well to balance fast cruising and comfortable water jumping.
I found that doing rather steep dive downs after the arm stroke, then coming up slowly for a flat surface posture before then doing the next arm stroke, may be a good way to enjoy the wicked dynamics of these kicks and to also get fun out of acceleration and deceleration. One can vary kick rate and double or triple them underwater before going half rate when surfacing - adding relatively fast underwater speed to great wave surface splashing.
One way of doing a Lunocet fly mod was particularly fast: after completing the fly armstroke and diving down to at least 50 cm below surface, I'd do about four extremely hard kicks first forward then slightly upward to then add an armstroke to the fourth kick, breaking the water surface, catching breath and going for the next dive. Turning knees and feet inward before extending knees all the way to hyperflexion would massively increase speed.
Because I found that one can keep feet parallel and relaxed and enjoy moderate speeds of swimming, just linearly accelerating with added exertion one might be willign to give - but once I would turn my feet and knees inward before starting to kick downward, the fin for some reason seemed to generate some extra 30% of speed and almost push (rather than gently lift) me out of the water when swimming fly.
With these SIDI bike shoes that I wear on them, swimming extended kick sessions remains super comfortable.
But I have to admit that just over 10 minutes of mild butterfly cruising forces these Lunocet to really sustain a bit of wreckage as I already lost one screw that didn't survive this, and the screws started to become lose rather rapidly.
Luckily these are normed M6 threaded 16mm screws. So far the Lunocet appears to be a monofin that was designed for divers but did not seem to reach that audience yet. In that, the Lunocet blog belongs here, on my website, as I encountered the exact same problems with my prosthetic arm, with wrist units and hooks failing left and right, and the fixes were just about the same. In a way, a Lunocet shares characteristics, advantages and problems of other extremity prosthetics. After just two more extended fly cruises in the lake, I found that screws almost fell off again, so I replaced some them with longer screws and used additional counter nuts that I'd fasten as much as I could. Probably these fins were not developed for violent flutter kicks, but then, almost no screw/nut combination really was built for vibration. The latest fix seemed to improve it, even though even the longer screw/nut was somewhat loose after another 30 minute fly / kick session with some sprint sessions. At least they did not fall out that fast.
At any rate, the forces that are applied must be very large. One colleague that observed my kicks when I did a pool demo said that I obviously found a way to flip the tail part almost in a rectangular fashion - the fins were either up or down (but not a smooth transition). These are extremely hard flips that yield insane speeds. That, however, is what generates speed. So when I swim fast the amount of loading on the material ends up being immense. Maybe a next version of the Lunocet could be built to sustain hard flutter kicks. Even without fins I manage to kick in a way that makes my great toe go numb already after 40 meters ; ) and that's just because circulation is pressed out. So if you have spare kick power, why not try one of these.
If you were looking for a really fast and elegant fly style open water cruising toy, this is for you. The video style here is the one used also for "whale watching" - avoiding all close up or macro, avoiding detailed underwater sequences, this gives an overall idea of the type of wide circled fun one can have with such equipment.
BIKE SHOES / MOUNTING EQUIPMENT - Thanks to everyone at Sportplausch Wider in Wallisellen ZH for great support.
WARNING -If you are not trained relatively well, this device can exhaust you viciously fast. If that happens out there in the lake and you are alone, you may run serious risks and maybe drown. Do not assume you can just put on a monofin and also do what may look so easy here. I swim since I am a kid. I played waterpolo, did lots of sports elsewhere and regularly train as championship / masters swimmer. I use fins only as add-on, as recreational equipment and for pure fun - not as swimming aid.