What's the best newbie scuba gear?
My teenage son wants to learn to scuba dive. He'll take a local class to get certified. But are there any recent technologies or advances to look for in selecting an intro-level scuba gear? No need for anything premium until we see if he sticks with it. Do you just use whatever the rental companies offer? Is there a great scuba for beginners website?0
Most shops require your son to have his own mask, snorkel, and fins. Even if it's not required, he should do so for reasons of familiarity and comfort, as the mask and fins can fit very differently between models and he should have gear that fits well. If your son isn't committed yet, there's no reason to buy additional gear -- with two (and a half) possible exceptions.
First, the most important piece of life support equipment is the regulator, which runs between the tank of air and your mouth, dropping the pressure and controlling the rate of flow. You might want to own this in order to control the maintenance on this critical piece.
The Subgear regulators are relatively inexpensive and high quality, as they're made by Scubapro but without the lifetime warranty and with less expensive trim. They used to have regulators with names beginning A, B, and C, with C the highest-grade, but they've just changed their naming scheme and I'm not caught up yet. If your son plans on cold-water diving, the top grade might be worthwhile, but if he's only planning to drive tropically, that's probably overkill.
The second piece of gear you might wish to own outright is a dive computer -- if your son is a data nerd. I wish I'd had a dive computer with computer interface from the beginning, so that I had detailed data on all of my dives. To make this worthwhile, if you're not running Windows, pick your software and then pick your computer. I've got a Mac and use MacDive 2, available at http://mac-dive.com/
I own an air-integrated Suunto, which I love, but the interface may be a bit complicated for beginners, and it's not cheap. (Air-integrated means that the computer acts as your air gauge -- and can report this to your dive logging software, so you can track changes and improvements or declines in your air consumption rate, helping you to maximize your dive time.) Mares makes some relatively inexpensive dive computers with simple interfaces.
Finally, if your son is planning to shore dive -- particularly in cold-water, where he'll be wearing lots of other gear including thick gloves -- upgrade his fins with spring straps. (If your fin manufacturer doesn't make spring straps, there are almost certainly third-party spring straps designed to integrate with what fins he does buy.) It might sound silly, but as a cold-water diver I feel that these have been one of my best purchases, as they allow me to get my fins on and off reliably, without assistance or fuss.
defiately his own mask and snorkle, as faces are different and a leaking maske can dsitress new divers. A mask when pressed against the face, without the strap , should adhere to the face with one slight nose inhale. It should stay there while turning your head side to side and looking down, if it faslls off it does not fit. The same is true for swimming goggles,without the breath. Stick them to your eyes and they should stay on by vacuum. I am sure you can buy almost brand new modern fins in crigs list for less than half price. check the straps as they are the first to get rot and fail , and knock 10 bucks off the price for new ones. I have to admit having ones own regulator even A good used one is worth it. Many times the tie wrap that holds the mouthpice on is going to break underwater and your regulator will break free, causing distress, at the least. Keeping your life support equip in proper working order is only something an owner can do. The typical dive kit that was mentioned can be found on craigs list if you have time, for half the price of a lessor new one. Most likely it will be 3 years old but brand new, A new diver talked into buying gear they will never use again. however craiglist deals , you need time to wait unless your lucky and you need a knowledgable person to help you.
Escapefromyonkers, can you suggest any specific makes/models of fins/mask that you would look for if you were shopping for used stuff on craig's list?
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