DIVER Awards winners celebrate at NEC
This year’s DIVER Awards winners were revealed last weekend (27 October) at the DIVE 2018 show at the National Exhibition Centre, where they picked up their handsome blue trophies and certificates from TV presenter Monty Halls and DIVER Publisher Nigel Eaton on the DIVER Stage.
The prestigious annual accolades for the diving industry, now in their 21st year, are awarded by DIVER magazine based on reader voting.
30 October 2018
blue o two collected the DIVER Tour Operator of the Year award for the second year running, the win coinciding with a major rebranding unveiled by the company at the Show over the weekend. Once again it was another many-times winner Scuba Travel that took second place. Third-placed Regaldive was also in the limelight at the Show as a result of its just-announced acquisition by Dive Worldwide, reported on Divernet.
In the Liveaboard of the Year category, the Tornado Fleet’s Hurricane, represented in the UK by Scuba Travel, took top place for the third year running. In second came blue Horizon, flagship of the extensive blue o two fleet, while the third-placed vessel explores not the Red Sea but cooler northern waters – the UK liveaboard Valkyrie.
The Red Sea ruled again in the DIVER Destination of the Year awards – as it invariably does – with Egypt the winner, and no change in second and third places, which went to short-haul Malta and the longer-haul Maldives.
It’s British outfits that dominate the Dive Centre of the Year category these days – go-ahead Andark Diving & Watersports in Hampshire repeated last year’s performance as top dog in the Dive Centre of the Year category, with Stoney Cove coming third. However the runner-up, Maltaqua, again reflected Malta’s popularity with British divers.
It’s going to take a major upheaval to knock Simply Scuba off its perch as the UK’s leading diving retailer, and 2018 saw it score a perfect 10, picking up the award for the 10th year in a row. London’s Mike’s Dive Store also does a lot of business and came second, and once again Andark’s growing influence was evident as its retail operation came in third.
What of the dive-gear sold by these retailers? Apeks, these days known for reliability, innovation and flair over a wide range of products, picked up the DIVER Brand of the Year award for the third year running, with Scubapro and Suunto in second and third respectively.
But Suunto was right up there when it came to the Product of the Year with the EON Core, its compact, lightweight colour-screen dive-computer. The Aqua-Lung Rogue wing BC was runner-up, and another computer, the Shearwater Perdix, came third.
It was equipment that dominated once again in the Newcomer of the Year category too, none more so than the first-placed TUSA BC0102 Soverin Alpha BC, incorporating the manufacturer’s new Advanced Weight Loading System. Yet another dive-computer, the first from Garmin (the Descent Mk1), was a close second, and the first BC from Atomic, the BC1, came third.
Voting for the 2019 DIVER Awards will get underway on Divernet next summer, in time for DIVE 2019.