Scuba gear?

Posted by: gulliamo

Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 03:55 AM

Anyone here know about SCUBA gear? Best places (online) to shop? Best brands? Worst brands? Must haves? Avoids? Any info is helpful.

Thank you in advance!
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 06:58 AM

Depends what kind of diving you're into, cold and deep or warm and shallow.

What certification and experience you have.

I've dived under 2m thick ice at 20m in Norway, with great visibility, to 0m visibility and 105m depth in the North Sea, to boiling hot (22C for me anyway) in the Indian Ocean and crystal clear water. The set-up for each was pretty different. You adapt your gear to suit your needs.

The regs I needed for Ice diving had to be pretty robust as to not freeze. The regs I had for deep diving suited the mix of gas and tanks I'd be using to make my descent and ascent. At that depth it takes hours to come safely back to the surface, you're in the water along long time and need to be equipped for it.

For mask, fins, snorkels, wet suits and dry suits go with ebay. For regs and stab jackets go new buy from a shop you know. You can't always be sure how well the regs or jackets have been maintained when you buy from ebay, unless they're new from ebay, but then again are you sure the jacket will fit well?
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 11:42 AM

Like Stokie said, it all depends what kind of diving your into.

I've only dived in the Carib, and water below 26C for me warrents a full 4mm+ wet suit for 100 foot dive. In the summer, the water is around 27C at 100 foot and you can get by with a carib shorty wet suit (one piece with the arms and legs cut off).

Personally, I'd go to a dive shop for your first outing. You need to try on the bcd's and find one that fits properly with the bells and whistles that you want. Regs are a personal choice (i've been through 4 sets just on this island alone).
Like everything, there is a tonne of choices mixed between 'crap' to 'excellent'.

If your going for more wreck diving (only if you have the cert), then you have to buy equipment to match it...

Side note: its best to at least get your cert up to 'rescue diver' if your going thru padi. Most people don't feel confident until that cert, and its nice to know what to do if your buddy is in trouble at 100'.

Kris

Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 12:10 PM

Kris,

Has put it right, via PADI you can consider yourself well trained and autonomous when you've reached Rescue Diver level.

I'm PADI Trained to Divemaster Level, I'm also CMAS 5 star dive director, I've got NAUI and BSAC certs as well. I consider I'm still learning, I just love it so much.

Kris, all that ocean I'm jealous, I've got the Atlantic and the Channel. When in the UK, I'd the Irish sea and the North Sea, very different waters from you. At least the waters are constant round the UK, 10C, winter and summer. I have a dry suit, which requires training to use otherwise I'd be wearing 15mm wetsuit or such. Not comfortable at all.
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 01:23 PM

Stokie,

I'm from East Coast Canada, and its damn cold (temps close to that 10-15C in the Bay of Fundy with zero degrees visablity during the summer).

The alantic is a different story... as soon as you get down 10 foot, it goes down to 10C like you mentioned. Not for me. You get spoiled being down here and taking off doing a dive at lunch if you like.

Heck, for about 2 years strait, I was averaging 8-10 dives a week (usually 1/2 that were night dives - its when all the cool stuff comes out) and always had 4 tanks of nitrox in my car at all times.

I was thinking of going up to dive master then going for tech certs to get into deep water. But then I got married.

I can't even begin to tell you how many dives I have. Filled up two dive logs, my dive computer got downloaded so many times, etc. The carib way is just going and doing, no need for profiles and such. Even though its in bad practice.

If your in the area, give me a shout.

Kris
Posted by: KenK

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 02:03 PM

I snorkel in the 4 foot deep pool in my back yard, and let me tell you, you really need to know what you're doing or it can result in disaster. Its a miraculous world teaming with beauty (my daughter), danger (my son), and wildlife (diving beetles). Invest in good gear and take care of it.

OK, so I got certified back in my younger days, but family life and other priorities haven't allowed me to go diving in many years.

My advice would be to find SCUBA clubs in your area - often associated with SCUBA gear stores - and seek their advice. NYC has to have lots of them. I would think that the small stores are going to cost more than on-line, but they can also offer some good advice.

Also check out http://www.scuba-forum.com and http://www.scubaboard.com
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 03:07 PM

Kris,

I here you brother, same here got married then had kids. It's put a bit of a stopper on the diving in the last few years.

I can't wait till the kids are old enough to go diving, I might just give you a call.

As far as gear goes, I'd heard that there's a new "rebreather" type back that's come out which they're hoping will also be available in kids sizes.

