Churchill Fins Review | 2021 Update (Makapuu, Slasher)

In the first year of selling his trademarked Churchill Fins, Owen Churchill only sold a thousand pairs. 

See, the fins he created were way ahead of their time, for diving wasn’t popular in the 1940s yet. But when the 1970s came and bodyboarding was introduced, the Churchill Swim fins became one of the best-selling products in the world of water sports. 

World champions and famous bodyboarders wore the Churchill fins. Decades passed, and their quality and performance were at their peak. Rightfully, Owen patented their colors of yellow and blue, the evident characteristic of these fins many people recognize. 

Today, Churchill Fins remain the #1 best-selling flippers. But the question is, are they still worth the hype? Did the Churchill brand live up to its reputation?

This article contains a comprehensive review of the renowned swim fins, along with some of the experiences of their users and tips to make the most out of them. Keep reading to learn more!

Top 4 Best Churchill Fins Reviewed

Here’s the lineup of the four swim fins of the Churchill brand according to the order they were released: 

  1. Churchill Makapuu Floating Fins
  2. Churchill Slasher Swimfins
  3. Churchill Original Slashers Training Swim Fins
  4. Churchill Makapuu Pro Swimfins

#1: Churchill Makapuu

Churchill Makapuu

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Specifications: 

  • Sizes: Small to Extra Large
  • Compatible with: Bodyboarding, Bodysurfing, Handboarding, Swimming, Freediving, Scuba
  • Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate

Price

The Makapuu is Churchill’s flagship product, and the cheapest one in the lineup, too. It has a price range of $49.99-$59.95, which is comparatively higher than other flipper brands in the market. 

Materials

When it comes to their construction materials, Churchill Fins are inspected to ensure they’re made from quality workmanship and standards. 

Made from 100% natural gum rubber material, the Makapuu Floating Fins, as the name suggests, floats! The front part of the flippers is soft to mold your feet better, then hardens up as it reaches the blade part for added strength and acceleration when paddling. 

Style and Design

Put the Makapuu swim fins together and they mimic a dolphin’s tail. This unique shape extends the feet and enables the swimmer to get into the waves easily and get out of it when needed. There’s a drainage hole in the center of the flippers, which is a feature in the Churchill swim fins. The hole helps remove the rocks, sands, and shells that come inside of the fin.

This Makapuu variant comes in two available colors; the trademark yellow and blue, and the original green. 

Features

The patented style of the Makapuu may not have altered over the years, but Churchill went out of their way to improve these swim fins’ features.

For the upgrades, the Makapuu has an improved foot pocket located in the middle of the fins for additional comfort. The heel straps are also made thick for better security and to prevent them from coming off when in water. For better thrust and kick, the blend lines are constructed slightly higher and the side rails are also firmer.

Pro tip: Wear neoprene socks for a more comfortable and snugger fit. You can also use tethers to prevent the fins from floating away in case the wave pulls them off your feet.

What users have to say

Although the Makapuu is one of the main products of the Churchill brand, it’s got mixed reviews from the users who’ve purchased it. Other users claim that the quality and comfortability of the Makapuu haven’t changed. While others say the fins weren’t as advertised, they don’t float, or the sizing is wrong. 

Well, the thing is, the Churchill brand faced a huge decline in its sales and lost many of its loyal customers some years ago (circa 2012). The reason? They changed the manufacturer of their rubber material. Coming from a Malaysian factory, they moved to a Chinese one. That’s when the users start to notice and complain about the discrepancy in sizing and rubber quality.

ProsCons
Responsive and kicks well in the waterTrademark yellow is more of an orange hue
Comfortable to wear, blister-freeNot suitable for heavy people
Suitable for any water sportSize chart discrepancies
Fast delivery

#2: Churchill Slasher Swim Fins

Churchill Slasher
Image from www.walmart.com

Specifications: 

  • Sizes: Small to Extra Large
  • Compatible with: Bodyboarding, Bodysurfing, Handboarding, Swimming, Freediving, Scuba
  • Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate

Price

The Slasher Swim Fins are the second product designed by Owen Churchill. They’re smaller and more compatible with beginners and intermediates who ride prone, so they’re referred to as the ‘Mini Makapuu’. Currently, Churchill has stopped these fins production, but you can still cop a pair (or a used one) in some stores. Their price ranges from $42.50 to $50.

Materials

The Slasher fins are also made from natural gum rubber. They’re lighter, so they have more buoyancy in water. The rubber is also more flexible and is anatomically engineered to mold the feet better. 

Style and Design

These flippers have similarities to the Makapuu, but they also come with tons of differences. For one, the Slasher’s blades have a more curved and rounded shape. This gives the fins lesser power but more speed; therefore, you won’t tire out easily when paddling out. 

With the sharp lining on its rails, the Slasher is also easier to control and accelerates more quickly. They’re shorter, too, that’s why they’re more suitable to use in smaller waves.

Features

There are no new features that are included with the Slasher. They just have the regular heel strap to prevent the fins from coming off when kicking and the drainage hole to help eliminate rocks and sand. 

While the lack of features may be a downside for some, this isn’t the case for the Slasher. In fact, the straightforward and fuss-free characteristics of these fins are the reasons why people loved them in the first place. 

What users have to say

For some reason, it’s difficult to find the Churchill Slasher nowadays. It’s a surprise because fans of this brand really loved this more mellow version of the Makapuu.

