Thursday, August 8, 2013

Finally Trying Some New Gear

Working in a dive shop, we get to see new innovations in gear on a regular basis. Every once in a while, even though I am surrounded by great new gear, I realize I have been using the same style equipment for years. When one gets great gear to start with it does last a long time.

Yesterday, however, I decided to try out some completely new products just to see what has changed. First up was the new Seawing Nova full foot fins just released from Scubapro.  I have been using the Twin Jets from Scubapro for about 12 years and am pretty passionate about how much I love them. My first pair of fins as a diver were the "blades" from U.S. Divers, so when I got my first split fin it really made me realize that those blades were simply glorified two by fours strapped to my feet. The Twin Jets gave great power with very minimal effort and swimming long distances or for a long time in them is an absolute breeze. I definitely relegated myself to the split fin crowd.

When the Seawing Nova was released as a buckle back I was tempted to try them because they are so different. Not a blade, not a split? I have to admit: I am a spoiled boat diver, so the idea of dealing with a boot is too much for my pampered dive style. When they finally came out with the full foot style for us warm water lovers I had to give them a spin. They do run big in size. My women's size 9 1/2 foot fit perfectly in the size small. The foot pocket on dry land feels a bit rigid and stiff but as soon as I got in the water with them it was so soft, there was no rubbing and it was really nice to kick. With a split fin you do need to get a good four or five kicks going before the power kicks in where as with these your first kick gives you great power. I can see where that would be a great advantage in free diving. I used the typical scissor kick when I wanted quick speed and more of a frog kick for slow cruising. Definitely, as with any fin and maybe even more with this one, a bicycle kick with a bent knee loses all power.

I would certainly recommend this fin to anyone who does a mix of scuba and free diving, or for anyone who wants maximum power from a fin that can also cruise comfortably. I am not retiring my Twin Jets! However, I think they will be my standard scuba fin and the full-foot Seawing Nova will be my free dive/ speed fin of choice.
Next, I switched out my mask (mainly because I forgot it in my beach bag at home). My current mask is the Cressi Big eyes EVO which again, I am quite partial to. It has a big viewing field and a very soft inner seal that touches the face and never leaves "mask face" marks. Definitely no complaints about my Cressi, but since I found myself without it I decided to try the new Tusa Freedom one. I notice when anyone tries it on in the shop it always wins them over because of how comfortable it is, on virtually every face. Underwater it definitely delivered comfort, was easy to clear, and its low volume made it very easy to equalize. I especially like that this mask is so versatile for so many faces! Perfect if you share your mask or want something on hand for guests to use.

Glad to know that I still love my tried and true gear, but its also nice to know there is always room for more dive gear technology. Things seem to keep getting more comfortable and easier to use. If you want to try on something new come into Kohala Divers. We have a lot of gear on display and even some in our rental department that you can try out. Its amazing how much more enjoyable the sport of diving can be with the right set of equipment for the adventure.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kohala Coast Dive Club: Mahukona Dive.

What do local Big Island residents do on a beautiful Saturday morning? Well, if they are divers they probably find some gorgeous dive spot and get underwater. But what if they don't have a dive buddy, or they are not familiar with the best shore dive spot, or they are not yet certified?

Our local dive club for the Kohala coast of Hawai'i Island has a fun get together about every two to three months. We pick a location with good dive conditions and plan a potluck, dive, snorkel, and beach fun day. If you don't have a dive buddy (and you're a certified diver) just show up with gear and chances are within minutes you will meet a new dive friend to jump in with. We always have lots of divers and their families.  There is something to do for every one. The best thing is: We have a lot of good cooks in our club so there is always something great to munch on.

As the day goes on the divers come up with fun stories of what they saw. Today one diver saw a manta ray a few hundred yards straight out of the bay. I heard of other encounters with tear drop butterflies, scrambled egg nudibranchs, and dwarf moray eels. Even the littlest club members got in on the action when one of our dive friends brought up a baby octopus and a few shells for our kiddos to check out. Don't worry: After the kids got a chance to check out the awesome sea creatures they were escorted all the way back down underwater to safety.

The dive club is called Kohala Coast Dive Club. It is free to join and you can find all of our upcoming activities on our facebook page, in email newsletters once you sign up, or the calendar on There are also great opportunities monthly for local residents to get certified at a discount! It's your big blue backyard: Get out there and explore! See you at our next event!!
Little future diver checking out her first octopus.