I feel rebreathers are the way to go, especially in your location, loads on bottom time, smaller, lighter rigs. At the moment too expensive, yet the prices have dropped since I played with them 5 years ago. Back then they were a bit tricky, today I've heard some pretty cool stuff. So who knows in a few years time.

When our friend here gets his certs and experience he maybe giving us tips.
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 03:30 PM

Gulliamo,

Maybe I should have started with this first, read up on a few dive magazines. In europe there are about 3 or 4 really good ones. Over in the US I know there's a lot more than that.

Magazine's give you a lot of info, sites for gear, training, dive locations.

Have you dived before or are you just interested in starting?

Many places have dive clubs, or go to your local swimming pool as that's where most clubs practise, unless they're lucky enough to have a fair size lake nearby.

Every club in the world will be only too happy to give you a trial dive. 20 minutes or so with an instructor in the safety of a pool. I knew a few lads that have done this for friends for free, so go talk to some of them.

If you've not done this first step, I warmly invite you to try. It's the time when you find out you whether you either like it or love it. Only a very small minority of people don't like it because they can't get over the breathing underwater experience either it's fear or a phobia I'm no expert in that area.

Let's us know a bit more.
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 04:19 PM

Also to add... Almost every resort that has access to the ocean anywhere in semi warm to tropical climates will offer some sort of 'resort course'. Basically, its a couple hours padi based training, and when completed, you can do a shallow dive (60' or less) with an instructor.

If your a newbie and haven't tried diving before, this is an excellent way to get into diving and see if you'll like it or not.
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/11/08 05:03 PM

Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
Damn you all and your use of Celsius! *Pulls hair out*


Sorry man. Blame it on my Canadian up bringing. When I lived in the states for a few years, I had to convert the temp to C just to understand the weather forecast.
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/12/08 08:59 AM

Sorry too, being British I should have made the conversions.

So 10C = 50F, 22C = 71.6F, 26C = 78.8F

Quick coversion, so apologies if any are wrong. I think I used some metric depths as well, 20m & 105m so I'll change them too.

20m = 65 FT.
105m= 344 FT.

Anything else? ; )

Where's gulliamo?
Posted by: plsander

Re: Scuba gear? Conversions... - 02/15/08 07:07 PM

And don't forget - at -40 it does not matter which system you use. grin

(-40 C = -40 F (= 233 K )
Posted by: mark161

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/16/08 02:26 AM

Most gear is a personal choice (Style, Price, Features). If you are not already certified most places will not sell you the actual diving gear. You can buy off the internet for price, but one of the things you have to consider is most of the major manufactures will not honor any warranties if the product is bought off of the internet and not from a dive shop. (Can run you lot of money if something happens or just servicing a reg. because the parts kits are free for life with most major manufactures if you keep up on service as a perk)

Mark

PADI Instructor
Master Equipment Technician
Posted by: Polak187

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/16/08 01:16 PM

Place to love and hate is Leisure Pr (http://www.leisurepro.com/) out of NYC. I see that's where you are from so you can always stop by and chat with them (but what sux is that we NYers have to pay tax since the shop is local). I have no idea how they price stuff so low. I bought some of my accessories from them. They are totally geared toward sales and sad to say I don't think any of those guys down there ever been diving. Savings on for example Suunto Cobra can be up to $300 over other reputable dive shops but I don't think you are getting any warranty or support but if you are willing to take that risk $300 is a lot of money to save. My dive computer, bcu, regulator I bought from Swim and Scuba in LI. I paid little extra but got great personal service and got hooked up with some freebees and made few friends. Another good shop is Kings County Divers in Brooklyn. Stay away from Paragon Sports since they are overpriced.

In the end Ebay has some amazing gear at low prices. Problem is that like with all life support equipment you need to get it serviced prior to use so sometimes the service price offsets the actual savings plus there is no warranty. But for a spare reg or extra gear Ebay saved me a bunch.
Posted by: dweste

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/16/08 05:07 PM

Lots of investment of resources and calories to dive in a survival situation. For sustainablity if it made sense to dive otherwise, consider free-diving.
Posted by: gunsmith

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/16/08 05:19 PM

For an online retailer, I've had supurb service from "Scuba Toys", good pricing, manf.warranty intact, fast shipping, real "divers" to take your order/ answer questions ect.

I have no affilation, YMMV.

As to specific brands/types, it really does depend on the type of diving that you are going to do.

Also for some gear, fit is very important, just not the kind of thing that one should select on line....At least for your "first" mask, wet suit. Other stuff is "One size fits all", and you can save quite a bit on line.

