Mel's Corner Product Review
Apollo Bio Fins
Atomic B2 Regulator
Atomic Stainless Steel M1 Regulator Cave Ring Kit
Atomic ST1 Regulator
Atomic T2X Titanium Regulator
Atomic Z2X Regulator
Bladefish Seajet 5000 Underwater Scooter
Body Glove Eyewear Vapor 5 Polarized Water Repellent Sunglasses
Deep See Atlantic Medium Sole Boots
Genesis React Pro Computer
Henderson 17 oz. Superior Polyolefin Jumpsuit
Henderson H2 Hyperstretch Titanium Gloves
H2O 150 Foot Finger Spool
H2O Audio iDive Underwater Apple iPod MP3 Housing
Hyperflex by Henderson 3mm Solor Cap
Innovative Deluxe Innertube Cover
Liquid Image HD Video Mask
Max Air 35 Scuba Compressor
Ocean Reef Neptune Space Full Face Mask
Ocean Reef Alpha Under Water Cell Phone (UWCP)
Oceanic Cargo Wheeled Duffel
Oceanic GT3/CDX5 Regulator
Oceanic Ultra-Dry Snorkel
Oceanic Delta 4.1 /FDX-10 Regulator
Oceanic Vortex V-6 Fins
Polar Fleece Beanie
Princeton Tec Shockwave L.E.D. Light
Promate L.E.D. Light Stick
Sea-Doo Seascooter Explorer DPV
Sealife DC1000 10.0 Megapixel Underwater Camera and Housing
Sealife DC1200 12.0 Megapixel Underwater Camera and Housing
Severe Weather After Dive Jacket
Sherwood Wisdom 2 Computer
Sub-Series Hair and Skin Care for Divers
Titanium BC Knife
Titanium Dive Knife
UK AquaSun eLED Dive Light
Viking Pro 1000 Surveyor Dry Suit
WET Splash Bomb Monster Bomb
WET Splash Bomb Football
XS Scuba Airwave Octo
XS Scuba 80 cf High Pressure Steel Tank
XS Scuba Wheeled Mesh Backpack
XS Scuba Wheeled Mesh Duffel
XS Scuba Z-Duo Mask
Zeagle Octo-Z Breathable Inflator
Zeagle Stiletto BCD

See Customer Reviews on Thousands of our Scuba Diving Products



I have the opinion that every diver needs the right gear for their particular experience. It is important for me to understand where you are going, when you are going there whom you are diving with, what gear you have used in the past and what you thought of it. I am careful not to sell somebody dive gear just because I love it.

Still and all, even though the entire instructional team share this philosophy at Scuba.com, we do all have a certain piece of gear that totally rocks our world. You know what I am talking about: the piece of gear you take as carry on even though it may cost less than everything else in your checked-in luggage...just because if the worst happened to your luggage, the dive trip wouldn't be the same without this certain piece of gear.

Below are a few such items that are personal favorites of the scuba instructors. Thank you for taking the time to read this silly page. We all wish you many years of happy & safe diving.



Information About the Reviewing Instructors
 
Apollo Bio Fins

I have been in the SCUBA industry for twelve years. I've made it a point to use fins of all kinds because I believe fins are crucial to enjoyment. I preferred Channeling Fins (see Genesis Aquaflex) because these fins had good torque and power when towing a tired diver or a dive float. However, at the end of each tow I felt winded. When I first tried Bio Fins I was towing a float with a 20lb weight belt inside. Just "wiggle" your feet, my buddy said. I did, and he started yelling, "Give me my fins back" as I felt him in my wake. In one minute my philosophy on fins had changed. No effort = less large leg muscle fatigue = less cramps = lower respiratory rate = longer dive due to lower air consumption.

Diving is not exercise, unless you are using something other than the Bio Fin. Since the Bio Fin, others have tried to incorporate the same "Natures Way" into their fin but they make them with unnecessary holes or added stiffing devices. I've tried those too. The Bio Fins work the best. Try them; calm day, choppy, current, whatever, just wiggle your feet!

Back to Open Heel Fins


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Atomic B2 Regulator

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

The B2 regulator is Atomics entry level offering priced to sell next to many of the lower end offering from other scuba manufacturers. At first glance the 1st Stage looks like one of several similar first stages on the market. It offers 2 high pressure ports on the body and 5 low pressure ports on a swivel cap giving the diver a wide range of possibilities when it comes to the comfortable set up of your gear. This is where the similarities end. The B2 First Stage is purposely designed to give nearly identical performance to that of the flagship (and far pricier) T2 but uses more traditional materials such as chrome plated brass in an effort to keep costs down. It is interesting to note that the B2 has actually won more awards from independent testing facilities than any other regulator on the market! Not too shabby for a so-called ďentry levelĒ choice.

Internally this first stage delivers consistent air to the diver with a balanced flow-through piston that will offer the same intermediate pressure with each breath at the deepest depths or lowest tank pressures of your dive. The high pressure piston uses a seal system that is self lubricating that is designed to minimize the friction in this critical part and reduce wear and tear and in turn maintenance costs for the regulators owner. To top it all off, the B2 is nitrox ready up to 40% right out of the box!

And as if all of this technology and innovation in the Atomic 1st Stages wasnít enough, their 2nd Stages are packed with one feature after the next all geared towards ease of breathing, longevity of the piece of equipment and low maintenance. The B2 second stage uses an adjustable, pneumatically balanced poppet incorporated into a portion of the regulator that many manufacturers are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce costs in materials. Here, Atomic leads the way by using Titanium and Kevlar in key common parts. For most manufacturers that would be enough ammunition to light up the advertising and begin singing of their praises from the local mountain tops, but not with Atomic. They pressed on with redesigning two other important pieces in the 2nd stage that turned out to be so successful they were awarded patents for their efforts! The Seat Saving Dynamic Orifice was designed to reduce wear and tear on the low pressure seat and in turn increase the high performance of the second stage for the diver by making sure the orifice only comes into contact with the low pressure seat when the regulator is pressurized. The other innovation is their Automatic Flow Control. Most every manufacturer of regulators offer some sort of a venturi switch in their second stages designed to reduce breathing resistance and help with the opening of the valve that delivers air to the diver when they inhale. At Atomic theyíve perfected this into a pressure sensing, self-adjusting device that regulates the delivery of the diverís air with every breath adjusting for increased pressure the deeper the diver descends. No more switches or dials to get that perfect breath of air! One last feature that the B2 offers is the patented comfort swivel hose that allows for 30 degrees of rotation without kinking your hose.

With the B2 regulator offering everything any diver could ever ask for from price to innovation and performance, there is no reason for any diver to choose anything else.


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Atomic Stainless Steel M1 Regulator Cave Ring Kit

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

The Atomic M1 is geared towards those divers who like to mix up their breathing gasses and maybe push the limits a little bit. It is enriched air compatible up to 80% oxygen due to the combination of internal parts made from Monel, a metal widely known for its corrosion resistance, very high strength and most importantly very low friction rate making it extremely oxygen compatible. This gives it the same extreme high quality in construction being combined with state of the art, cutting edge materials still at a quite reasonable price compared to other choices in the category. The addition of a swivel cap on the first stage for the low pressure ports offers the diver high performance, cutting edge technology and unmatched comfort in the various potential configuration possibilities.

Internally this first stage delivers consistent air to the diver with a balanced flow-through piston that will offer the same intermediate pressure with each breath at the deepest depths or lowest tank pressures of your dive. The high pressure piston uses a seal system that is self lubricating that is designed to minimize the friction in this critical part and reduce wear and tear and in turn maintenance costs for the regulators owner

And as if all of this technology and innovation in the Atomic 1st Stages wasnít enough, their 2nd Stages are packed with one feature after the next all geared towards ease of breathing, longevity of the piece of equipment and low maintenance. The M1 uses an adjustable, pneumatically balanced poppet incorporated into a portion of the regulator that many manufacturers are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce costs in materials. Here, Atomic leads the way by using Titanium, Zirconium, Stainless Steel and Kevlar in all the key common metal parts. For most manufacturers that would the highlights to every single advertisement and mention of this product, but not with Atomic. They pressed on with redesigning two other important pieces in the 2nd stage that turned out to be so successful they were awarded patents for their efforts! The Seat Saving Dynamic Orifice was designed to reduce wear and tear on the low pressure seat and in turn increase the high performance of the second stage for the diver by making sure the orifice only comes into contact with the low pressure seat when the regulator is pressurized. The other innovation is their Automatic Flow Control. Most every manufacturer of regulators offer some sort of a venturi switch in their second stages designed to reduce breathing resistance and help with the opening of the valve that delivers air to the diver when they inhale. At Atomic theyíve perfected this into a pressure sensing, self-adjusting device that regulates the delivery of the diverís air with every breath adjusting for increased pressure the deeper the diver descends. No more switches or dials to get that perfect breath of air!

With all of this innovation and technology packed into the M1, it is no wonder that this regulator is seen as a ďmust haveĒ by many technical divers around the world and probably will for years to come.


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Atomic ST1 Regulator

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Are you among those divers interested in doing your part to be environmentally conscious? If you answer yes, this regulator is for you! The Atomic ST1 was designed with todayís ecologically friendly mindset. Atomic forgoes the traditional Brass used for most 1st stages with this unit. The ST1 is machined from a solid block of 316 Stainless Steel, a material that does not need environmentally harmful processes of chrome or nickel plating to protect it from corrosion. On top of that, it is 100% recyclable! 316 Stainless steel is reported to be almost as corrosion resistant as titanium with much more strength than brass. So if doing your part to protect our environment is your driving force, this is the regulator for you! Offering 2 high pressure ports and 5 low pressure ports on a swivel cap gives this regulator a wide range of possibilities when it comes to the comfortable set up of your gear.

Internally this first stage delivers consistent air to the diver with a balanced flow-through piston that will offer the same intermediate pressure with each breath at the deepest depths or lowest tank pressures of your dive. The high pressure piston uses a seal system that is self lubricating that is designed to minimize the friction in this critical part and reduce wear and tear and in turn maintenance costs for the regulators owner.

