Sunday, 25 June 2017

APEKS MANIFOLD AND BANDS

Twelve months later than originally planned, I’ve finally got around to writing my review of the Apeks Manifold and Bands.  And I have to admit, Apeks have delivered yet another top notch product.

In January 2016, about five minutes after the picture on the right was taken I managed to slip over.  Now I know why they call it a slipway!  Although I didn’t notice it at the time, one of my cylinders had moved on impact and bent the manifold (left).

 








All my equipment is purchased as I’m not sponsored so I had a dilemma, replace the center section or try the new Apeks valves.  I chose the latter but got blanking plugs for my old valves and recouped some of the cash as they were ideal for sidemounters.  The new bands weren’t required but I’m a tart so why not?!? Again the old ones were sold to recoup some of the costs.

My initial thoughts were that they were very smooth to use, much more than my previous valves, and I thought that they were smooth.  So much so, one of my safety divers on a recent TDI AN/DP course  commented:

“we all need to go out and buy an apeks manifold after watching Tim turn his valves with one finger.  Git”

The valves are extremely well made, and like their regulator dust caps, have spare o-rings inside the knobs.  The bands are equally as well made and provide excellent stability to your cylinders.

I’m currently looking at getting another twinset for teaching and I’m dubious about going back to  any other valves.

The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI & SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: tim@rectotec.co.uk l

Thursday, 20 April 2017

KWARK NAVY


Back in the winter of 2010/2011 I bought myself a set of Fourth Element Arctics as they were the undersuit of choice at the time.  Fast forward 5 years or so and the water was starting to get a little bit nippy so I decided to purchase a Kwark Navy Scooter Vest as an extra layer for the colder months.  This is not a reflection of the Arctic undersuit, but more likely its age and mistreatment in a tumble dryer over the years. 

The vest was excellent.  It fitted directly over the top of my Arctics and added an extra layer of warmth without restricting movement or making any noticeable difference to my weighting. 

However, even during the summer months, it’s easy to get cold when teaching as a lot of your time is spent static demonstrating or observing skills.  The same applies to safety diving, so during TEKCamp 2016 I chatted to John Shaw about trying a Kwark Navy Undersuit.  After only one dive I was sold and placed my order immediately. 

When my undersuit arrived, I had time to look at it in much more detail.  My first impressions were that it wasn’t as stylish as some of the newer Fourth Element wear, however, if you look through that the attention to detail is excellent.  Firstly, it’s thick, much thicker than the Arctics, but super stretchy.  Seriously, you can pull it in your hands.  This means that the undersuit remains tight, and avoid unnecessary air gaps, whilst allowing complete freedom of movement.  There is no restriction as you can feel the suit stretch as you do.  It’s also very warm, even indoors.  The only real issue I had was getting the thing off!  Next, the legs come with stirrups to keep them from riding up, and the arms come with thumb loops for the same reason.  I now use these loops to allow the migration of air when using my dry gloves, rather than using a separate device.  It has a number of storage pockets, not only for your hands if you’re without your dry suit, but the chest one comes complete with a zip for storing keys etc…  And it also comes complete with a p valve hole, something that I had to add to my Arctics.

In water, the suit is extremely warm and very comfortable.  Much more than my previous Arctics, although it would be interesting to do a side by side comparison with a modern set of the Arctic Expeditions.

It is claimed that the suit doesn’t retain water and is still very warm when wet.  Fortunately, I’ve not had to test this theory, but, after a wash it does come out of the machine almost dry.

I’ve certainly no complaints about the Kwark Navy Undersuit, and in Scotland later this year I hope to combine it with the Scooter Vest which is currently redundant.  And I’m almost certain that I’ll probably be getting some of the socks too.  This is the best undersuit I have worn so far.

The Kwark range is available in a number of unisex and women’s sizes.  If you do have any questions, feel free to ask to John or myself as I can now supply these as well.

To finish off this article I’ll quote from Clare, a student and satisfied customer:

“Finally found me the best undersuit ever!! Never had such a warm dive in cold water!  Even my hands weren't that bad this week either! Kwark for the win!!”

The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI & SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: tim@rectotec.co.uk l