Editor's Note: Sorry for the delay in getting this posted but I just woke up from my Thanksgiving food coma. I appreciate the patience.
Last week was DEMA (the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association trade show) in Las Vegas, the largest trade show in the diving community. It’s really a proverbial “Candy Land” for professional divers, dive stores, and resorts. It’s the kind of thing hardcore divers look forward to all year. All the new and in development gear is unveiled there by the who’s who of equipment vendors, wetting our appetites for the cool toys and breakthroughs in diving technology. On top of that, all the most fantastic dive locations highlight their specials for the year and let out a siren’s call to anyone looking for that next great dive (which is pretty much all of us). Finally, there is also a lot of learning going on as there is training galore offered in almost every facet of the industry. It was a very busy week.
So what does that mean to you? There is so much to tell, but here are some of the highlights.
Atomic Aquatics unveiled a new regulator for divers on a budget. The Z3 will replace the Z2x and the eventually the Z2 regulators and retail for under $500, according to the scuttle-butt.
Z3′s first stage will be seven-point fixed as opposed to a swivel, and will sport a no-front-cover ring, which is unique to the T3, the T2x, and now the Z3, but this was only something that was on their top-of-the-line regs. So it’s a big deal that they have started including this feature on their entry-level regulators. The Z3 will be sold in black, with other color kits available in grey, red, blue, purple, pink and green. It should roll out onto the open market early 2013, so keep any eye out for it. It’s going to pack a lot of bang for the buck.
During their storied 60 year history, Sherwood Scuba has never strayed from its simple credo: produce the most durable, reliably engineered products in the diving industry. And for the most part, with products like their Brute regulators, they’ve pulled off that surprisingly difficult goal. So, what’s new from this powerhouse supplier in 2013?
The Amphos is poised to be a new favorite in computers. With its easy to read display and 4-button set up, this sleek new toy will come in both stand-alone and Bluetooth/air integrated models. To top it all off, this handy gadget should fall in the $400 - $500 price range, making it a lot of computer for very little cash.
The SR-2 is set to take over the SR-1’s throne as the new standard in Sherwood regs.
The Blizzard regulator has a brand new look keeping it stylish while maintaining its status as cold water workhorse.
The AXIS and LUNA BCDs will be sporting some brand new colors this year, keeping you diving in the designs you love with the features you can’t be without.
Lavacore has really stepped up their game with a set of new colors and designs for their tried and true apparel. Plus, they have added a few new outfits that will keep you warm and going all day no matter what your sport is! This is apparel for anyone who likes the outdoors, not just the diver.
GoPro, the maker of what may be the world’s most versatile HD cameras, announced the launch of their new Hero 3 with dive rated casing. It features a large, flat glass lens that allows for maximum photo and video sharpness underwater in all resolutions and is waterproof to 197ft / 60m. I’m calling it now: this is going to be the next must have for anyone who is serious about underwater photography. Get this: Patriot just became an official GoPro dealer. So pre-order your GoPro gear from them now. It’s going to be hard keeping them on the shelves. Seriously, don’t wait! The number is 703-490-1175. It’s cool. I’ll wait while you make the call… Oh and ask about the Underwater Photography specialty. It will be worth it with your new toys, trust me.
And we’re back… Okay so we’ve hit on some of the big names but what about the really innovative stuff, the stuff that is decidedly out of the box? Well, here are some highlights:
The Watershot for IPhone 4/4S will let you dive to 130ft with phone, allowing you to take photos and video at depth. Plus (just to prove that there is still an app for that) they are looking at unveiling in 2013 an optional sensor that will allow you to use your IPhone as a rudimentary dive computer. Pretty impressive. We are looking forward to seeing the Watershot in action.
The Computer Controlled BCD is here and represents a step through the looking glass as far as a new era of BCD technology is concerned. The integrated computer system for this BCD allows you to program your dive with everything from max depth to max accent rate to neutral buoyancy. They are heralding it as “cruise control for your dive”. It’s not quite ready for primetime but should be up and coming in the next few years. Of course, the down side is that the system is looking at opening with a retail price around $3000. If it works it could do great things for HSA divers. We’ll see…
Here is one that we are really excited to see back, the Omega Amphibian Fin! So essentially it’s a dive fin that that can be folded up around the boot pocket in order to make beach/dock/boat/rock crag/anything-that-involves-walking-in-dive-gear entries worlds easier. No more flopping around in the shallows on one foot while you try to get your fins on (we’ve all been there)! We love beautifully simple designs like this.
Okay so we’ve given you some of the highlights and shown off a lot of pretty awesome gear that is about to explode onto the market. Just remember that this isn’t even a drop in the proverbial bucket as far as what is new and on its way. This is just a taster, a delicious morsel of the kickass buffet of new diver gear. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is! Then keep checking back for updates as the new products roll out and test them out. We’ll let you know what’s worth your buck and what’s not. Stay tuned!