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slackercruster
August 12th, 2009, 08:43 AM
Any old time divers out there? Back in the day of no pressure gauges and the J valve, what was diving like with no BC?

Did they use less weight? And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist. Did they even have J valves from the very beginning?

Clue me in on what it was like...from the hassles to the nostalgic memories.

gypsyjim
August 12th, 2009, 08:57 AM
Weighting had to be pretty close to perfect or the dive was a struggle. May West vest made surface swims tollerable, just as the BCD did later, but except for one friend we thought of as crazy, no one ever used them to control buoyancy uw. Guess crazy, and ahead of his time mean the same thing sometimes!:shakehead: I preferred to be slightly underweight and add a rock or two as needed. Things were pretty basic.

Not being able to check your remaining air while on the dive was always a hassle, and there were a couple of times that the #%&*@# J valve had gotten tripped in surf entry or caught on weeds and was tripped. Course I never knew this till suddenly the reg started pulling real hard, and I reached for the wire to pull it, for that last 500# or so, and ...OS! No safety stop today folks!

It wasn't until the BCD, the submerable pressure guage, alternate air source (a second reg?, can you imagine that!?) all came into use that we knew how bad we had it before! :D Heck, we were underwater, diving with all the latest gear and having fun doing it!

gypsyjim
August 12th, 2009, 09:05 AM
And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist.


Just noticed this part. Are you saying you use the BCD to "lift" you on ascent? If you are using the expanding air to creat lift, instead of venting as you are slowly ascending you would be in danger of an out of control ascent. Not sure we are saying the same thing, but gradual kicking and drifting up ascent has always been the way to go, even pre BCD.
(Although another crazy was the May West CO2 assisted race-you-to- the-surface's, but they were just plain suicidal we learned later!)

rstofer
August 12th, 2009, 09:18 AM
It is important to realize that the wetsuits of old didn't compress as much as the modern suit. As a result, there wasn't the tremendous change in buoyancy from top to bottom. With today's 7mm wetsuit losing as much as 20# of buoyancy at 100' it would be almost impossible to swim up without dropping weights or adding a little lift with a BC. There's a reason my wing has 30# of lift: every bit of it is required at depth with a full tank..

I have heard tales of divers leaving some weights at the anchor line and putting them back on later.

There's a vinatge diving forum here on Scubaboard. Like gypsyjim, some of these fellows have been around a long time. Many are still diving strictly vintage. I like the regulators and I'm trying to force them into a more modern setup. I still have an obligation to my buddy. It looks like a 19 cf pony bottle will be part of the solution.

Richard

Walter
August 12th, 2009, 10:05 AM
Any old time divers out there? Back in the day of no pressure gauges and the J valve, what was diving like with no BC?

You can still dive vintage. Lots of us still do.

Diving with no BC is a joy! Most divers today would be afraid to dive without a BC, but honestly, if you're properly weighted, your BC doesn't do all that much anyway (unless you're diving in cold water). A BC allows you to compensate for wet suit compression, but it also creates drag. Diving without a BC allows a divers to move through the water much more easily.


Did they use less weight?

Usually. Most divers today are overweighted. That simply was not an option before BCs. Also, a BC should be either neutrally or negatively buoyant, but most are positively buoyant requiring additional lead just to sink the BC.


And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist.

Air assist? No one should be using air assist to assend. As a diver ascents, he should be dumping air from his BC to remain neutrally or slightly negatively buoyant. A properly weighted diver should never have any more trouble swimming up than swimming forward.


Did they even have J valves from the very beginning?

I don't know when they became availbe, but I know they were in the 1953 US Divers/Aqualung catalog.


Clue me in on what it was like...from the hassles to the nostalgic memories.

Go to Vintage Doublehose (http://www.vintagedoublehose.com/forum3/index.php) to get a feeling for that. Lots of great folks over there.

Joe-Diver
August 12th, 2009, 11:15 AM
Although I'm not a "vintage diver", I do dive with vintage gear. My vintage kit:

1967 DA Aquamaster
1969 USD Steel 72 with functional J
60's USD hard backpack
60's USD Atlantis oval mask
60's USD Otarie full foot fins.
60's USD J Snorkel
60's USD Calypso wrist depth guage
60's USD BigAssKnife Mike Nelson style for my calf.

All gear dates from the mid to late 60's and has endured to this day. I break out my kit in the summer when I can wear my 60's Mike Nelson shorts. I'll dive it on Sunday after all the training dives are done and students are in the water for the first time as certified divers. The kit never fails to get alot of attention, plus the new divers get to see some gear they've usually only seen in pictures and movies.

