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Posts Tagged ‘Aqua Lung’

Global Travel with Scuba???

December 11, 2010 2 comments

Everyone that enjoys diving knows that most of the top travel destinations in the world provide fantastic diving opportunities.  The problem with traveling and scuba is like any other equipment-heavy sport.  How to get your equipment from port to port, through customs, onto your diving destination and back again.   Your second option is to rent your equipment once you have reached your travel destination…( please insert your personal horror story here).  So finally Aqua Lung came up with the ultimate solution.  They created a Travel Dive Set that is suitable for almost all diving holiday destinations.  It includes their “Hot Shot” fins modeled after their revolutionary sling shot fin, these light weight travel fins are based on the same power band technology but are lighter, shorter and the super soft foot pocket is made for either boot or foot.  Their Zuma BCD is light weight and portable so that you can easily fold it, roll it and stow it right in your carry-on luggage.  As for a regulator they have added the Micron Travel Regulator to this set.  With its balanced diaphragm first stage  and light weight braided hoses you’ll want to make this regulator a main-stay of your everyday equipment.  To top it all off, it all comes in a carry-on departure bag with the demensions to fit all major airlines acceptable limits as a carry-on and weighs under 7 lbs!  Yes that’s right, all your kit, reg, mask, BCD, Fins and even your precious snorkel can all now fit into your carry-on.

Having had the opportunity to test these products we were amazed at the overall quality and construction of all their Travel Gear.  Way to go Aqua Lung!

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Ta’ Da!!! DEMA Pre-Show 2010

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Finally arrived in Las Vegas!  Wow what a mess getting here “here’s looking at you US Airways, can’t wait to see if I get home lol”.  But I’m here and ready for DEMA 2010!!

Ta'Da! Joel Zeff

The first event started a day before the doors even opened.  TA-DA!  Featuring a return of last years keynote speaker Joel Zeff.  His one of a kind business education style, which has been honed through his background in Journalism and Comedy, created a fantastic vibe to start off DEMA this year.  Through his uses of improv and audience participation, he was able to bring across relevant ideas, concerns and winning strategies to get all Padi members through 2011.   His messages were strong and yet kept everyone in great spirits, a fantastic open to this years  show.

Drew Richardson was also there with a strong stage presence, to kick everything off, introducing a few new mission statements and themes for 2011, by putting together an expert panel, no… “Town hall” in hopes to lead this years Padi members, no… “Our Tribe”  through a strong economic recovery year looking to grow all Padi business on a global scale.  Many of the head “Tribal” members were there including Kristin Valette, James Morgan and Nick Jenny followed by the key-note speaker Joel Zeff himself.

Padi DEMA 2010

Kristin held a town hall that included Ron Sciarro, Lucy Kreiling, Carter Cary, Valerie Elliot and Jon Daane.  Their main focus was to look at new ways of obtaining growth in the market by getting an increase of new divers in this harsh economic climate.  I found their talk to be very strong and supplied all Padi members in attendance a true vision of the work ahead this year to make it just not a profitable year but a fun year for all Instructors and new divers alike.

After this James took the stage with such Padi leaders as Jeff Fafoglia, Dan King, Allen Aboujeib and Mike Hollingshead.  They also talked about the year ahead, but through the eyes of divers that have been diving for some time now.  Taking a look at what it takes to keep your diving ability sharp and up to date through continuing to have fun but also growing your diving knowledge at the same time.  Other things they touched upon is the new Boy Scouts program and what way is better to have a little extra fun in diving than to bring along a whole tribe of kids to experience something new.  There are many ways to keep yourself challenged in the field of diving.  Even after many years in the sport I find new avenues to explore and things to try on a daily basis.  So if you’re new or been around for many years now, challenge yourself and try something new!

Something new might be as simple as going down to your local dive shop or to see me at Bans 😉 and find out about all the great new things that were new this year at DEMA.  Some of the new equipment was astounding. Every piece seems to be getting better in design, simpler to care for and lighter to travel with.  These were all covered be Nick Jenny and his “Town Hall” consisting of Sales Managers from Scubapro, Sherwood, Oceanic and of course Aqua Lung.

After all this Joel took the stage with a few games and reminders to all Padi members oops sorry “the Tribe”, that sunk in for me I know.  And it could be summed up as simple as the evening events name “Ta’ Da!”  Ta’Da is meant to reflect that feeling of accomplishment that maybe you get from trying something new for the first time or maybe it could be as simple as a boy tying his shoes on his own for the first time.  And the message for the Tribe was that no matter how many dives you go on, no matter how many trips you have taken people on… not to forget that feeling of what it was like to do it the first time… keep that thought with you and help it direct how you run your business and entertain with your clients … Live a little more in the moment and don’t forget to let yourself enjoy your accomplishments every day “Ta’Da!”

To help with this and to close this pre-show event Drew presented awards to a hand full of recipients in the North and South American markets as well as the Caribbean.  What a great way to help them remember their own “Ta’ Da!”

