Temperate-water diving means diving in water that is cooler than 75 F but warm enough that you can't walk on it. When we think "temperate water" diving, we mean kelp diving, by which we mean California diving. Yes, yes, there's lots of wonderful temperate-water diving outside of California and without kelp, but spiritually, all temperate-water diving is California diving. If you don't think so, take it up with Governor Arnold.
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Photo By Al Hornsby MODEL Kristin Valette
Project AWARE Foundation
Our temperate water compleat diver is Kristin Valette, Executive Director of the Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education) Foundation. The Project AWARE Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides grants for environmental projects ranging from cleanups to education to research. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for environmental initiatives. It also publishes materials that educate and raise awareness about the sea. projectaware.org
SUUNTO STINGER COMPUTER
The Stinger wears like a titanium or stainless-steel (your choice) watch but it's a versatile dive computer that you can dive with air or EANx using Suunto's RGBM-based decompression model. It also operates in gauge-only mode for tables-based diving. Useable to 450 feet, the Stinger has a PC interface available for downloading dive data. Logbook and profile for past 36 hours, personal adjustments and automatic safety stop function.
MSRP: $930 (stainless)
1. UNDERWATER KINETICS eLED DIVE PAK
Perhaps the most durable and energy-efficient dive lights made, UK eLED lights burn long and hold up under abuse. The eLED Dive Pak includes the C4, Q40, MiniPocket and penlight eLED lights, plus a surface signal tube and safety whistle. The C4 eLED dive light has an expected 5,000-hour lamp life. Rated to 500 feet, these lights are designed to be dependable and to burn a long time.
MSRP eLED Dive Pak: $160
MSRP C4 eLED alone: $105
TUSA M-23 VIEWTREK
The M-23 Viewtrek takes a new approach to giving you more vision. By spreading and reshaping the lens, the Viewtrek comes closer to your face, giving you more than double the vision area of most twin-lens masks. Available in multiple colors with a clear or black silicone skirt.
2. Sherwood Blizzard Regulator
Designed specifically for diving in colder water, the Blizzard has several features to help prevent regulator freeze-up and keep you warmer. The controlled-bleed first stage, distinct to Sherwood, keeps the inner workings dry, increasing reliability and decreasing freeze-up. Plated fins and a heat sink in the second stage direct heat to the valves, plus return the heat from your exhalations to your inhalations, helping you stay warmer. Lightweight and compact, the Blizzard's at home in the tropics, too.
Cressi Sub S114 BCD
The Cressi Sub S114 is a back-inflation-style BCD designed to float you comfortably at the surface as well as underwater. The wraparound bladder features the Marine Balance System, which helps the buoyancy self-adjust so you stay trimmed as you change your body angle. It features a weight system for maximum buouyancy control, accessory D-rings, cummerbund that adjusts with depth, three over-pressure valves with manual exhaust and a padded backpack for comfort.
3. Aqualung Blades 2 HF Fins
The latest version of Aqualung's long-popular Blades, the 2 HF is a composite fin (rubber foot pocket and plastic blade) that provides efficient power and moderate flex. Thanks to Aqualung's Hands-Free Release Strap, you can get out of Blades by using your feet, yet they remain locked and secure throughout the dive.
4. Henderson Gold Core Wetsuit
Henderson Gold Core wetsuits and wetsuit accessories have
distinctive gold "skin" interiors that minimize water flow while maximizing insulation. Flexible yet durable, Gold Core suits slide on easily and are available in different styles for versatility. Available in 3.5 and 7 mm, stock, custom and semidry.
MSRP: 5 mm Gold Core bibbed hood $55; 6.5 mm Gold Core molded sole boots $65; 5 mm Gold Core Velcro gloves $50; 7 mm Gold Core jumpsuit $365
5. Mares X-Vision Mask and Stream Dry Snorkel
The unusual X shape of the X-Vision gives this innovative new mask the widest field of vision without special lenses or windows. With its low volume, the X-Vision is streamlined and compact for easy packing. The Mares Stream Dry snorkel clears easily thanks to its large self-drain valve, then stays dry with its dry-cap design top, which keeps water from splashing in at the surface. Quick-disconnect mask strap holder for easy stowage.
MSRP X-Vision: $79
MSRP Stream Dry: $25
6. Underwater Kinetics Blue Tang Knife
UK offers a good size range of dive knives made of Hydralloy, a stainless-steel alloy that takes and holds a solid edge while resisting corrosion. Full-size and compact BC models available.
MSRP Blue Tang $42.95