I really enjoy diving the kit....I feel totally different in it simply because I don't have so much "stuff" along as I do in my modern Instructor geared kit. Plus, with my bubbles coming out behind my head, it's a much smoother and quiet dive.

Modern kits are great in their performance, options and configuration.....but there's something a bit raw....getting back to basics....when diving the vintage kit.:cool2:

ligersandtions
August 12th, 2009, 12:02 PM
It is important to realize that the wetsuits of old didn't compress as much as the modern suit. As a result, there wasn't the tremendous change in buoyancy from top to bottom. With today's 7mm wetsuit losing as much as 20# of buoyancy at 100' it would be almost impossible to swim up without dropping weights or adding a little lift with a BC. There's a reason my wing has 30# of lift: every bit of it is required at depth with a full tank..

Richard

Hmmm, I had always wondered about this....what made the wetsuits less compressible? Was it just that you didn't use a 7mm wetsuit? I could never wrap my brain around the fact that you could lose up to 20# of buoyancy and how it would work without a BC of some type....

Walter
August 12th, 2009, 12:23 PM
what made the wetsuits less compressible?

A better quality neoprene. You can still get suits made from it, but it can be hard to find.

ligersandtions
August 12th, 2009, 12:56 PM
A better quality neoprene. You can still get suits made from it, but it can be hard to find.

What makes it better quality? Does it keep you warmer? How come they don't sell it anymore (or at least not the same way they sell Henderson Hyperstretch suits or whatever else)? It probably wouldn't matter much for me as I'm a huge wuss when it comes to being cold....I'd dive dry in Hawaii if it wouldn't be a pain to travel with my drysuit!

Joe-Diver
August 12th, 2009, 01:09 PM
I like today's suits better. I certainly don't miss donning a 3/4 farmer john with beaver tail top. They were bulky and harder to move around in. They also let water flow more easily. While the thermal protection is slightly sacrificed (no big deal in Texas) the Hyperstretch's are awesome suits. I have a 3mm and 7mm.

sam miller
August 12th, 2009, 01:10 PM
The rubber for the original wet suits came from Kirkhill ruber company in Brea California. It was WW11 surplus, having been manufactured as a covering of vechicle and airplane gas tanks.

As diving became more popular more companies began manufactureing the rubber. The divers demanded that it be thicker and more flexible.

sdm

DA Aquamaster
August 12th, 2009, 02:33 PM
Used in vehicle and airplane gas tanks, as in self-sealing fuel tanks? Interesting.

----

I started diving "vintage" mostly becasue I coudl not afford niceities like an SPG or BC and added them in later. Besides many of the local divers were a decade behind the times and it was still a common configuration.

In some respects it was a real advantage as it placed a premium on proper weighting, proper dive planning and good swiming skills. In some respects modern divers are way too gear dependent.

Vintage diving is still an option when regular diving gets boring. Today I either do cave dives with the normal Hog/DIR configuration or I do vintage dives with set of vintage doubles, double hose reg and sometimes a horse collar BC.

My old Harvey's High Tide beaver tail high waist wet suit did not compress much, but even today if you dive with a 3mm or 3mm shorty, there is not much buoyancy loss to deal with at depth.

MaxBottomtime
August 12th, 2009, 05:30 PM
A lot of divers still dive with backpacks.
Gallery of California Backpack Divers : 1999-2001 (http://diver.net/backpack_divers/)

herman
August 12th, 2009, 09:21 PM
If you are really interested in what it's like, why not see if there is a vintage diver in your area. A post here or better yet on Vintage Double Hose forum will likely turn up someone. If you are ever in central NC, I always have a spare double hose and backpack with me. Most divers I know who dive the old gear are more than happy to give you a little instruction and let you give it a try.

gypsyjim
August 12th, 2009, 10:14 PM
When I think of the difference between diving 30 so years ago, and diving today, but with vintage gear I keep thinking of a picture I took of you in Bonaire, Hermen. I picked on you about diving a double hose reg, on a nitrox tank. It struck me as funny for a reason that I had a hard time explaining.

