Azza wrote:Hey wibbleman
The BP and wing system isn't the next big thing. They always have been and probably always will be, a tool used by a minority in the dive industry. Not all experienced divers dive them either. I can think of a few on here that don't, and fair enough.
However I do like them and here are my reasons why
The plate weighs 3 kg. This sits right over the lungs which are your natural BCD which helps the diver attain good trim, and gets weight off the weight belt.
If a diver is diving in cold water and needs a fair bit of weight, the plate is able to take weight such as these weight plates or a P weight or even a Heavy plate.
Straight away you can see you have more options for weight distribution.
I also like the fact that the plate is hard and unbreakable and that they generally come with a single piece of webbing threaded through, with no breakable plastic buckles, meaning you drop all the tanks you want on it and its pretty hard to break.
The single piece of threaded webbing also means that the front of the diver is less cluttered and more streamlined and the inflation on the back cradles the tank which offers more stability in the water (Think hot air balloon).
The buoyancy cell (wing) is interchangeable meaning you can use a small 18lb wing for the tropics, or a heavy duty 30lb for cold water such as here. you can also put on a doubles wing with 45lb of lift for diving the big heavy doubles without actually having to buy a new BCD to handle that if you decide to expand your diving to encompass Tec later on.
If you spring a leak in your buoyancy cell most have a zip at the top to allow access to the internal bladder, which can be pulled mostly out of the outer shell, and placed in water to see actually where the leak is. Then a bicycle tire repair patch is adhered and the leak fixed.
As you can see they are rather versatile but unfortunately they don't really spin a lot of money for the shops, who need to sell big ticket, high margin fancy pieces of kit to pay the overheads. Mind you in saying that, Apeks have come out with one and both Dive Centre and Global dive sell them. Most dive shops don't sell them because they don't know about them. Certainly every shop I have worked in hasn't known about them until I started working for them but still find it hard to conceptualize.
When I first got mine i was diving a Seaquest Pro QD that I rather liked, but as it couldn't handle doubles a guy sold me a Halcyon plate and wing (My shop tried to sell me some armchair softpak thing for $3000) and away I went. For probably 6 months I dived my plate with doubles and Jacket with singles until one day I clicked that I enjoyed my doubles diving more. I borrowed a single tank wing and next thing I was buying one. I havnt looked back since. (And I didn't hear about them on Scubaboard )
If you want to try one I am sure we can arrange that. I would recommend you try first as you may very well decide you don't like it. Some people do like the feeling of a BCD snuggly wrapping them some dont. It really is personal preference.
Cheers azza, great post.
That sort of thing goes a long way to explaining peoples attitudes and less of the "if you don't use a bp/w your gonna die" stuff that goes on, on scubaboard :p
For the record, I do have a basic understanding of how the systems work, just by reading the OMS cat, and a few other things. The thing i do like about it is the modularity and the ability to build your own setup (which is what i do with pcs and mountain bikes) has a certain appeal to me. The only thing I am unsure of with them, is the crotch strap. I guess it hangs down loose when you put the system on, and then bring it up (like the wetsuit nappy things) and loop it on the belt when closing it?
But as you say, it really does come down to "horses for courses", and its up to each diver to try it out for themselves. As there are pros and cons to each side But the next purchase for me is a 7" travel full suss bike, then I will start looking at wings.