As I walked into the 41st year of Our Underwater World, I was hit with the smell of neoprene and a big smile came across my face. I love Scuba Diving and I love Scuba Diving Shows. This is my fourth year attending, but I challenged myself this year.
Instead of attending as a Scuba Diver, I wanted to approach it from a woman’s point of view. This might seem a bit odd, because the sport has always been non-gendered to me, however more women are getting involved as recreational divers. So, as a woman diver, let me see what I find…http://www.ourworldunderwater.com/
The first thing I focused on was gear. Most all manufacturers had booths, and there are many choices. Personally, I was looking for gear that was light, designed to fit a female’s figure and would travel well. Aqua Lung has a great system that impressed me most. The “Travel Light” package includes the Hot Shot fins, Zuma back-inflate BCD, Mikron or Flight Regulator, masks, snorkels, and different styles of protective wear, which fit into the “Departure Bag”, which have carry-on bag dimensions. With the gear fitting inside the 22”x14”x9” bag, the average weight is only 22 lbs. Having my gear with me onboard the airplane would certainly give me peace of mind, especially when I’d still have enough room for my swimsuit, a few cute sundresses and a pair of cute sandals. www.Aqualung.com
I always want a light with me, but they can be cumbersome and heavy. Since I am talking about lightweight equipment, I found the perfect solution. Light & Motion has a new light design, The Sola lights, which are “hands free and twice as bright”. They are wrist-mounted, rechargeable and a fourth of the weight, 10 oz… Perfect! http://www.uwimaging.com/dive.html
Shopping is one thing that no matter where I go, I will find. I came across the Surface Interval Clothing booth, and I was impressed! The designs that this young company has come up with are artistic, timely and attractive. While talking with Tina Schall, the company’s marketing director, I learned that all of the clothing is made in the USA and they use the latest technology in the fashion industry. When I tried on a shirt, the feel against my skin was so incredibly soft, it was considered sold. Surface Interval Clothing also has a fantastic design depicting soldier divers and the country’s flag. All proceeds from the sale of this shirt go to the organization Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS), as SUDS is the company’s charitable partner. http://store.surfaceintervalclothing.com/Default.asp
Another shopping “destination” I found was the DJ’s Scuba booth, a local Dive Shop in the Chicago area owned by the Howard Family. There was cute jewelry and scuba-related gift items in addition to gear and services. I really enjoyed finding a booth that had a variety of uniques items to explore. While I was there, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler from the book “Shadow Divers” and Television’s “Deep Sea Detectives” were there, signing posters, also raising money for SUDS. So in addition to picking up a few unique gifts, contributing to a worthy cause, I met two well-known dive industry icons.
Anytime I think of ScubaRadio, I can’t help think of the mermaids. I stopped by to say hello to Greg Holt, ScubaRadio’s DJ, about what would draw a female audience about his “male-oriented” radio show. As we talked, I couldn’t help notice the little girls waiting in line in awe to meet the mermaids and to get their autographs. Greg made a comment about the “princess fantasy”, as we both watched the girls. However, my take was that I was looking at a future generation of female Scuba Divers. http://www.scubaradio.com/ . Women are discovering the great sport of diving in droves and the industry is adapting to this market with gear, clothing and attitude. A great site to bookmark is http://www.ScubaDiverGirls.com. This group of women divers started the site to keep up with news about diving specifically for the gender as well as trips, finding buddies and camaraderie.
The day was filled with booths of new gear, new destinations, new equipment as well as the familiar and faces, it was a fun day as always. While looking at the event in a different way, I found that there was a market which is focusing on the female diver, and growing quickly. Which it exciting, because that means more “girl time” on the dive boats. Sorry, boys.
Now, if someone would only come up with nail polish that lasted in saltwater…