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Please help a newby

Discussion in 'Diving Into New Gear' started by bigbob7777, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. kmarks

    kmarks Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    I can't comment on either of the BCs you are considering (I'm a BP/W guy), but I would recommend a back inflate if not a BP/W. As others have said, it really doesn't push you forward as much as you might think and once you get use to it, it's really easy to lean back into it on the surface and float comfortable. I'm a little taller and a little smaller than you, but jacket BCs were always uncomfortable for me because they would ride up if they weren't squeezing me to death, and sometimes both. The back inflate/wing is also much more comfortable underwater and helps maintain proper trim. My VDH Argonaut BP/W set me back all of $300 and I absolutely love it. It looks like the same thing today would run about $360, which is totally worth it.

    As far as your weight belt issues, you can usually find a way to attach weights directly to a plate and many back inflates have an option for integrated weights. Maybe another guy with a build similar to yours and therefore more experience than I have can chime in here, but one consideration might be a rubber free dive belt, like this one from Mako Spear Guns. I got one last summer and it's one of the best gear purchases I have made. You get it snug at the surface and it stays snug underwater when your suit compresses. The only downside is that it is thicker than web belts, so some older weights that have been dropped a few times can be difficult if not impossible to slide onto it. I've always managed to find some that work.

    You probably need less lift than you think. Many BCs have 40+ lbs, which is a lot more than most people will ever need. You need enough to counter your suit compression at depth and enough to float your rig at the surface. The only reason you might need more is if you need to pull something or someone heavy up with you. My 23 lbs of lift has been plenty in warm Caribbean water (no wet suit, 5-6 lbs of added weight) and cold salt water (steel tank + 14 lbs). Even in Rescue Diver and Divemaster training, it's been fine.
    Satrekker and MAKO Spearguns like this.
  2. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    Just because you’re Inland doesn’t mean you don’t have access to a pool. Check with a dive shop near you. They likely have to rent pool time somewhere if they don’t have one of their own.
    Satrekker and Esprise Me like this.
  3. Dzydvl33

    Dzydvl33 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Fresno, CA.
  4. bigbob7777

    bigbob7777 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Blairsville, ga
    Hi all. I am a newby with only 10 dives under my belt. I firmly believe in owning my own equipment, so I am in the market for a bc. However, I am suffering from bc overload. Please help.

    This is what I’m confused with and would like:
    I am 5’7”, 185 lbs, 64 years young.
    I only do warm water diving in the Carribean.
    I live in Georgia, inland, so I don’t have access to a pool to try different gear.
    Looking under the $600 range.

    I have been looking at the ScubaPro Go and the cressi travelite, but am open to ideas.

    I like the write-ups on the back inflators, but one of the things that brings terror to my research is when I read about “back inflators” that tend to push my face into the water while on the surface. I understand that I shouldn’t totally inflate the back, but those words still scare the #$&*@ out of me. Sometimes the boats down here are not where you surface and you may need to float for 10 minutes or so on the surface. I need my face out of the water!

    I only do recreational diving with my wife and a friend. I am OW certified, but going for AOW next month in Dominican Republic.

    I have NO CLUE what lift I would need. Last time I went diving, the company put me in an xl size jacket (that wanted to float without me) and 18 lbs weights. It felt uncomfortable but hey, what do I know? I was just happy to be under water.
    I’m sure I’ll have more questions, but would sure like some guidance and direction.

    Please help,
  5. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    I would second the suggestion to contact a local dive shop and see if there's a way for you to try out a back-inflate BCD in whatever pool they use for their OW classes. In fairness, though, if they help you out, you should probably buy from them even if you could save a few bucks buying online. I was also afraid of a backplate/wing pushing my face down, but I tried it and it wasn't a problem for me. Now I own one.
    Satrekker likes this.
  6. JHumbert15

    JHumbert15 DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: NE Ohio, USA
    I wouldn't worry about this at all. It's not neccessarily true. The only time this really happens is if you over-inflate the wing/ backinflate bc. As long as you don't over-inflate, or become overweighted (again casuing over-inflation at the surface), this isn't really a concern.

