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Publication numberUS20090280703 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/151,642
Publication dateNov 12, 2009
Filing dateMay 8, 2008
Priority dateMay 8, 2008
Publication number12151642, 151642, US 2009/0280703 A1, US 2009/280703 A1, US 20090280703 A1, US 20090280703A1, US 2009280703 A1, US 2009280703A1, US-A1-20090280703, US-A1-2009280703, US2009/0280703A1, US2009/280703A1, US20090280703 A1, US20090280703A1, US2009280703 A1, US2009280703A1
InventorsJohn Lewis Rachels
Original AssigneeJohn Lewis Rachels
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Strap-on swimming fin
US 20090280703 A1
Abstract
A strap-on swimming fin apparatus configured for removable engagement with a person's limb, the apparatus having an elongate strap with a pair of mutually engagable surface fasteners, the strap configured for secure removable engagement around the limb. An extremity cover, such as a glove or bootie, is joined flexibly to a side edge of the first strap and is configured for engaging an associated extremity, such as a hand or foot. A pair of fins are secured to a top surface of the strap in opposing positions, thereby improving the person's thrust through the water as well as their ability to maneuver, while simultaneously allowing for full unobstructed use and articulation of both the limb and extremity.
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Claims(12)
1. A strap-on apparatus engaging a swimmer's limb for improving thrust of a swimming stroke, the strap-on apparatus comprising:
a first strap having a top surface, a bottom surface, a pair of spaced apart side edges, and a pair of opposing ends, the first strap configured for engaging the limb;
an extremity cover joined flexibly to the first strap at a medial position on one of the side edges thereof, the extremity cover configured for engaging an extremity integral with the limb;
an at least one fin joined to the top surface of the first strap;
a pair of mutually engagable first and second surface fasteners;
the first surface fastener joined at the top surface of the first strap at one of the opposing ends thereof; and
the second surface fastener joined at the bottom surface of the first strap at the other of the opposing ends thereof.
2. The strap-on apparatus of claim 1 wherein the extremity cover has a second strap for creating a tight engagement between the extremity cover and the extremity.
3. The strap-on apparatus of claim 1 wherein the extremity cover is made of a loose-weave material having a plurality of holes for allowing water to pass therethrough.
4. The strap-on apparatus of claim 1 wherein a pair of fins are joined to the top surface of the first strap in opposing positions thereon.
5. The strap-on apparatus of claim 1 wherein the extremity cover is one of a glove and a bootie.
6. The strap-on apparatus of claim 5 wherein the glove has finger apertures for receiving the person's fingers in protrusion therethrough.
7. A strap-on apparatus engaging a person's arm for improving swimming thrust, the apparatus comprising:
a first strap having a top surface, a bottom surface, a pair of spaced apart side edges, and a pair of opposing ends, the first strap configured for engaging the arm;
a glove joined flexibly to the first strap at a medial position on one of the side edges thereof, the extremity cover configured for engaging a hand integral with the arm;
an at least one fin joined to the top surface of the first strap;
a pair of mutually engagable first and second surface fasteners;
the first surface fastener joined at the top surface of the first strap at one of the opposing ends thereof; and
the second surface fastener joined at the bottom surface of the first strap at the other of the opposing ends thereof.
8. The strap-on apparatus of claim 7 wherein the glove has a second strap for creating a tight engagement between the glove and the hand.
9. The strap-on apparatus of claim 7 wherein the glove is made of a loose-weave material having a plurality of holes for allowing water to pass therethrough.
10. The strap-on apparatus of claim 7 wherein a pair of fins are joined to the top surface of the first strap in opposing positions thereon.
11. The strap-on apparatus of claim 7 wherein the glove has finger apertures for allowing the person's fingers to protrude therethrough.
12. A strap-on apparatus engaging a swimmer's hand and forearm for improving thrust of a swimming stroke, the strap-on apparatus comprising:
a first strap of a size and shape for encircling the swimmer's forearm, the first strap having means for engaging of ends of the first strap so that the first strap can be tightly secured to the swimmer's forearm;
a pair of fins mounted on, and extending outwardly from the first strap in positions, wherein, with the first strap encircling the swimmer's forearm, the fins project outwardly from opposing sides of the forearm;
a glove joined to the first strap and extending therefrom in a position for engaging the swimmer's hand when the first strap is engaged with the forearm; and
a second strap engaged with the glove proximal the first strap, the second strap configured with a strap engagement means enabling tight engagement of the second strap with a wrist of the swimmer such that rotation of the first strap about the forearm of the swimmer is prevented.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Present Disclosure