And as if all of this technology and innovation in the Atomic 1st Stages wasnít enough, their 2nd Stages are packed with one feature after the next all geared towards ease of breathing, longevity of the piece of equipment and low maintenance. The ST1 second stage comes equipped with a patented swivel that allows for 30 degrees of rotation without kinking your hose. It uses an adjustable, pneumatically balanced poppet incorporated into a portion of the regulator that many manufacturers are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce costs in materials. Here, Atomic leads the way by using Titanium and Kevlar in the metal internal parts. For most manufacturers that would be enough ammunition to light up the advertising and begin singing of their praises from the local mountain tops, but not with Atomic. They pressed on with redesigning two other important pieces in the 2nd stage that turned out to be so successful they were awarded patents for their efforts! The Seat Saving Dynamic Orifice was designed to reduce wear and tear on the low pressure seat and in turn increase the high performance of the second stage for the diver by making sure the orifice only comes into contact with the low pressure seat when the regulator is pressurized. The other innovation is their Automatic Flow Control. Most every manufacturer of regulators offer some sort of a venturi switch in their second stages designed to reduce breathing resistance and help with the opening of the valve that delivers air to the diver when they inhale. At Atomic theyíve perfected this into a pressure sensing, self-adjusting device that regulates the delivery of the diverís air with every breath adjusting for increased pressure the deeper the diver descends. No more switches or dials to get that perfect breath of air!

All in all the amount of innovation, quality and precision technology put into the Atomic ST1 makes this regulator the only smart choice for any diver seeking a high performance regulator at a reasonable price that is truly environmentally friendly.


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Atomic T2X Titanium Regulator

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

If there ever was a regulator designed to be King of the Hill the Atomic T2X would have to be it. The T2X from Atomic Aquatics is the first all-Titanium regulator ever to be designed and produced for scuba. This incredibly corrosion resistant material is extremely strong and difficult to work with in fabrication. The engineers at Atomic solved that problem by refining groundbreaking and cost efficient processes for milling from solid blocks of Titanium. The end result is truly a piece of equipment that you will never have to worry about wearing out! It is light weight for the diver travelling to that remote location where baggage weight is an issue, strong and offers the utmost in reliability for the diver who cannot afford any last minute failures or needs for unexpected servicing just before that dive that is hundreds of miles from the nearest technician. The T2X is absolutely the cutting edge in technology and is unmatched in performance and design by any regulator in scuba. If owning the BEST is your thing, than look no further.

Internally this first stage delivers consistent air to the diver with a balanced flow-through piston that will offer the same intermediate pressure with each breath at the deepest depths or lowest tank pressures of your dive. The high pressure piston uses a seal system that is self lubricating that is designed to minimize the friction in this critical part and reduce wear and tear and in turn maintenance costs for the regulators owner. With 2 high pressure ports and 5 low pressure ports on a swivel cap gives this regulator a wide range of possibilities when it comes to the comfortable set up of your gear.

And as if all of this technology and innovation in the Atomic 1st Stages wasnít enough, their 2nd Stages are packed with one feature after the next all geared towards ease of breathing, longevity of the piece of equipment and low maintenance. The T2X second stage comes equipped with a patented swivel that allows for 30 degrees of rotation without kinking your hose. It uses an adjustable, pneumatically balanced poppet incorporated into a portion of the regulator that many manufacturers are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce costs in materials. Here, Atomic leads the way by using Titanium and Kevlar in the metal internal parts. For most manufacturers that would be enough ammunition to light up the advertising and begin singing of their praises from the local mountain tops, but not with Atomic. They pressed on with redesigning two other important pieces in the 2nd stage that turned out to be so successful they were awarded patents for their efforts! The Seat Saving Dynamic Orifice was designed to reduce wear and tear on the low pressure seat and in turn increase the high performance of the second stage for the diver by making sure the orifice only comes into contact with the low pressure seat when the regulator is pressurized. The other innovation is their Automatic Flow Control. Most every manufacturer of regulators offer some sort of a venturi switch in their second stages designed to reduce breathing resistance and help with the opening of the valve that delivers air to the diver when they inhale. At Atomic theyíve perfected this into a pressure sensing, self-adjusting device that regulates the delivery of the diverís air with every breath adjusting for increased pressure the deeper the diver descends. No more switches or dials to get that perfect breath of air!

All in all the amount of innovation, quality and precision technology put into the Atomic T2x makes this regulator the only choice for any diver seeking not a high performance regulator, unmatched by anything else on the market, but THE high performance regulator, unmatched by anything else on the market.


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Atomic Z2X Regulator

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

At first glance the Atomic Z2 and Z2x 1st Stage looks similar to one of several similar first stages on the market the past few years. It offers 2 high pressure ports and 7 low pressure ports offering a wide range of possibilities when it comes to the comfortable set up of your gear. This is where the similarities end. The Z2/Z2x first stage uses a different combination of materials in its construction all aimed at a offering the diver the highest performance in all uses and the lowest maintenance possible. Atomic utilizes a patented plating process of Zirconium over Chrome over Brass that offers corrosion resistance superior to any other regulator on the market. The process is also stronger than the normal plating process used by most manufacturers which will lengthen the regulators potential lifespan by resisting nicks and scratches that can often lead to flaking of the plating on other regulators. Not too shabby for an economical choice.

Internally this first stage delivers consistent air to the diver with a balanced flow-through piston that will offer the same intermediate pressure with each breath at the deepest depths or lowest tank pressures of your dive. The high pressure piston uses a seal system that is self lubricating that is designed to minimize the friction in this critical part and reduce wear and tear and in turn maintenance costs for the regulators owner.

And as if all of this technology and innovation in the Atomic 1st Stages wasnít enough, their 2nd Stages are packed with one feature after the next all geared towards ease of breathing, longevity of the piece of equipment and low maintenance. The Z2x second stage uses an adjustable, pneumatically balanced poppet incorporated into a portion of the regulator that many manufacturers are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce costs in materials. Here, Atomic leads the way by using Titanium and Kevlar in key common parts. For most manufacturers that would be enough ammunition to light up the advertising and begin singing of their praises from the local mountain tops, but not with Atomic. They pressed on with redesigning two other important pieces in the 2nd stage that turned out to be so successful they were awarded patents for their efforts! The Seat Saving Dynamic Orifice was designed to reduce wear and tear on the low pressure seat and in turn increase the high performance of the second stage for the diver by making sure the orifice only comes into contact with the low pressure seat when the regulator is pressurized. The other innovation is their Automatic Flow Control. Most every manufacturer of regulators offer some sort of a venturi switch in their second stages designed to reduce breathing resistance and help with the opening of the valve that delivers air to the diver when they inhale. At Atomic theyíve perfected this into a pressure sensing, self-adjusting device that regulates the delivery of the diverís air with every breath adjusting for increased pressure the deeper the diver descends. No more switches or dials to get that perfect breath of air! One last feature that the Z2x offers is the patented comfort swivel hose that allows for 30 degrees of rotation without kinking your hose.

A purchase of either the Z2 or Z2x it is fairly certain youíll have a regulator built to last forever offering the performance of choices costing twice what you paid. This regulator is destined to be a ďcanít missĒ for years to come


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Bladefish Seajet 5000 Underwater Scooter

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

I think one of the biggest obstacles people have to deal with when they think of underwater scooters for diving is their over-all size. Cost can be a factor but honestly in all my years of selling scuba equipment, the price of an underwater scooter isnít something that has generally stopped a person from purchasing one nearly as much as the size of the unit and having to deal with it. While not huge and generally not terribly heavy, they are frequently a bit of a hassle to own as they arenít the most convenient piece of scuba equipment to store when not in use. And travel with them? Todayís luggage restrictions on airlines make them a pain to deal with. It was painful enough when the airlines gave the facade of caring for something other than our money. Now that luggage and baggage restrictions are at their most difficult to deal with in the history of air travel suddenly something fun like the scuba scooter is no longer an option to travel with for the vast majority of travelers. Add to this having to babysit the batteryÖ take it out of the unit. Keep it cool and dry. Be sure to fully discharge it every few months and totally trickle charge it again and the fact that the battery loses up to 30% of itís life a month when sitting unused mean itís almost never ready with any spontaneity.

The Bladefish Seajet 5000 Underwater Scooter is a completely new design and concept that will quite possibly eliminate the last major argument in purchasing and owning a diving scooter. At the very first glance itís hard to imagine this piece of gear is not a joke or novelty item. It is impossible to believe that something this size and dimension could possibly pull a diver through the water. But with an 18v electric motor powered by an 18v Lithium Ion battery operating at 210 watts, the motor is turning a whopping 525rpm capable of towing the diver through the water at 3.75mph! One would think that this much power would equate into less battery life, but the unit can operate 70 minutes of continuous use on a fully charged battery. In fact, with normal use through a dive, battery life between 70 and 120 minutes can be expected. And once the on board battery life indicator tells the user that itís time to recharge the battery the diver will be pleased to find that the old over night charge using a trickle charger is a thing of the past as well! The full charge time from dead battery to full charge is a short 3.5 hours!

Another advantage of using the Li ion battery, as opposed to the older types of batteries used in competitors products, is the fact that a Lithium Ion battery can be designed to fit most any use or dimension. In the past scooters had to be designed around the power supply. These batteries were bulky, heavy and had extremely poor shelf lives. They commonly had to be fully discharged before charging to ensure they did not get a ďmemoryĒ and thus become unserviceable any longer. Lithium Ion batteries have no memory, and can be recharged at any point of the discharge without worry. The large punch of power the battery can pack into a small space means the scooter can be nothing more than a small high output motor, the handles and controls and a prop! At approximately 14Ēx 14Ē x 6Ē and only 10 pounds in weight a user could easily pack their scooter in a carry on bag for airline travel! Dimensions like that also make the Bladefish ideal for kids playing at the beach or the lake as well as make it more than fun to use in the pool! The handles and 3-speed variable control switch are mounted in a convenient to use position that will allow for outstanding balance and unmatched maneuverability for the diver. All in all, Bladefish has done an outstanding job of taking the ďnext stepĒ in underwater DPV evolution and created a product that every diver would be thrilled to include as part of their diving gear. Whether diving, snorkeling or just playing in the pool the Bladefish Sea Jet is a product that will give plenty of enjoyment to all!


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Body Glove Eyewear Vapor 5 Polarized Water Repellent Sunglasses

Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

These are a great pair of sunglasses for all the deck hands, dive masters and instructors working on the boat. They will take the glare off the water so if you're looking for the divers it will help you see it from the surface.


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Deep See Atlantic Medium Sole Boots

Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Boots are a pretty easy choice for me, as my feet seem to eat them as fast as I can buy them. The Atlantic Medium Sole boots are exactly what I look for. A great price to go with a nice medium sole that protects my feet while walking across the beach and rocks doing my entry or exit. Toe and heel caps to keep me from wearing it out with my fins foot pocket or strap. And of course a durable zipper to keep me from tearing it apart pulling the tab up with a bit of sand or dirt in it. A lot of good thought seems to have gone into a very reasonably priced boot. Comfort, durability and price. What more can you ask for?


