Huge Sale this Saturday and Sunday only!!!

It's time to clear out last year's inventory.

Check out the prices on these package deals while supplies last!

It's our biggest sale ever!
Stop by this Saturday and Sunday for a once in a lifetime sale to get 15% to 50% Off on select gear.
.5mm to 3mm wetsuits (2010 Scubapro and Subgear)
Cammo Suits and Rash Guards (JBL,Riffe,Scubapro, Subgear)
Knighthawk and Seahawks BCDs with Air2
Digital Gauges and Dive Computers.(All Brands)
Dry suits (Waterproof Draco, and Scubapro Evertec)
Twinjet Max Fins (25% Off)
Sea Life and Sea and Sea Cameras (15% Off)
Dive knives (All Brands 15%)
Spearguns and accessories (JBL and Riffe15% off)
Like New Tusa Scooters $899 was $2200
Gloves (All Brands 15% off)
Waterproof Iphone/Android Cases (Pelican 15% Off)
Lights, Strobes, Markers (15% to 50% Off)
Used Regulators Systems $200!
Used BCDs $250!
Used Wetsuits $50
Scuba Tanks (Aluminum 80s $187.50 with Valve and Air Fill Card)
Ocean Reef Full Face Masks with communication (15% off)
Free Air Card with Purchase of $100 gift card ($40 value Great Christmas Gift)
And much more...
These overstocked, discontinued, and clearance products must go this weekend!

Don't forget to check out the new Gopro Hero2 HD video cameras only $299.95!

We will be grilling out and serving refreshments from 2:00 until on Saturday.

Dive Package Deals

All items must be purchased as BCD/Reg/Computer package.

Go Dive Package
Package includes
Drift BCD with BPI
Aruba Regulator with Octo
Spg and XP10 Nitrox Computer



Explorer Package
Package includes
Seahawk BCD with Air2
Spg and Aladin 2G Multigas Computer


Prodiver Package
Package includes
Glidepro BCD
Mk25/A700 Regulator
Galileo Luna Computer


Testing the new PADI Sidemount Diver Course

Testing the new PADI Sidemount Diver Course

Posted in News, Training with tags PADI Sidemount on October 27, 2011 by kattek

By Kelly Rockwood, Training Consultant – PADI Americas

One of the great things about working in the PADI Training Department is the opportunity to help create, review and test new PADI programs. I was lucky enough to be included in formative research we were doing for the new PADI Sidemount Diver course held over the Labor Day holiday in September 2011. Giving up a holiday weekend was a small price to pay to be among a group of people helping test this new equipment configuration.

Jeff Loflin, a respected PADI Course Director and author of the first Sidemount Diver Distinctive Specialty course, led the research as our instructor.

Day One
In the morning, we met in a classroom where our instructor reviewed the development of the PADI Sidemount Diver Course Instructor Guide as it was currently written. The group then discussed a few edits to these standards that they felt would improve the course.
We followed this with information about the specific equipment used for sidemount diving and how it differs from a single cylinder backmount equipment configuration.

After lunch, we had a hands-on practice session configuring our own sidemount equipment before jumping in the pool for skills learning. While trim is important for backmounted diving, it is critical for sidemount diving. It is amazing how even slight adjustments to the cam band (moving it a slight amount either further up or down the cylinder) can dramatically change your profile in the water.

While in confined water, we worked on trim, removing and replacing the cylinders (both underwater and at the surface in the deep end of the pool), switching from one cylinder to another, monitoring our gas use, regulator recovery and clearing, air sharing with our buddy, hovering, deep water entry with one or two cylinders and swimming with one or two cylinders. We also removed one cylinder and adjusted our weighting for a single cylinder sidemount configuration and practiced some skills while wearing only one cylinder. During the debrief at the end of the confined water session, we discussed the Performance Requirements as currently outlined and made suggestions for skills and training that divers taking the program might find beneficial.

Day Two

We were up early to catch a boat to California, USA’s Catalina Island for the open water dives. While confined water sessions are essential for learning and mastering the skills necessary for sidemount diving, diving in the open water brings it all together. As California water is temperate, we also had wet suits, dry suits, hoods and gloves to contend with.

The first dive was challenging because the water had some waves and a slight surface current. Each of us was assigned a different method for donning our sidemount cylinders. I put both cylinders on in the water, while other testers attached their left cylinder first (so they were able to connect a low pressure inflator hose before entering the water), made a deep water entry, then connected the right cylinder in the water. Other entry methods included donning both cylinders and completing a giant stride, back roll or controlled seated entry.

During the dive, we practiced skills previously learned in confined water, like regular recovery and clearing, out-of-air drills (both by switching to our second cylinder and securing an alternate air source from our buddy), hovering for 30 seconds, removing and replacing the cylinders on the surface, monitoring gas supply and switching regulators to maintain similar pressures in each cylinder. We even performed a tired diver tow at the end of the dive. The student divers with no technical diving experience found this first dive challenging, while those who were familiar with handling stage or decompression cylinders found it liberating to be free from the constraints of double cylinders strapped to their backs. Most of us tweaked our equipment configurations during the surface interval.

