Here’s our report from Day 1 on the showroom floor at DEMA:
- As a promotional gesture to all people associated with the media at DEMA, Dry Case gave us a DryCASE to try with our smart phones. Good to 100′ (below 100′, the case is 100% completely waterproof due to its unique vacuum seal. You can plug waterproof ear buds into the device once it’s sealed and listen to tunes under the sea. You can swipe the phone, use your camera, and probably answer the phone but all the person on the other end would hear is glub, glub, glub.
- Dry Case also showed us a completely waterproof backpack called the Masonboro. If you’re like us, you spend a lot of time in and around the water. We’re always trying to figure out ways to keep our clothes and other dry goods, well, dry. This backpack has a 30 liter storage capacity, external pockets for wet gear, padded straps and lower back support and bungees. You can twist the two-way valve at the bottom and remove air, compressing the pack. Retails for $89. We think the pack is a winner and hope to test it out.
- Sculptor Simon Morris completed a bronze sculpture entitled “Guardian of the Reef.” The sculpture is scheduled to be installed underwater at Grand Cayman in January 2014.
- World of Diving was again offering great packages to Raja Ampat, Micronesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, PNG, Fiji, Tahiti, Galapagos, Cocos, the Caribbean and more. With over 17 years experience in dive travel, their goal is customer satisfaction at an affordable price.
- Michelle Winkel shared the Wakatobi love with us again. The place still beckons as a luxury dive destination.
- SiTech has upgraded their ring system to the new QuikRing system. Much more flexible and lightweight then their NeckTite ring system, the QuikRing is awaiting patent finalization and should be out sometime in the coming year.
- SiTech also has upgraded the current Antares wrist ring system, adding a new feature to help guide the gloves into the ring easily and effortlessly. We tried it and it seems to work like a, well…like a snap. This simple snap in feature was in response to divers’ complaints about the troubles encountered when using bulky undergarments or suits with too short sleeves. Customers who have had such problems can contact their dealer to see how they can get the inserts.
- Oceanic (American Underwater Products) is supporting the troops by offering all active military and their families 25% discount on Oceanic Gear. The program is called the Oceanic Warrior Program. They also give gear to disabled vets.They are also showing new and coming dive computers including the OCL watch style dive computer that is smaller. It is meant for anyone who prefers a smaller format computer and has the same internals and the GEO. An exciting coming attraction is the DaVinci. It is a large-screen, hose-air-integrated model and resembles the Atomic Cobalt. It comes with the bright TFT color screen and expected to retail around $999.A new feature of many of their computers which immediately got our attention is BlueTooth integration. This will allow your dive computer to sync with your smartphone as soon as you surface and download your dive to an app for storage or sharing on the cloud with friends. We expect both BlueTooth and the TFT screens will be a coming trend in dive computers. The TFT screens fill the demand for a bright screen while getting around the lack of availability of larger OLED screens.They also are showing a redesign for the ambidextrous Omega 1st stage which now comes in a variety of colors. A new design of the diaphragms will eliminate the problem with wet breathing sometimes found in the old models.A new short fin called the Stingray is under 20”. They claim it will make a good travel fin or just a great short fin without sacrificing performance. Another fin – the V20 – will come in both split and paddle versions.They are also bring out a high end Ultra dry snorkel at $69 msrp and completely redesigning their BCD line.
- Infinite Scuba Game, our last year’s best in show award winner has upgraded their current offering, Chuk Lagoon and is adding a new dive site. The new site will be a wall dive named Glovers Reef and is being developed in partnership with Sylvia Earl. The new site includes swimming with whale and hammerhead sharks and has options for reef clean up and lionfish removal. Infinite has also partnered with Georgia Aquarium and two high schools. Their game is used in classes at the Mill Valley California, Tamalpias High School and Girl Start a school in Austin TX. They are also offering a gift cards pos display for the game to dive shops.
- EEZYCUT has a practical option for their Trilobite line cutter knife (see our review ). The new case with wrap around a shoulder strap without the need to unthread clips or buckles. The case can easily be used on straps with sewn in ends that cannot be disconnected. We have one and report later on how it fares in live testing.
- The always innovative Waterproof company has a new, very light weight (2 kilograms – 4.4 lbs) and breathable drysuit, the D9, that will be great for travel. They also have the new 3d Mesh Vest undergarment with non-compressible panels that can be used with any drysuit.The Waterproof H1 5/10mm Polar Evo hood that we rave about has a new cousin (see ScubaGadget article). The new model, the Sandwich Polar Evo comes with a glideskin-out around the face seal area so it can be used with full facemasks.
- Scubaba is startup offering a range of cloud based apps for dive shops to use for trip reservations and most other business functions except POS. The average price is $89 per month.
- Seashell offers custom underwater cases for Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 and the iPhones. The cases make it simple to turn your smartphone into an underwater camera. They also offer, macro and wide angle lens adapters. The case is $159 msrp and the lenses are around $50.
- Ocean Classroom and their nonprofit partners Teens4Oceans offer a range of services. These include a network or high tech live underwater camera installations available on the web. The units are self-cleaning and also measure temperature and salinity. They recently were the first-ever to broadcast a live coral spawning.They also offer both online short courses in topics such as reef fish ID and full length academic high school classes on marine sciences. The courses also use the above cameras and sensing units in the curriculum. The online short courses ($10 each) are available through dive center partners. This is a risk free deal for dive centers to provide customers with education, add income and drive traffic to their websites.
- Light and Beyond is at DEMA for the first time with their 750 lumen lights on a budget ($149) by Archon. They offer both spot dive light and video flood light models. We have tested these lights and will have more after the lights return from independent testing.
- Whites Drysuits (Aqua Lung company) is showing their new “Essence” drysuit. This is the ladies version of the popular new back zip Fusion One $999 offer. It is the first suit in the line to have a female cut for both the outer shell and the dry-core layer. The back zip is often requested by women because it allows more freedom of movement across the chest.
- Apex is (Aqua Lung company) showing a feather weight travel soft backplate. They also have an 18 pound lift compact doughnut wing for this travel system. Additionally, they have a sturdy yet compact 30 and 40 pound version of the doughnut wings which are available in both cordora and a “yuck-shedding” smooth material for public safety divers.
We’ll have further coverage as the show continues. Be sure to visit us on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/ScubaGadget ) for summaries and brief updates as well as checking back here.