We are at the DEMA Show. Live updates (11/9/2009 back home)

We are reporting live from the DEMA SHOW via ScubaGadget, http://www.twitter.com/scubagadget.

WE ARE BACK FROM THE 2009 DEMA SHOW. HERE ARE THE TIDBITS WITH MUCH MORE TO COME….

An amazing travel BCD that converts to a usable day pack. It is the JackPack from DiveSystems. Currently only in Europe. They also have a technical dive computer with a heads up display that, unlike Oceanic’s Head Up Display, fits any mask. The system handles mixed gases.

Beach Buddy is a full gear dolly system that wraps around your tank, the wheels pop off, are pressed into the bottom, and stay with you when you dive. Great for older divers, those with back issues and long walks on shore dives.

We checked in on the Smart Gear cart that we loved at last years DEMA show. It is the ultimate but expensive gear dolly. It was supposed to be out last winter but the model now has many new features and is reported to be in production.

Another item we loved last year, that was also due to market is the Pocket Buoy. It is shipping now.

The new German built Seareq Enos GPS and radio diver locating system is already saving lives on a few  liveaboards. At around $4500 for the receiver and $1250 for the diver unit, it quickly pays for itself with increased sales and customer confidence. The current option EPIRB, can cost $100,000 for a rescue and it can take hours for the SAR team to get notified. Every dive boat should look into this one.

A remarkable development from WaterProof of Sweden that will also be available from Si Tech stands to change the drysuit world — SILICON SEALS. They are infinitely more durable and flexible than latex. Why didn”t they come out sooner?…you cannot glue silicon. But now there are many options for quick rings that have seals that connect without glue. And in colors too!

APlus has a simple tilt bleader valve for tank gauges and fill line that is easy to use and maintain.

NaviMate has prototype underwater GPS. But when we went to the booth it was a wrist strap with a paper map to indicate what you would see on this. They admitted it was a “prototype.” But promised it would be out next year. It is supposed to make use of a floating buoy with a GPS unit that transmits to diver worn units. After some discussion with a few extremely qualified geniuses we say “don’t hold your breath for this product.” Our sources say it can be done but the NaviMate people are not even heading down the right path.

DiveNav and E-dive have a lot of improvement that we have been wanting to report about. Also, in partnership with many manufacturers, they are offering free-to-try and very inexpensive full courses on using your dive computer which include simulated e-dives. A great way to learn. These people have it on the ball. Watch for more.

Fourth Element, our favorite dry suit undergarment company, has a wet suit boot with support and insoles. They will also be releasing a new bamboo lined foam dry suit inner glove. Feels like it will have great dexterity, warmth and a bit of protection if you get wet.

BuddyLink is really well designed simple buddy signal system. It has a heads up display for a light signal transmitted from/to your buddy. It has three signals and includes a sound. No more clacker and horns that don’t work anyway.

XS Scuba has a cool mini scuba multi-tool that comes on a retractor. It has eight valuable tools. They also have the some formed t-weights that fit nicely in to weight pockets and a new tank valve that shows red when it is off and green as you turn it full on. Another vendor has an after market version that we will see tomorrow (see below). We will be testing the tool and new pony bottle bracket for upcoming articles.

Woo-woo has come to the dive business. A respectable company that makes tank inspection tools and equipment was selling, basically just a black arm band that they claim “may” help you with strength, balance, health etc. Come on, go find a new age festival.

Sitting with the INTOVA booth we found a unique solution for an inexpensize dive computer. The inventor combined a small software app, a water proof case and a sensor to turn any Windows mobile phone (and soon an iPhone) into a fully functional and color dive computer. Great for a backup computer. It is supposed to ship in Feb 2010 for under $200.

Bladefish is a new and very mini dive scooter (DPV). It looks just like a household fan. It is very light compared to others on the market. Shipping Jan 2010 with 2 models for $599 and $799.

Another “why didn’t we think of that” product is the, easily installed, new tank valve handle called the ‘Vindicator’ that has an indicator which turns from red to green as you turn on the tank. From Scuba Stik (.com) this product was a hit with attendees. XSscuba was displaying their own version on their tanks. However, apparently Scuba Stik has a patent pending that is coming soon. We witnessed some hot negotiations on the show floor between the two owners and it looks like they will work it out. More details soon.

A major US player that sells other gear, but previous did not even have a dive computer in their line will have one soon and it will be the first recreational computer with the extremely bright and readable OLED display that is sweeping the tech computer market. It is a elegant producat and a leap that will shock the other rec computer makers. Stay tuned.

We did find two companies selling the cheaper and supposedly Chinese made clones of the Miflex hoses (see our full article on the Miflex hoses – http://blog.wetcatscuba.com/?p=579 ). Not suprisingly it was Trident and Scuba Max that were selling the cheaper clone. We did a Coke and Pepsi test with a few attendees. All agreed that, while the hoses look and feel similar, the Miflex is slightly more supple and flexible. However, the important part may not be evident. Miflex rigorously tests and marks each hose. The clones were not marked and experts pointed to a few other potential safety issues. We will have the details of our ongoing investigation soon.

Many regulator manufacturers are including the real Miflex hoses on their higher end regulators altough some with their own twist on the name. This seems to be a sneaky tactic to upsell divers — e.g. “For just $x more, if buy this model, you get this cool superflex hose. Now that sounds good for all in the regulator sales line but the customer. If you are buying a regulator and want that cool hose, don’t be fooled by this. Your LDS can give you want you want if you ask. Customers have the power.

Beuchat had a very cute line of dive gear, including a BCD for “les enfants” from ages 8-12.

Oddest booth in show, a Czech dating service because the date could be a diving date.

Want to be a re-breather diver? The first question is money. The consensus is you that should have about $11,000 – $13,000 dollars to get the equipment and training.

Naui had the best free bags at the show. We also talked with them about their lack of online training for an upcoming feature article on the trend in online training.

Whites had the tallest booth and many other major drysuit manufacturers (e.g. DUI, BARE) were absent from the show all together. It seems like a bad marketing move on the part of the absentee companies’. Retailers and divers are no longer looking at the Whites Fusion and saying “whats that? ” (see http://blog.wetcatscuba.com/?p=399).  They were coming to the booth in droves and saying “I want one.” Whites has some other new inovations we will be reporting on soon. But, they also have taken on a most interesting bed-fellow. Whites is taking advantage of the Scuba Pro infrastructure and has teamed with Scuba Pro international for  selling the Fusion in Europe under the Scuba Pro name (more to come). Whites also has a new website with a focus on social network at http://whitesdiving.com/.

We ended the day hanging with Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry at the Roddenberry dive team booth and chatting about how they are building the team to lay the foundation for making the Star Trek vision a reality. 

We will also have more on the seminars, the DEMA benefits updates, and how DEMA is resolving the controversy with some members. For now, if you are dive retailer and not a DEMA member, you are missing out on thousands of dollars in free services available to you from DEMA. If you are not attending the DEMA show, both east and west you will fall behind because you are will only learn what your reps want to spoon feed you. It is amazing what you can learn just strolling the floor. Of course SCUBA GADGET will do our best to give you the deep background but there is no replacing getting it first hand.

Jason Heller of DivePhotoGuide.com gave seminars on online marketing. He is an online genius.

It was a great show.  Stay tuned for the full articles on these and other stories, and our best (and worst and oddest) in show picks, in the weeks to come.

Coverage by John McKenzie and Chaela Sumner.

Our many thanks to Adams Unlimited (http://adams-pr.com/) for their work with the DEMA show which made it easy for us to cover the show.