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January 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Serious Dive Gear, But Where’s the Fun?

John Bantin reports from the DEMA trade show

from the January, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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No doubt about it, the dive business is getting tougher for everyone. The annual Diving Equipment Manufacturer's Association (DEMA) trade show, held in Orlando, FL on November 5-9 was showing definite signs of contraction and readjustment. Most significantly, there were none of those one-time DEMA show products planned and exhibited optimistically by ever-hopeful inventors to revolutionize the way we dive. More likely, they would sink without a trace within 12 months.

There were no silly tandem-tube snorkels, no new zany fins that claimed to prove all the other fin-makers have got it wrong, nor were there masks that promised to give you vision that would be as good underwater as your eyesight is on land. There was no sign of those who had invested in the development of revolutionary diving weights or mask-integrated communication systems. Not only that, there were fewer new rebreathers on display, compared to only a few years ago when almost every manufacturer showed its own particular design concept for closed-circuit diving. It was as if the market had matured and been secured by those manufacturers who had sound and proven products, and abandoned by those with offbeat notions.

It seems there's no longer any investment money available for the frivolous ideas -- which of course took a lot of the fun out of writing this DEMA report. Instead, the established brands like Scubapro, AquaLung/Suunto, AUP (which encompasses Oceanic, Hollis and Aeris), Mares, Seac, Atomic/Bare/Stahlsac and Cressi continue to develop, modify and upgrade existing and proven products. Technical and cave diving specialist DiveRite was there but its main rival, Halcyon, also based in Florida, was notable by its absence.

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So, that said, what diving equipment on display was actually new? The star of the show had to be the Poseidon SE7EN rebreather. It was formally launched into the market on the first day, and its price ranges from $6,850 to $12,000 for the full bell-and-whistle version. But more about rebreathers next issue....

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