Speedo's Nemesis Fins inspired by the humpback whale


August 14, 2014

Nemesis Fins are designed to let you swim like a whale ... sort of

Nemesis Fins are designed to let you swim like a whale ... sort of

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If you've ever seen a humpback whale's fins, you might have noticed that they have knobby bits along the front edge. These are known as tubercles, and they cause the water to flow over the fins in such a way that extra lift is created. They've been copied in efforts to produce better wind turbines, undersea turbines, helicopter rotor blades ... and now, Speedo swim fins.

Known as Nemesis Fins, the whale-inspired footwear features a series of man-made tubercles along the outside edge of each fin. According to Speedo, this design creates more surface area for the water to pass over (as opposed to a straight edge), thus allowing the swimmer to go faster by pushing more water with every kick.

A humpback whale, sporting its own tubercles (Photo: Shutterstock)

The square openings along their inside edges are called blow valves, and they're larger on the underside of the fin than they are on the top. Reportedly, this means that water gets trapped on the underside and squeezed through the openings, resulting in increased propulsion via more resistance on down-kicks.

Flow channels along the surface of the fins help guide the water toward those blow valves.

Finally, the use of EVA foam in their construction makes the fins positively buoyant. This feature is said to help the swimmer maintain an elevated, more streamlined body position.

A Speedo representative tells us that the Nemesis Fins are available now in limited quantities at select shops, priced at US$39.99. They can also be pre-ordered via the first link below.

Source: SpeedoUSA via Outside

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

So you can swim across the Pacific Ocean with less effort?


I think they did a whale of a job on the design.


These would appear to be a triumph of advertising over intelligence.

Stuart Wilshaw

"Humpbacks" have evolved for a several of hundred thousand years now. Maybe more. It may be that they know more about swimming and "fins" than we will ever know. I'm going to give these puppies a try ASAP. What's to lose" $39.99 +s/h? Big deal.....

Arnold Stonehouse


Speedo's site had added a banner for the fins and they now are taking pre-orders. I ordered a pair.

Evan Comer

I inquired about these fins this past Tuesday (learned of via Outside); this is the reply that I received from Speedo:

"Dear Evan,

Thank you for contacting and your interest in the Nemesis Fins. We regret to inform you that the item is not available.

Most Speedo styles sold on our website are unique to the season and year in which they are offered. Once the availability of a particular item has sold out, it may not be replenished in that same size and color. Visit the below link to view new arrivals every month and entirely new collections each season:

Based on your inquiry, we have listed items that may be of interest to you.

Hydroflight Fin

Adjustable Dive Fins

Please let us know if you have any additional inquiries.

Be sure to visit our "Newest Arrivals" category online and shop the latest swimwear trends for men, women, girls, and boys at We appreciate your patronage.


Jennifer Carlton 1-888-477-3336"

While I appreciated the quick reply (next day), I was perplexed by, well, you know. Looks like the fins would be fun while surfing with a Handboard (Go Slyde!) or boogie board!

Evan Comer
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