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Genesis React Pro Computer
Okay, I'll face it: I was a scubasaraus* (*SCUBA Dinosaur). You know the type - the diver who whips out ancient gear and is forced to endure jeers and chuckles from Dive Buds? OF COURSE I HAD A COMPUTER... the most sensible piece of equipment any diver can purchase - but it was very old. It's dry weight was 2lbs, it used a battery a week, and had very limited functions.

I made the decision to purchase a Nitrox ready instrument for a liveaboard dive trip. I took my time about making a decision, reading about everything on the market. There are so many great choices nowadays: should I get Nitrox ready? PC downloadable? Back lit? User changeable batteries? ...then it occurred to me: why not get them all!
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I purchased the Genesis React a couple of months ago, and I already have 100 dives on it. I absolutely LOVE being more hydrodynamic. Every bit of information I need is clearly laid out on its super easy to read screen.

I especially like the fact that I don’t have to sit through a dumb scroll for repetitive diving. At the surface, I just push a button to determine how much bottom time I will get if the divemaster tells me the next dive will be at 70 feet.

I don’t dive Nitrox when I do my classes or shore diving back here in Southern California, and the computer defaults to air, but when I want to do a trip on a boat that offers enriched air, I can set oxygen to 50%.

Oh, the other cool feature is that the dive log is more robust than my old computers so each of my dives have time and date stamps.

Now I know first hand why this computer is so popular and has won so many awards.


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Henderson 17 oz. Superior Polyolefin Jumpsuit
Needing a new suit for a warm water destination I looked over various selections of shorties and 3mm jumpsuits. My destination was comfortable water but not the warmest time of year, and I was aware that Iíd need not only some sort of insulation towards the end of my trip as my body acclimated to the conditions but quite possibly for a bit of environmental protection as well. Something as simple as a little, accidental coral cut or that one unseen jellyfish in the water can ruin an expensive dive trip, not to mention that 45 minutes snorkeling during the mid-dayís sun.

After trying on several shorties and deciding they just werenít what I had in mind for this trip, I turned my attention to 3mm and 3/2 full suits. This choice didnít thrill me either as airline weight allowances being what they are these days adding the extra neoprene to my luggage just wasnít an option. Not to mention that it might be a bit much for snorkeling, should I choose to go.

I purchased the Genesis React a couple of months ago, and I already have 100 dives on it. I absolutely LOVE being more hydrodynamic. Every bit of information I need is clearly laid out on its super easy to read screen.

I especially like the fact that I don’t have to sit through a dumb scroll for repetitive diving. At the surface, I just push a button to determine how much bottom time I will get if the divemaster tells me the next dive will be at 70 feet.

Looking for options I stumbled across the Henderson 17oz. Superior Polyolefin suit. Made from a 300 Denier Polyolefin/lycra fabric it is durable and comfortable. It has a brushed velour lining that has a nice feel against the skin. Being a fabric suit and not neoprene it is neutrally buoyant, will dry very fast, and is resistant to the damaging effects of the sun as well as chlorine. I was pleased at how comfortable it fit, thinking the ďsqueezeĒ of a wetsuit wonít be missed at all. The thumb loops and ankle stirrups were nice and will be very useful should I use this later on underneath my 7mm wetsuit, but for the time being they just helped with the over all fit of the suit. The best part of all is the material has a warmth equivalent to 2mm neoprene wetsuit!

In a nutshell, this suit was perfect for what I needed. Light weight, durable, comfortable, and warm! The bonus of not being buoyant made this an easy choice for not only this trip, but for many more in the future!


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Henderson H2 Hyperstretch Titanium Gloves
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

When it came to gloves for scuba diving Iíve always been of the mindset that the most inexpensive glove I could get my hands into would do the trick. For some reason Iím harder on my diving gloves than the average diver. Expensive or cheap it seems my hands are pretty equal in the speed with which theyíd destroy a pair of gloves. Add to that the fact that I enjoy underwater photography, so I have to deal with the trade off of warmth to dexterity in the chilly Pacific waters that I dive in most commonly.

Since normal neoprene gloves tend to be very unforgiving and offer very little feel through the material making it very difficult to manipulate small buttons or dials on a piece of photographic equipment Iíve always had to go with the thinnest pair of gloves I could stand and hope for the best in terms of keeping my fingers warm. And for me this becomes a bit more of an issue due to a small incident I had with and aircraft and a faulty liquid oxygen servicing cart back in my military days. The frost bite I suffered has rendered a couple of fingertips extremely sensitive to cold conditions. For many years of diving, itís been a constant, often uncomfortable juggling act of destroying gloves and trying a new one in search of just the right combination of thickness to dexterity.

Finally I think Iíve found the perfect combination and solution to all my issues. Henderson has introduced the H2 Hyperstretch Titanium Glove. Iíd tried the previous version of Hendersonís glove and while very nice and quality made I had the same exact result Iíd had with any glove. Basically I ripped out the seams and wore through the fingertips in nothing flat. Making it a rather spendy experiment once again. The new H2 gloves offer the same 250% stretch advantage over a regular neoprene glove that the previous version did but has been improved with a fantastic new fabric Henderson calls Aquasilk. This new material is amazingly more durable than the old nylon fabric and resists ďpillingĒ and wear from Velcro or over use. Being more durable while maintaining its flexibility also means the glove wonít ďballoonĒ on you or fill with excess water due to the fact that the glove is so flexible it stretches when you move about or use it in a moving water condition such as surf or surge. The last major advantage Iíve been exited to discover is this amazing flexibility in the fabric equates directly into dexterity. Finally Iíve found a glove that is thick enough to keep my hands and fingers warm while at the same time allowing me the dexterity to work my camera and diving lights and pretty much anything else I choose to do during a dive. Since Iíve began using them they have so far withstood the torture I put my gear through better than any glove Iíve owned in many, many years. Iím excited to say; thanks to Henderson Iíve finally found the perfect scuba diving glove for me!


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H2O 150 Foot Finger Spool
This is a great all-around reel. Great to use for your to send up your drift flag. As you drift you can feed it out with ease or reel it in with ease as you go up and down in depth as you drift along with the current. This is also a good reel to use as you sit at your safety stop you can send up your marker buoy to let boat that are going over head to keep there distance so you can come up to the surface safely or to let the boat know where you are at so the can see you better. You also have enough length on this reel so if you are at depth you will have enough line to send up a buoy and it reach the surface. It is a small compact reel that will fit into and BCD pocket. It is always nice to have a reel and marker buoy on you when your diving and this works wheel with and buoy you have.
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H2O Audio iDive Underwater Apple iPod MP3 Housing

Scuba Instructor: Melinda

Still diving without a soundtrack?

For the past twenty years, I have enjoyed music while scuba diving. Yep, in one form or another, this technology has been around for a while, but H20 Audio has perfected the matter by incorporating an amplifier so you experience stereo quality sound. Additionally, you have the same access to your controls that you have topside on your ipod.

So it sounds a bit weird, but let me assure you that once you add a soundtrack to scuba, it will seem as essential as carrying a camera.

Would you go for a run without bringing your tunes? Do you take long car rides without listening to music? Do you prefer silent films to talkiesÖooops, canít even use that last example since all silent films have smoking soundtracks. Well, if you can answer yes to the first two questions, you are exempt from purchasing an H20 Audio idive 300.

I have a few playlists that I enjoy which are based on the type of dives that I plan to do. If any of my H20 Audio fans have some music selection ideas, will you please drop us an email at ideas@scuba.com so I can share them with new H20 Audio users? Thanks kindly for your contributions.

Thank you for your time, and here is wishing you very happy diving.


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Hyperflex by Henderson 3mm Solor Cap
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

For diving in warm water I love this cap. I spend a lot time at the surface of the water doing skill instructions and doing surface swims to and from dive sites on Oahu, Hawaii. This cap works well to keep my head warm while underwater and with the visor in the front helps to keep the sun out of my eyes and helps protect the top of my head from the sun even though I am in warm water. You still lose 25% of your body heat from your head, so this does help to retain your body heat. Which in turn helps to keep you warmer while underwater.

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Innovative Deluxe Innertube Cover
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

As an scuba instructor this is a must need item. When doing my open water dive this is a great surface support station. It is my dive flag, my down line, and I also have my students hold on to it if they are having issues with staying on the surface and so they can hear me better while I go over skills or about the dive we are going to be doing. The bottom of the float is made of mesh so it is easy to drain out the water. Plus you can also store items inside the float extra weight, or other common items that you can lose or need for the dive.

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Liquid Image HD Video Mask
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Scuba is a tough industry to be a designer or engineer. For the first few decades it was pretty easy to create something new and exciting basically because you didnít have much of a measuring stick to compare with. The sport was new, the industry was new and pretty much everything was either home-made or built new from scratch. A great deal of trial and error was applied to the products the divers were using in the water and generally the deciding factor over whether the new idea was good or not was if the piece of gear performed the 2nd and 3rd time you used it in the water.

It would seem over the past decade or so, with the exception of the Split Fin there has been a bit of a lull in creative innovation of new dive gear. Thatís not to say the gear we use hasnít been improved upon and made lighter, more reliable and easier to use than ever before, it just seems that there has not been anything really new and exciting in some time. Until now.

Liquid Image has taken a necessary piece of equipment and combined it with one of the more fun accessories for diving and introduced the HD Video Mask! The creative people over at Liquid Image have taken a 5 Megapixel Camera with 780P HD video and combined them with a high quality diving mask and come up with a product that has made missing that amazing, once in a life time occurrence during your dive a thing of the past!

The lens is located above the frame of the mask situated in the center between your eyes. Your masks lenses have cross hairs on them that at first glance would seem very distracting during your dive. They donít interfere at all as you hardly notice them unless you are looking for them, but when you need them they serve to show you exactly what your camera is seeing. You canít miss your shot by not lining up the camera. The power/shutter lever is located above the right upper corner of the mask and is easy to find. Simply grasp your mask as if you were going to clear it and youíll have the shutter under your fingertip! You can turn the power on and off or select stills or video mode from here and a little LED indicator light inside your mask will remind you what is active at a glance!

The camera itself has 16mb of internal memory which doesnít allow for a lot of photos (approximately 25-27) but will accept a micro SD or Micro SDHC card up to 32GB! With that card that means over 36,000 still images or 16 HOURS of video out of your dive mask! Of course this is limited by your battery life. Using normal Alkaline batteries, you can get up to 500 still images which isnít bad, but only 16 minutes of video. The battery life is better using Lithium batteries with 2000 stills or 2 hours of video. Usually more than a diver would be able to get out of a tank of air.

