BC Tigullio T52 Hover
Sometimes I see a bit of kit that I cant wait to get my hands on. The Tigullio Hover BC is one such item. Why
     I am often sent BCs for testing, and it is often only the fine detail that separates one design from another. When it comes to using and writing about kit, its very much easier when you can deal in broad brush-strokes, even though the detail is equally important. The Tigullio T52 Hover is designed in Italy and, like many Italian products, it is full of innovative ideas.
     To begin with, it looks unlike any other BC. Is it a wing Is it a plain BC No, its what its manufacturer calls a Sequential Buoyancy System!
     It has a double-bag arrangement constrained within abrasion-proof mesh and sturdy elastic bands. This stops it flapping under water and during horizontal swimming. Fill the wing fully and the air overflows into a second compartment, to bring peace of mind to those with misgivings about the buoyancy and attitude provided by a wing at the surface.
     The front is a conventional waistcoat design, so the diver can be supported low around the hips, putting him high and vertical in the water when he needs to be.
     The Tigullio T52 Hover is clearly aimed at single-tank users, because it comes with one camband. Single tanks are often made of aluminium, but that floating feeling towards the end of the dive is mitigated by trim-weight pockets at the back of the conventional part of the jacket.
     Integrated-weight pockets, secured by slabs of Velcro, are an optional extra, on either side at the front. This is where I see improvements being made in the future. Many other BC manufacturers are now adopting ways of making integrated weights more secure, with quick-release buckles and the like.
     Otherwise, the T52 lacks for nothing. It has an industry-standard pull-dump at the left shoulder operated by the corrugated hose, and another at the opposite shoulder, threaded through to a toggle over the right breast. There is a dump valve at the lower part of the wing and yet another, operated by a toggle threaded through to the front of the BC, to the lower part of the waistcoat section.
     There is a cummerbund with 30mm strap and buckle over, and a sternum strap through which I would tuck the corrugated hose. I hate dangly bits and theres no need to do any hose-raising to jettison air with this BC.
     Two big stainless-steel D-rings are provided for those who like the dangles. There are smaller ones, too. The two side pockets are capacious and have opposing zips, and everything is well constructed in a mixture of denier 1000 and 840 cloth.
     With a single tank, this BC delivered everything it promised. I tried it with the co-operation of Emperor Divers in Hurghada. In the salty but coldish northern Red Sea in December, I was using a lot of rubber to keep warm so needed 12kg of lead. With 4kg in the trim-weight pockets and 8kg in the front integrated-weight pockets, I never noticed the load when out of the water and was exceptionally comfortable in it.
     The buoyancy was always where I wanted it. The T52 Hover dumped air without me having to consider my attitude in the water, and gave masses of surface buoyancy to hold me comfortably upright when required. The pockets were easily accessed but the contents stayed secure behind the double zips. And the whole thing looked good.
     When it came to returning the weights to the boats lead-locker, I was able to drop them from the trim-weight pockets easily, though it was a bit more difficult emptying the integrated-weight system. The only point I would make is that, as the buoyancy chamber is so complex, any water that gets into the BC needs to be drained via the dumps from both the wing and the waistcoat section.
     If this product is so good, why havent we heard of Tigullio Its the companys 50th year but I guess it was so occupied with its home market that it didnt realise that divers lived in our northern island nation. Now it has a UK distributor.
     Available in S, M, L and XL, the Tigullio T52 Hover costs £365.
  • Beaver Sports 01484 512354, www.beaversports.co.uk

  • Divernet
    Side pocket
    weight release and rear dump toggle
    trim-weight pocket and wing
    + For those who want both a wing and a conventional BC
    + Sensible weights set-up
    + Buoyancy where its wanted
    + Looks good

    - None that I have discovered