After the event was over everyone stayed and it turned out to be a great “Tribe” social we had a chance to meet lots of fellow Padi professionals and had the opportunity to visit with many of Padi’s Head Office execs too.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store! Cause we haven’t even started yet!

Breath Easy

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Yup, you guessed it, here’s a little look at Regulators.  In this day and age there are hundreds to choose from and tons of different options.  You can get balanced, over balanced.  You can get a piston or a diaphragm.  You can get one with a digital display telling you when to get it serviced (however if you have a thing for gadgets this one is hard to find and discontinued, but fun to look at).  What about environmental seals? Or you can have heat exchangers or even an ACD (Auto Closure Device).  How cool is that! No idea what I’m talking about?  Don’t worry.  One day soon we’ll sit down and look at all of these options, however today we are just looking at a few of the top regs on the market and what is popular with the Divemasters and Instructors here at Bans Diving.

Let’s get my favorite outta the way at the beginning.  Apex XTX200, is a fantastic reg and has been taken deeper than any other reg in the world. John Bennett decided to take this reg to 300Meters or 1000Feet!  You can change the configuration from the right side to the left for setting up a tec kit any way you’d like.  Its an over balanced, diaphragm reg with environmental sealing and if you don’t mind spending a little extra you can even get it covered in Tungsten, one of the strongest materials on earth! (OK that’s a little silly to have done  and to pay the extra for.  You’ll never really need a reg that strong … maybe if your going lava diving… right LOL) … (Yea yea I got it on mine).  Over all this is the smoothest reg I have ever breathed from at any depth.

After that review we could stop right here and say that’s it! But that’s not so fast, there are tons of regs out there, so we’ll have to look at a few more.  The best reg to follow the Apex XTX200 would be Aqua Lung Legend LX ACD Supreme (wow that’s a mouth full).  If you are familiar with Aqua Lung and Apex you’ll know that if you follow the money trail they are owned by the same company.  Aqua Lung is a fantastic company, always trying new things in the market place, the last thing they did was the Heat Exchanger, which you’ll find on many other regs in the market place.  This time they have out done themselves with their newest ACD or Auto Closure Device. To see how this device works take a look here.This device comes in both DIN and Yoke first stages.  A fantastic idea I think you’ll see on all regs in the future.. Just remember it was Aqua Lung that first made it possible.  Another important note is that the Legend is very similar to the Apex xtx200 believe it or not, just look up the schematics for both regs.  So the Aqua Lung Legend is definately ranked my number two favourite reg.

Scuba Pro where are you guys?… I know I know this new reg looks great… and its shiny, but did that really meet the requirements to support bringing out a whole new reg? Sorta looks like you last one (don’t get me wrong I like it, and the last one) but really guys?  Sorta like you fired all your developers, put the money in your pocket and gave a bit more to your marketing team.   “Lets make a new reg … ok so… let’s make it shiny and tell everyone it’s new”. Hmmmm..

So before we wrap up, lets take a quick look at looking after a reg.  Most companies would like you to get it serviced every year or so.  But wait what happens if you are away on a trip to a remote destination where the diving is superb and suddenly you need your reg repaired?!  Did you know that Scuba Pro has a ton of tools their technicians must have just to take the course?!  I’m a tool buff, I’m not that sucker you can talk into buying just anything. But just tell me it’s a tool… SOLD!  My problem is if these toosl are necessary and you are in the middle of nowhere how likely is it that there will there be a tech in the area with the correct equipment?? As for Aqua Lung and Apex they do have some specialty tools of course but their tools are about making it easier, not mandatory in order to service your reg.  After all, do you think it’s more likely to find a spanner and a screw driver or a Scuba Pro Multi-tool on your next scuba adventure???

Do you See What I See?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever seen a Whale Shark? A Manta Ray? I have (not to rub it in, but I have)… Now have you ever seen a Whale Shark or Grouper and when you get back on the boat you see the excitement in other divers eyes and hear the Divemasters explain how lucky they all were and how great that last dive was?! You turn to your dive buddy and they say “What Whale Shark?” or “Where was the grouper?”  If this has happened to you, you must ask yourself how did I miss it??!! It might be the type of mask your wearing.  Did you know that different masks can magnify and make things look bigger than others, closer than others, you can even get corrective lenses for your mask!  This review is to cover just a handful of the hundreds of good masks on the market today.  We will be looking at the Mares Essence Liquid Skin, the Tusa Geminus, Aqua Lungs’ New Look 2 and Oceanics’ Shadow Mask.  Are these the newest masks on the market?  Not really but they’re the top choices at our resort by fun divers, tec divers, Instructors and Divemasters alike.

