Dec

20

True to Atomic’s name, this mask is super-engineered and was all the talk at this year’s dive-industry trade show.

Atomic Aquatics is calling this mask the Venom, and it’s a blending of their SubFrame and Frameless masks. It has a reinforcing internal frame that’s molded directly beneath the surface of the silicone rubber skirt, like the Subframe, yet it offers the relatively low profile of the Frameless. Also, its faceplate is single window like the Frameless, but it has a high bridge and tear-drop shape similar to the SubFrame’s dual-window design.

The Venom comes across as a high-concept, stylish-looking piece of gear when it’s being held in your hand, and it’s really comfortable when mounted on your face. Its easy-to-use squeeze-to-adjust buckles are soft-mounted to the mask skirt, which allows a little bit of flexibility in strap positioning, plus they can be folded flat for packing.

Where the Venom differs from its SubFrame and Frameless cousins is in its faceplate construction. While the SubFrame and Frameless lenses use Ultraclear glass, which has quite a rep for optical quality in its own right,  the Venom mask uses an even higher-quality glass imported from Germany. Called Schott Superwite glass, it allows more light to penetrate than even Ultraclear glass.

In the water, we find a testament to a good mask is that you don’t notice it on your face. The Venom does a good job of getting there. Like its cousins, it offers a superior field of view, and the soft skirt and watertight seal combined to make the Venom feel like a part of our face. Looking at the sights through this bright distortion-free Superwite glass is like looking through no glass at all.

It’s called the Venom and the only antidote is salt water, and lots of it!  Come by Gulf Coast Divers and check it this awesome new mask, just in time for your Christmas stocking!

Dec

14

Materials: The quality of a wetsuit begins with the base material.  High-quality neoprene will resist fading and deterioration from salt, chlorine, UV exposure and compression at depth. Cheap neoprene will compress at depth and permanently lose the suit’s insulation and durability. Fit is the most critical aspect. Instead of opting for a thicker suit, most divers on the gulf coast stay warm by layering thinner neoprene. Layering insulates better and gives you more flexibility, because the pieces slide along each other instead of having to stretch. Having several thinner wetsuit pieces allows for versatility for changing water temps.  On the gulf coast, our water temperature can change almost 30 degrees throughout the year. Having the proper thermal protection for the season means, versatility.

Undergarment: To stay warm, a suit traps water against the skin which your body heats up, acting as a thermal barrier. Using a dive skin as your base layer and layering several wetsuit pieces over this will increase warmth.  This layering technique will increase the efficiency of your suit by more effectively trapping water in the suit.  It also makes your suit more versatile by allowing you to adjust for seasonal changes in water temperature and match your thermal protection to conditions of each dive.  Using a base layer, like LavaCore, will boost the insulating capability because it adds the equivalent of 2mm thermal protection without added bulk or buoyancy.

Skins: A smooth-surfaced “skin” in cuffs, necks and flaps behind zippers help reduce water movement in/ out of your wetsuit.  These water barriers reduce the cooler water flushing in as you swim and keeps warm water trapped inside the suit.  A dive skin worn as a base layer will reduce water movement and take up space inside your wetsuit.  This reduces the amount of water in the suit, which means less water you have to heat up, resulting in less heat loss.

Texture: The #1 killer of wetsuits is tears, from knee abrasion while kneeling on the bottom or tears from struggling to pull on a suit that isn’t stretchy enough to slide on.  The simple solution to address abrasions from the environment is to practice good buoyancy control.  Stress from tears can be avoided with a super stretchy material that is easy to put on and smooth nylon coatings that allow the suit to “glide” on.  Dive skins also allow the suit to slide on more easily, and make the suit more comfortable.

Come talk to our suit professionals about designing a thermal system that is right for you.  Whether you are hot or cold natured we have a wetsuit combo for you. Not sure, jump in our 15’ deep in-store pool and try it out. Gulf Coast Divers (251) 342-2970.

Dec

10

Even though the modern personal dive computers are very reliable and rarely malfunction, the possibility still exists.  Looking down at your computer in the middle of a dive and seeing a blank screen can be stressful sight.  Most computer issues are battery related or caused by flooding.  The flooding usually follows an improperly sealed battery compartment or a crack in the housing caused by trauma to the computer.  The problem is the crack was probably suffered in your gear bag during transport and you don’t even realize it until it is too late.

Because of the possibility of a dive, or entire dive day, being ruined because of a computer issue, most divers dive with 2 personal computers.  Oceanic’s new B.U.D. (Back-Up Dive) computer is the perfect addition to your dive kit.  It clips to your B/C and tracks all your dive info. and can be used as a primary computer, quick-glance status, back-up or spare.

The B.U.D. is small enough to clip to any d-ring on your B/C and you will hardly even know it is there, but has an easy to read display.  It has full computer functions, including nitrox compatibility.  Economically priced at $329.00.

Dec

2

This is the time when shoppers start racking their brain for that perfect Christmas present.  Giving someone an “experience” for a wedding, birthday, anniversary or Christmas gift insures that your present won’t be tossed in a storage shed and forgotten.  It is a great way to nudge a friend into trying scuba to introduce them to a world that you have already discovered. The best way to get more opportunities to dive is to have lots of dive buddies.

Whether it is a thrilling adventure or peaceful, relaxing escape, diving has something for everyone. Don’t keep saying, “One day” forever…make this the year that you decide to start living life and experience new things.

Call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 and get a gift certificate for a $24 Experience Scuba session and give it to the person in your life who needs an escape.

To make it even better, we are offering dive training 1/2 price. Yep, you get two in-water dive training sessions for the price on one!  Now, you and a friend can “Come down, give it a try, see what you think” for just $24.  That’s only $12 each to dive in our 15′ deep, in-store, heated pool!  All you need to bring is a bathing suit, towel and sense of adventure, we supply the rest. If you decide to progress on, then the sessions after that are 1/2 price, too.  This Christmas Special is for a limited time, so call (251) 342-2970 and get everyone on your Christmas list an experience they will remember for a lifetime.