Once done with your diving, the package comes with a USB cable and software (in case you donít already have an editing program) that will allow you to check out your work on your PC or Mac and manipulate them into shots youíll share with family and friends! When you are finished it stores in a protective hard case, also included, for safe keeping until your next dives. And when you are ready to use it again theyíve even included some silicone grease designed to keep the O-ring clean, moist and sealed dive after dive. The mask comes in two sizes so itís a fair bet that this will be an item perfect for every diver!


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Max Air 35 Scuba Compressor
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

There have been many times over the years that Iíve taken off for a weekend of diving someplace and the conditions were so surprisingly fantastic that I wished Iíd have thought to bring more cylinders. Or even more commonly, there have been more times than I care to count over the last 30 years that Iíve had to pass on a spur of the moment evening dive because I hadnít filled my cylinders after my last dive and by the time I got home the local dive shop was going to be closed. My poor pre-planning or bad timing has caused many missed adventures with squid runs, grey whales, porpoise, and other exciting to see rare dives for the average diver. But no more.

I made the decision to purchase a Nitrox ready instrument for a liveaboard dive trip. I took my time about making a decision, reading about everything on the market. There are so many great choices nowadays: should I get Nitrox ready? PC downloadable? Back lit? User changeable batteries? ...then it occurred to me: why not get them all!

The Max Air 35 compressor is perfect for these exact types of divers. The perfect ďpersonal compressorĒ, itís designed to be a smaller portable compressor made to fill a few bottles through out the week or month for the every day diver. I chose the gas powered unit for portability. I can throw it into the back of my truck and take it along for those weekend trips that I didnít plan to do more than a dive but found that my buddy and I canít resist another dive or 3 for what ever reason. Iíll never again miss out on an after-work evening dive as it is capable of filling an average aluminum 80 cylinder in about 20 Ė 25 minutes.

The compressor is extremely easy to maintain. If you can keep your lawn mower running this wonít be any more difficult. The only difference is keeping an eye on the filter cartridge, which is extremely easy to check and replace. It can be done in less than a minute. The oil is a common synthetic compressor oil from Max Air that can be picked up pretty commonly at any Max Air Dealer.

The compressor is extremely easy to maintain. If you can keep your lawn mower running this wonít be any more difficult. The only difference is keeping an eye on the filter cartridge, which is extremely easy to check and replace. It can be done in less than a minute. The oil is a common synthetic compressor oil from Max Air that can be picked up pretty commonly at any Max Air Dealer.

If you are the diver that thinks they have everything, Iíd recommend looking at this unit. At the price itíll be well over 600 dives before you actually save money on your fills, but what price can you put on having to hear about being the diver in your group that missed ďthat one amazing diveĒ.


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Ocean Reef Neptune Space Full Face Mask
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Iíve always had the impression that full faced masks where far more trouble than they were worth. Over the years Iíve had the chance to fiddle around with them in the pool as well as a few dives when I lived in the Keys, and it always seemed their advantages and novelty was easily countered by the fact that they were uncomfortable, made it difficult to clear your ears and seemed to leak constantly no matter how well they fit topside. And while they offered a fantastic field of view, having such a large airspace strapped to the front of your head seemed to offer various buoyancy challenges as well. It always seemed to me that if you were doing the type of diving that required one, it was an extremely useful piece of gear to have, but just wasnít the best choice for a recreational diver.

My impressions were changed when I came across the Ocean Reef Neptune Space mask. At first glance I noticed how much lighter it seemed than the old masks Iíd tried. Ocean Reef uses Crystal Silicone in the construction of the skirt making it soft and light weight not to mention very pliable so as to give the user a very comfortable seal around their face. Inspecting it closer I noticed that the head harness is connected to the face shield itself allowing the pressure from adjusting the mask to be spread around the entire unit in order to help maintain a tight yet comfortable seal.

Putting it on, one of the first things I noticed was the surface air valve came pre-installed in the unit I was looking at. It is placed in a very common sense spot and with a quick twist I was breathing outside air! This, in this case was important, as the mask wasnít hooked up to an air source, being in the showroom and all. The equalization plugs were not quite set to match up with my nostrils correctly and I started to wonder if this was going to be an issue. Upon removing the mask, I was happy to see that the equalization system has a tri-dimensional adjustment allowing for an easy adapting to my nose. It took a few minutes to get used to having the little plugs blocking my nostrils but after a bit of practice I didnít give it a second thought.

When I hooked the system up to my second stage, and took it for a couple dives, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the lower part of the seal on the mask slips just under your chin and helps keep the mask secured in place. No more grasping the mask and readjusting it in order to keep it from riding up on your head. The second stage performed very comfortably, delivering air effortlessly and allowed me to breath through either my nose or my mouth. The air circulates inside the mask in a manor that keeps the face shield free from fogging and with exhaust valves located on the sides of the mask; you can set them to have your bubbles go pretty much where you want them. Iím very pleased I wandered across the Neptune Space mask. Iím looking forward to adding the Quick Disconnect hose and fitting to the system to make it easier to store and care for my mask between dives.


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Ocean Reef Alpha Under Water Cell Phone (UWCP)
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

This one of the best ideas in the diving business to come out in years. If you wear a full face mask like I do, then this is a must have. I work for a dive shop and I can always stay in touch with them letting them know what is going on at any time during the dive. Let them know that we are doing are safety stop and be back at the shop in 30 minutes. Also, I can always talk with my friends and let them know when I would be able to meet up with them for dinner and find out what they all want for dinner and get it all while Iím still underwater i.e. lobster, fish, octopus. This is a must for any full face mask divers.

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Oceanic Cargo Wheeled Duffel
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

When I think of dive bags I always used to get this vision in my mind of these monstrous bags designed to hold every possible item a diver could possibly ever need for a year long expedition to the furthest reaches of our imaginations.  You couldn’t miss them rolling through the airport.  The owners proudly pulling these virtual nylon warehouses with pockets on the sides for fins, pockets in the front for regulators, another chock full of every spare trinket that may break or get lost for entire island of divers, and pockets on the back for who knows what.  And they are always so completely stuffed with gear an army drill sergeant would be able to sternly bounce a quarter off of them like a bunk.  These bags were built so well, with their heavy-duty ballistic nylon outside and metal frames on the inside that one could imagine it surviving the worst of accidents unscathed only to be unearthed by some archeologist well into the future.

But these days, with airlines tightening up luggage restrictions, putting a premium on your luggage space and the over all weight of what you are allowed to pack, it seems these bags are destined to meet the same fate as the dinosaurs that they are.  The only problem is that divers still travel and need some sort of a jack-of-all-trades bag that fits their needs as well as the airlines requirements.  This is where the Oceanic Cargo Wheeled Duffel emerges as one of the best of the new generation of dive bag.  It is fairly light weight when empty.  A good deal lighter than the older style of bags, but still utilizes a heavy weight of nylon to protect your gear. It boasts a spacious main compartment still easily capable of handling a full set of gear (or even 2 sets of tropical gear), and 2 zippered fin compartments built into the sides of the bag.  The heavy-duty wheels mean it’ll handle the pavement even when full of wet gear.  

The retractable pull handle seems to be just the right length, even with my long legs, and it has 3 handles on it, (2 of which have rubberized grips) that make it easy to grab and toss in and out of the trunk of the car our back or your pickup.  Prior to handing it over to the baggage handler at the airport, you can give a couple tugs on the external compression straps to make sure that your luggage will not only remain securely as you packed it but is well within the dimensional confines of your particular airlines allowances.  The Oceanic Cargo Wheeled Duffel is a bag that will offer travelling divers exactly what they need!


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Oceanic GT3/CDX5 Regulator
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

I used work for on the technical side of things for a major scuba equipment manufacturer. My experiences there taught me more than I already knew about gear and how it works. One of the things I always look for in my equipment is simple designs and reliable performance. I feel that once you have those 2 covered anything else is just extra. Iíd used my older regulators for some time and not so much out of loyalty to my former employer but because I liked them. Iíve had the chance to demo gear from various manufacturers over the years and can usually find something I like about this regulator or that, but in the end Iíd still migrate back.

The Oceanic GT3/CDX5 regulator is one of the only ones to really change my feelings. First off, it is a very simple design. Itís made to durable, intended to last for many years of diving. And finally, it breathes very easily and comfortably. Add the lifetime warranty for parts and its moderate price and you really get a total package. The first stage is a very high performance piece of gear designed to give dependable, easy breaths no matter how shallow or deep the diver is or how high or low the tank pressure may be. It is sealed 1st stage which means so long as you take care of it, water and other corrosive contaminates never enter inside the regulator potentially wearing parts out. This keeps annual service costs down as the only thing ever replaced are the common parts included in the service kit.

The 2nd stage design is equally as simple. The adjustment allows you to tune the breathing to your liking. It is very light weight making it comfortable in your mouth even on some of the longer dives. The orthodontic designed mouthpiece adds just another layer of comfort.

I had every intention of using my old regulator until I quit diving, but the Oceanic GT3/CDX5 turned out to be just too great of a deal and choice to pass on!


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Oceanic Ultra-Dry Snorkel
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

I used to hate snorkels. I only had one because I was required to as an instructor. Before that, it was rare youíd find me with a snorkel on my mask unless some silly resort or boat made me carry it. And this isnít a new. Iíve hated snorkels since they were all black rubber without a purge valve. I just really never saw the ďneedĒ for me to use one. Why deal with the hassle of blowing the water from a snorkel when I can just lift my head or roll over on my back and breath? Even in choppy water it just didnít make sense.

That all changed one fun day in Hawaii.

On a non-diving trip to Maui I joined some non-diving friends for an afternoon at Molokini Crater snorkeling. I had grabbed some gear before the trip on the off chance Iíd find the time to get into the water and among that was the Oceanic Ultra-Dry snorkel. Still hating snorkels I figured Iíd be able to laze around the surface and relax for a few hours, see a few colorful fish that had grown accustomed to humanís daily intrusions. For the first half of the afternoon I was fairly impressed with how comfortable the snorkel fit into my mouth. The styling was extremely ergonomic with the mouthpiece being tipped just right allowing for an effortless fit. But it was still a snorkel and I still had every intention of ditching it or giving it away as soon as I got home.

Then the Manta Ray showed up.