This disclosure relates generally to fins worn on the body of a person during aquatic activity and, more particularly, to a strap-on swimming fin for aiding a person in swimming.

2. Description of Related Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98

Sommerfeld, U.S. Pat. No. 1,130,209, discloses a propulsion device for swimmers comprising a two-part hinged body portion, a means for attaching the body portion to a limb of a swimmer, and wings hingedly attached to the body portion.

Le Bihan, U.S. Pat. No. 2,692,995, discloses a float device for saving shipwrecked persons and aiding swimmers comprising a sleeve made of a buoyant, flexible material and having a streamlined cross section, the inner longitudinal edge of the sleeve being rounded and fitting around the wearer's arm and the outer longitudinal edge forming a thin and flexible web which extends laterally, the sleeve having such length that it will cover at least a part of the hand and the forearm of the user, said sleeve being provided in the front part of its inner rounded edge with a hole for the passage of the thumb.

Montgomery, U.S. Pat. No. 3,290,707, discloses a swimming aid for attachment to a swimmer's arm comprising a pair of plates arranged side-by-side; resilient band means that encircle a swimmer's arm with the top of said band means being disposed at the front of said arm; and attachment means securing said plates to the top portion of said band means, the resilient nature of said band means constantly biasing said plates toward the rear of said arm, said plates being movable toward the front of said arm as said arm undergoes a swimming stroke.

Feather, U.S. Pat. No. 3,827,095, discloses a swim fin having a support strap attachable to the forearm of a user with a lower portion of the strap extending transversely on the under surface of the forearm. Laterally spaced fin members depend from the lower portion of the strap and extend rearwardly and outwardly away from each other and move inwardly and outwardly in response to a forward return stroke and rearward thrust stroke, respectively. Resilient means restrains outward movement of the fin members in proportion to the force applied to produce resistance to the water in proportion to the force applied.

Sato, U.S. Pat. No. 4,027,347, discloses a swimming glove comprising an elastic sealable main body which integrally includes a hollow palm portion, a plurality of hollow finger portions radially and outwardly extending from one end of the palm portion and foldable finger-webs extending between the finger portions; an elastic binding member applied about the other end of the palm portion; a plurality of rockable resisting pieces secured along one side of the palm portion and one of said finger portions, pairs of opposed and spaced resisting piece restraining pieces embracing the resisting pieces therebetween for limiting the movement of the resisting pieces.

Solloway, U.S. Pat. No. 4,521,011, discloses a hydrodynamic stroke builder having a specially configured aquatic hand section and forearm section with fins to progressively strengthen a person's arms, shoulders, chest and back. The hydrodynamic stroke builder can be interchangeably used by men, women and children alike and permits a wide range of movement with controlled amounts of fluid resistive forces, torque and torsion underwater. The stroke building consists of a hand engaging section which is either flat or convex and which has holes therein so that the user's fingers can readily grasp the hand engaging section. The forearm section conforms to the shape of the user's forearm and has V or U shaped fins extending therefrom to provide the proper resistance when the device is being used. The stroke builder can also include an upper arm section similar in design to the forearm section. The various sections are connected together by way of hinges.

Brom, U.S. Pat. No. D300,341 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,699, discloses a swimming aid having a pair of curved molded plastic arm braces together with a pair of removable straps for securing the curved arm braces to the forearm of a swimmer. A pair of substantially planar fin members are pivotally attached to the arm braces by means of a hinge combination which includes pivot limits to restrict the pivotal motion of the fin members between an outwardly extending position and a rearwardly extending collapsed position. Stop members are provided for altering the collapsed position of the fin members to increase the effort required of the swimmer during the return stroke.

