Home          About Me          Training Offered          My Gear          Training Agencies

My Gear:

I am not a diver who believes in buying overpriced equipment just because it has a premium name.

The days when a person could tell the difference between good quality regulators is long gone and even budget brands have acceptable performance. The reality is that much dive equipment with extremely different price points and perceptions of quality are made in the exact same factory. Some regulators are what is known as an OEM design and the same regulator can be sold under different brand names. The price difference in manufacturing mainly is due to different tolerances for the design specification. Basicly, a part that is close to the designed size will be cheaper than one that is exactly the designed size. That being said, avoid store brand or off-brand regulators. These are identified by only being sold from one store. That is the only store that can service them and it usually means paying shipping both ways and waiting for them to be serviced and shipped back to you. The cost for service and shipping is usually pretty close to the cost of a new regulator set so store brand regulators are normally considered disposable.
I have found that HOG brand regulators are made to the very tight tolerances of the most expensive regulators, allowing them to be tuned accurately and hold that setting. Of course this means manufacturing costs are high but they don't buy the expensive magazine ads and don't pay a sales force multiple six figure salaries to push their products to dive shops. This allows money to be shifted from marketing to manufacturing and keeps quality high and prices low.
HOG and Edge regulators are simply the highest quality regulators you can buy at a price that competes with lower quality regulators and the absolute best value for your money. I liked HOG regulators so much that after I tried one I immediately became a dealer for them and got rid of my Sherwood and Scubapro regulators. My Scubapros had been my previous favorites when I needed a regulator that could deliver a lot of air with the minimum effort when I needed it. Today, I exclusively use Edge & HOG regulators. I have an Edge Epic regulator system I use when training new students and when diving wet. It is incredibly comfortable, light, flexible, and breathes great. I have it set up to look like what most people consider to be standard. When I am diving with certified divers or diving in a dry suit I use a HOG D3 first stage with HOG Classic 2.0 second stages on a primary donate long hose and necklaced backup. This is the ultimate regulator setup for any type of open water diving where you may need to supply air to another diver.

Mask, Fins, Snorkel
Wow, can you ever spend a bunch of money on this stuff. I routinely see people spend more on just fins than my regular price for mask, fins, and snorkel. Again I use Edge Flex fins and a HOG low volume mask. When diving dry I use HOG Tech 2 fins and normally carry a simple HOG Stealth snorkel. If I am going to be using my snorkel quite a bit I switch to an Edge Semi-Dry snorkel. Some people like dry snorkels but I am personally not a fan.

The Buoyancy Compensation Device: I generally use a backplate and wing for all diving unless I am required to be in a jacket style BCD for training purposes. I am not a fan of the jacket style BCD for a couple reasons.  First of all, it inflates around you so it squeezes you as it inflates. They also come in sizes so if you dive in both a wetsuit and a dry suit you usually have a choice of  buying a larger and a smaller BCD or if you are lucky, you can find one in the middle that is just a little too big when you are in a wetsuit or just a little too small when in a dry suit. A backplate & wing is infinitely adjustable and the same thing I wear with a dry suit in PA goes with me to St. Croix where I dive in just a skin.
Some people will say that back inflate will not float you face up on the surface of the water. Those people either don't dive with back inflation or were never properly trained how to use it. If you look at my body position at the surface you will notice I am comfortably leaning back. I can also give a small kick to stand straight up or lean slightly forward if I want to. I can do this because I have properly positioned weights and I can show you how to do this too.
Some will continue to argue that only a jacket style will float you face up if you are unconscious. Again, this is wrong and this is something you can test on your own. You are actually less likely to float face up when unconscious in a jacket style BCD than in a back inflate that is properly weighted with weight in the back. This is a silly argument anyway because your buddy would never leave you floating face down, unconscious at the surface. Right? You do dive with a buddy don't you?

Exposure Protection
I have a variety of exposure protection to include a skin, several different wetsuits, and a drysuit. I can't recommend any specific brand, I just look for the thickness I need in a wetsuit and I prefer a laminate style dry suit because it dries quickly. I have tried a couple different hoods but I generally don't like them and I will wear gloves if it is super cold or if digging for treasure but normally don't wear them.