Iíd not really paid attention to the fact that the breeze had helped float me out away from everybody else and toward the middle. As I was getting ready to head back to the boat and think up an excuse as to why I was going to nap in the sunny deck for the rest of the afternoon a Manta swam past me. After the initial shock of seeing something Iíd dreamed my entire diving career of being in the water with I calmed down a bit and swam parallel to it for a ways. Itíd swim under me then back around. Itíd swim off in the distance and back. The entire time Iím moving, looking, dunking the snorkel CONSTANTLY in my efforts to soak up as much time as I can watching this graceful creature. One more than one occasion Iíd dive down and swim along with it under the water until my lungs were screaming for air. Iíd zoom up to the surface, instantly get a breath of air and down Iíd go again. After about 45 minutes the Manta left us and we were all called back to the boat.

It wasnít until we were on the ride back that Iíd begun to realize that not a single drop of water ever got into my snorkel. There was no clearing water out of it at all! I just surfaced and breathed. And all the times Iíd been on the surface moving and looking, and dipping the end in the ocean, not once did I get surprised by a mouthful of water that I had to spit out. The snorkel really was comfortable, made well, and as dry as it claimed! What a pleasant surprise. I decided right then and there to keep that piece of gear as it isnít every day you come across something that lives up to its billing such as that.

I still hate snorkels, but when I do go to use one, the Oceanic Ultra-Dry is the ONLY one Iíll choose.


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Oceanic Delta 4.1 /FDX-10 Regulator
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

This is one of the best regulators that I have used over the years of diving. As an Instructor I am diving everyday 2 or 3 times a day. That takes its toll on your equipment. This regulator with itís annual services has held up for me for years. With the dry valve technology I do not have to worry about water getting into my first stage. Also, I do a lot of boat dives and the diver venturi switch makes a great addition to this regulator to help with the regulator free-flow when you hit the water after giant stride entry into the water, and with the diver adjustable knob you can get as much air as you want. When it comes to the life support equipment I would spend a little extra and get the peace of mind this regulator gives you.

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Oceanic Vortex V-6 Fins
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Iíve been a split fin user literally since the day they hit the stores. I canít think of any reason to not use a pair, and over the years have disproven every single argument against split fins that has come down the pike. The only thing I really havenít enjoyed about my trusty fins has been their weight out of the water. Now-a-days with the airlines getting their shorts all in a wad over weight restrictions and such, saving a few pounds in our luggage is more important than ever.

Thatís where the V-6 fins come into play. Light weight and smaller than my open heel fins, they pack very easily. In fact, Iíve put them in my carry-on a few times on trips that I was not checking a bag. But that is the only place these fins seem to come up ďshortĒ in comparison. The foot pocket fits comfortably with or without a fin sock, and the performance is exactly what you hope to get out of a split fin. They kick easily, helping you to avoid leg cramps, offer you great control in the water and give you the chance to relax and enjoy your dive or snorkeling outing with ease and comfort. Like any good split fin they zoom into action with very little effort on your part when you need them to, allowing you to hurry over to see that exciting fish or animal before it gets away!

On a non-diving trip to Maui I joined some non-diving friends for an afternoon at Molokini Crater snorkeling. I had grabbed some gear before the trip on the off chance Iíd find the time to get into the water and among that was the Oceanic Ultra-Dry snorkel. Still hating snorkels I figured Iíd be able to laze around the surface and relax for a few hours, see a few colorful fish that had grown accustomed to humanís daily intrusions. For the first half of the afternoon I was fairly impressed with how comfortable the snorkel fit into my mouth. The styling was extremely ergonomic with the mouthpiece being tipped just right allowing for an effortless fit. But it was still a snorkel and I still had every intention of ditching it or giving it away as soon as I got home.

Scuba or snorkeling, these light weight fins are the only way to go if you are planning on enjoying a warm water trip!


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Polar Fleece Beanie
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

If get the chills between dives or you get cold going from dive site to dive site on the boat. This beanie will help keep the chill off. Since you lose 25% of your body heat through your head, this will help retain the heat which will help keep you warmer.

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Princeton Tec Shockwave L.E.D. Light
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Some companies just canít help themselves when it comes to improving on a good thing. Iíve owned a Princeton Tech Shockwave since they first hit the stores some years ago. I was at the time replacing an older 8 D-Cell light with a lantern grip that had given years of good service but felt like I was underwater with a 55 gallon drum with handle on it. Heavy, cumbersome and a battery eating monster! We wonít even discuss bulb life. It was always a good idea to carry a spare, and it soon became obvious what to expect when you discovered that internally it had a space to store the extra one!

When I first came across the shockwave I was impressed by not only itís weight, feeling like a feather compared to my old faithful monster light, but how wonderfully balanced it was in my hands. The batteries lasted a little longer and the spare bulb was still something handy go keep around. Alas, after many great years of service it finally works no more. So I went looking into lights and I was completely expecting the same wonderful degree of improvement all around. Maybe a light the size of a cell phone that will light up the entire ocean! To my dismay I found what appeared to be my trusty old Shockwave was still state of the art. That feeling of disappointment was soon erased when I gave a closer look. The light now uses 3 LED bulbs that have a life expectancy greater than most of us will ever spend underwater, let alone doing night dives. The battery consumption on LED bulbs is so low that it offers anywhere from 12 Ė 20 hours of good strong burn time. The trigger is still conveniently located to be easy to use, with a very secure trigger lock to keep from using your batteries up by accident.

But it is underwater where this light really ďshinesĒ (pardon the pun). LED lights donít compare with the Xenon or Halogen counterparts when comparing lights over the counter. But under water LED light penetrates differently and gives not only a much better reach with the beam of light, but you also get a truer color! The difference is pretty remarkable! The Sealife you come across looks bright and brilliant, and the vibrant colors of a once dull looking reef can make you think itís the first time youíve visited your old favorite dive spot! If all remains the same, it looks like itís going to be some years before I am back looking for the next new improvement in dive lights.


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Promate L.E.D. Light Stick
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

If you do any night diving then this is a must have for your equipment. My girlfriend and I both use this light and we have both the flashing and the constant in different colors to keep us different or if with as group the same. We can pick each other out in a group night dive by the light on the tank. Plus it is better on the environment to use these then to use the chemical sticks.

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Sea-Doo Seascooter Explorer DPV
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

I donít know how many times in the past 30 years Iíve said ďEnough! Iíve got all the dive gear I need.Ē Only to discover something else I just had to have. Thatís exactly what happened with the Seascooter Explorer DPV. Iíd always thought of these things as expensive toys that were finicky at best on the good days and something that was just money wasted when a diver couldnít think of anything else to spend money on.

If you really wanted or needed a DPV that you could depend upon it always seemed they were several thousand dollars and really not meant for the average diver to mess around with. Most of us were just meant to watch James Bond use them in the movies or something. My thoughts were changed when I was sent to Hawaii to do equipment repair certification courses for the manufacturer I was working for at the time. One of the dive shops attending my classes offered me the use of their Sea-Doo Seascooters for an afternoon and I thought what the heck? Why not? I was pleasantly surprised to learn they werenít as large and heavy as Iíd expected. They assembled quite easily and securely enough that there was very little worry or chance of flooding the units.

In the water they were slightly negatively buoyant. Not boat anchors by any means, but if you left them on the bottom they didnít bounce around and float away on you. This is adjustable to the userís liking or needs by adding or removing weight in the compartment designed for it inside the nose cone of the unit. The grips and trigger are positioned to be comfortable and very convenient to operate and the propeller is enclosed I a cage almost eliminating any worry about getting anything tangled in the prop. It has a 3 speed switch with dual trigger operation allowing for slow cruises over the reef, to hurrying over to see that critter that disappeared behind that coral head not too far off. The top speed of 3.3 miles per hour doesnít seem like much until you are in the water and turn it on full blast. It was pleasantly surprising.

Over the past couple years itís been a useful tool to make for enjoyable dives on more than one occasion. The 90 minute run time lets me reach some of the reef systems not normally accessible without a boat or an incredibly long surface swim here in California. Something I think is probably the #1 thing I dislike the most in all of scuba. It helps get me past the areas most shore divers can reach and where I can see marine life that hasnít been frightened away by excessive human contact. But the best part of all is the price. It costs less than a high end dive computer! In the end, money well spent towards making for enjoyable fun dives! Now I think I have all the dive gear I need!


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Sealife DC1000 Camera
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

The Sealife DC1000 Camera is summed up in one quick thought. Simple and convenient. Right from the start I could see this camera was designed with that principal in mind. The camera was skillfully designed and packed with all the features I look for in a high quality piece of equipment while keeping simple and convenient in the forefront of thought. Unlike other digital cameras placed into an aftermarket housing Sealife obviously designed the camera and housing together in order to offer a system that is easy to use. I have no fear that Iíll be wishing Iíd spent a few dollars more to get ďthat one featureĒ.

When I first took it from the box and examined the housing, I noticed the simple design felt very comfortable in my hands. The shutter button placement on the top is large and easy to locate even with a pair of cold water diving gloves on. Looking at the back of the housing I noticed it has a generously sized screen for the display on the camera and the buttons for altering settings are prominent enough to be functional underwater and spaced just enough to allow for adjustments during a dive.

Next, taking the camera, I noticed that it seemed sturdy and well built. Unlike many underwater photo products I understand the camera is manufactured by a major camera company and gave me the impression I had purchased something quite a few steps higher than what I expected to receive at such an inexpensive price. On the side of the camera I located the battery door. Sliding it downward gently I was able to open it and gain access to the battery compartment. The battery slides in ďcontacts downĒ, and secured into place with the small latch. This is also the compartment that holds the SD card. Simply push it in and lock it into place. After closing and locking the door into place, I was ready to play. The power button is located on the top of the camera in a convenient location for easy use, but far enough from the shutter button to avoid confusion. Once turned on, the display screen is large, very clear and uses vibrant colors letting me know exactly what I was looking at before I shot their photo. The ever so slight shutter delay will ensures those quick, spur-of-the-moment shots are not missed. The zoom buttons are located on the back at the top for easy and convenient use.

Prior to placing the camera into the housing, a quick inspection of the O-ring should always be performed. This few seconds of added time can save expensive replacement of your camera later, not to mention help to avoid the aggravating loss of ďthat one amazing shotĒ that you thought you took during your dive. I simply pushed the o-ring with my thumb or finger along the groove it sets in, and when it bubbles up from the housing, gently pulled it free. As always I put a small dab of silicone grease on your fingers and rubbed it around. I was taught ďIf you can see blobs of grease on your fingers, you are probably using a bit too muchĒ. Making a ďtriangleĒ by pressing my thumb, forefinger and middle finger together, I gently pulled the o-ring between them, allowing the silicone on my fingertips to lubricate the o-ring as well as letting my fingers catch any dust or grit that may be in the way. Once finished, I gently and easily replaced the o-ring into its groove.