Waller, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,055,075, discloses a fin assembly for assisting a body or body board surfer in steering, the assembly comprising a fin member of vane-like, generally planar shape and a securing device for securing the fin member to the limb of a surfer so that the fin projects generally downwardly into the water from the undersurface of the surfer's body. Preferably, oppositely directed right and left hand fin members are provided for securing to right and left hand limbs, respectively, of the surfer. The fin member has an enlarged base from which the fin projects, and the securing device is designed to secure the base against the appropriate limb so that the fin projects generally outwardly.

Davis, U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,551, discloses a pair of hand fins for the sport of bodysurfing, the hand fins worn and reliably held on the bodysurfer's hands. Each hand fin has longer outer and shorter inner rails for better stability and guidance, a keel for straight tracking through a wave, and curved channels for creating more lift and increased speed through the wave. A peripheral lip provides lift even during steering maneuvers.

Hopper, U.S. Pat. No. 5,749,759, discloses an aqua-dynamic swim apparatus and method. A foil projects outwardly from a swimmer's lower leg, the foil having the shape of an airfoil and being adapted for a controlled angle of attack and rate of change thereof in response to forces applied by a swimmer's leg strokes. A second foil projects inwardly from the swimmer's lower leg, the foil being adapted for passive, limited inclination and declination.

The related art described above discloses swimming fin attachments configured for securement to hands, arms, legs, and feet. Some of the related art references, such as Feather and Waller Jr., disclose fin attachments that engage with a wearer's wrist or ankle. This is disadvantageous, however, because hydrodynamic forces often cause such fin attachments to twist and slide on the wearer's wrist or ankle, ultimately repositioning such fin attachments into a less desirable, less effective position. Other related art references, such as Solloway and Hopper, have attempted to solve this problem by disclosing fin attachments that engage with a wearer's hand and wrist, or foot and ankle, thereby preventing the fin attachment from repositioning due to hydrodynamic forces. However, the configuration of those fin attachments hinder full use of the associated hand or foot of the wearer. Thus, for example, the wearer is unable to grasp objects with their hand, or is unable to walk normally on their foot, when the fin attachment is in use. Therefore, the related art fails to disclose a strap-on swimming fin apparatus capable of secure engagement with a wearer's hand and arm, or foot and leg, such that the fin will not reposition itself during use and, at the same time, enables the wearer to have full unobstructed use of their respective hand or foot. The present disclosure distinguishes over the related art providing heretofore unknown advantages as described in the following summary.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.

The present invention provides a solution to the above discussed problems by providing a strap-on swimming fin apparatus configured for removable engagement with a person's limb for improving swimming with respect to both propulsion and maneuvering. The invention has an elongate strap with a pair of mutually engagable surface fasteners, the strap configured for secure removable engagement around a limb. An extremity cover, such as a glove or bootie, is joined flexibly to a side edge of the first strap and is configured for engaging an extremity, such as a hand or foot. This engagement between the strap and the extremity cover allows for full unobstructed use of the person's limb and extremity. In addition, the engagement ensures that the strap will not shift or rotate on the limb once the present invention is securely engaged.

A pair of fins are fixedly engaged with a top surface of the strap in such a way that, when the strap is engaged with the limb, the fins are in opposing positions on the limb, thus creating a uniform drag coefficient across the present invention when it is moved through the water. Thus, the present invention improves the person's thrust through the water as well as their ability to maneuver.

A primary objective inherent in the above described apparatus and method of use is to provide advantages not taught by the prior art.

Another objective is to provide a strap-on swimming fin apparatus that maintains a fixed position on the wearer's limb.

A further objective is to provide such an apparatus that is capable of removable engagement with a wearer's hand and arm, or foot and leg.

