DEMA Show 2013 – Day 3 Highlights

Welcome to our day 3 report from DEMA! Here’s what we  learned today:

  • ReefSafe sunscreen, our favorite reef friendly sunscreen, not only has a new mounting bracket for their sunscreen, that makes for ease of use on the boat or at the pool, they also have a Jellyfish Sting Relief KitThe kit has everything you need to be able to effectively treat jellyfish stings. After extensive research, Tropical Seas created a lions-mane-jelly ellyfish Sting Cooler system utilizing lidocaine hydrochloride, and a credit card sized tentacle scraper to help deactivate the nematocysts (stingers) in your skin from releasing more venom.  We’ll be including the Jellyfish Sting Relief Kit in our Save a Dive kit and will let you know how it works. We or fellow divers have occasionally had “entanglements” with the Lions Mane Jelly, pictured here.
  • Light and Beyond is at DEMA for the first time, showing two small but powerful Archon lights. They have video and narrow beam ~750 lumen lights which retail for around $150. We are testing these lights for a future article. So far, most owners feel the light is great value.
  • Aqua Lung has a new cuff system available in the 5 and 7 mm Aquaflex line wetsuits. The call them X-Tend cuffs and refer to them as being a press-fit process. This yields a secure cuff that has no stitching and is more flexible making it easier to don the suit. They are also showing new 2mm hooded and non-hooded vests.
  • Aqualung Look HDWe saw two interesting additions to their mask line. The Look HD (Heavy Duty) has interchangeable lenses and a metal torsion bar along the top of the frame. The dealer can swap out lenses with different diopters to meet their customers’ needs. The lovely Linea mask now comes in black. We were really impressed with this mask’s cardona multi-swivel comfort buckles which protect women from getting their hair caught in the buckle.For the broader sport market Aqualung has long and short loose-fitting rash guards which have been a popular item for ScubaPro (…sincerest form of flattery, you know).Aqua Lung Sport has a thoughtful new water shoe, the Navigator, that comes with a drying hanger and 7 mil insoles with arches and drain channels to help evacuate water. We love the attention to detail that we find with all Aqualung products.
  • We learned from the Leadex Group, a company that sells dive weights that they use double stitched pouches and smaller shot than other manufacturers. Dive shops will be pleased to note that Leadex does not have any quantity restrictions and give free shipping on orders of 50lbs or more.
  • Zippered wrists for ease of donning donning glovesChaela tried on the White’s Fusion Essence drysuit for women and was quite pleased with the fit. It has curves in all the right places, a new core lining and even a zippered wrist for ease of use with donning gloves.
  • We checked in with Pinnacle Aquatics to see how their comeback was progressing. Pinnacle is the company that features merino wool lined wetsuits. A while back, they partnered with Zeagle and then later split. They have trimmed their line and are making deliberate progress in their reputation. They have added some nice above water merino lined products to the stock and a merino lined drysuit called the Black Ice.We have been wondering when the training agencies are going to start using e-books. It seems like a like a no brainer. We heard from our contacts about the many challenges they have encountered. We can say that we expect to see electronic formats of manuals coming within the next year or so from more than one agency. In fact PADI had a mock up their open water e-manual for iPad (Android coming). It was impressive and included inline video and popup quizzes to keep you engaged and learning.
  • Roddy Winton, one of our favorite reps, gave us the tour of TUSA’s new products. While viewing the new Tusa Freedom HD (high definition) masks we were amazed that we had missed the fine details and quality TUSA puts into their masks. You really need to visit a dealer and look closely to notice these features. They include small expansion points on the edges of the forehead and cheek area; extruded nose pockets prevent “piggy nose”; a no-tack silicon that almost feels like a soft gel and allows the mask to flow with your facial movements, a silicone flare on the lip area and buckles that will flare out to 90 degrees to accommodate wider faces comfortably.
  • TUSA also sells a TUSA branded version of the Light and Motion, Sola dive light (TUL 1000).

