September 17, 2011

Oldies but goldies

I was certified in 1999 so I bought some items of my diving kit a decade ago. Surprisingly I still use them regularly because they do their job. Let's make it clear: there are new inventions and ideas but the basic scuba gear 10-15 years ago was as good as the newest ones. I own a pair of Mares Quattro Avanti fins which is the favourite amongst professional divers although the original Avantis were invented in the eighties. The tech divers adore the Jet Fin- it was designed in 1962 by Georges Beuchat! You'll see many new fins tested by the dive magazines from year to year but in my opinion only the best split fins can be compared to the good old ones. (And many divers simply don't like the way of swimming in split fins, they have to choose one of those decent classic designs.) Some new fins has awfully weak buckles which break easily, the new, super slim mask frames anything but sturdy.

I still have my first regulator set too. It's an AquaLung Titan LX Supreme. It works fine in depth or in cold waters (I even dived under ice with it), easy to find an AquaLung service center who will make the regular checks (not repairs, my one works flawlessly since I bought). Sturdy, reliable in every conditions, not too expensive- there aren't any better model for an ordinary diver despite its age. There are old-school unbalanced piston type regulators like the Scubapro Mk2-R190 which widely used in dive centers all around the world for decades. The simple BCD-s are nearly the same for many years, the weight integration doesn't change the basic set-up- the difference is the comfort. One of the few real innovations in scuba while the new, stylish design of the second stages or new colors of wetsuits doesn't mean an evolution.

Or there are the dive computers. I bought a Suunto Favor ten years ago and it still works. It knows everything what a recreational diver needs except nitrox capability- that's the only reason I bought a new one. The wonderful new computer lasted for 1,5 years so I started using the old Favor again. Some people mention its algorithm doesn't manage safety stop but for god's sake, I can add 3 minutes to the bottom time I see in the display when I ascend to 5 meters! I become crazy when I hear about 'firmware updates'. I want a dive computer which works perfectly from the day of purchasing. The sophisticated new algorithms don't make a dive safer but a more conservative way of diving does, regardless of the instrument you wear. An extra 500 USD you spend on an expensive dive computer won't make you invulnerable.

I think I shouldn't write more about this, hopefully you understand what I mean. I'm not against the new designs, materials, ideas but I'd like to see more reliable, affordable, proven equipments in the shops. Luckily most manufacturers offer the classic models as well and I suggest to every newcomer in the world of scuba diving to choose those ones which the experienced divers recommend and use. Anyway, if you try and like a cool new stuff let me know- whatever I said I'm interested in everything related to diving. Who knows when will I have to renew my kit...

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