|When||Dive or Course|
25th May 13 to
26th May 13
29th Jun 13
Riwaka Cave Trip
20th Jul 13 to
26th Jul 13
20th Jul 13 to
21st Jul 13
By Brent McFadden PADI Course Director TDI Instructor
Dive equipment manufacturers are continually finding new gimmicks to help sell their equipment. Over the years this has lead to some pretty outrageous equipment configurations and prices, none of which help make you a better diver, but more than likely will make you a poorer diver. The fact is that since Jacques Cousteau adapted a regulator design and applied it to diving, the basic mechanics or performance of the regulator has not changed.
I have been involved with dive retail since 1986 and have sat through many service clinics and manufacture seminars and listened to why their regulators, computers, BCD’s, fins masks and so on are better than their competitors. The fact is that they are not, and like the fashion, automotive or snow industries the changes are generally made so they can sell more equipment at a healthier mark-up.
As a charter operator and PADI/TDI instructor I have seen many a new diver arrive on the boat looking like a Christmas tree, with all sorts of accessories hanging off them and sporting the so called latest in BCD technology with bullet proof 100 denier material and enough stainless steel D-rings to lift a double decker bus.
All of if good if you plan to take on the arm defenders squad or impress Father Christmas, most of it a useless hindrance when trying to streamline yourself, a basic diving skill. I’ve also been privy to many a dive store owner stating that they train divers so they can sell them equipment. Not that there is any thing wrong with that, they have to survive some how, but unfortunately this can devalue training and puts pressure on instructors, (whom in many cases get paid a commission on gear sales), to pressure entry level divers into buying equipment before they are ready and in many cases buy equipment designed beyond their entry level capabilities.
DIR Diving, or doing it right, is a new catch phrase which is starting to be used by an ever growing group of seasoned divers around the world who have seen it all and want to promote safe, value for money, easy diving. One of the biggest problems with most of the brands of equipment sold in our shops is the profusion of fancy releases, clips and sheer bulkiness. Such gimmickry does not make you a better diver, but costs you more to buy and more to service, you might look great out of the water, but lets face it, diving isn’t a fashion show and who cares what you look like underwater anyhow.
Part of the club philosophy is to promote a simplistic approach to equipment. We do this is by, firstly offering new divers to the club free scuba and wetsuit rental for the first year, this will give them time to try out different equipment configurations and time to make an informed decision to what best suits them. Secondly by stocking and selling only equipment which meets our DIR specifications and that we have personally field tested and believes in.
Our preferred DIR equipment configuration and reasons for our choice is as follows.
These unit is a component BCD with stainless steel backpack weighing 3KG, continuous webbing harness with adjustable D rings, one stainless quick release buckle, and detachable double bladder back wing with one dumping mechanism. This BCD will last you a life time, unlike most BCD’s the bladder is fully replaceable as are the other components. A ballast control system can be added so no weight belt needs to be worn. There is a crutch strap so the unit does not ride up on you on the surface. It can be purchased in either a 30 or 40lb version depending on what type of exposure suit and diving you are doing. A double wing can be added for twin tank systems. The MFC fits like a glove, once you dived one you will not want to change back to the jacket style.
This unit is priced competitively when compared to jacket style BCD’s on the market. I am still diving my original wing and harness after 2000 dives and 8 years of use.
The Apeks regulator is the choice of technical divers. The Apeks is a European make and very serviceable. The models listed have minimal moving parts are environmentally sealed and great breathers. These regulators do not have a first stage turret a common failure point.
For simplicity and reliability a simple analogue SPG gauge on a shortened hose and gate clip attached to your left shoulder D-ring is the way to go. It can be read free at any stage just by glancing down. With failure to monitor your SPG being the most common equipment problem, this is by far the best way to go. Even better it’s is the cheapest way to go.
Your computer should be where you can find it and that’s on your left or right wrist, not hanging on the end of a hose or stuffed into your BCD pocket. It should again be easy to read at depth, with large digit display and easy to programme for mixed gas diving.
I recommend either the Cressi Archimedes 2, or the Dive-Rite Dou or the new Trio. These computers are made by Epsom are reliable, easy to use, have multi gas functions and won’t break bank. The new Dive-Rite Trio looks to be a winner for those keen on moving into Extended Range of Trimix diving. The batteries are user replaceable and can be brought for a few dollars at the local camera shop or chemist.
The SK6 Suunto wrist compass is the most reliable and best balanced compass on the market, it should be worn on your wrist where it can be found and used to best effect. This compass will work when tilted, a big problem with many other U/W compasses that only work when held level and in the underwater world where gravity does not exist, staying level is a problem..