Good luck,& happy diving
Posted by: mark161

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/18/08 06:35 PM

Leisurepro is one of the sites I was talking about. Polak187 is correct there is NO warranty when ordering from them, but if it is just accessories or the like cheapier is better.
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/18/08 07:54 PM

Excellent advice! Thanks all!

Someone asked "where's Gulliamo?" For that I must apologize - I've been jammed at work this week.

I did take your advice and stop by Leisure Pro. I tried on all of their "high-end" masks and did not find one that would fit/seal well. They finally pulled out an inexpensive ($24) mask that fit like a champ! So I'm glad I didn't order it online.

I'm going to Florida in March for 5 days of dive training and Padi certification then plan to dive at least a couple times a year going forward. So I don't really need the entire kit but would like to own a few of the more personal/fit-related items like mask, fins, and suit. Is a 3mm full suit good enough for most dives? (Not NYC winter!)
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/19/08 12:22 AM

Yeah, a full 3mm will do most places. Use it more of a protection from coral (you really don't want to get near fire coral... trust me). Some times currents underwater will just slam you into stuff.

Besides you want to own your own wet suit... some people just like to pee underwater, and last thing you want is a rental that reaks of urine and salt water (yeah, its been washed, but still!).

If you make it down to cayman, give me a shout! I'll take ya to some local dive sites... show ya around.

Kris
Posted by: GarlyDog

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/19/08 01:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Kris
Besides you want to own your own wet suit... some people just like to pee underwater, and last thing you want is a rental that reaks of urine and salt water (yeah, its been washed, but still!).

Kris


ROFLMAO. Now that is real world expert advice!
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/19/08 10:24 AM

I've heard worse.

It is possible to barf up your lunch, into your regulator.

Now tell me would you really want to rent a set of regs after hearing that?
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/19/08 11:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Stokie
I've heard worse.

It is possible to barf up your lunch, into your regulator.

Now tell me would you really want to rent a set of regs after hearing that?


Yeah seen that before too... Though it was into his own regs. A buddy of mine found out that he was scared of eels that day and his response was to get sick.
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/19/08 03:22 PM

What I'm trying to get across to our young friend is that sometimes it pays to invest. I bought a decent set of regs Mares Rubi, not sure if that make is over there and later some, Posiden (deep diving). The difference in breathing, after using the schools Aquapro's was noticable. I left like I really could breath rather than suck air. though that's not why I first bought them.

After seeing a guy loose his lunch through his reg ( not through fear, just stuffed himself silly at lunch time before the dive, I really, really, wanted my own.
Posted by: aloha

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/20/08 05:23 AM

It's been a long time since I have gone diving. Yup, married with children syndrome.

I agree with some kind of neoprene cover. A shortie or just a vest or shirt makes a difference in comfort, even in Hawaii. My last diving was free diving and after a few hours in the water, I am happy to have it. Even happier coming out at night in a cold wind and rain.

Night diving is fun to me. And I like the Underwater Kinetics lights. Princeton Tech is ok too, but I have just always used the UK brand.

A good spear or spear gun is a good piece of gear to have too, but here in Hawaii, I think it is illegal to spearfish while SCUBA diving. Only ok for free diving.
Posted by: Polak187

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/20/08 03:53 PM

Drop me a line if you want to dive around NYC. There are fun and hairy stuff here. I dive with combo wetsuit which has 3 mm on the arms and legs but torso is made out of 7 mm. That's perfect for around here. When you get your cert in Florida and come back it will almost be time for diving at Dutch Spring and that's a fun site to practice your skills.
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/22/08 03:17 AM

Thanks all! This is really helpful! I now am the proud owner of:

Edge Fins and boots
http://www.divers-supply.com/EDGE-CRUISER-FINS-p/edg011.htm

and a brand of mask and semi-dry snorkel only known to the good folks at LeisurePro. This reg how ever seems like it's out of my price range for the first trip however your argument is pretty convincing! Yuk!

If I had to choose between buying my own suit or my own reg which should I go with?
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/22/08 11:58 AM

Gulliamo,

All depends on yoru environment... if diving this time of year in nyc, a dry suit would be priority (at least for me).

If going to florida for your training, you can prob get away without a wet suit, though it would make like comfortable. I'd prob go with regs first in this case.

Good luck,
Kris
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/22/08 12:31 PM

Gulliamo,

Nice set of fins, by the way. You might want to pick up a set of spare straps, as and when you can. Straps tend to break, just when things get interesting. You don't want a dive ruined for the sake of a strap.

Have a spares kit, mask strap, fin strap, O-rings for the tanks, just to name a few.