  • UK AqualiteUK Lights, whom we had almost written off for lagging tech in the past few years, has started a comeback. We saw and liked their new modular Aqualite system which includes a compact light body with 4 interchangeable light heads. The heads come in 90, 65 and 20 degree beams and a UV light. The white lights are 600 lumens. They point out that the UV head allows you to view underwater florescence without the using a mask filter to block out the blue light. However, one of our consulting experts points out that while it is accurate that you do not need the mask of photo filter to view the florescence under the uv light, the blue light versions are much more effective and showing the full range and brightness of the florescence. We will have more on this in a future article.
    • At the Huish Outdoors (BAREZeagle, Atomic, Stalsac, Sharkskin) group booth we saw new products from all lines. Stahlsac, makes high quality dive bags and a fine set of GoPro gadget cases in three sizes. Bare is showing the new HDC Tech dry and Tech Dry Cave suits. These are rugged cordura dry suits designed for the tech and cave divers. The BARE SB (Strechable/Breathable) drysuit is back from it hiatus after some problems with the delamination. BARE was very proactive in making sure all customers were given options to have refunds or brand new suits when the new product arrived. In their wetsuit line they were showing a new multisport suit that can be used for diving or surface. The Sport S-Flex is amazingly soft and super stretchy. It comes in thicknesses from 3/2 – 7 mil. For accessories they also have new and extremely comfortable wet and dry hoods.From Atomic we saw their new Frameless 2 mask with a micro thin banding that makes it look like the glass is almost floating in space. Atomic added a paddle fin to give an option to those that love Atomic fins but prefer something other than the spilt fin. We were blown away at the blazing processor speed of the new version of the Atomic Cobalt dive computer. In our past review, we gave the Atomic top marks for the bright screen and ease of use. It is the easiest dive computer on the market and many learn it without even reading the manual. The new processor makes the compass super responsive and now you do not need the special box to calibrate the computer. You just roll it around in your hands in response to the on screen prompts. Although it’s hard to notice, they’ve switched to a TFT screen instead of the LED screen. The TFT screen is equally as bright as the LED screen.
    • Zeagle Covert travel BCDJohn got a chance to try on the new Zeagle Covert travel BCD. It’s superlight at 3.9lbs and rolls up into a newspaper size for packing. But the real thrill is when you try it on. It is amazingly comfortable. This is a total package product of lightness, ruggedness and comfort.
    • Every year you see one or more chaps wandering the show floor with a prototype in hand. This year we found Daniel Woods, founder of TECreation Development with his MaxAir fin prototype slung messenger bag style under his arm. He told us that MaxAir means that his fin is so efficient that it will allow divers to get up to 20% more bottom time. Wood is beating the drum for his crowd sourcing campaign to fund the $80,000 tooling he needs to get the fin ready. The fin blade resembles a window blind or fan louvers that open as you kick. At the time we met him an Asian vendor was pitching an idea to Wood to take the fin to China for prototyping and manufacture. We will follow up at regular intervals and report on his progress.
    • We had a chat with Scuba Optics, Inc. who, like the Prescription Dive Mask company, installs prescription and cheater lenses in dive masks. The difference is the that Scuba Optics has their own lab on site and they claim both a faster turnaround time and better price for the process. A quick price sheet comparison indicates that they are significantly less expensive than Prescription Dive Mask for most services except simple cheater lenses installation.
    • Since we got excited in about the emerging trend of BlueTooth enabled dive comptuers, we were inspired to have a chat with Shearwater who have had BlueTooth for quite a while. Shearwater markets to the tech and CCR sector. While there, we had a chance to view their new NERD (Near Eye Remote Display). It is a heads up display computer for mounting on a rebreather mouthpiece. The display is embedded in a tube with a magnifying lens. It does give you a clear view of the display as if you were viewing one of their other computers at arm’s length. It is a full computer and an attachment to the current wrist mount computer. The computer box looks like a wrist mount with no face.
    • Because a reader asked, we made a special trip to the Santi booth to look at their fully heated drysuit undergarment. This is perhaps the first of its kind. It is a 400 weight thinsulate undergarment with nearly complete coverage of the heating wires. It uses an external canister light battery for power and at $1099 is really a fraction of the cost of the DUI system. They also have a heated glove option. It is worth a look. We will have a full review later.
    • American Underwater ProductsAt AUP (American Underwater Products – Aeris, Hollis, Lavacore, Oceanic) we looked and their upcoming online DiveLog with the associated DiveCloud and apps. As we mentioned in our Wednesday report AUP is adding Bluetooth to their new computers. This will allow easy syncing between the computer and the apps. We also marveled at the beauty of the chrome Aeris A300 CS air integrated wrist dive computer. This unit is due in February and has a passive 1.7 inch passive OLED screen. It runs on a user changeable CR2 (half AA) battery for easy replacement.Aeris was also showing masks with unique ski goggle style straps. Although you may wonder if they will hold up, Aeris says they have been through an extensive battery of endurance testing and passed with flying colors.
    • Frog Spit anti-fog for masks now comes in an easy to use towelette wipe. Just tear the package open, wipe your mask and let it dry. You’re ready to splash!