We have been working alongside Reel Diving for quite some time now and we were ecstatic to be invited to come and visit the team in Sweden. I packed my bags and jetted off to Gothenburg with haste, a quick flight followed by a coach through the beautiful Swedish countryside, not a bad start to the week, right?
As the rest of the dealers were arriving in dribs and drabs, I got the chance to explore Gothenburg in all its glory, exploring the waterline around the city for a bite to eat.
Reel Diving was founded back in 2009 by Johan Ó Cíobháin Enqvist, the Reel team consists of Johan, Jamie, Marcin, Oscar & Sandra who were all extremely welcoming and very VERY knowledgable. Reel represents manufacturers such as Halcyon, Santi, Suex, Avatar, Cressi, Shark Dive Gear, Kwark, JJ-CCR, K01 and Ammonite amongst many others!
Johan explained his latest technical exploration adventures, including mapping mines kilometres long and extremely deep, not for the faint hearted by any means.
Reel Diving's warehouse includes a wet area, a drying room, a glueing room, a sewing workshop with various sewing machines, a mechanical workshop with a lathe, drill press and sanding station, as well as designated stations for CCR, DPV, regulator and valve service.
Why were we in Sweden?
Reel Diving had invited us out to visit so we can have a better understanding of who Reel Diving are, how they work and the ethos behind the brand. With companies such as Aquanauts and Reel Diving, it's hard to understand the scale and processes behind the businesses. By giving us this insider sneak peak, it helps us to provide greater customer service by learning a broader range of knowledge for the products we sell within the industry. These dealer trips are the perfect opportunity to network with other big-named brands within the dive community and I was lucky enough to meet a handful of amazing characters from all around the UK: Clare Dutton of Dutton Divers, Guido Quelina from Capernwray Quarry and Peter McCamley from Gas Technologies Ltd, who are all Reel Diving, Santi and Halcyon ambassadors like myself.
Upon arrival at Reel Diving, given a behind the scenes tour of the warehouses.
Handling the Halcyon regulators, you can immediately feel the quality and durability of the first and second stages. Built from high quality materials, these regs thrive within the dive community due to their ability to be thrown straight into extreme conditions and excel at their performance. The weight to the regulators indicates the robust design can take an absolute beating and not be phased at all. The H75’s routing is phenomenal for twinset divers and the Halo second stage provided an unbelievable breathe within the Swedish fjords, sipping my back gas like a warm brew, delightful! The Halcyon cinch system, where has this been all my life?! The ease of jumping in and out of a twinset just by simply pulling the harness looser, what a game changer! I will most definitely be adding this to my personal kit to make life so much easier!
The Halcyon 40lb Evolve wing acts like any other, giving the diver great comfort and trim within the water. The shape is designed to match the curve of the cylinders to provide stable even lift, encouraging horizontal trim at all times. The Evolve's high profile kidney dump valve was easy to find and effortlessly maintained trim. The outer nylon shell is designed to protect the inner bladder from cuts and abrasions whilst the inner bladder itself is resistant to punctures, the two layers work together to provide the best protection possible.
The Santi E.Motion+ drysuit looks incredible, no arguments. Its INSANE finish quality was absolutely breath taking, right down to the quadruple layered stitches to ensure durability and suit longevity. Santi have gone above and beyond with their drysuit range, allowing completely customisable and made to measure drysuits to whatever spec you want. The Si-Tec valves worked a treat, needing little to no effort to auto-dump any stray gas on our ascent, the less you have to worry about the little things, the more you can enjoy the dive.
The Santi BZ400 undersuit needs no introductions, this famous suit was released over 18 years ago and still stands to be the ultimate undersuit for extreme cold water and long technical divers. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in a sauna on the surface it’s that warm, but by the time you jump into the 6ºC Swedish fjords, you’ll be appreciative of it then! Simple designs within the BZ400, such as integrated elastic braces, wide ankle loops to ensure the leg doesn’t roll up when you’re sliding into the suit, pockets, heating routing and more, the Santi team created perfection all those years ago and have just been slowly improving the little things which make a huge difference.
Upon first inspection of the brand new SHARK Artemis umbilical torch, the design and finish of the Artemis is exquisite, the build quality is phenomenal. Speaking with the Reel Diving team, their initial battery tests were: High Beam (~3hr), Mid Beam (~7hr) and Low Beam (22hr+) ((They stopped testing after 22 hours as it was still going strong!)). The Artemis' 6000 Lumens was more than enough for the ~20m that we were exploring, so I was running mainly on Mid Beam for the duration of the dive. It allowed me to spot an entire branch of seven to eight Nudis and multiple Pipefish within the Swedish fjords. Even the umbilical wire felt amazing, with a grip-like feel, stowing and routing the umbilical stays where it should so you don't end up with trailing lines throughout your lovely streamlined kit!
Not only have Reel Diving created the Artemis, they have also created their very own jet-fins. The simple re-design allows your entire foot to fully reach the end of the fin, giving far more manoeuvrability within the water. The outer rim of the fins are extremely rigid, which allows effortless motion within the water, which is no mean feat in a twinset and drysuit! I can honestly say that I believe that these SHARK fins will take over the technical dive market very, VERY quickly, I'd quite happily hang up my RK3s AND my Scubapro Jets in replacement of the SHARKs.