Divestyle January/February 2011

Magazine: Divestyle

Divestyle January/February 2011
Divestyle January/February 2011

Until the advent of The Dive Site, there were two primary South African print edition diving magazines: Submerge, and Divestyle. We subscribe to both of these. Frankly, The Dive Site has set a new standard for diving magazines, but it’s early days yet and Submerge and Divestyle are well-established.

Of the two (Divestyle and Submerge), Divestyle has the most professional look, at least on the cover. Submerge looks a bit like an eighties throwback, a lot like the tacky photography magazines that rely on lurid fonts and neon colours on the cover to get attention.

To be honest, however, there’s not much to differentiate the two magazines. Sometimes they put out issues within weeks of each other, with identical topics for their cover stories. We’ve just received the latest Divestyle, though, so I can comment in detail on it.

The magazine is published by the husband and wife team who produced The Dive Spots of Southern Africa. Many of the articles in the magazine are written by one or both of them. Fiona McIntosh, author of the Atlas of Dive Sites of South Africa and Mozambique is also a regular (and much appreciated) contributor.

They do have a useful section near the front of the magazine where local dive centre owners and dive instructors can provide short updates on the current local dive conditions – this section was particularly interesting and active after the fire in Ponta do Ouro and has provided a good way to keep up to date with developments among the dive operators there.

I also enjoy the technical diving section (strangely enough, since I’m firmly in the recreational scuba camp!) for its contributions by greats such as Don Shirley, Peter Herbst and Nuno Gomes. The format here is that a question is posed, and several tech divers contribute their opinions. There is a regular column by a diving instructor, too, which provides interesting (and sometimes controversial) insights.

The dive travel aspect of the magazine is pretty good – we keep old issues of all our diving magazines for this very reason. Both local and international destinations are covered.

The photographs are generally of high quality, and there’s  a section where readers can send in their own photos for a bimonthly competition. I enjoy seeing what equipment others are using, and personally judging the results!

Tony enjoys the various bits and pieces of advertising leaflets that come with the magazine… He often wonders what sort of quality training a dive centre that offers a “buy one Open Water course, get one free” offer is willing to provide…

The Divestyle website is quite useful, with useful information on local and international travel destinations available free of charge. There are book and DVD reviews as well as a few dive gear and camera reviews too, but not as many as I’d expect. (The magazine has a regular section on cool new gadgets and toys for divers… Tony and I enjoy those pages particularly!)

The magazine comes out six times per year. There’s not much of a saving off the cover price for subscribing, and it doesn’t arrive earlier in my postbox than it does in the shops… But I do find it convenient to subscribe. You can get hold of it in local dive shops and (I think) at CNA and Exclusive Books.

Latest issue (January/February 2011)

This latest issue (cover pictured above) got up my nose because the editor commented that an article he’d published in the current issue concerning evolution didn’t sit well with his personal convictions. All well and good, but how does putting a bikini-clad woman on the cover sit with your convictions? It’s naive to think that there’s any deeper interpretation of the image that can be made, other than “sex sells”, and hypocritical to object to an article on evolution on religious grounds, but not to an almost naked covergirl! (Given my background, I know about this stuff… the religious side, not appearing almost naked on magazine covers, I mean… and can sympathise, but I can’t bear hypocrisy!)

There was also a vapid article about the broadnose sevengill cowsharks in False Bay. The image accompanying the piece could have been much improved (talk to Jacques, for example) and to say that the article said nothing useful would be quite complimentary. A local expert such as Georgina Jones, while acknowledging the shortcomings in our knowledge of these wonderful creatures, would have been able to provide a far more insightful and informative article.

That said (as I climb clumsily down off my high horse), I wouldn’t dissuade you from subscribing, and I will acknowledge that we did enjoy this issue about as much as we usually do!

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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