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Paul Toomer leaves SSI; Joins RAID

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Rebreather Association International Divers (RAID) have announced the appointment of Paul Toomer as Director of Diver Training.

Paul is a force of nature in the diving world and his unique approach is legendary. It is no surprise that since he became a Pro in 1997 Paul has reached the pinnacle of two of the World’s leading diver training agencies; teaching divers, instructors and instructor trainers.

Paul turned tech in 2000. After a decade of teaching rebreather and technical courses, he was headhunted by Scuba Schools International, where he worked with some great people as SSI’s Director of Training.

“I had an incredible time at SSI and I wish them well with the new merger”, stated Paul Toomer.“I just want to do something different and I relish challenges. Joining RAID is hugely exciting because we have so much potential. We are looking outside the diving industry to source ideas on how to kick it up a level. I have just read an article in a surf publication and found it inspirational. The magazine piece discussed how the ‘suits’ (big business) had sucked the life out of the sport and the way the ‘salts’ (the surfers) were trying to regain control. The parallel with the diving industry is striking. People would rather not pay to be lectured to; they pay to have fun. I see RAID as the vehicle to do this through its comprehensive online training system. Divers want ‘state of the art’ training where they have total control through a transparent online system, at whatever time or location is convenient for them.

“Divers training with RAID (www.diveraid.com) benefit from the most advanced online system in the World. RAID quickly adapts to new developments and diver requirements creating programmes for the latest innovations in equipment, such as the Poseidon SE7EN rebreather. The agency has some of the most advanced training and proactive QA systems I have ever seen. I am impressed by founder Barry Coleman and the exciting techniques he has developed for training divers, both in and out of the water. RAID has a future like no other.

“A good friend of mine once said, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’. I believe RAID provides the solid base for the excitement and adventure to grow in diving. It is the ideal vehicle to bring the ‘rock and roll’ back into our incredible sport.”

Barry Coleman, founder of RAID, stated, “I am excited to have Paul on board as a major stakeholder. His enthusiasm and adventurous nature coupled with a solid business head is needed by our sport. Ironically in its attempt to be more ‘professional’, diving seems have moved away from the free spirit that defined it. Paul has always refused to be constrained by diving ‘suits’.

Paul views life as one big adventure. It is obvious to anyone who meets him that he eats, sleeps and breathes diving. But you can also see that he never forgets his professional attitude to training divers. When you combine this ethos with a relevant knowledge base, plus an understanding of the modern business environment, you have the personification of what is needed to drag the dive industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”

Gear News

Fourth Element announce Tech Fins inspired by whale tail

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A classic vented dive fin, engineered by nature and redesigned to maximise performance.

Fourth Element’s new Tech Fins have taken inspiration from nature and evolution to optimise efficiency. The turbulence disruptors on the top of the blade work in the same way as the nodules of the leading edge of a humpback whale fin, which disrupt the water as they move through it. The resulting turbulence enables the whale to swim with more efficiency. Fourth Element has adopted this evolutionary concept to improve the performance of this classic fin.

Utilising natural rubber in a unique density gradient, the dive fin delivers an ultra- comfortable foot pocket combined with optimised stiffness for finning performance.

The vented design allows water to flow along the blade reducing drag and fatigue, whilst the stiffening rails and ribs ensure that the blade of the fin is driven through the water to maximise the return on effort.

The Tech Fins, with a slightly negative buoyancy characteristic, were developed with technical divers in mind but are suitable for all levels of diver looking for a high-performance rubber fin. The wider blade gives manoeuvrability without compromising the power, while the shorter length improves agility and makes stowing the fins for transport more convenient. Spring straps with comfortable heel pads keep the feet securely held in place. These straps can be removed and changed easily with everyday tools if required.

The Tech Fins are supplied with a hanging/carrying strap and a marine quality bolt snap which may be used to attach them to a bcd or harness for carrying, leaving both hands free for climbing ladders or carrying other gear.

The natural rubber material of this fin is extremely durable, and all components are recyclable at end of life.

The Tech Fins are available in M, L, XL and XXL. These fins will fit sizes 4 (US5) to 14 (US15) and come in Black, Grey or Aqua.

Features

  • Natural rubber heel strap
  • Stainless steel spring strap
  • Soft foot pocket
  • Hydro-flow vents
  • Turbulence disruptors
  • Strengthening ribs
  • Stiffening lateral rails

Find out more here.

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Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide

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This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture. 

Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins

The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.

If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.

Belize Discovered

Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.

Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin. 

You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 13 days

Price from: £2,945 per person

Belize Liveaboard

Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.

Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 10 days

Price from: £3,475 per person

Guatemala & Belize

Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.

After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 14 days

Price from: £3,495 per person


If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.

All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.

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Competitions

A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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