A further objective is to provide such an apparatus that allows the wearer full unobstructed use of their hand or foot, depending on where the apparatus is worn.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the presently described apparatus and method of its use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

Illustrated in the accompanying drawing(s) is at least one of the best mode embodiments of the present invention In such drawing(s):

FIG. 1 is a bottom perspective view of the presently described apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view thereof showing a first strap disengaged; and

FIGS. 3 and 4 are top perspective views thereof showing the presently described apparatus being engaged with a person's limb and hand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The above described drawing figures illustrate the described apparatus and its method of use in at least one of its preferred, best mode embodiment, which is further defined in detail in the following description. Those having ordinary skill in the art may be able to make alterations and modifications to what is described herein without departing from its spirit and scope. Therefore, it should be understood that what is illustrated is set forth only for the purposes of example and should not be taken as a limitation on the scope of the present apparatus and its method of use.

Described now in detail is a strap-on swimming fin apparatus configured for removable engagement with a person's limb for improving swimming with respect to both propulsion and maneuvering. As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the present invention comprises a first strap 2, an extremity cover 4, and an at least one fin 6.

The first strap 2 is preferably an elongate strap having a top surface 8, a bottom surface 10, a pair of spaced apart side edges 12, and a pair of opposing first and second ends 14 and 16. In addition, the first strap 2 provides a pair of mutually engagable first and second surface fasteners 18 and 20. The first surface fastener 18 is engaged at the top surface 8 of the first strap 2 at the first end 14, and the second surface fastener 20 is engaged at the bottom surface 10 of the first strap 2 at the second end 16. Thus, the first strap 2 is capable of being wrapped around a person's limb 40 (i.e., an arm or leg) such that the first surface fastener 18 engages with the second surface fastener 20, thereby creating a tight, secure engagement around the limb 40. In the preferred embodiment, the surface fasteners 18 and 20 are hook-and-loop fasteners. In addition, a release tab 2A is engaged at the top surface 8 of the first strap 2 at the second end 16 to enable It should be noted that other types of fasteners known to persons of ordinary skill in the art, such as threaded hardware, buttons or snaps, may be substituted.

The extremity cover 4 is joined flexibly to the first strap 2 at a medial position 12M on one of the side edges 12 and is configured for engaging an extremity, either a hand 42 or a foot, integral with the person's limb 40. With the extremity cover 4 joined to the first strap 2 in this way, the first strap 2 is prevented from rotating or repositioning on the limb 40 when the present invention is engaged with the person's limb 40 and corresponding extremity.

In an arm embodiment of the present invention, as shown in the figures, the extremity cover 4 is a glove configured for engaging the person's hand 42. In a leg embodiment of the present invention (not shown), the extremity cover 4 is a bootie configured for engaging the person's foot. Both embodiments comprise the same essential features. However, for the purposes of describing the present invention herein, the glove embodiment will be used as the exemplary embodiment. Thus, it should be noted that any reference to an arm may be substituted by references to complimentary components of a leg (i.e., arm/leg, hand/foot, wrist/ankle, etc.) with respect to the leg embodiment of the present invention.

The phrase “joined flexibly” as used in the above paragraph is meant to describe the relationship between the extremity cover 4 and the first strap 2. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the extremity cover 4 is preferably joined to the first strap 2, using stitching or other methods well known in the art, in such a way as to allow a wrist 44 of the person to articulate normally without any reduction in range of motion. Additionally, the extremity cover 4 is preferably made of a flexible material, such as fabric or rubber, so as to enable full unobstructed use of the person's hand 42 and associated fingers 46 while engaged with the present invention. In the arm embodiment of the present invention, the extremity cover 4 preferably has finger apertures 22, for allowing the person's fingers 46 to protrude therethrough, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. This allows for even greater unobstructed use of the person's hand while engaged with the present invention. In one embodiment, the extremity cover 4 is made of a loose-weave material having a plurality of holes 24 (FIGS. 3 and 4) for allowing water to pass therethrough. Other flexible materials, known to persons of ordinary skill in the art, may be substituted. The extremity cover 4 also has a second strap 26 configured for creating a tighter engagement between the extremity cover 4 and the person's hand 42 to further prevent the apparatus from inadvertently moving or disengaging. Similar to the first strap 2, the second strap 26 provides a pair of surface fasteners (not shown), preferably hook-and-loop fasteners. However, other types of fasteners known to persons of ordinary skill in the art, such as threaded hardware, buttons or snaps, may be substituted.