The difference is a lot more than odd combination, though. In the late 60's and 70's our gear was all there was. Cutting edge. My buddy had the original double hose, while I was using the newest US Divers single hose. We really had no concept of buoyancy control yet. You learned by trial and error how to weight for different conditions.
To certify all our gear was "dumped" into the deep end of the pool and we had to dive in, assemble our rig and swim to the end of the pool without surfacing once. 7 week of classroom and pool work. Navy tables, which none of us really understood very well, and basic watch and depth guages only.
Wet suits did not fit you. You forced your body into this stiff black suit of armor and it was tight in spots, and really loose in others; in the waters of Maine and Massachusetts where we dived you got some dam cold spots in those wet suits!
Masks were anything but low volume. More like long black tubes, with a window at the end!
Two things I remember from those days:
We had a ton of fun diving.
I would not trade the gear that I dive today for my original rig, for any amount of money!
I might dive with parts of it, but in my opinion the whole world of diving: gear, comfort, understanding of the physics, and safety equipment and training have come a long way from 1970! Would I dive with some of that vintage equipment, you bet, in a heart beat. Would I go back to 1970 diving all the way? Not on your life!

Nemrod
August 12th, 2009, 11:52 PM
Any old time divers out there? Back in the day of no pressure gauges and the J valve, what was diving like with no BC?

Did they use less weight? And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist. Did they even have J valves from the very beginning?

Clue me in on what it was like...from the hassles to the nostalgic memories.

You realize there is a vintage forum here?

We don't use an "air assist" today either to get back to the surface.

Quite simply, we swam (swim) down, we swam (swim) around and then we swam (swim) back up. Why do you think this would be difficult?

Taken a few days ago, vintage brand new Voit 50 Fathom, vintage Sportsways SPG Sea Vue with banjo adapter, Voit Snug Pack, no BC, don't need one. Proper weighting and technique can eliminate the need for a BC even with relatively heavy exposure protection. The lungs make a great BC.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Destin/IMG_1639_edited-1.jpg

Some people talk about minimalism and streamlining and reducing clutter, I do it.

We weighted, with exposure gear, such that it was required to swim down, once the suit compressed a bit the diver will go slightly negative, as the tank is depleted much of the dive is completed within the tidal volume of the lungs to adjust for buoyancy. By the end of the dive the diver will be slightly buoyant to assist the swim upward. We did not make safety stops but I can easily hold my 15 foot stops. Once on the surface, the diver will be slightly buoyant with the depleted tank, if an emergency develops on the surface, drop the weights and now the diver will be very buoyant.

I am often amazed at the amount of lead modern trained divers carry, this is often exacerbated by poorly designed equipment such as poodle jackets that are buoyant due to the padding and bulk even when sucked empty.

Do jelly fish need a BC?

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Destin/IMG_1579_edited-1.jpg

The less equipment you use, the less equipment you need.

N

Nemrod
August 13th, 2009, 12:20 AM
Hmmm, I had always wondered about this....what made the wetsuits less compressible? Was it just that you didn't use a 7mm wetsuit? I could never wrap my brain around the fact that you could lose up to 20# of buoyancy and how it would work without a BC of some type....

American made Rubatex G-231. Suits made with this material are warmer and do not compress nearly as much as the soft, stretch stuff in vogue today. As a result buoyancy shift due to suit compression was greatly reduced. Yes, we used 1/4 inch suits, roughly equivalent to a 7mm. I have a new Rubatex G-231 5/4mm suit.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/69801581_o.jpg

Much of the equipment available today is actually inferior and cheaply made compared to vintage gear:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/69730997_o.jpg

Back plates are the new thing, yeah, right:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/02plate.jpg

I believe the Sea Vue was first marketed about 1958, certainly in the very early 60s:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/a1593.jpg

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/69801292_o.jpg

She dove without a BC:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/resor.jpg

Come on in, dump the junk, go vintage:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Scuba%20ads/4db6_1.jpg

N

Walter
August 13th, 2009, 10:21 AM
What makes it better quality?

Look at this. (http://wetwear.com/chambertest.htm)


Does it keep you warmer?

Yes.


How come they don't sell it anymore (or at least not the same way they sell Henderson Hyperstretch suits or whatever else)?

The big companies are going after the mass market. The mass market wants things cheap. For an alternative look here. (http://www.wetwear.com/)

drbill
August 13th, 2009, 10:41 AM
It was the 60s, I was there and diving... therefore, I can't remember.

Yes, weighting was more precise back then for the depth you were diving to. Although I dove one, I don't remember much about the double hose regs other than that I was glad to switch from them. The J-valve rod often got pulled well before it was needed, usually by snags on the kelp, and therefore the reserve wasn't available when you went to pull it leading to a few emergency ascents. Sure was glad when I added an SPG to my kit.

As for a BCD, I didn't miss it back then. In fact, the first time I used one (in 1989) it malfunctioned, auto-inflating each time I descended. It was required equipment on those dives as I was part of a Cousteau group. When the divemaster realized what was happening (I had to show her twice), she said something to the effect of "What can we do?" I said I'll just disconnect the hose and dive without it!