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Traveling With Equipment

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Are you an over packer? I know I am, and the cost of flights going to my favorite Diving Locations are killing me let alone the cost for extra baggage!  What about once you get there? Do you ever get sick and tired of carrying around that huge bag of Diving equipment? Again my hand is raised! A few months ago I was offered the chance to try Aqua Lungs solution to this problem. The Aqua Lung Travel Set (see below)!  At first sight I could see the quality I have come to trust from Aqua Lung.  As I sat with the Asia-Pacific Rep we joked about just how small we could pack this kit.  So together we put it to the ultimate test, we picked up all the gear went into the dive shop and as we made our way through some of our smaller dive bags we had an idea… the rep wanted us to try to get it all into a 20 Liter dry bag, mask, BCD, Reg everything! I didn’t think it would be possible but there it was within seconds inside a  20 Liter bag! With room to spare we took it to an even smaller bag… Yes we were even able to pack an entire diving kit into a 15 Liter dry bag WOW!  Now he had my attention but what about comfort, quality and what kind of price is a kit like this going to cost me?  We demo’d the kit for a few weeks letting quite a few Divemasters at Bans try it out as well as myself we all found it to be one of the most comfortable BCDs we have ever worn.  The Reg breathed like a dream and we could not say enough about it.  So ok, great quality, great comfort, where’s the down side? MUST be the price right? Mask (Look2) BCD, full Reg set all for 51,930 Baht.  Then after talking with the rep we got a special discount getting the Look2 mask for free with the purchase of a whole kit! That brought the price to 49,560Baht. GREAT! Still want better? Till the end of December 2010 Aqua Lung is offering to give you a FREE Octo with this set as well! Thats taking the price down to 41,870 Baht. Now… that’s pretty hard to beat but at Bans till the end of the year, we are also giving a special Divemaster discount of 15% so the final price for a full set of equipment with a BCD that weighs less than 2kg comes to 35,590 Baht!!! For the rest of the world that’s $1,180US. Now the only thing that worries me is the strength of the BCD over time.  This is no problem if your going away on holidays every year.  However, I do not think it would hold up to heavy everyday use,  but we will see (it does come with a limited lifetime warranty). I like this product soo much that if you come into our shop and ask we’ll give you one to try for the day.  Stop by try it out, see what you think.  Give us a post if you have any feed back.

BC’s Same, Same… BUT Different!

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment
Mares BC BCD Scuba Diving

Mares Hub

At the root of it a BC or “bouncy compensator” is nothing more than a giant bag of air you press a button to deflate and another button to inflate.  MOST new devices and subtle changes you’ve seen over the last while are to entice us as the consumer to purchase.  I don’t foresee any earth-shaking changes in the would of BC’s anytime soon.  So does that mean that they’re all the same? No, not at all, there is a big difference between the assortment of styles.  Some of the most common designs are wing style or vest/backpack style.  We will take a look at these as well as some of the functionality differences like the high pressure inflator systems to the air trim systems.  So let’s get started.

The first BC we’ll take a look at is the Hud from Mares it’s a very comfortable BC and can stand up to some demanding diving as well.  The biggest positive and negative lies in the same device on this BC.  It has an Air trim system.  This inflate-deflate system is fantastic for comfort and stream lining.  However, for a Divemaster demonstrating quality skills or an Instructor teaching, it is a very hard device to show a student what you are doing.  Almost all students everywhere use the Low Pressure Inflator Hose.  So to make it easier on the student I recommend sticking with the same type of gear you’re teaching your students with.  If your students are all wearing the HUD then that’s different (and please let me know where you’re teaching… I wanna teach there!).

Aqua Lungs Pro QD 2009 BC BCD

Aqua Lungs Pro QD

Seac Sub Tec 2000

A perfect BC that would be great for Instructors or Divemasters would have be either the Pro QD from Aqua Lung or the Pro 2000 from Seac Sub.  The Pro QD is a superb BC in many ways.  Comfort and style are fantastic and the low pressure hose deflate and inflators feel solid.  If you have the chance to try this BC on try it you’ll be surprised by the comfort level.  The Pro 2000 like the Pro QD has metal “D” rings and is made of very sturdy construction.  The pocket placement and size on this BC is hard to match so if you’re a Recreational Diver, Instructor or Divemaster that like his toys this might be the BC for you.  Even though I like the build, comfort and style of the Pro QD I still dive with the Pro 2000 simply because of the pocket room.

There is one other fundamental style we have not talked about yet and that would be the Back Inflation/Wing Style BC.  Primarily this style is used by Tec divers.  However, this BC style is available for recreational divers as well and is a very comfortable setup keeping you very trim in the water.  Again the down side of this BC is teaching and Divemastering.  Because all the air is on your back trying to kneel and do skills becomes exceedingly difficult, because the wing design tends to send your body forward and off-balance while kneeling.  Some IDC centers I have seen even refused to teach new Instructors if they used a Wing Style BC.  If you are a Tec diver or like the idea of having that total trim ability in the water you might want to look into a Halcyon Wing.  These wings seem to be the industry leaders.  The Evolve Wing shown below is the Tec Dual Tank version but you can get it in a single tank setup as well.

So take a look at where you are going with your diving these are not your only choices of course, just a few of the better ones I’ve seen out there.  If you’re a super traveler you might even want to look into the Zuma from Aqua Lung.  For more information on the Zuma take a look at my “Traveling and Equipment” blog.   This goes over not only a traveling BC that weighs less than 2kg, but a whole traveling light weight set.  Happy Diving!!