Most clubs have a good selection of kit, regs, suits, etc, try a few out before commiting to either. Dry suits require training, you need a fair few dives under your belt before you consider a dry-suit. For me when the water's below 15C (60F)then use a dry suit. For Florida, as someone said maybe just a thinsulate shorty to stop scrapes.

Suits aren't that much to rent anyway, but I like to have my own regs, especially one I've found easy to draw from. I've found more than one rented reg that I felt I had to pull on to get air. Not a comfortable feeling while your trying to concentrate on the instructors exercises. When you've tried a few out you'll know what's good for you.

Enjoy your diving experience.
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/25/08 05:17 PM

Great advice all! (That's why I come here.) Is a reg -like a mask- something I really have to try before I buy or is it more like a fin that is safe to order unseen online?

Same question for suits. Also - what do most of you where under the wetsuit?
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/25/08 07:32 PM

As for the regs... not really. Most mouth pieces for the average stuff (scubapro, etc) is about the same. Some have different features and stuff, some require you to suck air alittle more then others, etc...

I would still recommend to try out a few types first... or just go with a basic unit from a dive shop expecting to upgrade after a short period of time.

As for what I wear under my wet suit... its the same as what i wear under my kilt! LOL... nah, shorts... swim trunks, etc... Usually on a dive boat and just put the suit over what i'm currently wearing at the time.

kris
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/26/08 12:20 PM

For the regs, the actual fitting in the mouth there are virtually all about the same.

The difference comes in the technology behind the internal workings of the reg itself.

I have to check but I seem to remember there are two or three basic types of technology behind the design of a regulator. Then there is the fine tuning the manufacture throws in to help sell it.

I seem to remember there being a feature of the ruby that allowed freer flowing air at depth, will have to check, but I can tell you after doing a dive to 35m with an Apex reg then the following week the same dive with the Ruby. The ruby really was much easier to breath from. I also bought the ruby because of the conditions I would be diving in, the cold north sea, the irish sea and the english channel. The silt and sand can be hard on regs and I wanted something that would last. You have to look at the type of diving and conditions you'll be frequently doing and choose accordingly.

My other reg, a posiden has a valve that you can adjust on the regulator to vary the "free flow" of air which is a great advantage when going deep, you need more air.

As to what I wear depends, when the water's warm, 14-18C I just wear shorts in my dry suit. When it's cold -2 to 8 I wear a sort of lycra fleece shorty,inside my dry suit,very toasty. For really cold conditions there's a wool mix undersuit called a woolly bear. Only I've never tried one.

On one occasion we did a shore dive in winter with the air temp being around -3c, yet the water was a constant +10, it felt like getting in a warm bath, we didn't want to come out.

That's half the fun of diving, finding out what combinations works for you.


Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/26/08 12:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Stokie
As to what I wear depends, when the water's warm, 14-18C I just wear shorts in my dry suit.


you need to come down here for warm water... and i'll promise you its not 14c!
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/26/08 01:36 PM

Kris, you're only making me jealous, god all that warm water.

cry
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/26/08 04:37 PM

Stokie,

Place is open for visitors... Just have to convince the wife (though a bottle of champagne goes along way!).
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/27/08 12:53 AM

Is the "higher price = better quality" equation generally true from regs? If so, should I simply buy the most expensive one I can afford? Are their any models that produce less cotton mouth? (My brother claims almost unbearable cotton mouth on his last dive.)

What about wet suits? Does "higher price = better quality"? Another friend recommended Henderson.

I'd love some specific brand/model recommendations.
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/27/08 09:17 AM

Gulliamo,

The old addige "you pay for what you get" does ring true. But even then it's wise to shop around. After visiting a dive show, picking up dozens of leaflets brochure and all the rest of it, the Mares range stood as out as top of the line. I was split between the Ruby and a Vortex. The Ruby because it had all the whistles and bells I was looking for and the Vortex because I could afford it.

Doing quiet a bit of shopping around, I dropped on a guy going out of business, retirement, really so he was selling off his gear. I argued, barttered, negoiated, call it what you will and got the deal of my life, a ruby for the same price as a Vortex. Not sure if there is much differnce between them now, but back then the gap was large. Some shop will let you do a deal. Aqualung and Apek do some real good starter kits, most UK clubs start with these. There are basic but they do the job, then there's Oceanic,Dive Rite, Cressi, Beuchat,OMS,Poseiden, Mares, Seac, Scubapro, TUSA,

My stab jacket is Poseiden, it was the one that felt most comfortable of many I tried out at the dive show, and one of the biggest lifters, I'm not a lightweight and I wanted something that would haul my sorry but if I needed it to. AquaLung and Cressi has some really nice gear these days with built-in weight systems, useful feature, as do Scubapro. There are as many people making BCD's as there are reg manufactures.

