I'm not sure how people get these amazing figures, but it's a common enough phenomenon, and it is now said by some medical experts (those who play a lot of squash) to indicate possible future health problems.
Its the new BMI (Body Mass Index), and I wonder how long it will be before we have people on diving Internet forums decrying the idea that fat men may not be as fit as they should be, and that they have a 60in waist and there's nothing wrong with that.
I can reveal that my own waist size has recently increased from the 32in it was for 40 years to a size 36. I had a six-pack when I was younger, but I've since drunk it!
However, I can still haul on a weightbelt and fasten it tightly without any danger of it either riding up under my arms or working its way down to my knees during a dive.
I understand that many of those people with torsos more akin to an egg than an egg-timer have the aforementioned problems with weightbelts, and the Bowstone Weight Harness is a possible solution. Im told it has been improved over the previous model.
The harness comprises adjustable braces of webbing that support a belt with two pockets that carry weight-pouches. These pockets are closed with large slabs of Velcro, augmented by a massive pinch-clip buckle that affords quick-release, but in the meantime keeps the weights where they are needed.
Toggles help you feel for the pouches should you need to discard them, but first you must undo the pinch-clips and then, grasping the toggles, tear the Velcro layers apart to free each pouch with its lead. Its not what I would call quick-release.
You have to swing the pouches away from you. Pulling them forward from their slots leaves the big Velcro slabs firmly connected.

THE BELT ITSELF HAS A CONVENTIONAL stainless-steel quick-release buckle. Of course, in an emergency, the diver retains the harness and loses the weights, but there will always be this conflict of aims between the ability to keep your weights safely in place and avoid an unscheduled and suicidally fast ascent, and the facility to drop them at a moments notice should you need a sudden increase in buoyancy. You can use lead in block-weight form, or bags of lead shot.
George Brown, a diving buddy whose company I enjoyed on a recent trip, told me:
My son uses the previous Bowstone version, and he found that it came with too many buckles and clips, so he simplified it. The original pockets had press-stud retainers for the pouches, and these soon became a pain to use.
This new redesigned product is a welcome development, George reckoned. If required, I guess it would hold up to 14kg in total [although the manufacturer suggests up to a massive 9kg each side] if you really needed it.
I still think it will be too hard for some people to jettison the weights, even with this improved model. You need a bit of strength in your arm, and you have to know to pull the pouches away from your body to release the Velcro.
He added that a scallop-diving friend had drowned in only a few metres of water because his weight harness - not a Bowstone - refused to give up the weights when he needed to drop them in a hurry.
Although I thought it added a lot more comfort than having my weights banging on my hip-bones, my own criticism is not so much of the product but of the need for it.
Eighteen kilograms is a lot of ballast in anyones language. Are there divers who really need so much I take up a lot of space in the water but have never needed that amount, even with the thickest undersuit.
Perhaps it would be better to do some press-ups every morning after a night missing out the usual six pints of ale, before using a conventional weightbelt!

Seemannsub Comfort, £119
Beaver Sports Tech, £39

CONTACT Bowstone Diving, www.bowstonediving.com
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