THE EARLY YEARS
Conceived from the passion to create exceptional products for the evolving SCUBA market and a desire to do more than just deliver someone else’s vision, Apeks was born in 1974. Friends and former colleagues at a large engineering firm in the north of England, Ken Smith Ainscough and Eric Partington formed a partnership that was a perfect combination of vision and enthusiasm. The name they came up with was a perfect combination too – an acronym of their initials.
Technical genius, a lifelong love of diving and natural dynamism brought them together. Ken drafted, translated then engineered his concepts into reality. Eric’s entrepreneurial expertise and love of technology drove business growth. It was a match made in heaven.
Great things can grow from humble beginnings and Apeks was no exception. Fabricating weight belt buckles in Eric’s garage was where it began, but throughout the 1970s, Apeks continued to innovate. With new products being developed and a rich heritage of engineering in the local area, the business was able to hire specialist engineering talent, keeping manufacturing in-house to ensure the high quality the market had already come to expect.
Explorer, adventurer, marine scientist, conservationist, and ocean advocate, my deep connection to the ocean began in childhood, shaping my life's path. Diving became a natural progression, bringing me solace and purpose.
Diving opened doors to global exploration, unique experiences, and remarkable people. However, it also exposed me to the devastating impact of human activities, especially the pervasive issue of marine plastics.
My mission revolves around contributing to a sustainable future by minimizing my environmental footprint and promoting positive change. Advocating for individual actions and raising ocean awareness are crucial steps.
Apeks, a British brand renowned for crafting equipment suited to challenging diving environments, aligns with my values. They prioritize sustainability in their products and operations, from zero waste to landfill policies to solar-powered production.
Apeks consistently innovates, using environmentally-friendly materials like limestone-based neoprene and recycled plastics. Their 'repair not replace' approach reflects their commitment to lasting change.
Apeks doesn't merely talk about sustainability; they lead by example. Divers, including myself, rally behind their transformative efforts. Every action counts, and Apeks sets an inspiring industry standard, inspiring change within the dive community and beyond.
Diving in the Cenotes transports you to a mystical realm, a threshold between our familiar world and the ancient Mayan underworld. The experience is unparalleled. As you descend into crystal-clear waters through sinkholes, sunlight pierces through, creating mesmerizing shadows. These sprawling, interconnected caves stretch for hundreds of kilometers, harboring age-old secrets.
It's akin to exploring another planet, a sensation of flying underwater. The breathtaking scenery is beyond imagination. Yet, once within this subterranean labyrinth, darkness envelops you, relying solely on your wits, experience, and torch.
The scenery is spectacular, unimaginable to most. Being able to dive in places like this is life-changing. Once you're in the system of waterways and caves though, it's completely dark. All you've got are your wits, your experience and your torch.
However, exploring these sinkholes, caves, and waterways carries inherent risks. Preparation is key; failure to plan is planning to fail. Specialized training, reliable equipment, trustworthy companions, understanding your limits, and making sound decisions are imperative for survival.
That's why I choose Apeks for every dive in the Cenotes. Their unmatched reliability in one of the world's most challenging environments ensures my focus remains on the dive, not the equipment. With Apeks, I dive with confidence and peace of mind, making it the only way for me.
Growing up in Australia, I was exposed to adventure early on, and the UK later became my playground for exploration. I'm a strong advocate of local micro-adventures, believing that epic experiences are often right in our own backyard.
Adventure, for me, means taking the long road, wild camping, and savoring post-dive coffee in serene locales amidst the hustle of life. I find paradise in the easily overlooked local havens accessible through muddy British lay-bys. These experiences capture the essence of why we're here: to adventure.
Diving has always been the pinnacle of my adventures, offering a unique blend of meditation during equipment preparation and serenity beneath the waves. UK diving presents challenges with its cold waters and limited visibility, demanding reliable equipment.
In the demanding British diving scene, Apeks gear shines. Designed by locals who understand the harsh conditions, their products excel, allowing us to focus on the present while knowing we'll return safely. Apeks designs their gear for usability with thick gloves and offers reliability that's always ready for adventure.
Apeks, a brand for all divers, aligns with my values, emphasizing sustainability and craftsmanship. It's the perfect choice for those seeking adventure, no matter where it leads.
Being part of a team that makes life support equipment for the most demanding environments is critically important. We take pride in crafting life support equipment for the most challenging environments, enabling divers to explore new realms and surpass their limits.
Our commitment to engineering equipment beyond industry standards ensures divers' safety in demanding conditions. Notably, Apeks regulators played a pivotal role in setting the world record for the deepest open circuit SCUBA dive in 2014, reaching 332.35 meters.
An unforgettable incident occurred when a diver recovered an XTX50 regulator, submerged in saltwater for three years. Despite enduring the elements, it remained pressurized and functional. Apeks' technical team cleaned and tested it, and the regulator exceeded expectations even under extreme conditions.
This dedication to reliability defines Apeks. Every employee is deeply invested in the brand's success, knowing that Apeks equipment can be trusted time and again. In our business, "reliability first" isn't just a motto; it's a lifeline for divers depending on our gear in life-or-death situations.
Transitioning from a supplier of ancillary pieces to a serious SCUBA brand first came with Ken’s dive cylinder valves, before the pivotal launch of the Manta 5000 regulator in 1979. With Apeks now firmly on the SCUBA map, the business flourished during the 80s and 90s. It was during this time that the real love affair between technical divers and the brand began.
Another crucial time for Apeks came in 1995 when the TX50 regulator was recognised scientifically as the best regulator in the world. With features never seen before, the TX50 was the first regulator in the world accredited with the EN250 European standard for cold water performance, years before it became a legal requirement. With the TX50, Apeks continued to innovate and lead the market.
The family grew. Founded on the cornerstones of reliability, quality and integrity, Eric and Ken had always fostered a culture of trust and a feeling of family. From the company’s early years, with only a handful of employees, this culture was nurtured. Even when employee numbers grew to over 160, the family-feel remained.
Moving into a purpose-built factory in 1995 was an exciting time for the company. The building set new standards with state-of-the-art manufacturing and test equipment. With the ANSTI breathing simulator, the team was able to finely tune regulators during the design phase to make sure that every detail was safe and reliable at depth. This, coupled with the trailblazing purpose-built indoor test pool, meant that valuable, scientific data was available all the way through the design and testing phases, before the kit was ever used in open water.
In 1995, the new facility had felt enormous but with the constant evolution and ever-increasing demand for products, the space was soon outgrown. Doubling the footprint in 1998, and then increasing it again in 2001, meant that the key philosophy of keeping control of all elements of the manufacturing process in-house remained possible.
Fast forward to 2014 and Apeks leads the industry's efforts in fighting climate change by becoming the first solar-powered regulator manufacturing plant in the world and developing better, more environmentally conscious ways of making products. Wanting to protect the environment and promote sustainable behaviour has been built into the very core of the business philosophy.
Expanding the Apeks product range to include everything from drysuits to computers has given divers around the world a greater choice of equipment that they can trust. During the 21st Century, Apeks has continued to fill the growing demand for dive equipment with continuous development. The range has evolved, regulators have got more advanced, dive lights are brighter with the introduction of LED technology and new lines have been added. Apeks divers now have a full range of dive equipment for every environment.
And we'll continue to evolve. It's what we do and who we are. Reliable, proven, rugged, safe. Trusted by divers across the world. #WeAreApeks