Each year we honor a few new or updated products that we feel are inspirational examples of creative innovation in the industry and/or leaders of new industry trends. With nearly 700 booths we may have missed your favorite, so let us know at http://facebook.com/ScubaGadget. The envelope please…
OVERALL BEST IN SHOW WINNER
Cetatek Aquabionic Warp 1 Fins
Cetatek, a new venture out of North Vancouver, BC, Canada, has introduced a sophisticated fin design that is based on what they term “WARP” technology. The acronym stands for “Water Adapting Responsive Propulsion.” This technology spreads and cups the fin blade as the diver kicks harder. The claim is that this design allows the diver to have the best of both worlds, and easy kick fin at leisure, reminiscent of a good split fin, and a power fin when you dig in and kick. The fin will be
flexible and maneuverable at low thrust and become increasingly more powerful when more propulsion is needed. While many fins in the past have tried designs that mimic nature, the Aquabionic seems to have come the closest. It really reminds be of seeing seal’s fins warp and cup as they pull out of a power turn. We were impressed that Simon Morris, VP of Marketing and Sales for CETATEK, who has a long history working with major dive manufactures has staked his reputation on this one. He knows fins and claims the WARP 1 is a game changer. We hope to get chance to dive the fin soon and will give you a full report. The fins are due to ship before March 1, 2012.
BEST IN SHOW – CATEGORY AWARDS
- Temperate Diving Category – Whites Thermal Fusion undergarment:Because we have now had a chance to dive the Thermal Fusion we can guarantee that Whites’ claim about this suit being a “game changer” was not just hype. The main factors that contributed to our choice for this Best In Show award include the following: This suit is extremely comfortable…It feels like you are wearing a running suit. We have not seen any other suit with this combination of warmth and flexibility. It kept me as warm wearing other suits (or multiple layers) that were so bulky that I could not reach my tank or dump valve, and slightly warmer than its only close competition. It also kept me warm with as much of the air evacuated from my drysuit as I could squeeze out. It has a special air transfer section that allows for free flow of both fill and exhaust air. And to top it off, like the Fusion drysuit, the Thermal Fusion will please dealers as well as customers because the same dual layer construction allows a few sizes to fit nearly every diver. Shops do not need to stock as many and divers do not need to worry about weight fluctuations. Even though it resembles a Fusion drysuit, this undergarment promises to be a great choice under any drysuit brand. We have a full preview article (http://www.scubagadget.com/?p=1776) and are dive testing the Thermal Fusion now for a full live-dive article to come.
- Accessories/Safety Category – CO-PRO Carbon Monoxide Protection (from Lawrence Factor, Inc.): This product could also gets the serendipity award. Just as we were walking out the door a friend handed us what looked liked a condom packet. It was labeled “Dive Safe, CO-PRO – Personal carbon monoxide protection.” What is remarkable is that the CO-PRO is a simple and inexpensive (estimated to be around $7.95) tool for divers to test tanks for carbon monoxide. The packet contains a balloon and small chemical sensor disk. An online video shows how to place the small disk in the balloon (or condom) and inflate the balloon with tank gas for a quick test for any trace of CO. The disk can be used to test multiple tanks. What is revolutionary is the comparison between this simple inexpensive system and the other available options such as the $300 plus option available from Analox. We will definitely have a full test report soon.
- Lighting Category – WiseDive: WiseDive is a small company that makes BIG lights (as in powerful). We are talking about a handheld dive light that will punch out 3300 Lumens and a canister at 5000 lumens. The lights are also modular, so the heads, battery packs and lenses can be mixed. What really impressed us about WiseDive was the focus on quality and a passion for getting the most of the light (95%) where you need it with very little waste. Their core competency is optics. They have 25 years of experience in the fields of optics and lasers and make custom lenses for their lights. Even their competitors were impressed with their knowledge.
- Honorable mention in Lighting: The Light and Motion Sola Dive 1200 was out last year so it does not technically qualify this year, but with its new and better hand-strap it remains a light that every diver from beginner through tech just has to have. When you dive this light, everyone wants to be your buddy (see our previous Editors Choice article at http://www.scubagadget.com/?p=1582).
- Magazines and Books – Wreck Diving Magazine: This award winning publication has wide appeal and will please a wide range of readers; even way beyond the dive world. Their stories are of literary quality and you would never know that, as the editor told us that they are written by wreck divers not professional writers. We could not tell. In fact the passion of the writers about the story is what makes the articles personable and real.
- Oddest On Show Category – Tie: This was a hard call between the Mimeticus regulator muffler and the Pandora Underwater Equipment SASUBA, listed as a cruise control BCD.
- The bulky Mimetic’s “muffler regulator” (our term) uses a porous attachment to make small bubbles out of big ones. It reminded me of a large aquarium aeration stone. To top off the oddness, Mimeticus company has “green washed” this product, claiming that the small bubbles are more environmentally friendly because they reduce the stress on the fish.
- The SUBA is a prototype of a possible computerized buoyancy control system. What it really is, is a dive computer attached to the dump valve on a BCD. You are supposed to be able to set the depth and it will take you to and hold you at that depth. Another pitch is “training wheels for new divers.” We walked away from Pandora booth musing that maybe instructors would be able to put it on students, set the controls and throw them in the water and go out for a nice lunch.
- Most Exciting Booth in Show Category – GoPro: With the introduction of the new HD Hero 2, new accessories, including 3d GoPro setups, multiple prize drawings and a great show special this booth was packed from the show’s start to finish. Dive shops from around country were snapping up their unique and enticing point of purchase display. A few days after the show, I walked into a North Face store and found customers excitedly huddled around the GoPro stand and drooling.
- Hottest Booth Babe – Cressi: Only a picture can tell this story. One of the staff claimed it was originally a shipping mistake, but they brought her back this year anyway.
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