The camera sets into the housing easily and securely. There is no sloppy play between camera and housing, so it is very simple to be sure the camera is set properly. I noticed in the top of the door, before you close it, is a small tube shaped groove. This is the pre-made slot for your moisture muncher. I always examine my moisture muncher and make sure it is still BLUE in color. As they absorb condensation and do their job protecting the camera from getting damp, they will turn pink. Simply pop it free from its slot and insert a new one. Again, a simple step, often over looked that can be the difference between the surprise once in a lifetime shot and a foggy indistinguishable photo.

Closing the door, and squeezing it together the latch will engage on the side. The easy to secure latch hooks over a catch and with very little effort is pressed flat. When the latch is pressed against the housing it pulls the door and compresses the o-ring giving a secure seal. If the latch is not lying flat, the housing is not locked and is not water tight. Open it again and re-secure the lock. I have opened and closed these latches dozens of times and have yet to have one not secure quickly and easily on the first try. Sealifeís latch system is easily one of the easiest to use on any camera and housing system on the market today. It is almost impossible to imagine broken fingernails or gouges in skin softened by the water from sharp edges or difficult to release clamps that are so common on most every other housing available.

I was extremely pleased to learn that these few minutes of familiarizing myself with my new camera prior to loading it into the housing has paid off in a very big way as every single function on the camera is accessible through the housing in the same spot as it was before I placed the camera inside. Everything is clearly marked and there is no memory or guesswork involved in ensuring I got clear, fantastic pictures and memories of my adventures.

Clearly Sealife has hit the bullís eye with this system. They have created a camera and housing system that is easily one of the most reliable, convenient and easy to use products for divers in some years, and in the process not only figured out how to cram it with all the features and functions that divers might find necessary but have also kept it one of the most affordable systems offered today. Dollar for Dollar this is one of the best buys in underwater photography, if not the entire scuba industry.


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Sealife DC1200 Camera
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

The Sealife DC1200 Camera is summed up in one quick thought. Simple and convenient. Right from the start I could see this camera was designed with that principal in mind. The camera was skillfully designed and packed with all the features I look for in a high quality piece of equipment while keeping simple and convenient in the forefront of thought. Unlike other digital cameras placed into an aftermarket housing Sealife obviously designed the camera and housing together in order to offer a system that is simple, compact and easy to use while being packed with all the functions cameras costing far more possess. I have no fear that I'll be wishing I'd spent a few dollars more to get "that one feature" to create amazing underwater shots.

When I first took it from the box and examined the housing, I noticed the simple design felt very natural and comfortable in my hands. The shutter button placement on the top is large and easy to locate even when wearing a pair of cold water diving gloves. Looking at the back of the housing I noticed it has a generously sized screen for the display on the camera and the buttons for altering settings are prominent enough to be functional underwater and spaced in a new ďpiano keyĒ layout offering amazing ease of use to allow for adjustments during a dive.

Next, taking the camera, I noticed that it seemed sturdy and well built. Unlike many underwater photo products I understand the camera is manufactured by a major camera manufacturer and gave me the impression I had purchased something quite a few steps higher than what I expected to receive at such an inexpensive price. On the side of the camera I located the battery door. Sliding it downward gently I was able to open it and gain access to the battery compartment. The battery slides in "contacts down", and secures into place with the small latch. This is also the compartment that holds the SD card. Simply push it in and lock it into place. After closing and locking the door into place, I was ready to play. The power button is located on the top of the camera in a convenient location for easy use, but far enough from the shutter button to avoid confusion. Once turned on, the display screen is large, very clear and uses vibrant colors letting me know exactly what I was looking at before I shot the photo. The ever so slight shutter delay will ensure those quick, spur-of-the-moment shots are not missed. The zoom buttons are located on the back at the top for easy and convenient use.

Prior to placing the camera into the housing, a quick inspection of the O-ring should always be performed. This few seconds of added time can save expensive replacement of your camera later, not to mention help to avoid the aggravating loss of "that one amazing shot" that you thought you took during your dive. I simply pushed the o-ring with my thumb or finger along the groove it sets in, and when it bubbles up from the housing, gently pulled it free. As always I put a small dab of silicone grease on my fingers and rubbed it around. I was taught "If you can see blobs of grease on your fingers, you are probably using a bit too much". The idea is to make a "triangle" by pressing my thumb, forefinger and middle finger together around the O-ring. Then gently pull the o-ring between them, allowing the silicone on my fingertips to lubricate the o-ring as well as letting my fingers catch any dust or grit that may be in the way. Once finished, I gently and easily replaced the o-ring into its groove.

The camera sets into the housing easily and securely. There is no sloppy play between camera and housing, so it is very simple to be sure the camera is set properly. I noticed in the top of the door, before you close it, is a small tube shaped groove. This is the pre-made slot for your moisture muncher. I always examine my moisture muncher and make sure it is still BLUE in color. As they absorb condensation and do their job protecting the camera from getting damp, the cartridge will turn pink. Simply pop it free from its slot and insert a new one. Again a simple step, often over looked, that can be the difference between the surprise once in a lifetime shot and a foggy indistinguishable photo.

Closing the door, and gently squeezing it together will allow the latch to engage on the side. The easy to secure latch hooks over a catch and with very little effort is pressed flat. When the latch is pressed against the housing it pulls the door and compresses the o-ring giving a secure seal. If the latch is not lying flat, the housing is not locked and is not water tight. If this is the case, open it again and re-secure the lock. I have opened and closed these latches dozens of times and have yet to have one not secure quickly and easily on the first try. Sealife's latch system is simply one of the easiest to use on any camera and housing system on the market today. It is almost impossible to imagine broken fingernails or gouges in skin softened by the water from sharp edges or difficult to release clamps that are so common on most every other housing available.

I was extremely pleased to learn that these few minutes of familiarizing myself with my new camera prior to loading it into the housing has paid off in a very big way as every single function on the camera is accessible through the housing in the same spot as it was before I placed the camera inside. Everything is clearly marked and there is no memory or guesswork involved in ensuring that I got clear, fantastic pictures and memories of my adventures.

Clearly Sealife has hit the bull's eye with this system. They have created a camera and housing system that is easily one of the most reliable, convenient and easy to use products for divers in some years. In the process they have not only figured out how to cram it with all the features and functions that divers might find necessary but have also kept it one of the most affordable systems offered today. Dollar for Dollar this is one of the best buys in underwater photography, if not the entire scuba industry.


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Severe Weather After Dive Jacket
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Upon seeing the Severe Weather After Dive Hooded Jacket offered online my first impression was that of a cheap windbreaker. A coat for $39.95? How good can it be? But for that price I figured ďwhat the heck?Ē it could always get relegated to behind the seat of my truck for those surprise rainy days. The kinds of situations where something is better than nothing and looks or durability were just not a factor.

When my jacket arrived I was more than pleasantly surprised to learn that I couldnít have been further off the mark with my uninformed evaluation. At first touch the Jacket is very deceptively light weight. The outer shell is made from a very durable waterproof material. One of the advantages to a waterproof material is that it doesnít breath. Combine that with the light fleece lining on the inside and you get a very warm coat with far less weight than youíd expect. The hood easily zips on and off depending upon your preference or need and the pockets while positioned horizontally instead of at an angle, are still roomy and easy to access. The sleeves are loose fitting, and would make it very easy to pull on over a wetsuit if you chose to.

Since purchasing one each for myself and my girlfriend Iíve purchased 2 more for other family members who actually took them as their only jacket on an Alaskan Cruise. They worked perfectly as the Jackets packed very well and kept them more than warm through out the trip. My own uses have ranged from casual ďwear-aroundĒ jacket on a cool day to changing a tire in a driving rainstorm and I have to say Iím quite impressed. Iíll probably be buying a spare to use for my original thought. A good jacket to keep behind the seat of the truck for an emergency.


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Sherwood Wisdom 2 Computer
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

When choosing dive computers, the first thing I factor in is how lazy I am. These days I dive to relax. Calm water. Nice day. Colorful fishies. Iím there. If a gentle breeze blows a ripple across the waterís surface, itís too rough for me to make a beach entry. I figure in close to 30 years in our sport, Iíve earned the right to be picky and lazy.

So when I choose a dive computer I want it to give me what I need to know without any effort what so ever.  How much air do I have left, how deep am I right now, and how long until I have to get out of the water? The Wisdom dive computer gives me this info in LARGE, BOLD NUMBERS.  Even if I’d not been in the water in awhile they are so blatantly situated on the main screen of the computer that you can’t possibly have trouble finding them.  Add to that the color coded bar graphs backing up that information, indicating your nitrogen/oxygen loading and your ascent rate, both situated in easy to see spots around the perimeter of the computer and you have the ultimate lazy diver’s dive computer.

Every other feature you desire in a high-end dive computer is there as well. Log book will track up to 50 dives. Itís PC downloadable, back lit, and very simple to program. Thereís quite a list of things you can program to customize the computer to yourself as well. Low tank pressure alarm, turn around gas pressure alarm, depth alarm, ascent rate alarm are all very easy to set. And of course, my favorite. No alarms at all. You can set the sampling rate of the unit (a faster sampling rate tends to eat more memory space, giving you fewer dives logged), metric or imperial readings and your gas mixtures with equal ease. It comes in a variety of configurations as well; with a compass, with a quick disconnect, with both the compass and quick disconnect or just as the computer and the hose alone!

All in all, this computer has all the bells and whistles the sport diver would ever need!


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Sub-Series Hair and Skin Care for Divers
Reviewed by Instructor: Melinda

I have long hair with unnatural blond highlights and over the course of my 20 years of diving I've tried every possible technique to protect my hair from the ravages of chlorine and salt.

Well, thanks to SubSeries and their fantastic line of ocean and chlorine specific hair care products, those days are forever behind me.

No more, will I experience the dread of ripping my hair to shreds during post dive comb outs. No more will my cool vacation photos feature clown-grade frizzy hair.

I remember the puzzling process of trying to remember what color hair I was born with and dying it back to that color in hopes that it would hold up better to the salt water exposure if I didn’t bleach it; only to learn that it was impossible to keep the color looking nice due to the fading that occurred in the pool and ocean environments.