If you read the comments online, you’d find that there’s plenty of users asking Churchill to bring this product back to their lineup. When will they give in and sell these fins again? We’ll never know. 

ProsCons
Lightweight and more comfortable to wearNot widely available anymore
Sturdy and durable
Cheap

#3: Churchill Slashers Training Swim Fins

Churchill Slashers Training Swim Fins

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Specifications: 

  • Size: XXS for children ages 3-4 years old
  • Compatible with: Bodyboarding, Swimming
  • Skill level: Beginner

Price

Churchill also released the Slasher training fins, but this time, they’re for kids aged three to four. Unlike the adult version, these swim fins are still sold at $29.99 on Amazon.

Materials

The Slasher Training Swim Fins are also made from 100% natural gum rubber from Malaysia. They’re soft and flexible, so they help prevent skin blisters and chafing. Since they’re made from natural rubber, they’re also safe to use for children with sensitive skin. 

Style and design

When it comes to style, these training fins are similar to the adult-sized Slasher. The blades have a rounded shape for ease of use and the side rails provide more speed and less fatigue when kicking.

Features

These training fins have a thick heel strap to prevent them from coming off, especially for kids with smaller feet. 

What users have to say

Even though these ‘floating’ flippers are made with lightweight rubber, younger kids may find it difficult to carry and maneuver in the water. They’d do well in making the legs stronger, though.

ProsCons
Made from Malaysian gum rubberMay be heavy for some children
Feels like real flippers
Cheap

#4: Churchill Makapuu Pro Swimfins

Churchill Makapuu Pro Swimfins

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Specifications: 

  • Sizes: Small to Extra Large
  • Compatible with: Bodyboarding, Bodysurfing, Handboarding, Swimming, Freediving, Scuba
  • Skill level: Beginner to Advanced

Price

With the added features and innovations, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Makapuu Pro has a more hefty price tag compared to the original Makapuu variant. The price of each pair may range from $64.99 to $83.95 depending on their size. 

Materials

Similar to the original Makapuu, the Maks Pro is also made from natural gum rubber that’s tested and checked for quality. Its foot pocket feature is made from custom 2mm-neoprene material for comfort and increased flexibility. 

We’ve mentioned earlier that the Churchill brand had some issues with their rubber material because of a change in their manufacturing. Thankfully, the company heeded their user’s complaints and made the Makapuu Pro’s rubber a close resemblance to the swim fins from the 1930s. Mind you, they’re not the same quality as before, but they have a way better feel than the first batches that came out of the Chinese factory.

Style and Design

The Makapuu Pro line was released in the early 2000s to cater intermediate and advanced bodyboarders. Like the original variant, these fins feature the signature dolphin tail shape of the Churchill brand. The only difference is that the Pro now includes ankle straps and neoprene pads that are glued on the fins’ foot pockets. Due to this, they come one and a half size smaller. 

These fins are also available in two color variants; orange/black and pure black.

Features

Just when you thought that the original Makapuu design is already paramount, the Churchill brand takes their swim fins to another level. The Makapuu Pro’s blade and side rails are stiffer to give better thrust power. This also allows you to propel yourself forward easily. Meanwhile, the foot pocket is made more rigid for a better kick.

For its added features, these fins have thicker heel straps for a more secure fit. As well as an ankle strap and fin tethers to keep your fins from floating away in case of wipeouts. The staple drainage holes are still there. This cool feature allows the ocean elements to escape when they get inside the fins.

The Makapuu Pro also has padded neoprene linings on the pockets for added comfort and to prevent skin chafing around your feet. The downside is they now have a tighter fit, so make sure to order one size bigger. 

What users have to say

Many users applaud the ‘sort-of’ comeback of the Makapuu gum rubber, so this one has more positive reviews than the previous one. They also appreciate the added features like the ankle strap, neoprene foot pockets, and the fins tethers that are easily adjustable.

Now, here’s the part where we pick out the snags of the Makapuu Pro. We’ve mentioned earlier that these swim fins are now made stiffer; however, due to this factor, some people find them very uncomfortable to wear, even after their break-in period. 

Perhaps the neoprene lining also contributes to this, because apart from being in the foot pocket, it also has a lining under the sole of the feet. This makes the foot cramped up to the roof of the fin, especially for people with bigger feet. 

ProsCons
Gives more power and accelerationUncomfortable to wear for some people
Suitable for all skill levelsSizing discrepancy
Includes fin saversExpensive

Conclusion

With over 80 years of experience, there’s no doubt that the Churchill brand has created one of the most well-known and reputable swim fins in the world — the Makapuu. Sure, they’ve had some drawbacks with this product before, but they’ve found ways to get it back on track. 

Our final verdict? The Churchill Fins are still worth drooling for. They’re more expensive, yes, but you pay for the quality and of course, their brand name. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do the Churchill Makapuu swim fins float?

Yes. All of Churchill’s swimming fins are made from 100% natural gum rubber material, so they’re lightweight and buoyant in water. 

Q: Can you use Churchill fins for diving?

These fins are great for beginners of any water sport like diving; however, if you’re an intermediate to an advanced diver, you may want to opt for longer fins specifically made for this activity.  

Q: Which Churchill product is the best?

You can’t go wrong with Churchill’s flagship product, the Makapuu. If you’re a beginner, the original Makapuu should work just fine. For advanced bodyboarders, however, we recommend going for the Makapuu Pro. 

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