Here’s our report from Day 3 on the Exhibit floor at #DEMAshow:
- Suunto has finally followed competitors into the age of large screen, air integrated (remote sensor) color dive computers. Their EON Steel dive computer is certainly an impressive looking device. It has the requisite bright color OLED screen but this one is customizable. It allows you to tailor the screen to show the features you use most (e.g. compass, depth, temp, etc.). The steel case makes for a stylish look and the three button flyout menu system makes for easy navigation. The device uses a fused algorithm and is designed to work for novices through tech diving. The package includes the unit, computer sync cable, rubber boot, screen protector and transmitter. The look and feel (especially the compass) exposes the DNA of the system as coming from the same designer as the Uwatech/Scubapro Galileo computer. Press releases from Suunto have been shouting that the “wait is over” for the EON, but it is not yet shipping. Booth staff say mid January but other experts are skeptical on them making that date.
- DiveX is making powerful, long range dive scooters sexy and small. Their newly unveiled Piranah X1 has the power and range of their previous models but have the size and much less weight. At only 25lbs (vs 42lbs for the Cuda) the Piranah is also a modular system and can handle up to three batteries for extreme duration diving. I was also impressed with their website’s edgy media that made me consider a DPV for the first time ever.
- Last year we were impressed with Drycase’s drybags. Now they come in many different colors. The company has also added a cute and functional dry Bluetooth speaker with full controls. DryVIBES IPX67 has a powerful suction cup, built in rechargeable battery, built in waterproof microphone for phone calls and floating waterproof design for $79.99.
- PADI sent a survey to 400,000 certified divers. An amazing 98 percent of responding inactive divers expressed both a strong interest in, and intention of, returning to scuba diving. These inactive divers also identified exactly what they would be looking for to re-engage as divers; “a clear and convenient pathway for updating their dive knowledge and skills.” An upcoming DEMA study is purported to back up the PADI study. PADI is responding quickly to this study by offering an innovative program to capture lapsed divers. It called the PADI Reactivate Program. It’s an app based refresher program for iOS and Android with a twist. The twist is – the quizzes come first. The program does not bog the student down with stuff they know. It assesses the new returning diver and brings them up to speed with customized training. It is an academic version of what a human instructor may do when a refresher student gets in the pool or open water – assess first, then train to the needs of the student. PADI plans to include a public advertising program which could bring in lapsed divers to all agency’s shops.We also viewed the new PADI Open Water Diver app for tablets. It is the “pretty one” among the field of online training. We have a code and will bring you details after we review the course in depth.
- On stopping by the TIZIP booth I was reminded their waterproof zippers are becoming ever more popular in both wet and semi-dry suits. Bare is using them almost exclusively in their drysuits.
- I was a bit intrigued to see and hopefully test soon the TUSA Freedom Film which is supposed to keep masks fog-free for an unlimited number of dives. The film adheres to the inside of the mask lens in a similar manner to installing a screen cover on a cell phone. Freedom Film is available now for both single and double lens masks for $14.99.
- Fourth Element always has something new to show. This year they have a new model in the Arctic undergarment line. This version adds windproof and waterproof panels over the most thermally sensitive areas of your body. This should make the system a bit warmer both under and above the water. They’ve added pockets in both the top and bottom pieces and unique retractable thumb-loop that snaps out of the way.Fourth Element was also showing a set of ultralight dry-bags in 5, 15, 20 and 30 liter sizes. To look at them you would think they are lightweight nylon bags but they are fully waterproof. They were also showing new lifestyle products made from special materials. The had shirts and shorts made from S’CAFE, the coffee grounds based fabric that is all the rage. Their new “Ocean Postive” line of swimwear line that is made from recovered ghost nets.
- Mares “Pure Vision” is a new single lens version of their popular and ubiquitous X-Vision line. They’ve also added smaller version of the convertible Mares Voyager Yacht Equipment Storage that debuted last year. The new Dive Voyager bag, like it’s big brother, converts all the way from a travel bag to a vented, hanging storage compartment with a waterproof bottom to store your gear in your stateroom. Mares has a new 1200 lumen USB rechargeable dive light in their EOS light line. Their regulator line has a new top end. The Fusion 52x has redesigned bypass said to provide a 77% increase in flow. In the Mares free diving line, they’ve added the radical and ultra low volume “Viper” mask. This ergonomic face hugging mask brings the lenses way in for a great field of view. The design gives it the edgy look of WWI gas mask. Lastly for those parents who want to keep a better eye on their water-kids, the Head Snorkle vest now has super-reflective edging.
- Infinite Scuba virtual divers can now dive Glovers Reef in Belise with Sylvia Earl. Infinite Scuba was a ScubaGadget “DEMA Best of Show” winner in 2012. On this new dive you can clean the reef and capture invasive lion fish.
- Underwater Kinetics (UK) has added quite a few new dive and video lights to their line. One unique feature to the UK is that they use a dome lens on their flood lights to counter the effects of refraction on the beam angle. Another brand with a flat lens reportedly looses over 50% of the claimed beam angle when in water. We will have much more on this soon. UK was showing a new price point 500 lumen hands free light for $179, Like their other lights and the Light and Motion’s GoBe line these lights are modular (you can snap on different light heads). Additionally UK has a new, economical and very versatile Aqualite Duo Lighting Kit. This extremely convertible platform lets you mount and manage 2 UK lights and your GoPro or other favorite camera. Even with two 1200 lumen UK lights it is less than $600 which makes the cost of the bracket system practically free.
We will have a show wrap-up with trends and our surprising DEMA SHOW “Best in Show” winner next.