Whatâ€™s New from Beneath the Seas Consumer Show
As one of the first major consumer shows every year, Beneath the Seas is great show place for the things to come that is open to anyone! See what we saw in New Jersey.By Michael Ange
For the last 30 plus years the Northeastern US diving community has gathered in Secaucus New Jersey at the nations most attended diving industry consumer show. This year was no exception and the show as always was an interesting event. In spite of the poor economy the show was fairly well attended especially on Saturday afternoon. It has long been a joke in the industry that the average age of attendees at BTS is a clear example of how long diving has been a sport. However, this year for the first time it seemed that the average age of those in attendance may have actually decreased by quite a few years. We noted a number of new dive store owners and instructors in their 20’s and 30’s which was a very refreshing change and possibly a good sign for the overall health of the sport.
I attended on behalf of Seaduction.com to speak about our efforts sinking the Vandenberg and to scan the floor for the newest innovations from the diving manufacturing world. I appreciated those who braved the cold and wind on Saturday morning to attend my lecture – it was good group with lots of great questions and I enjoyed meeting you all. I also found a few innovations lurking in the booth of manufacturers. Here is an overview of the most innovative items I found at the show:
Initially launched around the time of the DEMA show in Orlando Aqualung was showing off its new ZUMA BCD in public for the first time at BTS. Aqualung found a way to build and extremely lightweight travel BCD with all of the features expected in a much heavier and more complicated product including an integrated weight system that actually works! The ZUMA is also putting Aqualung on the colors in dive gear bandwagon - after years of basic blacks and blues, the ZUMA sports striking blue and green accents. Couple the ZUMA with the high performance Flight regulator from Apeks and you have the heart of one of the highest performance travel oriented gear packages available in the market today. For more info see the Flight at http://www.aqualung.com/us/content/view/461/ the ZUMA at http://www.aqualung.com/us/content/view/430/ and all other Aqualung products at www.aqualung.com .
NOTE: Seaduction obtained one of the first ZUMA’s and first Flight regs to arrive in the US and our Crucible Test Team has already run them through their paces. So look for more details on this product in the crucible launch edition of Seaduction.com that is coming soon.
Green Force Technical Lighting Systems
The guys in Belgium have been busy innovating as well and they introduced the new Monostar P7D light head at the show. Delivering an impressive 900 lumens at a light temperature of 6300 k from a single LED element that draws only 12 watts makes this light a top performer. The HID 10 (equivalent to the 50 watt halogen output) has sort of become the standard to compare all other lighting system to. The P7D delivers about 38% more lumens than the HID 50 but it still offers comparable burn times to the 50 when used on the same battery. The Monostar is slightly brighter than Green Force’s 4 element Quadri Star but it draws 5 watts less from the battery. For more information and technical specifications visit www.green-force.com. The GF Monostar is also on the Crucible Test Team’s short list of products pending testing so watch for a more complete review coming soon.
Si Tech Manufacturing
Si Tech was at the show from Sweden showing off their collection of new silicone seals for dry suits. The seals are more durable, have greater stretch and are less likely to produce allergic reactions than traditional latex versions without trading off the quality of the seal’s ability to keep water out. The silicone versions can be installed with ring systems on most brands of dry suits. Si Tech also launched a new dry glove called the Prodi Glove for recreational divers that incorporates a drysuit type seal on the gloves opening. This latex seal seems capable of making the glove completely waterproof without the addition of bulky ring systems or other complicated hardware. See more about the gloves at www.sitech.se/pages/default_uk.asp?SectionID=3855 and for Si Tech’s other products www.sitech.se.
Silent Diving Systems
One of the biggest hassles for advanced and technical divers is the need to have a computer for cutting custom decompression schedules on dive trips and downloading dive data from computers and other devices like rebreathers. When I leave the office I long to leave the laptop and the pda behind and Silent Diving Systems has just provided me with that option. They launched a new device called “The Dive Store” (no not a place to shop) that is a USB type memory stick with some great capabilities for the traveling diver. The Dive Store is custom made for the downloading of data from the line of closed circuit rebreathers distributed by SDS but it also allows the diver to cut custom tables on any computer. For the first time, divers traveling to any destination where a computer is accessible merely has to have the memory stick size Dive Store to safely plan and conduct technical dives. Although the program is primarily oriented for constant PPO2 closed circuit rebreather dives, it also has the capabilities to plan open circuit dives. For more information on The Dive Store see www.silentdivingdirect.com/?page_id=587 and for more on SDS’s other products go to www.silentdivingdirect.com.
Color is coming back to the marketplace and Zeagle Manufacturing made the trek from Florida to show off their latest designs. Their classic Ranger BCD has long been the standard in heavy duty recreational or light technical BCDs and they have updated the design with great results. The BCD now sports a women’s version (available for a while now) and a new Ranger Junior for the younger or just smaller diver. Suitable for kids as young as age 10 the Junior can be updated with a larger shoulder harness. Add this option to the waist strap that expands for waist up to 32 inches and this BCD is easily capable of comfortably fitting the beginner all the way into young adulthood. But our show favorite was clearly the Ranger Tie Die – yes the Ranger has gone from black to retro. Zeagle has also launched the “Wicked Line” of BCD’s think distressed jeans motif and you will get the idea.
Not as much fun to look at but welcome by many instructors as a great addition, they have also launched a new educational line. This line includes among other things a practical one size fits all back inflation BCD that offers an array of customized options and is designed specifically for rental and teaching programs. Of course these products appear to have the same durable quality that divers have come to expect from Zeagle. See more on Zeagle’s full line of products at www.zeagle.com .
In addition to seeing what is new BTS is also a great time for divers to catch up with luminaries and other professionals in the industry, have a beer and swap dive stories. This year was no exception with social events ranging from the tech divers party on Friday night to the film festival on Saturday being attended by the literal who’s who of the diving industry. If you have never been you might put the last weekend of March 2011 on your calendar for a quick weekend trip to Jersey.
All photos in this post were courtesy of the manufacturers: Aqualung, Green Force, Si Tech, Zeagle