I have a beaver dry suit, but I'd upgrade to an Otter suit if I had the chance to do more diving. In France Cressi is very large and second I would say is Aqualung. The choice of suits is staggering, any colour you like, think French Fashion than add dive suit. There's a store here who'll make your suit to order, pick a colour and style and away you go.

Kris, I'm sitting in my office, it's raining, it's cold, the wife and kids have gone away to the South of France where it's sunny, dry and warm. Two of my old dive buddies have told me they're going diving, one on his 25m yacht to the Red Sea, the other to Bora Bora for three weeks all-inclusive, and me I'm off to Belfort, which I think is the French equivalent of Detroit, for two weeks. Not a holiday location, if you know what I mean.
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/27/08 11:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Stokie
Gulliamo,
Kris, I'm sitting in my office, it's raining, it's cold, the wife and kids have gone away to the South of France where it's sunny, dry and warm. Two of my old dive buddies have told me they're going diving, one on his 25m yacht to the Red Sea, the other to Bora Bora for three weeks all-inclusive, and me I'm off to Belfort, which I think is the French equivalent of Detroit, for two weeks. Not a holiday location, if you know what I mean.


Sucks, eh. I work 30-50 feet from a dive shop. Every day it kills me to turn right to go into work rather then turn left to go for a dive or two. This is just a tease, pure and simple.
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/27/08 12:28 PM

"....This is just a tease, pure and simple. " And it's working.


Bathtap.
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/27/08 05:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Stokie
"....This is just a tease, pure and simple. " And it's working.


Bathtap.


Guess its a tease no matter where you are... I was temped to do a dual tank nitrox dive at lunch, but damn deadlines.
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/28/08 10:12 AM

Dual tank, what 2 x 10 Ltrs? on nitrox, you could be down for hours.

Do you ever use a pony rig. I've my stab set-up with one a small 7 ltr job nice little added security.

Hope you get to meet those deadlines, I know the feeling, I have an offer to finish for a power station by the end of March, not enough hours in the day.
Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/28/08 11:39 AM

Sorry, when i said a dual tank dive, i meant renting out two tanks, using one, come back swap out, then finish with the new tank. Very typical here of how to dive. Most places on island, its 1/4 mile or less (usually less) to the wall (goes from 40-60' to 4000'+). I love hanging around at the wall on the south part of the island, or go to a couple fav spots and hang out at swim throughs for as long as i can.

One dive here, if your nuts (i've tried it a few times), is to go up to the north wall, thats oppisite north south. This is where the sting rays come in to feed off the stuff that tourist gives them. Around 5am or so, its when the hammer heads come into the sound. I've never saw this happening, but apparently its a wicked dive. Just go over the wall, hover around 75', back a ways from one of the big cracks and just wait.

Right now, I'm not into the pony rigs, but was thinking of going that way in the very near future. I was thinking of going for my tech certs and interested in the deep stuff with the 4 tanks.

I hope I hit the deadlines too!
Posted by: Stokie

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/28/08 12:59 PM

When I did my deep dive to 300ft, I had a set-up of about 6 tanks, all 12ltrs. A double rig on the back and two doubles either side of me. So it was a simple matter of changing different air mixs to get to the wreck and the same when coming back and doing decompression stops. Sometimes if you judge it a bit wrong and need a little more time for decompression and you used more air than you planned (a little panic at 300ft can draw a hell of a lot of air), then the pony at 30ft allowed me to just chill out for ten minutes no worries.

How do you cope going over the wall? I did a dive off Madagascar, swam out over the wall, had a huge sense of vertige. I'm swimming along clear blue water, sand bottom below at 30-35m then nothing down to 2000m+ and inky blackness. I was stable just hanging there, weird feeling, couldn't wait to get back over that sand. Maybe I should do it a few more times eh?

Posted by: Kris

Re: Scuba gear? - 02/28/08 01:21 PM

No vertigo for me... Love stuff like that, just hovering and looking down to nothing but black. But when you dive it all the time, you just get use to it. There's a dive that thats 12 miles off the coast of the island... little banks in the ocean thats about 65-80' at its highest point. awesome dive, but can only go at certian times of the year or the current will take ya. A buddy of mine did that dive once with his wife and came very friendly with two white tip hammerheads. Lucky nothing happened, just the typical circling routine, but freak the wife out enough that she won't dive again.

Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Scuba gear? - 03/01/08 09:02 PM

Wow. All great stories. Guess I'll look into a Mares reg and try the suit on when I get down there.