On the second dive, some of us clipped one or both of our cylinders to a line, lowered the line into the water, got in and then donned our cylinders. Others practiced an entry method different than the one they used during the first dive.

We checked for neutral buoyancy, switched from one cylinder to another, shared air with our buddy while swimming and removed a cylinder in a sandy area beneath the boat to practice swimming with one cylinder. We also swam through and around the kelp and other obstacles to become comfortable with our buoyancy and trim. At the conclusion of the second dive, we unclipped and handed our cylinders to the boat crew or clipped them to a line for retrieval. Those without previous sidemount experience seemed to be much happier at the end of this dive as they had the chance to adjust their gear configuration during the break between dives.

We then practiced a few optional skills not currently included in the outline, like adjusting the cam band for trim while neutrally buoyant and swimming with both cylinders unclipped from the bottom rail and moved in front for ultimate streamlining. Too cool!

Research Conclusions

Based on our research experience, we suggested some revisions to the draft of the PADI Sidemount Diver Course Instructor Guide. Some were slight modifications, others more significant. Personally, I am a total convert to sidemount diving, because it is easy and has multiple options for equipment configurations.


Guess who's back?

Photo by Instructor Shane Anderson
Scientists with the federal government and from 3 Gulf of Mexico states say efforts to find out more about whale sharks, the world's largest fish, are picking up steam.

Biologist Eric Hoffmayer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries service says 2 trips into the Gulf during September resulted in 10 taggings, significantly more than earlier efforts. The tags will provide information on the animals' movements.

In the summer, schools of the harmless animals laze about at the surface, where they can be tagged easily. But as fall approaches, they split off to hang out with schools of tuna that herd baitfish to the surface for an easy meal.

Relatively little is known about whale sharks. Scientists don't have a handle on population numbers, or know much about their breeding and migratory patterns.

Researchers from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi joined for the September tagging expedition. They were aided in their search by a spotter plane provided by a California-based nonprofit, On the Wings of Care.

On one trip to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off Texas, Hoffmayer said the Gulf seethed as whale sharks leaped about, gulping mouthfuls of tiny fish. Screaming seabirds dove to grab some of the bounty.

Photo Josh Blair Oriskany
The scientists had 30 seconds to get photographs, anchor a GPS tag in the thick, sandpaper-like skin of one of the sharks and take a DNA sample.

Hoffmayer said the trips were successful — they tagged five whale sharks on each of two such trips. That's more per day than ever before.

The tags will beam information back to labs to track the sharks whereabouts.

"We pretty much doubled the amount tagged in the northern Gulf in one week," said Hoffmayer, who has studied whale sharks for nearly a decade.

The newly tagged animals range from 15-foot-long juveniles to 35-foot adults.

Photo by Shane Anderson 6 miles off shore
Whale sharks can grow as long as a school bus and are on the World Conservation Union's "red list" of threatened species.

"We're interested in how long they stay here in the Gulf, and where they go in winter," Hoffmayer said.

But to find out requires swimming with the sharks.

Fortunately, they're a docile species. They cruise the gulf sucking into tiny teeth meals of small fish and plankton. They lack the fearsome jaws of Gulf predator species such as the mako, tiger and bull shark.

Getting close to the gentle giants isn't as easy as it seems, even as they glide slowly through the warm waters.

"Though it looks like it's swimming nice and slow, it's a lot faster than we are. We try to put ourselves in front of the animal and let the animal swim to us," Hoffmayer said.

Once their boat was in position near a shark, Jennifer McKinney, a research technician at the University of Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, and Hoffmayer slipped into the water. A photographer went to the head — the spot pattern behind each whale shark's gills is unique. Hoffmayer was in the middle to attach a tag, and McKinney got DNA samples from the tail.

Photo Josh Blair Oriskany
Seven sharks tagged in September have tags that store months of temperature and depth data. They're designed to pop off and rise to the surface — adding a straight-line travel distance from the spot where the fish was tagged — either after a set time or if the shark dives so deep that water pressure would crush the electronics.

Two have "spot tags," designed to transmit an animal's location each time it surfaces. One has both.

The International Foundation for Animal Welfare and World Wildlife Fund provided money for the tags, which cost about $2,000 for spot tags and $3,500 to $4,200 for the pop-off tags.

Two are set to pop off in four months, two in six months and two in eight months, Hoffmayer said.

"Two of the spot tags that we put out have reported," Hoffmayer said. "Both sharks were moving east."

Photo Down Under Diver
In about 12 days, he said, one had moved about 120 miles and the other about 130 miles. One was south of Pensacola, Fla., near an underwater area called the DeSoto Canyon. The other was south of Mississippi.

The trips grew out of a larger effort to tag fish such as tuna and billfish, said Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

Pausina said a multispecies tagging plan may be ready to submit to NOAA within a few months.