One of the most crucial bits of gear for keeping yourself comfortable in the water is a good pair of gloves. The right pair will keep your hands warm and protected from the variety of sharp things that’ll cut soft, wet fingers in the water. Being as how we’re kiwis though, there’s really only one sharp thing in the water we care about. The crayfish.
I remember my first summer holiday when I started catching crays with my father. Every night we’d try to dig and squeeze bits of cray spine out of infected fingers before filling them up again the next day. We were using pathetic cotton gardening gloves that would barely protect your hands from a rose thorn let alone a buck cray.
Since then I’ve gone on to work as a commercial cray diver in the Chatham Islands and in that job the right pair of gloves are absolutely essential. In a normal day we might catch one hundred crays or more each and I doubt there’s a harder test for dive gloves anywhere.
I’ve tried all sorts of gloves out but without a doubt the best glove I’ve come across is the Atlantis G10. This simple glove is made of a hardwearing Amara material (a sort of synthetic suede) and thin neoprene. Unlike most gloves marketed as cray gloves, these gloves are thin enough to maintain the dexterity needed to hold onto a cray and to be precise enough not to break off all its legs.
The amara reinforcing is placed in all the right spots to protect your hands but the neoprene on the back allows enough stretch.
I know years of development have gone into these gloves and it shows in the incredible fit. The fingers are all just the right length and they don’t get baggy. They are also extremely well built and I’ve never had to retire a pair because of loose or running stitching.
The one trick that we use to boost the performance of the gloves, is to wear a very thin liner (cheap nitrile palmed gloves from Bunnings usually) underneath the G10, although I never bother with this diving recreationally. This adds an extra layer of protection when repetitively handling crays.
Basically if you want a great glove that will stand up to the hardest abuse a kiwi cray diver can throw at it, the Atlantis G10 is the one.