We have interviewed Tasos Chalaris, founder and owner of XT Diving Pro company, that designes and produces spearfishing and freediving equipment. With XT Diving euqipment George Vasiliou, Spearfishing World Champion in 2016 in Syros, Greece, has won the the Title. Questions have focused on 2017 results and 2018 new products by the Greek company, but also hints on the choice of fins.
Apneapassion: Hello Tasos, how has 2017 been for XT Diving Pro? How have sales worked internationally, which are the best markets and what products have had the biggest success among customers?
Tasos Chalaris: Hello to everybody, to my customers and friends. I can tell that 2017 was very good for XT Diving, and sales have grown compared to 2016. New products have made the difference. We want to thank all our customers for their trust. Our best market are Greece and Europe, then the Middle East, Russia and USA. Now we export also to Japan, Korea and the Philippines, and we are happy to be present almost everywhere around the globe.
AP: Which are the successful products and their key strong points?
TC: First success has come from fins and suits, and now also from the new XT Diving Kamax shafts. Just launched on the market, these have already had great requests from shops and customers. It is a high quality product and we are very careful about making such shafts, like for all our products. We initially started selling them here in Greece, and now they are sold and requested in other international markets. Since the start, customers have shown trust and have given extremely positive feedback on the new shafts.
AP: Which products do you think instead deserved more success, but have not been understood by the customers, and why do you think they are great products?
TC: The most difficult product that we produce, which is also extremely difficult to explain, are XT Diving Pteryx fins. The process that we use to manufacture them and the advanced quality materials utilized, which permit us to give 4 years warranty, require a very high level process of manufacturing, that is difficult to transfer to the customer.
AP: You are leader in design and production of fins with carbon fiber blades. AP has tested the T5 G. Vasiliou and analyzed them in x-rays channel, with which the 2016 World Champion has been diving down to – 60 meters, and we were impressed by performance of such fins. Each diver though needs different fins. Can you try to indicate for the below kind of divers the correct fins suggested by XT Diving Pro.
TC: There are many parameters to take into consideration when suggesting the correct fins for a diver. Sometimes the latter does not have a perfect finning technique, so we must adapt the choice to his technique to help him during the dives, or else have him correct his finning and give him the perfect choice for his diving needs. After the model of fins is chosen, then hardness is selected depending on the weight of the diver. Still, even though the choice of the best model and hardness of fins cannot be precisely generalized, we can try to give some indications.
- 80 kg spearo diving down to -30 meters: T5 G. Vasiliou fins with 1.1 hardness blade is advisable if the spearo is doing very powerful finning, while best choice are T5 with 1.0 hardness if finning is slow. For the same person would be also great T4 long with 1.2 to 1.3 hardness or Pteryx 1.0 or Pteryx long 1.2.
- 70 kg spearo doing a lot of surface transfers and diving down to -20 meters: I would give him T4 1.0 and he would be very very happy.
- 90 kg spearo doing shallow water spearfishing (max -10 meters): I would give him T4 1.2 hardness or one Alpha fins also 1.3.
- 80 kg spearo wanting one pair of blades for all seasons and use: deep to -30 meters, shallow water, surface transfers: Situation is difficult, so at least two different types of fins are needed, as one type of fins that can support professionally all of these kind of dives and transfers does not exist on the market. Spearo needs to choose two different types of fins, or best solution overall can be Pteryx 1.0, which are fantastic in almost any situation, but not at 100 percent all the time. Pteryx in fact is excellent in all kind of uses, but in very shallow water T4 are better.
Finally, do you differentiate between freediving and spearfishing fins? Which ones do you suggest for freediving and spearfishing?
TC: For these two activities fins are different. For spearfishing you need shorter fins that make it very easy to turn, but also you need to have efficient functioning in the freediving phase.
For Freediving in the pool you need a shorter fin to be very quick, while for deep vertical diving in the sea you need fins like Pteryx Long, Pteryx or T4 long to have possibility to move a lot of water in one single kick.
For Spearfishing, if you go deep and give much power to each kick best solution are the T5, while if you go deep but don’t want to push too much on legs and feet you need T4, T4 Long or Pteryx Long. If you have an in between situation, so not too much power on the legs, but neither too little, a good choice is Pteryx, or even T4 permit you to go very deep with wide and slow kicks. Fins for spearfishing are much more complex to use compared to those fins which are good for freediving.
AP: Which are the new products that XT Diving has launched in 2018, or on which the company is working for the future?
TC: In 2018 our new product is Kamax shaft. It is really a great product, with amazing hardness properties, both of shaft, barb and pin. We are very happy with it, but most of all customers who have tried it gave us extremely positive feedback. Also, a new wetsuit in new Daiwabo neoprene has been launched, with great softness and good density, an aspect the latter which decreases bouyancy, requesting less weight on belt, and improves resistance to compression and life of the wetsuit. Our new project for the future is Phorcys, spearfishing trips and spearfishing education. It is great and is already working well. I believe this is a key future activity for us.
AP: After being World Spearfishing Champion with the T5 G.Vasiliou fins and the smooth open cell wetsuit utilized by George Vasiliou in 2016, are you planning to widen product offer also to spearguns?
TC: Spearguns are another thing. We like very much our job with fins, suits and Kamax now, and I do not want to enter the speargun market. I know that if I propose an XT speargun the balance in the market would change and I respect other companies and their owners, with whom I am friends. Maybe one good move would be to have my own footpocket, this is one other thing that I need to think in the future, but not a speargun.