Up until the beginning of last year I used a combination of equipment, from Cressi, Apnea, IST and fins4u. It was good stuff but I never really found any of it to be exactly right for me. The IST masks that i used would fit well but were quite low quality, the Cressi suits were not slim enough, the pure evolution fins from fins4u were great but the foot pockets hurt my feet.
Move to Spring 2014 and Beuchat offered me a kit sponsorship. They sent through all of their top of the range gear and i used this for the majority of the summer. If you look on youtube for my appearance on BBCs countryfile, you will see me clothed head to toe in Beuchat. Unfortunately I wasnt happy with the overall quality of the kit. Lots of people love Beuchat, and I dont want to bad mouth the stuff. However….the speargun they sent wasn’t finished well, the wetsuit started to un-stitch in about 3 months of use and the carbon fins were not good enough for deep diving.
At the same time Beuchat was sending me their kit, Epsealon (previously known as JB Esclapez) also were in touch with us about sponsorship, and despite letting them know that I was with Beuchat they sent through a range of their gear.
On receipt of the kit it became apparent that this was the best off the shelf equipment that i had ever seen.
The quality was exceptional. The wetsuit was expertly made and extremely high quality, the mask was exactly the type that i like to use but fished to a higher standard, the gun was full of features and top quality parts and the fins…. oh the fins!
If there is one main thing that made me leave Beuchat and move to supporting Epsealon it would be the fins. The Epsealon Impulse carbon fins are spectacular. So much so that my other instructor has purchased some as well.
They are handmade in France… the perfect length, amazing foot pockets and seriously high quality blades. I have used these to freedive to 50m with ease and i know they could take me further given the right conditions.
The foot pockets are dual compound; the grey sections being softer for comfort and the black sections harder for more control. The best part of the foot pocket is the rail that guides water from the top of foot and on to the blade. LOVE THEM! They come in two stiffness’s. I use the softer ‘blue’ stiffness.
Since joining the Epsealon team they have been nothing but supportive and the innovation coming out of their offices is surely better than most in the business. Whats great to see is that they are not only creating spearfishing kit that ‘could be used for freediving’ they are starting to develop a full range of freediving specific kit, which starts with a freediving lanyard! Yey, finally! An off the shelf lanyard thats actually in-stock and easy to get hold of!
I have been liaising with the team and there are more exciting products in development. Whats great is that they are taking feedback from athletes seriously, so I know that what they create will be with us all in mind.
I suppose the main reason for this post is to show you that there is a reason i chose Epsealon. Its not just because they sent through some kit for me to try, I had choices, and i went with the best. This is why i feel totally confident and unashamed in telling you that you really should try some of their kit out.
Thankfully, with our contacts with spearfishingstore.co.uk the kit will now be stocked in the UK, through a reputable distributor.
You can check out the currently available items here…
If there are items that you want, just let them know! Its a new and genuinely exciting range for us here in the UK and i’m confident within the next couple of years will be one of the most popular brands for spearos and freedivers who want quality kit that will last!
About the author – Ian Donald is an AIDA master freediving instructor and author. He has been freediving since 2001 and has been instructing since 2009. He can often be seen on TV programs about freediving and is often called on to talk as a guest lecturer on the subject.