In one embodiment, as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the present invention has a pair of fins 6. Each one of the fins 6 is preferably of vane-like shape having a leading edge 28, a trailing edge 30, and a lower end 32 secured to the top surface 8 of the first strap 2. The leading edge 28 is convex and the trailing edge 30 is concave, thereby forming a streamlined shaped fin 6, ideal for smoothly moving through water with a very small amount of drag. Preferably, the fins 6 are positioned on the top surface 8 in such a way that, when the first strap 2 is engaged with the person's limb 40, the fins 6 are in opposing positions on the limb 40, as shown in FIG. 4. This creates a uniform drag coefficient across the present invention when it is moved through the water, thereby improving the person's thrust through the water as well as their ability to maneuver.

The present invention may alternately be described as a strap-on apparatus or extremity cover 4 engaging a swimmer's hand 42 and forearm or limb 40 for improving thrust of a swimming stroke such as the crawl, the strap-on apparatus comprising a first strap 2 of a size and shape for encircling the swimmer's forearm 40, the first strap 2 having means 18, 20 for engaging ends 14, 16 of the first strap 2 so that the first strap can be tightly secured to the swimmer's forearm 40. The invention further comprises a pair of fins 6 mounted on, and extending outwardly from the first strap 2 in positions, wherein, with the first strap 2 encircling the swimmer's forearm 40, the fins 6 project outwardly from opposing sides of the forearm 40 as shown in FIG. 4. A glove (extremity cover 4) is joined to the first strap 2 and extends therefrom in a position for engaging the swimmer's hand 42 when the first strap 2 is engaged with the forearm 40. A second strap 26 engages the glove 4 proximal the first strap 2, the second strap 26 configured with a strap engagement means, as can be seen in FIG. 3, preferably Velcro® enabling tight engagement of the second strap with a wrist 44 of the swimmer.

It is important in the present invention to note that the function of glove 4 is to secure the first strap 2 in its preferred position on forearm 40, that is, it is necessary to fix fins 6 in their preferred locations, as shown in FIG. 4 in order to obtain the maximum operational thrust when the arm of the swimmer moves through the water. Therefore, first strap 2 must be prevented from rotating on forearm 40 during swimming. The magnitude of forces that tend to rotate first strap 2 are generally such that they will not only rotate first strap 2, but will, at the same time, pull glove 4 along with it. Your applicant has found that only through the utilization of second strap 26 is it possible to prevent rotation of first strap 2 and distortion of glove 4. Second strap 26 tightens the joint between glove 4 and first strap 2 at the wrist 44 so that no rotation is possible.

The enablements described in detail above are considered novel over the prior art of record and are considered critical to the operation of at least one aspect of the apparatus and its method of use and to the achievement of the above described objectives. The words used in this specification to describe the instant embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but to include by special definition in this specification: structure, material or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this specification as including more than one meaning, then its use must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the specification and by the word or words describing the element.

The definitions of the words or drawing elements described herein are meant to include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structure, material or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. In this sense it is therefore contemplated that an equivalent substitution of two or more elements may be made for any one of the elements described and its various embodiments or that a single element may be substituted for two or more elements in a claim.

Changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalents within the scope intended and its various embodiments. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements. This disclosure is thus meant to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted, and also what incorporates the essential ideas.

The scope of this description is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that each named inventor believes that the claimed subject matter is what is intended to be patented.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8790224 *May 10, 2011Jul 29, 2014Adam M. DavisAquatic exercise system and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/57, 441/55
International ClassificationA63B31/08, A63B31/10
Cooperative ClassificationA63B31/12, A63B31/02, A63B31/08
European ClassificationA63B31/02, A63B31/12, A63B31/08