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Old 07 November 2014, 13:51   #31
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There are a lot of different training agencies. PADI is the most common, but not the best. Along with TDI, SSI, GUE, UTD, NAUI, and some others I have probably never heard of. I have training thru all but SSI and UTD. Before you go and buy ANY gear we need to talk on the phone at least! Dive shops around here actually cater mostly to warm water divers. The percentage of folks that continue to dive cold water is very low past certification. Rent gear if you must, but when you buy, "Buy it right, buy it once". I can point to lots of people who have bought they gear twice, myself included. I can help you save money. Plus gear like HOG is cost effective, and yet high end. Hmmm...Black Friday sales are the time to buy. The savings can be almost 50% on HOG. Unfortunately local dive shops do not carry any gear I want, so everything gets ordered off the internet. The places listed below are highly regarded by fellow divers and myself.

Hog D3 Regulator Set - Dive Right in Scuba
Hog Zenith Second Stage - Dive Right in Scuba
Hog BP/W Full Set - Single - Dive Right in Scuba

Best computer for lots of reasons.
https://www.divegearexpress.com/computers/petrel.shtml
More cost effective and still very good. (No need for a transmitter as that is what a pressure gauge is for.
https://www.divegearexpress.com/computers/dg03.shtml

I have heard good things about Diver Dan's but that is hearsay. Traveling a short distance to get a better instructor is worth it. These days they bang classes out in four days YIKES! A good mentor is the best training after certification. Especially if diving from an unattended boat. Of course safety gear is also very important.

Since you also plan to boat dive I would strongly recommend just starting in a drysuit. People may say, oh you will be fine in a wetsuit...but a boat diver is far different than a shore diver. They talk about 30 minute dives. We can talk about 80 minute dives with some dives going to 100ft which would crush a 7mm suit to half thickness (Of course the deeper you go the shorter the dive).

I started my diving in a wetsuit with a jacket buoyancy compensating device (BCD). I didn't make it 15 dives before I was in a drysuit diving a back plate and wing (BP/W), and quickly found a long hose to be most beneficial.

Read this Equipment Configuration | Global Underwater Explorers I prefer to use the term "Hogarthian" and dive both single and double tanks. The gear configuration works perfectly for recreational diving.



We are headed to Mendocino tomorrow for a couple of dives off my little boat, launching out of Albion For us it is far closer than Monterey with NO traffic, and no $15 bridge crossings when they are doing bridge work on the Golden Gate. The vis up North is often very good with 30-40ft, although we have had over 80+ ft, and on reflection it was probably well over 100ft as we made some incredible jumps. I saw more blue rockfish than I have ever seen in my entire life.

My recommendation would be to contact Rob Lee, Beto Nava, and/or Sue Bird (Beto's wife) for a Rec 1 class. You will come out a certified diver that is ready to dive locally. (I believe they have gear to use too??) The cost will be higher, but these folks are NOT teaching for the money. Rob works for Cisco as does his wife. Sue likes to travel...a lot, especially where there are dolphins. I took a higher up class with them and it was the best bang for the buck of any training I have gotten. The class reports from them are 95% positive, but some people don't like the hours and the fact that they are hard classes. PADI classes are easy...what does that say?
GUE Instructors | Global Underwater Explorers
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Old 07 November 2014, 15:43   #32
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I'll second the recommendation to start in a drysuit, it's not that much "harder" mostly different but if you don't know anything else it's easy. The comfort factor in a drysuit here in CA can't be matched. The standard theory is if you learn to dive in N California you can dive anywhere in the world, it's some of the most strenuous recreational diving anywhere.

I disagree with some of the equipment recommendations. Brand name regulators are just fine as long as you are buying quality stuff. The dive shop I have know for 20+ plus years now just carries one brand and it's a big brand. The have carried every brand possible as long as I have known them and they have settled on just one. It's not their current but I still use the first regulator I bought in 1992, quality but not top of the line even. Parts are readily available from most every dive shop so no worries about service.

Careful on the road down tech diver equipment. Yes, you can argue that it's "better" but it might not be the right tool for the job you are doing. If you can try before you buy that is best. Find a buddy that's got different gear, talk to real people, go to different places. there is no one size fits all.

Jason
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Old 07 November 2014, 18:26   #33
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I disagree with some of the equipment recommendations. Brand name regulators are just fine as long as you are buying quality stuff.
Yes they are just fine. I have owned Apeks, currently dive Scubapro S600's with MK25's, and got my partner a set of HOG regs. Funny thing is the HOG's and Apeks are almost identical, although HOG is now an even more improved design, yet costs 1/6th as much. Plus you can buy the rebuild kits for a reasonable price. My Scubapro's might just get sold this year since kits are far too expensive. I can probably sell my regs, replace them with brand new HOG regs, and come out with a little money in my pocket, plus be able to get rebuild kits. HOG is now a name brand without paying Nieman Marcus prices.



