The Northwest Dive & Adventure Travel Expo 2013 Day 2 Report

Here is a summary of what we saw on day 2 of the 2013 Northwest Dive & Adventure Travel Expo in Tacoma, WA.

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  • We’re excited to try the Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium’s upcoming adventure of diving with sharks. We  were impressed with the Pt. Defiance zoo’s commitment to quality education with the Eye-to-Eye Sharks! program, a get-in-the-swim program like no other in the Puget Sound region. Opens this summer at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Certified divers will get an escorted scuba swim with the zoos 17 sharks, led by a professionally trained guide. Non-divers will experience a “cage” dive with easy-to-breathe surface-supplied air. No experience required. This is a truly unique encounter and the zoo hopes to dispel some of the myths that abound about sharks. Cost for certified divers: 160, Zoo members; $175, non-members and includes all equipment. Cost for non-divers: $50, Zoo members; $65, non-members.
  • Barb Roy, journalist with X-ray Mag, is branching out with her booth showing off her photography, cards bearing her photographs and dream catchers made by her daughter. One of her recent articles is about the scuttling of two ships in Portugal in one day.
  • We went to the Light and Motion booth and further explored the Sola NightSea. This is a joint project between Sola and NightSea labs. The NightSea is a special blue light that acts as a fluorescent exciter with many organisms to absorb and re-emit a visible glow, transforming the undersea into a psychedelic underworld. “It’s been called many things – fluodiving, fluorodiving, fluorescence night diving, UV diving – but no matter what you call it, the optical magic of fluorescence adds a totally new dimension to your night diving.” We’re making arrangements with Sola to do a full live dive articles with this amazing light.
  • Other lighting news: We purchased a couple of the new W16XL Archon lights and will report back soon with a live article. We have also arranged to have the lumen claim evaluated by an independent testing lab.
  • We spoke at faith at the Diving Unlimited International (DUI) booth about their new BLUEHEAT™ HEATED DIVEWEAR INSULATION system. Faith reported that this approx. $3000 system is selling surprisingly well and at a recent DUI demo days 4 out of 14 divers mad a purchase.
  • We went to the LavaCore booth and discussed their new LavaCore Elite. This sleek, fashionable system can be worn under drysuits but recommended use is topside while engaged in water sports such as paddle boarding and kayaking. The lightweight top and bottom keep you warm and dry. Lavacore’s Elite series incorporates neoprene at the wrist cuffs and a merino wool lined bi-laminate fabric under the armpits and side panels. This design concept is intended to provide enhanced flexibility (for paddling), permeability (to reduce overheating, sweating & body odor) and maximize overall comfort.
  • Whites Drysuits was showing off an upcoming womens’ version of their new Fusion 0ne backzip, sub $995 drysuit. Named the “FUSION ESSENCE,” this suit it has both a female cut core and skin. It also has color accents and the inner core is purple instead of the usual gray. It will ship around May 2013.
  • We asked the quality light experts at Light Monkey about what divers may be missing if they buy one of the cheap knockoff canister tech lights. He first said “the warranty” but also pointed out how, on their lights the sealed battery compartment prevents flooding of the battery even if water gets into the canister.
  • tusa finAt the TUSA-USA/Waterproof booth, we saw their Solla fin which for your comfort that includes a proprietary thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) fin strap. TUSA open-heel fins are equipped with a newly designed Anatomic Fin Strap (AFS).  The AFS is anatomically shaped to offer a balance of flexibility and control to increase comfort, power transfer and to significantly reduce heel slippage found in many standard flat fin straps. The angled blade onTUSA fins makes them especially good for snorkellng because the blade stays below the surface.

Again today the crowds at the show seemed very light to us and to the vendors we interviewed. We cannot imagine that there was anywhere near the expected attendance of 5k to 7k.

One staff member reported that, in a talk during the Saturday night festivities, show founder Rick Straton acknowledged the light crowds and said that the show would be broadened next year to include more adventure sports beyond diving. We will have more on this soon.

Just to give you an idea of the mix we did a rough tally of the types of booths we saw.

  • Dive Shops ~ 9
  • Travel ~ 53
  • Manufactures and distributors of dive equipment ~ 30
  • Non profit orgainzations other than clubs ~ 18
  • Aquariums ~ 3
  • Art – jewelry – shirts ~ 6
  • Training agencies and schools ~ 5
  • Dive clubs ~ 7
  • Non-diving related ~ 5
  • Other ~ 5

Which gives an approximate total of ~141. You may notice that reports of the number of booths filled would be much higher because many vendors purchase multiple booths. All numbers are approximate. It was a quick count.

We will have a show summary after we give interview the staff next week.

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See the day 1 report at