Earlier this year Simply Scuba started selling a whole range of SCUBA equipment from a new Italian manufacturer SEAC. SEAC have been making SCUBA diving equipment for nearly 45 years but have never been very big in the UK. When I was teaching in the UK I used to have a few sets of SEAC regs for pool work and never had an issue with them and they are moving themselves into other areas. They make and test their equipment at their headquarters in Italy.
Apnea is one of the fastest growing water sports in the UK right now and SEAC have a whole range of equipment dedicated to free diving and spearfishing. Spearfishing is also growing in parts of the UK with more people becoming aware of the sustainability of our fish stocks and the damage commercial fishing has.
With all this in mind, and because I don't have a great deal of knowledge of spearfishing equipment SEAC very kindly invited me to fly to Italy to visit their team and look around their facility to get to know them better. As I write this I'm sat having lunch in Gatwick's South terminal getting ready to fly to Pisa Italy to see them all.
Picked up in the airport by the man that builds and maintains all of the spearguns that SEAC manufacture, his English is about as good as my Italian but we talk about the universal guy language on the drive; cars. Unlike many other equipment manufacturers SEAC build their regulators
and spearguns on site in Italy. Tested and triple checked, the pneumatic guns spend weeks proof testing for the slightest fault before being shipped to dealers.
The first night Andrea the Technical Manager takes me to a famous local restaurant, Marco Pulpone, pulpone is Esperanto for octopus so you can guess what I had for dinner. One grilled octopus later Andrea introduces me to Grappa, that I could probably run my car on it was so strong, before I returned to my hotel and got ready for the next day.
In the morning Stefano, sales manager for the UK and Australia, drives me to SEAC's headquarters in San Colombano Certénoli and introduces me to all of the team before Gian Paulo, The R&D Director, shows me how all of their spearfishing equipment is designed and tested in house with specialist CAD programs before prototypes are tested to destruction from a UV & salt water pot to a dunk tank that can test BCD functions in and out of the water.
SEAC has one of the largest warehouses in Europe full of stock that stacks so high they need portable lifts to get some items down. They also own their own ANSTI test machine so they can check the functionality of their regulators
at various depths, temperatures and even internal humidity to simulate a divers breathe. Larger than most, SEACs ANSTI machine has a chamber that can test two second stages at the same time and even test a rebreather inside the chamber.
After looking closely at all of the features and specifications of their current range of equipment Gian Paulo shows me the prototypes of next years lineup, which I'm not really allowed to talk about but they all look and feel very nice for prototypes. No pictures of next years equipment I'm afraid; they were quite strict on that but new camouflage patterns and upgrades a plenty.