In 1949, Ludovico Mares designed
and manufactured his first masks and spearguns with one dream and purpose in
mind: to share his unbridled passion for the sea and diving with the rest of
the world. At its birth, Mares was just one small factory in Rapallo, but now, almost
70 years later, the Italian based company is at the forefront of new and
innovative dive technologies. Over the past six decades Mares has come a long
way by achieving new goals and taking diving to new and extreme heights and
depths. The Mares name represents only the best in dive products…
In a nutshell, Mares has become a worldwide leader in recreational
scuba diving, snorkeling, spearfishing and freediving, and being part of the HEAD
group also swimming, triathlon and swimrun, but never before has Mares been
involved in the world of so-called “technical diving”.
That was until January 1st 2014, when
HEAD/MARES officially announced they had signed an agreement to acquire Scuba
Schools International (SSI), one of the fastest growing dive training agencies
in the world, with more than 40 years of experience, providing "The
Ultimate Dive Experience" and innovative courses involving scuba diving, swimming,
freediving and Extended Range diving.
Bringing these 2 companies together represented a huge
paradigm shift for the diving industry and a tremendous growth opportunity. Extended
Range for SSI was a door to the world of what was, until today, known as “technical
diving” for Mares. Following this, the fantastic decision to create the MARES│XR line was taken by the Mares Team.
When I joined the company, in 2014, Stefan Michl (Mares VP in charge of all Marketing and Sales) gave
me the brief and the challenge started.
From scratch, I started working on the MARES│XR line.
Due to my background and experience in the industry
with Apeks/Aqualung, in the teaching of Technical Diving at the highest level as
an Instructor Trainer and my experience in deep wreck discovery or caves, I was
no absolute beginner. The challenge was set: I had a year and a half to build
up a complete line from zero!
The concept was to set up the foundations of the line
as widely as possible. A line of products that would form a bridge between
Recreational Diving and Technical Diving. Products, although completely
suitable for the most extreme adventures in technical diving (Deep and Cave)
should also be designed to allow the recreational diver to have the chance to
enter the exciting world of Extended Range diving without necessarily
having to dramatically and immediately change his existing diving equipment. In
other words, a new line of equipment to take you from your first steps in to XR,
to the most challenging of explorations, no compromises necessary as you
advance from the start to your end goal. A line to go farther, deeper and
The whole company in Rapallo jumped at the challenge
and we all teamed up to make it happen: engineers, designers,
production, purchasers, marketers, managers, salesmen, etc… and then after an eXtended year of
dreaming, working and living in the office, in the boat or underwater, in all
conditions – at depth, wrecks, caves, in the cold, from the mainstream to the
remote, sharing a passion, challenging our
competitors to take their best and improve it while leaving behind their
mistakes, rethinking the standards to reach something new, we made it happen!
I also had a team of divers,
instructors, instructor trainers, explorers... and an eXtended lot of friends
to support me and help me. They dived and tested for hours in all conditions
and in all seas, then reported-suggested-proposed and I corrected the
prototypes and started all over again, everyday… I wanted the products to be
born in the water and achieved in the water, in real, everyday conditions.
line was presented internally to all our sales teams, subsidiaries and distributors
for the first time in June 2015, then to the public in November 2015 at DEMA
show in the US and January 2016 at Boot Show in Germany for Europe.
A new baby was born!
Of course, some products require more time to be
developed, and they will come in the future as the line is still developing and
we have nothing stopping us. The MARES│XR
baby will grow even more and there is still a lot to be done. I am working on it but… it is a secret !