DIR exposure suits should be able to be put on and taken off without help, the zip on the dry suit should run diagonally across the front. It should have a vent on the left shoulder only, no ankle vents and for comfort and safety a pee valve (guys only), this is so you do not dehydrate your self prior to a dive which can lead to DCS on longer deeper dives. It should have a bellows pocket on the left thigh for spare mask etc and a low profile pocket on the right thigh for slates etc. Pockets on the BCD are a waste of time as they are very hard to reach. I recommend the Otter Britannic suit’s as they are less likely to suffer punctures than neoprene suits, are lighter and more compact when travelling and offer more flexibility to your thermal protection.
These come in different lengths and fit up into the Halcyon back pack. They can be inflated orally or mechanically and are very robust.
Rambo knives are out and surgical sheers or small sharp BCD knifes are in. Unless of course you want to take on Jaws. These knives/sheers are compact, cut through line very easily and are accessible when attached to the BCD webbing.
Standard A-clamp yoke regulators and valves have a horrible tendency to leak and can fail under water if hit hard on a solid object. DIN valves allow the regulator to screw into the valve, thus reducing the chance of leaks and failures; it also makes for a lower profile system, so no banging your head on the first stage. DIN valves also allow you to fill your cylinder to its true working pressure.
Steel is a stronger metal than alloy and has a higher working pressure for less volume. Steel cylinders are also negatively buoyant when empty an important consideration when doing your safety stop or diving in shallow water, as alloys become buoyant as the pressure drops. Steels are less likely to suffer neck cracks and have a longer life span than alloys if looked after.
In my view some accessories are sold for one reason, "PROFIT" now nothing wrong with that, Dive Shop owners have to make a profit to survive, where else are you going to get your cylinder filled, kit serviced, train and book on trips if they go out of business. Just think is the accessory really necessary or shop around as many accessories are generic and can be purchased under different or no brand name for half the cost. Beaver spring straps being a classic example. Just try not to hang to much stuff off your BCD or anything for that matter off your weight system, as it will cause you grief at the worst possible moment. A piece of advise well taken notice off my those rocket scientists who hang their catch bags from a clip on their BCD.
Being made of high quality rubber means that Jet Fins are negatively buoyant, an important consideration if you are diving dry or if you have positive buoyancy in your lower legs. Piece of advise, if you are a wetsuit diver choosing fin size, go up a size or two, as if you ever purchase a drysuit in the future the boots will be much bigger than wetsuit boots. To get full performance out of your fins your foot must fit right into the pocket, expect bad cramps if it doesn't.
Jet Fins are simple and effective. Spilt fins are a gimmick, wheel spin in strong current and cost the earth.
The above comments represent what many divers world wide see as simple effective diving equipment. As you have probably worked out, the emphasis is on keeping things simple, easy to find and see, while reducing the amount of failure points. By doing so it means that generally the equipment is a lot cheaper than equipment with all the unnecessary bells and whistles. If you are thinking of buying equipment and are unsure to what best suits your needs, give me call, I am only to happy to help you out with advise with out expecting you to buy from our store. I can be contacted on 0274 344 874.
Safe Diving and remember DO IT RIGHT
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The clubs goal is to ensure diver safety and fun, offer divers an affordable vehicle to gain new experiences, build on old experiences, gain new knowledge and meet new and interesting people. Membership now sits at over 100 members with active members in Christchurch, Nelson and Wellington.
Staying active as a diver helps you maintain your skills and helps you stay safe as a diver. Being a SAFE diver is the clubs priority, but we know diving does costs a bit to participate in on a regular bases. Being a member enables you to dive regularly without taking out a second mortgage, the membership gives you access to regular trips that are always supervised by an experienced dive professional, access to free equipment rental while on club trips and to continuing education, all at a very affordable rate.
And don’t worry we don’t have boring club meetings full of politics, only good dives, events and dive training.
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Pre-requisites for non divers and free divers
For diving and non diving members the club member fee is a one off payment, there is no annual renewal fee.
The Underwater Adventurer package includes the PADI open-water course and the PADI Advanced Open-water course.
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The U/W Adventurer package enables you to meet the pre-requisites as a diving member of the club, it not only teaches you to dive, but also teaches you advanced open-water skills.
Open-water Adventurer Package Price
Part 1: Open-water course $550.00 ($400.00pp for group bookings of 6 or more)
Part 2: Advanced Open-water course $395.00 ( can be completed anytime within one year of the Open-water course.
Bookings and confirmation required trips will be added from time to time, if you have any ideas a good spot to dive and want to share it, then let us know and we can schedule a trip.
After work scallop dive every Wednesday night starting October 7th
Meet at the shop 5.30
To enable us to assure the trip goes ahead and so we know how many people to cater for, please let us know as early as possible if you want to go on a trip or enrol on a course. In saying this once you have booked we need to take it as a confirmed booking, as late cancellations can result in the trip being cancelled altogether, or even worse for club members club trip and course prices having to be increased. Club trip and course prices have been held at their current level for 4 years now and we really want to avoid cancellations or increases in prices, so please let us know early if you have to cancel a confirmed booking.