Joe Cocozza at DEMA: Day 3
Joe Cocozza reports live from DEMA 2014 to find out what's new in the dive industry - Day 3
Live Report From DEMA
I spent the early morning of day three at DEMA attending an underwater photography workshop. This got me psyched about future projects and I spent the rest of the morning in the Imaging Section lusting after the plethora of camera gear, housings, strobes and underwater lighting on display.
My first interview of the day was with Daniel Emerson, the CEO of Light and Motion. Jill Heinerth told me that I needed to talk to Daniel about his firm's revolutionary products. (For a profile of Jill Heinerth read the article 'First Lady' in the March 2012 Issue of DIVE)
What’s new in Underwater Lighting?
Light and Motion started as an imaging company building underwater video housings and video lights.
'A lot of people still think we are a video housing and video lighting company and we still make fantastic video lights. However, right now about 70 per cent of our business is in the general dive lighting category,' says Daniel. Looking at the company product line you see that they make lights/torches from small hand-held units that are rechargeable with a USB power cord to high-tech dive lighting used for extreme exploration dives and cinematography.
All Light and Motion lights/torches are completely sealed at the factory and never require the user to open up the torch body to charge the battery. Light and Motion tests every single light that they build to 90m for 30 minutes. Not having to remove/replace batteries (especially in the field) is a great feature. I have been shooting UW images for the last 20 years, in that time I have flooded a few lights.
The small hand-held category of lights/torches is called GOBE Lights. These also have interchangeable heads, so one light can have a tight spot for general use or a wide beam floodlight to use with a GoPro camera.
In the primary light category is the SOLA light. Even though it is a powerful primary/tech light, it is the smallest and lightest light in that category. For tech divers and videographers it delivers both power and a long lasting battery at an extremely small size.
The SOLA comes in many variants:
The SOLA for photographers: The unit toggles between white and red light. Since fish don’t see red light, the red light allows the still photographer to focus the camera without scaring the fish.
SOLA for videographers: The unit toggles between a spot and flood beam. The spot beam at 600 lumens and a flood beam at 2000 lumens.
SOLA for tech-divers: The unit has an 8 degree (extreme) spot that delivers 600 lumens for three hours in a light that weighs less than 300 grams and can be mounted to the back of your wrist. If you drop the power out to 300 lumens you have a light that will burn for six hours.
All Light and Motion lights are fully tested and certified to ANSI standard FL1-rev1. At DEMA, Light and Motion introduced a SOLA Tech Light with a built in green laser that has many applications for scientific diving. To quote what my cave diving instructor, Jill Heinerth, said about Light and Motion Lights: 'I was at first dubious that capable lights could be produced on such small units. What I found out was Light and Motion builds high quality, feature rich lights with excellent beam characteristics, copious burn time and rapid recharge. Their product fulfils all my needs from cave diving to video lighting.'
Catching up with Friends
For the next couple of hours I just wandered the aisles in search of anything else that caught my eye. I saw some very cool drysuits, bumped into an old cave diving buddy who now owns Amigos Dive centre and Jon, another cave diving buddy, who started a company that makes Diver Propulsion Vehicles. I stopped in at the TDI/SDI booth, where I met the tech diving instructors John and Lauren Kieren (see the DIVE Magazine April 2013 article: X Marks the Spot). I spoke with my good friend, Captain Gary Mace from Scubaocity and said hello to our friends at the Puerto Rico Tourism Authority.
Diving in Galapagos
My next interview was scheduled with Jorge Mahauad from the Tip Top Diving centre in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos is world famous for marine mega-fauna. We talked about pelagic sharks, such as hammerheads, whale sharks, silky sharks and obviously Galapagos sharks as well as manta rays, sunfish, whales, dolphins and marine iguanas. This all the big stuff underwater photographers want to see.
Jorge and I also talked about the type of diving kit on Galapagos. While you are not going to be doing deep deco dives, this an excellent place to for rebreather diving as bubbles tend to freak out the big fish. If you want to get up close and personal, rebreather diving is the way to go.
Jorge is native to the Galapagos, his grandfather was one of the first to bring the fishing and boating tourism to the islands. His company runs a land-based operation and a liveaboard boat that specializes in trips for rebreather divers and underwater photographers.
the Best New Recreational Diving Equipment Pick at DEMA 2014
Air travel for recreational diving almost takes the fun out of the trip. With security and weight restrictions, packing a BC is just too much of a hassle. Many new divers choose not purchase a BC because it so big and bulky, so the time has come for truly innovative BC for travel. I sat down with Doug Krause, the VP of Marketing at OCEANIC and discussed the new Oceanic Jetpack Travel BC. I personally think is the best thing to happen in recreational sport diver kit in a long time.
As Doug told me: 'Most travel BCs on the market sacrifice features and durability to save ounces. So I had this idea: why not make the BC itself your travel backpack. A BC is durable and it is designed to take a heavy load on your back. So why not design a travel BC so it becomes a carry-on backpack that contains all your dive gear for the trip'.
And while it might seem a little strange for a jaded tech diver like myself to get excited about a new recreational BC design, I really think the JetPack BC from OCEANIC is the real deal. Watch this video, I think you will agree.
(Doug and I also spoke about two other new OCEANIC Products: the Omega-3 Regulator and the VTX Dive Computer. I will be posting the full interview with Doug on Pod Diver Radio-stay subscribed).