On The Sixth Dive of Christmas, My Buddy Gave to Me...
A lot of divers, once they've reached a certain level, seem to forget what it's like to be a newbie. Suddenly, there's only one way to do things, or only one type of gear that's right for diving, and anything else is somehow inferior, just because it's not up to their personal standards.
When a new diver posts the question 'what's the first gear I should buy' on some Internet forums, the debate can rage for months on end and descend into a bitter war of words between armchair experts who, for all their certifications, once upon a time, probably asked the same question.
The amount of information can be overwhelming, something that former dive instructor Mark 'Crowley' Russell saw on an all-too-regular basis, as questions about the first equipment to buy were among the most commonly asked during his nine years as a dive professional.
These buying tips were written a few years ago, and some technology has moved on, but the basic principles remain the same. Dive gear is never cheap, but some can be purchased relatively inexpensively. Buying the best gear you can afford is sound advice, but what's 'best' for one diver is not necessarily so for another, and in some cases, high-end gear may actually compromise another diver's comfort, or – at worst – their personal safety.
We're all divers, and we all have to start somewhere, so here's some beginner-level advice when it comes to shopping around for your first kit.
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