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As the year reaches its end on a booze and food-fuelled holiday of excess it’s inevitable we all reminisce about the past 12 months. At Aquasport we’re no different so we are going to salute the Best of 2012.

We’ve welcomed a number of new people into the diving tribe, seen others finally take the step and ‘Go Pro’ to become divemasters and instructors, while others have conquered those aspects of diving they find difficult.

And while the weather hasn’t been all that special sometimes – let’s be honest, if you blinked you missed the summer – we’ve still have some fantastic dive trips around the world this year.

The diving industry has also seen some great innovations in equipment this year which have kept us all intrigued and we have seen some new brands introduced to the centre that have quickly developed a following among our divers and staff.

Read on to find out who ‘Aquasport Salutes’ when it comes to the ‘Best Brand’, ‘Innovation in Gear’, ‘Hottest Course’, ‘Best Trip’,  ‘Inspiration of 2012’ and our ‘Special Mention’.

Best Brand: This has been a hotly contested category and one that we have argued over at length at Aquasport. Hollis has emerged as a leader in the design of technical dive kit, what with its wings, sidemount systems and new fins. However, it was pipped at the post by Aqua Lung.

Aqua Lung returned to the fold earlier this year when we took them on as a brand. The Aqua Lung Micron Travel regulator, the Titan LX Supreme and the Legend LX Supreme have become superb additions to our line up of regulators, being lightweight but all cold water rated. Meanwhile, the Axiom and Pearl are the jewels in their BCD crown. Check them out in the centre.

Best Trip: Aquasport divers have travelled the world this year and seen some superb sights, whether it was the Borderlands of Egypt and Sudan, the awesome wrecks of Scapa Flow or the beauty of Lundy. But the best trip this year has to be Plymouth.

It’s been a firm favourite with divers for years but this September was special because we had newly certified divers experiencing British waters and wreck diving for the first time, others taking their first sea trips with new kit – twin sets and rebreathers – after completing their training with us, thus proving the adage Dosthill for training seaside for fun, and some old hands just returning to explore some more.

The weather was great, viz even better and the BBQ on Saturday showed that Rob likes wearing an apron.

Innovation in Gear: There has been a lot of new kit this year but it is the Whites Dry Suit that stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s because when designing their dual-layered Fusion dry suit Whites decided to fly in the face of tradition and come up with something so radical that it would defy expectations.

It has been a long time since a new piece of kit proved to be such a massive talking point – but the Whites dry suits have certainly grabbed the attention of Aquasport divers. It really is a game-changer. And that is a bold statement from a centre that stocks DUI, O’Three and Oceanic dry suits. If you haven’t seen it yet, pop into the centre to see what all ths fuss is about.

 

Hottest Course: Considering all the advances in the industry, the most talked about course this year has been something that harks back to the sixties – sidemount diving.

The sidemount concept really came out of the dark this year offering a perfect way to ‘twin up’ and extend your diving without having to strap two big cylinders to your back or spend thousands on new kit. And now we are now running the new PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty, it is a chance for Aquasport divers to take themselves off in a new direction.

Inspiration of 2012: It’s actually you, our students. Whether you have conquered your fears and completed your PADI Open Water Course, developed a taste for diving through one of our specialty courses or decided working as a Divemaster to help new divers gives you a buzz YOU have developed a passion for the underwater world.

Now we love diving, it’s our passion, it’s our careers. We strive to inspire people. Having you guys let us share that passion with you and seeing you take it off in different directions has been a great motivation for us throughout the year. So thank you for being our inspiration.

Special Mention: We can’t salute the goings’ on at Aquasport without honouring our staff. These are the people who give up their free time to help run the centre and training courses to build your skills in the art of diving, whether is your first steps or going technical.

They do it because they have a passion for diving and they want to share that passion. It’s fair to say that without these instructors, assistant instructors and divemasters you guys would not have had half the fun and experience you’ve had in 2012. And if it wasn’t for Ryan you’d have had to put your own kit away as well. So Aquasport staff, we salute you.

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