I tried mayonnaise, baby oil, braiding, tight swim caps and more before finding the SubSeries products.

I use the shampoo and conditioner daily because the quality is high and the price is equal to that for any other salon grade hair care products. It’s also cool that the bottles look like scuba tanks. It just seems to start my day out right to use these fine products and to be reminded of all of my amazing diving adventures even though the day at hand may have less excitement in store.

I feel good to purchase a product that has been engineered and fabricated here in the USA. The same scientific minds that created many of the Avena Hair and body products are responsible for my gorgeous post dive hair.

I love the scalp tingle and smell of the peppermint oil infused shampoo which thoroughly cleans, yet does not dry out my long hair.

I love the conditioner, which is fast and easy to use. No long, dramatic shower stints. Rub a small amount in and rinse it out after 2 minutes. This product provides sun protection and the keratin makes the hair shaft stronger.

The crown jewel…the secret weapon…is the hair protectant. It is in a pump bottle and has keratin and some oils and other magical ingredients that turbo charge your hair shafts to make them hard and slick so they do not yield to the normal damage that salt and chlorine can do. If I carried a dozen extra bottles with me on a day of diving, I could sell them all as you will absolutely wow fellow long haired divers when u emerge and effortlessly run a comb through your hair at the end of each dive.

Is it too much to ask for underwater adventure and great hair afterwards? Not any more.


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Titanium BC Knife
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

If you are looking for a small knife this is great to carry with you when you are diving. It is made out for Titanium which will never rust and will hold its sharpness longer than a stainless steel blade. This is a small lightweight knife that you can mount on your BCD in a lot of different positions or you can get two knife straps and strap it to your forearm or leg. You can pull it out or put it back in its sheath with one hand and the push of a button. As with all BC knifes if you mount it where you do not have direct line of sight at it, I do suggest you tie a small line of rope or strong string arms length so if you do miss the sheath and it falls out it will only be arms length away. This is a must have for any diver that needs a good long lasting knife.

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Titanium Dive Knife
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Dive knives are something most instructors donít spent a lot of time explaining to their students. Normally the topic is sped past during the equipment portion of a class as something everybody should have with possibly a sprinkling of why in terms of safety. Most dive classes are more interested in the exciting gear we all want to learn about such as a regulator or bcd figuring we all know what a knife does. All too often we as consumers purchase the most inexpensive knife we can find simply to have one strapped to our bcd or legs only to find later on weíve not purchased what weíd hoped to.

Stainless steel corrodes even with the best of care, and typically doesnít hold enough of an edge to cut air, let alone much of anything else. Mini knives are inexpensive and a bit less cumbersome when mounted to your gear as opposed to your leg, but if you are diving in conditions requiring 3mm or thicker gloves, gripping one can be a challenge as our loss of dexterity through a layer of neoprene makes them difficult to use.

The Scuba Titanium Dive Knife takes into account everything a diver should need to concern themselves with when considering which piece of equipment to choose. It has a very comfortable hand grip that allows for a secure grasp of the knife even with thick cold-water gloves on. At its base is a large metal butt-cap that is terrific for using as a tank banger to get or keep the attention of a dive buddy or class. A hole drilled in the end of the hand grip allows the diver to use a lanyard or possibly mount some sort of retaining device to the knife if you are in an environment where losing it is going to be an issue. Iím not a huge fan of a lanyard on my knife, as I feel it is just another thing dangling from my gear to get fouled on the reef, or me or what ever, but I am sure there are situations where it would be a very handy feature to have. The titanium construction of the knife will help eliminate corrosion concerns and hold an edge very well, a fact Iíve all too painfully found out myself a time or two. The blade has every feature that a diver should deem important. It has a very sharp straight edge, but more importantly the other side has a serrated edge that runs nearly the entire length of the blade. This edge is much more functional when used under water and is a MUST for any good dive knife. The final blade feature that is something every dive knife should have is the line cutter. The perfect tool for slicing through mono-filament fishing line or pesky kelp strands. The knife is available in a blunt or pointed tip depending upon your preference.

Included with the knife is a very sturdy, hard plastic sheath that is secure but allows for easy one-hand removal of the knife and 2 leg straps. All in all, one of the best values for your money in a dive knife. If you want a knife that is strong, sharp, wonít corrode and is a real piece of scuba equipment then the Scuba Titanium Dive Knife should be your first and only stop.


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Underwater Kinetics AquaSun e.L.E.D. Rechargeable Dive Light
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Iíve never been a fan of spending a lot of money on a rechargeable dive light. Iíve had one or two over the years, dating back to the very early 80ís and they were always terribly expensive and often seemed to have major issues. If you dropped them, frequently the power cell wouldnít hold a charge any longer. They were big, heavy and cumbersome to deal with. It always seemed like for the price a smaller D-cell or C-cell powered light was the better way to go.

While comparatively inexpensive, the problem with these lights was batteries and bulbs. They donít last long, can be heavy, and cost money to replace. Sometimes if you donít plan ahead, they can be impossible to obtain, say on a boat trip and even in some 3rd World countries. Add to the mix bulbs that while nice and bright can tend to be fragile and have a bad habit of dying at the most inopportune of times. These lights come in many variations to suit the diverís needs. Pistol grips, traditional flashlight configuration, mask mounts, and more. But in the end, the trade off between the power of the light and the longevity of your batteries turns into a never ending struggle that often keeps the divers from enjoying night diving.

When battery powered LED lights first hit the stores they were a difficult sell for many sales people. When compared to a Xenon or Halogen bulb powered light, they do not at first seem nearly as bright. LED lights work at a different wave-length than a halogen or xenon bulb and offer a much cleaner and water penetrating light. They give a much truer look at the underwater world for the divers as they are enjoying a dive. LED lights have a couple more major advantages over their predecessors in that they are not nearly as power hungry and unless the user does something really silly to the light, the bulbs have an amazingly long lifespan. For the average diver the LED light bulb could feasibly be handed from one generation to the next long before it ever burns out. But these lights were not without their minor problems as well. As the power in the batteries lessened from use there was a dramatic drop off in the amount of illumination put out by the light. This drop off in performance is often difficult to notice on the surface during a gear check as the light doesnít seem to be terribly bright on the surface anyway. Itís not until the diver enters the water that they would notice their batteries need changing. Not the best time to find you need to service a piece of equipment.

The Underwater Kinetics Aqua Sun e.L.E.D. Rechargeable Dive Light addresses many, if not all of these problems in a way no other diving light on the market today does. The very first thing a diver will notice is the intensity of the light. It is very difficult to believe that an e.L.E.D. diving light is putting out the amount of light this unit produces. It easily rivals just about any halogen or xenon bulbed light on the market and is only dwarfed by the insanely power hungry and hot burning HID dive lights. It accomplishes this with a unique heatsink built into the light head that allows the water around the light to cool the e.L.E.D. bulbs thus allowing the light to burn up to 30% brighter than any other similar light available today. The light itself can be used with a pistol grip or a lantern grip to suit the preference of the diver. In the pistol grip configuration I find it to be nicely balanced in my hand and not a tiresome problem to use through out a dive. Being an e.L.E.D. light you are safe from those accidental drops, or even dropping of gear on the light, ruining your night dive. By nature this type of bulb is extremely shock and impact resistant. You will have to damage the lightís case to destroy the light. UK goes so far as to claim the bulb life as ďlifetimeĒ. Being an e.L.E.D. light means it is designed to give consistent performance throughout your dive. The intensity of your light will be the same when you end your night as it was when you began it. The rechargeable Nicad battery is long lasting, offering up to 2 hours of continuous use on the high power setting before needing to be recharged and itself durable and resistant to being damaged by impacts or shock from the occasional slip and drop onto the ground. With 2 power settings, the diver can choose the amount of light they need for the conditions they are diving in. The last thing to consider is the price of the light. I have to admit, I didnít buy mine. I got it as a gift at a company party. At first glance the potential purchaser of this light might be turned away by the cost. Iíll be the first to admit, $330+ is a lot of money. But in comparison to other rechargeable dive lights, it is actually one of the more inexpensive ones offered in scuba. Add to your calculations the battery life being a rechargeable, the life of the bulbs being estimated as ďlifetimeĒ and the over all construction of the light it doesnít take an MIT grad to realize that it wonít be long before the average user of this light finds themselves saving quite a bit of money buy owning the Aqua Sun making it a rare value as scuba equipment goes.

Iím quite certain that barring the unforeseen loss or theft of my UK Aqua Sun light, itíll be the last dive light I ever need to own. And should the unforeseen occur, Iíll be replacing it with another without any hesitation.


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Viking Pro 1000 Surveyor Dry Suit
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

As a commercial diver, I need a dependable dry suit for the work that I was doing. The Viking Pro 1000 Surveyor Dry Suit is a great suit for this. Easy to use inflate button on the center of the chest. Also a easy to use deflate button on the right arm. The cuff rings make it east to chance out the cuff if you would ever tear one. Also the cuff rings make it easy to use the dry glove system if you are ever in the need to wear them in cold water diving. I have logged over 8000 dive in this dry suit up to 200í in both fresh and salt water and never had a issue with this suit. If you are looking for a dry suit I would highly recommend this suit as the suit to get.

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WET Splash Bomb Monster Bomb
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

This is a great toy to have poolside.  My son has a bunch of these types of toys and all his friends cannot get enough of them when there over using the pool.  Great way to pass the time in the water.


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WET Splash Bomb Football
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

This is a great way to have fun in the pool or at the beach. We take these to the lake all the time and spend hours just passing it around, when we're not out on the boat.


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XS Scuba Airwave Octo
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Safe Second Stages arenít new. The idea sprang up out of necessity decades ago, and even though it took a while for the ďold guardĒ of divers to get behind using them, they are with us to stay. For many years, the Octo, as itís commonly known, was nothing more than an additional version of the same second stage that the diver was using as their primary regulator. Itís biggest problem and the first complaint youíd hear was the fact that it was prone to annoying free flows on entry into the water. Nothing worse than your safety item wasting your air before you even get to begin your dive!

The solution to this was pretty easy. Simply have a technician de-tune the 2nd stage and back the orifice off just a bit so that the octo was slightly less sensitive to water pushing against the diaphragm and pushing on the lever. The downside to this were a few things. First the octo would breathe terrible when used. The premise of thought being the person who needed it would be grateful for ANY air in a situation where they were 100 feet underwater and suddenly found to be without it. The second being that we still had a large, clunky feeling 2nd stage bouncing around our right hip. Lastly one of the biggest issues with the octo was ease of use. The way they are designed makes it very unnatural to use in an emergency situation. Again, the user is far from unhappy with the comfort level of the air source they suddenly have but because the case is basically the same case used for the primary second stages as a cost cutting move by the manufacturers it puts the hose at an unnatural angle for the user.

