What’s New in Dive Gear?
A Short Review of Unique New Equipment!
Every year we can’t wait to go to the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show, the dive industry’s premier trade exhibition. Sure, it’s a time to visit with old friends, strengthen business relationships, and attend a plethora of interesting seminars, but for us, the icing on the cake has to be the unveiling of new scuba dive gear, free dive gear, and in general, the products that make playing in water just more fun, enjoyable, and/or exciting, and without doubt, this November’s DEMA Show exceeded our expectations.
First off, we were swept away by the SEABOB F5 DPV. The underwater propulsion system can go 12mph/25kh/h in water. It can last for 300 minutes on the lowest power setting and recharges in 90 minutes. The max depth and time can be preset, plus you can wear a harness that’s easy to unclip when going fast or spinning around. The DPV only weighs 64 lbs / 38kg.
For a revolutionary product that is right out of Star Wars, you have to see the SWES 600 underwater ionic light. This 600 lumen light (in salt water) does not use batteries and you can’t recharge it. You simply place it in the water, and the ionic exchange gives it power. You can literally dive, rinse, and dive again, for three hours a day for two years, giving you 2140 hours of dive light time. How cool is that?
As for trends, people have been making new fins for years, but this year TUSA is making the Hyflex Switch fin, which you can detach the blade from the foot pocket and fit it all in a travel bag, then put it all back together again in minutes, so you no longer have to purchase a smaller less powerful set of fins for your travel vacation while leaving your favorite pair of fins back home. Speaking of new fins, Indigo Industries makes the Shift XT modular fins and you can also detach the fin bade, but in this case, you can exchange a split fin blade for a zip split fin blade, plus you can change the bare foot pocket for a strap when wearing booties, which seems to be the ultimate transformer type fin to date.
Also excellent for traveling divers is the new Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD. The thermoplastic material and gel pockets dry fast and fold down to almost nothing making this BC easy to place in onboard luggage. You can add weights to the pockets, or use as a harness system with a weight belt for further reduction of travel space.
Now when it comes to details, we have to mention the new WaterProof EX2 drysuit that has built in thigh pockets on both front legs, a side arm pocket for sunglasses when on shore, a built in strap for VH1 radios, a pee zipper already installed, a zip pocket for pens, a built in blind plug that can be replaced for a air release valve, or heater battery cord intake valve. It also has velcro locations for applying your name, badge, and identity patches, plus a new type of velcro straps for dry gloves. It’s like they thought of everything that you might want, and then added some extras features just to blow your mind.
Ok, so you don’t always have to have a ton of improvements to set a product apart from the rest, take Aqualung’s EVO4 boots for example. Sure, they have a sturdy drysuit boot with a vibram sole and are made with the military in mind for slippery decks and rocks, but when you pull on the laces of the EVO4 boot, they cinch from the bottom on up, not just the top tightens like most other boots with the laces loose near the toes. EVO4’s produce a fast good tight fit all the way up, and something as simple as a good fitting boot can make or break an easy entrance into or out of the water.
Having a defogged mask can also make or break an enjoyable dive. Fog Kicker is a new biodegradable anti-fog coating that you can apply like marking with a felt pen on your mask lens and one coat is good for 10-15 dives.
As for cameras, SeaLife has the new DC2000; a 20 meg pixel camera that shoots jpg and even in raw format. This 1 inch fast sensor camera comes in a new rugged easy to use housing rated down to 200ft / 60m, but even without the outer housing, the inner camera is rated down to 60ft / 18m, making ideal to use below or above the water. Of course it wouldn’t be a SeaLife product if the DC2000 system wasn’t compatible with a fish eye lens to give an 80º wide field of view, and you can also use it with all the Sea Dragon Flash and light systems, including the new Fluoro-Dual Beam to give animals a blue background to show off their natural colors when desired. How awesome is that?
Sometimes all you need to impress us are great prices on dive gear and in this case we have to mention SEAC, pronounced “Sea-ak”. From an Italian free dive and spear gun foundation they have expanded to a worldwide made full line of scuba dive products that are comparatively low priced, which is a major priority for getting new divers such as millennials into aquatic sports. As we have seen in the past, as dive gear prices go up, the percentage of potential new divers attracted to the sport goes down. So we have to commend Seac for not only producing quality gear, but for helping price point conscious new scuba, skin, and free divers focus on the immediate fun of these aquatic sports; long term retention in these sports will then just be a matter of good times!
On the other end of the spectrum our list would not be complete if we didn’t mention The Darkwater Vision Hammerhead mask that allows technical divers to see in low light arenas. Whether you are doing night dives, deep dark dives, or murky river dives where you are trying to find Megalodon teeth on top of the sediment with the touch of your hands, now you can wear this high tech mask and see with a game-like ethereal quality what was previously too dark and occluded to see naturally. The Hammerhead mask system essentially does for divers, what night vision does for the armed forces, but it’s also excellent for underwater welders too; Dearth Vader would be jealous if he wasn’t already seeing red.
There were lots of other products that we would like to mention that were unveiled at the DEMA Show, but hopefully you’ll get a chance to see them at your local dive store early this year when many of these items should be shipping. For us, it’s time to stop writing, go get wet, and try out the aforementioned products extensively until the next DEMA Show.