DIVE's Top Ten Kit of 2015
2015 has seen some great dive kit releases. Neil Hope compiled this list of his top 10 picks...
Following in the footsteps of their highly-specified YS-D1 strobe, Sea&Sea's YS-D2 offers a host of improvements over its predecessor. With a powerful guide number of 32 at 100 ISO and a recycle time of only 1.5 seconds, the strobe also provides a two-power, built-in target light with red filters to avoid spooking sensitive marine life. A choice of two diffusers give the option of soft and even 100-degree or 120-degree coverage while the new, larger and more ergonomic controls plus an illuminated rear panel - indicating mode, guide number and exposure compensation - make adjustments easy, even in dark conditions. Depth-rated to 100 metres, the YS-D2 uses four AA batteries to provide a maximum of 200 flashes at full power, has a colour temperature of 5600K and is equipped with a pre-flash cancel mode, DS-TTL II function, slave mode and audible as well as visual TTL confirmation.
AP Diving 2020Vision Colour Display
With its 2.8-inch, full-colour, IPS (In-Plane Switching) liquid crystal display, AP Diving's 2020Vision display is 43 per cent larger than it's previous monochrome incarnation but is mounted in a 40 per cent smaller, machined aluminium, low-profile housing. The bright and easy-to-read display has conditional colouring of text and graphics with user-selectable and customisable themes and can also be adjusted for brightness. Bluetooth-enabled for the easy transfer of dive data and firmware updates, the display has an intuitive graphical layout that compliments both the original Vision screen and AP's Heads-Up Screen. Three spring-loaded magnetic switches also follow the methodology of the previous model for an easy transition for existing AP rebreather users. Other notable features include an improved Kevlar-reinforced cable, low power consumption, plus in-water automatic activation. Fitted as standard to all new AP rebreathers, the 2020 is available as a factory-fitted upgrade for existing customers.
Scubapro's Mantis is a wristwatch-style dive computer using what its manufacturer describes as 'Human Factor Diving' to provide personalised data through the use of biometrics. Utilising heart-rate and skin temperature monitors, the Mantis is able to integrate these important elements into the UWATEC ZHL-8 Predictive Multi-Gas decompression algorithm for safer and more efficient diving. With a marine-grade stainless steel casing and a mineral glass display the computer features four dive modes – Deco, Gauge, Apnea and fixed PPO2 CCR – plus Swim Mode and full topside timekeeping functionality. The Mantis' LCD segmented display provides easy-to-read alphanumeric characters accessed via four magnetic push-buttons and has a maximum operating depth of 120 metres. Capable of accommodating three gas mixes between 21-100 per cent the device is powered by a single user-replaceable CR2032 battery and is both PC and Mac compatible using LogTrack software. Heart rate belt and temperature monitor are available separately.
Apeks Fusion KVR1
Consisting of an inner DryCore layer and a protective ballistic-strength synthetic fibre skin, the Fusion KVR1 has been designed specifically to cope with the robust challenges of wreck and cave diving environments. Mauser taped and six-thread sewn seams offer maximum stretch and durability while PU reinforcement at the shoulders, elbows, knees and backside provide longevity in all major areas of wear. With ankle zippers for ease of donning the suit is completed with a pair of removable Fusion Boots, fixed via hook and loop attachments and available separately in sizes from 5 to 14. Two twin-zip expansion pockets with D-ring attachment points offer ample storage for accessories with the suit also benefitting from Apeks' SLT (Seal Lock Technology) neck and ring modular seal system which allows simple and convenient changing of worn or damaged silicone seals if required.
Aqua Lung Core Supreme
The Core Supreme is a balanced cold-water regulator suitable for diving in waters where temperatures are less than 10C due to its environmental dry chamber and patented heat exchanger that dissipates the cold while drawing in warmth from the surrounding ambient water. The forged-brass and multi-coating chrome first stage provides a total of four medium pressure and two high pressure ports while its pneumatically-balanced second stage uses Aqua Lung's patented ACD (Auto Closure Device) to prevent water ingress during removal from the cylinder valve. An easy-grip venturi lever guards against unwanted free-flow on the surface while providing a performance boost at depth. Available in yoke or DIN fitting the regulator also features a Comfo-bite mouthpiece and lip shield.
Atomic Aquatics Frameless 2
A unique combination of two different grades of silicone provides wearers of Atomic's Frameless 2 mask with a comfortable, low-profile fit and a clear, wide view. Available with a choice of clear or black dual-elastomer skirt, the mask has a direct silicone-to-glass bond that eliminates the need for a conventional frame and provides the maximum possible view. The one-piece lens utilises UltraClear optical-quality glass that provides an exceptionally high clarity and light transmission with no colour cast or distortion often found in lower-quality glass. With squeeze-to-adjust buckles the Frameless 2 is available in small, medium and large sizes and are supplied in their own compact travel case.
Mares EOS RZ torches
Manufactured from durable, anodised aluminium, the four-strong range of Mares' EOS RZ dive torches are not only rechargeable but zoomable too. Operated using a single multi-function magnetic button, the four settings – maximum power, 30 per cent power, flashing and off – are accessed by consecutive pushes. A zoom ring allows the beam to be adjusted between 12 and 75 degrees and the quartet off maximum outputs of between 200 lumens for the lightweight 2RZ up to 1200 lumens for the 12RZ.
Using ultrasound technology to provide communication between divers, the Buddy Watcher system is an unobtrusive wrist-mounted device that when paired with another unit is capable of providing both vibrating and visual signals up to a distance of 20m underwater. Setting-up the rechargeable, 40m-rated system is via a simple, single push-button procedure and utilising low ultrasound frequencies it also poses no threat to marine life.
The hybrid concept Med-C-Zip offers all the benefits of a diving wetsuit combined with the thermal qualities of a semi-dry and the free movement of a surfing wetsuit. An all-in-one suit with attached hood and a horizontal front G-Lock zip, it features 8mm neoprene at the chest and shoulders with 7mm on the rest of the body to allow greater movement than a conventional semi-dry. The inside of the suit is manufactured entirely from Fireskin 2 with a further 3mm Elaskin layer of neoprene used to isolate the body from the zip. Anatomically cut, the Med-C-Zip also has Liquid Seal covered seams and internal cuffs at the wrist and ankle to restrict flushing.
CCR Liberty rebreather
A newcomer to the closed circuit rebreather market, the Czech-made CCR Liberty uses a combination of four oxygen sensors, two patented helium sensors, two methods of ppO2 measurement, two solenoid valves, a pair of independent computers and four displays so that no single malfunction in its electrical system is able to cause a breakdown of the whole unit. Certified to EN 14143:2013, the fault-tolerant CCR can also cope with a combination of malfunctions as long as at least one control computer and any sensor remain operational. Constructed with a maximum operating depth of 300m in mind each component part is tested to 600m.