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I didn’t read the OP as what was most responsible for popularity. I read it as what had the biggest impact.I'm surprised so many people said "dive computer." You mean you believe diving wouldn't be so popular if not for the dive computer? When I signed up for my OW course, I had never heard of dive computers, though they certainly existed. (I'm not THAT old.)
I think of the BCD and PDC like features on a car. ABS brakes, automatic transmission and power steering were not essential to driving, but they did make it easier, safer and more enjoyable to drive. You can learn to pump the brakes, start on a hill or parallel park without those features, but why?I'm surprised so many people said "dive computer." You mean you believe diving wouldn't be so popular if not for the dive computer? When I signed up for my OW course, I had never heard of dive computers, though they certainly existed. (I'm not THAT old.)
My diving started somewhat earlier, so it involved double-hose regs, no flotation, J-valve, capillary depth gauge, navy tables, and no wetsuit. Scubadada's criterion was what made HIS diving more enjoyable. For me, #1 was the wetsuit, which was what I answered on the poll. #2 was a BCD, #3 was a single-hose reg. SPG was nice, as was a decent depth gauge (so the tables would be easier to use!), but gave me nowhere near the increased pleasure that I got from the wetsuit, BCD, and single-hose reg. In the mix somewhere was an alternate second stage, but it was not and is not a big deal. I've never had a problem using tables of any kind until my diving changed to be multiple multiple-level dives a day, instead of 1 or 2 square dives. Then finally, a computer became a big deal. Since my early diving was mostly science-diving at depth rather than reef-cruising at many depths, I would have to say that the kind of diving you are doing is a huge determinant of what tools/techniques add to your enjoyment.I started diving in 1970 in California with a J-valve, capillary depth gauge, Navy tables, barely functional floatation vest, crappy wetsuit.
I voted for SPG, BCD, thermal protection, dive computer, and nitrox. All these things improved my enjoyment of diving immensely. The only piece of my original equipment remaining is my Scubapro MK5/109, still dive it occasionally
Yeah, and maybe @CT-Rich chose "impact" intentionally for its vagueness, so people could answer in any way that made sense to them. I interpreted "impact" as meaning contributing to growth of the sport, but I suppose "impact" could also be contributing to increased enjoyment of the sport. It could be interpreted as anything. Everything has some type of impact. Without defining impact, the poll results may reflect people comparing apples with oranges.I didn’t read the OP as what was most responsible for popularity. I read it as what had the biggest impact.
Note that I was replying to the question in the past tense. At that time, the dry suit was still being developed. I was using an Aquala dry suit for a time, without a pee valve. I also wore the bottoms of my Farmer John wetsuit under the Aquala Dry Suit. The Aquala dry suit is still available, by the way (follow the above link).That's because you were younger and had a massive bladder. As one gets older it seems to shrivel up to the point of needing a pee as soon as the drysuit's donned.
But, being very serious, the pee valve means you can enter the water fully hydrated. This is far more comfortable for the diver, is better for decompression and is good for your health. It takes away a lot of stress, especially if hanging around for ages at deco -- it would be an unimaginable stress to want to pee and know you've another 15mins/whatever remaining and your choice is break your deco limit or pee in your suit with all the consequences (eleven other divers literally taking the piss on the boat!).
I wouldn't be able to dive without a pee valve and cannot remember the last time I dived without plumbing in. I'm sure I'm not unique.