The XS Scuba Airwave octo addresses all these concerns very well. It was designed from the ground up as a safe second. Although designed and engineered by people with a long history of building some of the most successful regulators in scuba, it is not a product that has evolved from any other item. The first thing you notice is how small and compact it is. Designed in a small, flat case the octo lays nicely against the diver. While still being on the right hip, where we all look for a traditional octo, it is not a large heavy object bouncing around under our arm. The faceplate is brightly colored yellow for very easy recognition when needed and best of all the problem of uncomfortable direction of the hose is solved by the octo being flat. There is no exhaust ďTĒ to get in the way or knock the diverís mask out of place. The unit can easily be used upside down or right side up with no adverse effect on its performance.

Surprisingly it breathes very similar to a middle-performance sport diving primary second stage. Iíve used it a number of times, just out of curiosity, during my dive and have been more than impressed with the way it breathes. Very easy and effortless and not as ďwetĒ as one would expect out of this type of a 2nd stage. It does not ever seem to be prone to free flows because of the way the cover and diaphragm are designed but to ensure this the designers took one extra step and added a venture adjustment switch to the unit! Turn it down and itís a de-tuned 2nd stage that will stand prepared to offer years of silent and invisible back up, switch it on and you have a great breathing piece of gear!

In the long run, Iíd stop short of calling this the proverbial ďbetter mousetrapĒ but XS Scuba has really shown what a little thought and some attention to detail can do to greatly improve on a diverís safety and convenience. The Airwave octo is easily one of the best choices in gear a diver can make.


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XS Scuba 80 Cubic Foot High Pressure Steel Tank
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

A tank is the last thing I ever thought Iíd own. I always figured you need to go to the dive shop for an air fill anyway, might as well just use one of their tanks. Most dive shops use the tried and true Aluminum 80 cylinder, and we are all taught either in our dive classes or by more experienced friends and buddies, how to compensate with our weighting for the fact that it floats at the end of a dive. We learn to deal with the fact that it hangs so low behind us as we are gearing up and entering or leaving the water that it always seems to hit the back of your legs while you walk or kick during the dive. And while it isnít truly in the way, it is just slightly irritating.

My thoughts changed when a friend showed me their new XS Scuba HP Steel 80 tank. Right off the bat you have a hard time believing it holds 80cu. feet of air like your trusty aluminum tank because it is so small! At just a bit over 19 inches tall, it is even smaller than an aluminum 63! Itís only a bit over 3 pounds heavier than an aluminum 80 yet it is in the water that its differences really becomes notable. It is negatively buoyant a whopping 9 pounds when full, but when itís empty it is STILL negative 3 pounds! That equates to 7 pounds of lead that I no longer have to put into my weight pockets or onto a weight belt to compensate for the fact that my tank. It is so small that you hardly notice it is on your back when you are getting ready to do an entry or leaving through the surf.

Lastly, I was always under the impression that a ďhigh pressureĒ tank was going to require me to change my regulator somehow. That Iíd need a DIN connection on my first stage. This tank uses what is called a DIN Pro Valve that allows me to use it with either type of first stage, so I didnít have to change a thing on my gear!


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XS Scuba Wheeled Mesh Backpack
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

This is a great bag to use as your dive bag. This bag has backpack straps that you can use to carry all your gear. Also, this is a great boat bag. You can roll your gear up and onto the boat get all your gear set-up. Since boat space is limited you can fold it up into a compact ball. Then after your done diving, to rinse your gear all you have to do is dunk the whole bag so there is no chance of losing any of your small items since all your gear is in the bag.

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XS Scuba Wheeled Mesh Duffel
Reviewed by Instructor: Darrick

This is one of the best bags I have had for boat diving. The water quickly drains out of the bag. You can roll it to the boat, throw it over your shoulder and carry it or you can us the smaller handles and us it as a backpack. It has a large curved opening so you can put your gear in and out of the bag. When you are done diving for the day you can dunk the entire bad in the tank to rinse your gear. Then just take your gear out of the bag to hang it up or dry it off.

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XS Scuba Z-Duo Mask
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

A mask is a mask, right?  You stick it to your face, inhale, hold your breath for a few seconds and if it sticks, it fits.  If it doesn’t you grab another and start again.  Simple.  After all, a mask is just a mask.  Or so I thought.  I’d dove with a version of the XS Scuba Z-Duo mask for some years.  I originally bought it because it fit and didn’t leak.  That’s all.  No other reason.  I had it for close to 10 years before, on some unlucky day, another diver decided that his giant stride entry off the back of a boat might be a softer landing if they performed it upon me.  I survived.  He survived (barely).  My mask was donated to King Trident.

No big deal.  I convinced myself it was old, and I needed a new one anyway.  I was slightly dismayed to find I couldn’t find this mask any more.  But, a mask is a mask, right?  I tried various masks over the years and found many that fit fine.  But something just didn’t feel “right”.  They held too much water when flooded, or didn’t have the “right” visibility for me. The nose pocket was too big, or too small.  I just figured it must be me getting pickier as I get old because, after all, a mask is a mask.

Then one day I saw it.  The XS Scuba Z-Duo.  I wouldn’t take my eyes off of it as I walked across the shop for fear that it’d be an illusion, vanishing before I could put my hands on it.  But there it was.  I quickly discovered what I’d been missing.  The skirt was made of a very high quality Crystal Silicone and sealed very comfortably to my face.  The strap was easily 10 times thicker than most other straps, meaning I was never going to break it, and the extremely comfortable Cue Strap is padded, helps to prevent hair getting tangled in it, and best of all adjusts easily at the back of your head, (as opposed to your temples) without having to remove the mask!   It is extremely low volume, and offers amazing vision due to the lenses being situated so close to your eyes.  The nose purge means that when I do flood it, I don’t have to touch it to clear what little water is inside.  I simply exhale through my nose and the water is gone without missing a beat!  I recalled it being so terribly convenient that you’d get in the habit of exhaling through your nose every few breaths and never having to worry about water in your mask, even with facial hair.

I hurried my prize to the register to check out before I found that none of this was true, where the instructor there informed me that it came in a variety of colors, and inquired which I’d prefer.  With a shrug I told him, as nonchalant as I could muster, it didn’t matter… a mask is just a mask, after all, isn’t it?


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Zeagle Octo-Z Breathable Inflator
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

Iíve been a fan of the integrated octo/inflator for years. I purchased a Tusa Duo Air the year they hit the market and have been more than pleased with it for many years. With my recent purchase of a new Zeagle bcd I had every intention of moving my tried and true piece of gear over to my new bcd. Why not? Iím ultimately cheap at heart and hate to spend money. Itíd really take something special to make me spend money where I didnít feel it was needed. It still works, and I keep it serviced and working perfectly.

As happens with the best of us, my curiosity got the best of me and I took a glance at the new octo/inflators. Not expecting to see much of a change in them, I was quickly surprised to see that many are much more streamlined and smaller than my good OLD Duo Air. Yet another had added a surface signaling horn to their model. And then I found the new offering from Zeagle. The Octo-Z Breathable Inflator has been around for a while, but its recent changes in design have made it a little more streamline but still allow it to fit comfortably in your hand with logical button placement for inflation and deflation of your bcd. It has an easy to find purge right on the end of the unit, just like I was already accustomed to, that allows it to be protected from accidently being pushed during a dive.

But the best discovery was yet to come! Zeagle has added a nice touch by making the end of the corrugated hoses on their bcds with a female hose thread connections, and the Octo-Z with male hose thread connections. This serves 2 purposes. First, itís easy to install. If you can connect a garden hose to a spigot, you can connect your octo/inflator to your bcd. But it also makes rinsing your bcd correctly and thoroughly a snap! Simply screw on a garden hose and turn it on! No more pressing the inflator to the hose while holding the deflate button and getting as much water on you as inside your bc. Zeagle also includes a screw on adapter that allows the unit to be used with any other bcd equipped with the standard sized corrugated hose.

In the end, how can I resist? Well designed, convenient and priced right, Iím looking forward to many years of happy use.


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Zeagle Stiletto BCD
Reviewed by Instructor: Bob

I hate BCDs.  Seriously.  There is very little about the Buoyancy Compensator in general that I find attractive or enjoyable.  I understand, better than most, its function and the reasoning behind it, but the fact remains that the #1 most disliked piece of gear in my kit is the BCD.

These days they are either so bulky that you feel like you are wearing body armor underwater or they have so many unnecessary added features that you feel like a walking Christmas Tree wearing one.  The feature of “welds” in the air cell that cause the unit to “wrap around” you simply gives the manufacturers a method of adding more crud to the unit and keep it comfortable.  To avoid the cumbersome feel and bulkiness of a jacket style bcd, you have the option of going with a back inflation style bcd.  But when you go that route you find that many manufacturers have just taken this as a free license to make bcds with enough lift to raise the Titanic which equates directly with more fabric and more bulk.  To me, the PERFECT bcd would look like something similar to a hemorrhoid pillow with just enough strap material to hold the tank on the back and keep it against my back.  

Now, I have to admit my Zeagle Stiletto bcd doesn’t quite match that description, but when compared to many of the units on the market today, it’s pretty darn close!  It is a very simple, comfortable design that isn’t packed with a lot of needless “features” and “frills” to make it overly cumbersome.  It’s 35lb lift capacity is still far greater than I need but the folks at Zeagle have figured out how to make that bladder not quit as obtrusive as most.  For most divers that means this piece of gear is completely functional for most diving in most waters.  I’ll be the first to admit that on warm water dives the padding at the back is quite comfortable, and welcome, no matter how much I might gripe about it being more nylon.  The 5 stainless steel D-rings are tucked away in just the right spots to secure an octo, console, small light or what ever other trinket you may be taking along on your dive, but never seem to be in the way or “jangle” excessively.  Zeagle’s integrated weight system is also equally as streamlined and simple.  No bulky pockets at each hip.  The finishing touch on this bcd is the fact that it’s a soft pack design!  You can literally roll this thing up into a tiny little wad in your luggage/dive bag jump up and down on it to compress some space (careful not to step on your power inflator) and take it out when you reach your destination and it’s ready to go diving!

If you are looking for a light weight bcd that has all the features and functions of a real heavy-weight contender this should be one of the first, if not the only bcd you check out!


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