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The dive shop I have know for 20+ plus years now just carries one brand and it's a big brand. The have carried every brand possible as long as I have known them and they have settled on just one. It's not their current but I still use the first regulator I bought in 1992, quality but not top of the line even. Parts are readily available from most every dive shop so no worries about service.
What do you dive? I have friends that really like dual hose regs, mostly for nostalgia.

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Careful on the road down tech diver equipment. Yes, you can argue that it's "better" but it might not be the right tool for the job you are doing. If you can try before you buy that is best. Find a buddy that's got different gear, talk to real people, go to different places. there is no one size fits all.

Jason
Nothing I showed is "tech" equipment, it is dive equipment that just happens can be used for tech. Most everyone in our dive club uses a stainless back plate. No foam to sink. My Scubapro Knighthawk was uncomfortable to wear on land vs a plate where I can wear double HP100's or even more comfortable is my singles tank setup with a custom made Freedom Plate that I use for HP130's. I put another 5lbs of lead in it to take some off my weight belt. BTW my Knighthawk was horrible underwater, like a bad fitting lifejacket, and it was the correct size.

As to the one size fits all...well actually a BP/W uses webbing that can be adjusted for pretty much everyone.

Sidemount is the new crazzz. Works great for boat diving too, but sometimes I just want to bring one tank.

BTW tworotorturbo, you will need to set your boat up for diving eventually, after getting in some shore diving first. A place for tanks to ride, and some tag lines for clipping gear off too. I make mine with bolt snaps, and bungee cord sewn inside hollow webbing. Works awesome at dampening the swells.
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Old 07 November 2014, 18:47   #34
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Just do your research on equipment. I bet I spent about $1,000 on all my gear but then again, I only dive 10-20x per year and use a wetsuit. Peter and jky dive a whole lot more! Brand new 9mm Xcel chest zip was $300 and my new Faber HP80 steel tank was $200. We also had a dive shop going out of business so I got some other items at great prices too.

Just do your research, rent and try stuff out. Don't go dropping $3K right away! I see it all the time on craigslist where people are selling complete dive packages because it turns out they didn't like diving!

EDIT: Peter, what do you use the bigger tanks / doubles for? Saving space on the boat? Multiple dives on the same tank? I don't usually dive deep since I mostly shore dive but even in my advanced class where we went to 100 feet and were diving wrecks, I never surface with less than a 1/2 tank left. It always seems like time is the limiting factor, not air.
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Old 08 November 2014, 14:49   #35
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It always seems like time is the limiting factor, not air.
Time or cold is usually the limiting factor on deeper dives (in Monterey, anyway.) Even in a drysuit, you get cold; the advantage is that in about a half hour you'll be good to go, whereas diving wet, you'll be chilled for hours.

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Old 09 November 2014, 01:24   #36
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We also had a dive shop going out of business so I got some other items at great prices too.
I bought my air compressor on Ebay and had to pick it up in LA, after a dive shop (Haven's Reef or something). The store owners left the country suddenly and everything was sold on Ebay.

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Just do your research, rent and try stuff out. Don't go dropping $3K right away! I see it all the time on craigslist where people are selling complete dive packages because it turns out they didn't like diving!
Very true as most do not continue diving past open water. Renting or borrowing is the way to go, although most shops require you to buy mask fins, and snorkel.

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EDIT: Peter, what do you use the bigger tanks / doubles for? Saving space on the boat? Multiple dives on the same tank? I don't usually dive deep since I mostly shore dive but even in my advanced class where we went to 100 feet and were diving wrecks, I never surface with less than a 1/2 tank left. It always seems like time is the limiting factor, not air.
I solely dive Nitrox for many reasons. Since I bank 32% at home the cost winds up being around $2.00 a fill. On Nitrox per square tables, we can do 80ft for 50 minutes. As I am sure you know Nitrox can extend none deco limits NDL's, but you can't dive as deep as air, but that is a whole other subject that should be discussed with the gas helium included in it.

Today our max depth was 68ft, average depth of 52ft, and I surfaced with 1,300psi an hour later, after starting with a low fill of 3,400psi cold on an HP130. Sometimes we will do longer dives towards the 80 minute mark, but I usually start with 3,800psi or more. Since I have my regs set up as dual regs, and my HP130's have H valves on them, it gives me redundancy and also allows me to switch from singles to doubles without changing anything other than my back plate and wing. Since I have been diving with newer divers lately it seems I have been diving singles mostly. Often times though I find it easier to dive doubles as I can just set my kit up and leave it on the boat since I do not have to switch tanks. Everyone diving singles has to swap tanks during their surface interval. The reality is doubles are more stable in the water. If I am not boat diving, then I use a scooter while shore diving. Pt Lobos State Park is an awesome place to dive, and I have found a boat is far more work and provides no benefits over a scooter. With scooters we can do really long run times and decompress on the way back into the cove following the bottom profile. Typically we will only do one 80+ minute dive at Pt. Lobos with a max depth between 100-110ft, but usually not over 90ft to extend bottom time.
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Old 09 November 2014, 10:46   #37
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Peter, got it.
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