BCTusa Selene
John Bantin needed someone to help him with these Tests, writes Farzi Bantin. He thought it would be a good idea to get a woman. There was to be a long and arduous interviewing process, but I got through it when I explained that, if I failed, he would no longer get his ironing done.
     The TUSA Selene is a BC aimed at women, and I qualify. Theres no man who has a chest profile like mine, unless hes been on the hormones and is about to change his name from Ron to Roxanne. On the other hand, my husband denies me the budget to have a breast-reduction operation. He says Im mad to ask because thats why he married me!
     Its all very well, but it does give me a problem when it comes to buying dresses. They all seem simply to look better on a man, or a woman whos built like one. Its the same with BCs and wetsuits. Women are not simply men with small bodies and big chests. We are an entirely different shape. Often the straps of a BC route awkwardly and uncomfortably for people like me.
     Not the TUSA Selene. The straps go round the sides and give me an uncluttered front. So given that it suits someone with my unusual-for-a-man shape, how else does it measure up
     Its a standard-looking BC but the differences are subtle. Its buoyancy cell is shaped in such a way that it suits someone less long in the body than a man. The main straps are padded and set for narrow shoulders, and although there is a sternum strap I found it was not needed and was tempted to remove it.
     It has big zipped pockets in which I stowed things that I might or might not need but, if I did, I would need in a hurry.
     This included an emergency strobe with a suitable depth-rating and a reef-hook. I wanted to be prepared, and was going on a liveaboard to the Egyptian offshore reefs, after all.
     I noted that the zip of the pocket went in the right direction. That is so that I could have the karabiner of the reef-hook permanently clipped to a stainless-steel D-ring at the front of the BC, even with the zip more or less closed.
     I liked the way the air could be dumped by a choice of methods, by pulling either on a toggle threaded through to where my right hand found it easily, or on the corrugated hose of the direct-feed on the left, though this needed more than a gentle tug. For quick head-down descents in a current, a rear dump valve operated by a pull-cord and toggle is just as easily located.
     The integrated-weight system is interesting. The two drop-pouches themselves are simple enough, and closed with Velcro flaps, but they are retained in weight-pockets that have what I am told is a unique buckle system.
     It works well enough, and I was able to put the weight-pouches in position after I had already donned the BC and cylinder and stood up. It was easy. The buckles have a positive action and snapped into place. They are part of the BC rather than part of the drop-pouches.
     There are also simple weight pockets at the rear that are closed with pinch-clips and are used to compensate for a more-buoyant-than-steel aluminium cylinder, the type you get mainly abroad. I also liked the way the tank was strapped oh so securely to the BC by means of unique tank-grippers and the camband.
     When the time comes to get it on, the whole thing is closed with a single buckle over a cummerbund. I was able to slip my rig onto my shoulders and be ready to dive in a moment, important in the competitive environment of a Red Sea liveaboard. First ones in the water get to see the hammerheads!
     Under water, I used it without thinking. My husband got a bit cross with me about this when he asked me about it afterwards. He says I must have noticed something about how it worked but, hey, I was enjoying my diving, not constantly checking the kit. My buoyancy control was as good as it has ever been.
     The weight-pockets took a bit of tugging to get out in the dry. In the water it was a cinch, but I never had to do it in earnest. I was always picked up by the RIB, and the macho Egyptian crew took pride in showing how easy it was to heave the whole set, weights in place, up into the boat. Why spoil their fun
     My husband suggests its always best to research diving equipment for these pages accompanied by a lawyer. Katie, my lawyer dive-buddy and travel companion, said I looked as if I knew what I was doing. Appearances can deceive, but I suppose it indicates that I had no problems with the kit. Some of the plastic fittings might have looked a bit fragile but nothing broke.
     So the TUSA Selene was excellent. It did the job well, was never inclined to ride up like some other BCs I have used, and was exceptionally comfortable. What else do you need to know
The TUSA Selene is available in sizes XS, S, and M. Im a size 34E and I wore an M. I could have used one size smaller, as it proved slightly loose at the waist. It costs £298.
  • CPS Partnership 01424 442663

  • Divernet
    The TUSA Selene BC - its made for divers with a generous frontage.
    Weight-pocket buckles
    + Suitable for a diver built like a woman

    - Not available in sizes larger than M