    - Jake
  7. loosenit2

    loosenit2 si respiratio sub aqua amet ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Texas
    I switched to a BP/W system several months ago and I can say without reservation that they do not "push your face into the water". I can comfortably float on the surface for a long time in a BP/W or even a more recreational wing BCD. BP/Ws tend to be a lot more modular, you can swap components a lot easier and inexpensively, which is why many folks who do a variety of diving swear by them. One of the things that I really enjoyed about switching to a BP/W is the feeling of freedom. With a jacket BCD you go from having an air bladder squeezing your waist when inflated to a back inflate wing that does not, it is like getting a spare tire off your waist.

    That said there is absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional jacket BCD, most recreational divers use jacket style BCDs. I also have a Cressi Travellite BCD jacket and it is a perfectly functional and good piece of kit. I have also used the Tusa Liberators and it is a good jacket style BCD; both are inexpensive and can be found for a couple hundred dollars.

    There are also several very good back inflate hybrid BCDs that are all one piece. The scubapro litehawk is generally around 400 dollars and is a very good BCD, the Zeagle convert is generally about 300 dollars or so, and the Oceanic Biolite, about 450 dollars; any of the 3 would serve your purposes very well.

    You should have absolutely no problem finding a good jacket BCD for under 600 dollars.

    If all you are going to do is travel and warm water diving you do not need a lot of lift, 18-23 lbs is about it.
  8. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    DUI weight harness is another way to deal with weight belt issue. Not cheap, but you can use soft weights with it as well as hard. Holds up to 40lbs. I use it since I need a lot of weight diving dry on the Great Lakes.

    The pushing forward thing is nothing to worry about. I got certified in a BP/W and I’m still here, 235 dives later. :D
  9. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    You already started a thread so you don’t need to duplicate it.
    outofofficebrb likes this.
  10. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    2nd this. Even if it's full price in store at your local dive shop vs buying online, ensuring that you get what you really want/need and not having to buy again is worth something. Before I bought my gear, my local LDS let me take a couple of different regs and BCs in the pool. I was confident with my decision afterwards and had I bought online without trying or with the support of my LDS, I may have had to re-purchase something else afterwards and any savings of buying online would have been pointless.

    I dived jackets in rentals for a while before I bought a BC. I ended up with a back inflate. Do know that compared to a jacket BC, inflating it full tends to cause that tipping forward feeling in addition to how you have your weights distributed. I inflate just enough to get my head out of the water. I keep 1 kg (2.2 pounds) on the tank strap to balance my rig since I dive with 3 kg in my usual dive conditions and exposure protection (1 kg in each integrated pocket, 1 kg on the tank strap) and I have not had the issue of tipping forward. In rougher conditions, I inflate a bit more to get my head out of the water more. I don't have the feeling of having my face in the water, but I am not as upright and bobbing up and down like a cork as in a jacket BC. In very rough conditions, I have to lean back like I'm on a recliner if I have to inflate it even more. Just know that it is different than a jacket BC. It doesn't matter how much you inflate a jacket BC, but it matters on a back inflate or a BP/W.

    Try it in a pool if you can. It's the only way to know for sure if you like it or hate it. Your LDS should be able to help you as some have pools. :)

    I suggest you consider the Scubapro Litehawk or Seahawk if you like jacket style pockets while still maintaining a back inflate. Mr. OOO and I each travel with a Knighthawk and Ladyhawk without issues so you don't have to absolutely find something geared for travel. Just get what fits you the best. The particular BCs we picked will also work in cold water given the lift. The only BCs I would steer you away from are Aqua Lung due to their integrated weight design. I have seen too many issues with them falling out accidentally, especially with significant weight in them, to be able to wholeheartedly recommend them. Scubapro's integrated weight dumping method is very purposeful.

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