By the way... I have NO desire to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. I like my more modern equipment and would probably have trouble taking video with a fully vintage setup!

Nemrod
August 13th, 2009, 11:39 AM
One reason that Rubatex G-231 is not used in mass market suits is that it needs a custom fit. Nowadays people are so fat, yes, I said it, FAT, that it is difficult for companies to make hanger suits that would fit the rotund humanoids now populating much of the planet. They need the 3D super stretch to get around their super size butts and bellies. N

TN Traveler
August 13th, 2009, 01:30 PM
One reason that Rubatex G-231 is not used in mass market suits is that it needs a custom fit. Nowadays people are so fat, yes, I said it, FAT, that it is difficult for companies to make hanger suits that would fit the rotund humanoids now populating much of the planet. They need the 3D super stretch to get around their super size butts and bellies. N

Hey - I resemble that remark!!!;);)

But the way around it is to dive Vintage Gear when you only need minimal exposure protection. A lot different than when I learned in 1969 - wearing thermal underwear, a sweatshirt and farmer-john coveralls. Loading the pockets with rocks to keep submerged as the tank got lighter. 60 something degree water. :shakehead::shakehead:

But I still love my Vintage Gear - especially when taking pictures. :D:D

Bev Stayart
August 13th, 2009, 01:34 PM
Interesting to learn that some of the older divers are still diving vintage today.

Nemrod
August 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Hey - I resemble that remark!!!;);)

But the way around it is to dive Vintage Gear when you only need minimal exposure protection. A lot different than when I learned in 1969 - wearing thermal underwear, a sweatshirt and farmer-john coveralls. Loading the pockets with rocks to keep submerged as the tank got lighter. 60 something degree water. :shakehead::shakehead:

But I still love my Vintage Gear - especially when taking pictures. :D:D

Yeah, I did not say I was immune to it, I figure if I don't eat anything for the remainder of 2009 my caloric intake will return to a normal, whatever normal is, amount aveage for the year. :rofl3: N

herman
August 13th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Interesting to learn that some of the older divers are still diving vintage today.

And some not so old ones as well....and some young pups..like Slonda. :)

Slonda828
August 13th, 2009, 03:21 PM
Exactly Herman. I love diving vintage, I just get so tired of explaining to divers how I am not going to die. I also get tired of people telling me that you cannot have good buoyancy control without a BC, so I let them dive with all that crap on. If they call that fun, then so be it. Here's a picture of me hovering (yes hovering) sans BC:

http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/slonda828/P1010096.jpg

61 degree water, no SPG, no BC, just a j valve, a 1954 trademark Aqualung regulator, some dive tables, a watch, a wrist depth gauge, some duck feet, and my vintage dive homies.

I'm so glad people think it's dangerous, it means there's more gear for me to buy on Ebay!

TN Traveler
August 13th, 2009, 04:35 PM
Yeah, I did not say I was immune to it, I figure if I don't eat anything for the remainder of 2009 my caloric intake will return to a normal, whatever normal is, amount aveage for the year. :rofl3: N

Yeah - I hear you. It didn't take much to sink a 175# "hard body" back then - in fact, I was a total sinker in those days. 40 years and 50# sure makes a difference. :shakehead::shakehead:

Look much more like a Manatee now than a Barracuda. :rofl3: :rofl3:

captain
August 13th, 2009, 10:26 PM
Last weekends dive using my vintage Navy gear, 1957 U S Divers DA Navy Approved regulator, 1967 twin 90 cu/ft EOD non magnetic tanks, UDT surface flotation vest, oval mask and Duckfeet fins.
Is it vintage, not really to me as it is the way I began diving in 1957.

Doc
August 13th, 2009, 10:42 PM
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/3782/thumbs/IMG_2545.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/121115) http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/3782/thumbs/IMG_2546.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/121116)

Hot babes in rubber suits...http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/3782/thumbs/IMG_25351.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/121111)

sam miller
August 16th, 2009, 10:54 AM
FYI

The SPG was marketed first in 1954. I some how suspect most of the posters were not diving or alive at that time

WW11 surplus "Maewests" were used by Kalifornia divers almost from the beginning of Scuba diving in the US--1948..They were not used as a BC rather as an emergency floatation device.

The dark blue US Submarine model was well made and well adapted to use as a float. The USN bright yellow US Navy air craft version was double bag construction, small,& compact. The bags were often removed and insatalled under the wet suit for streamlining especially for free diving spearfishing.

There is a SDM cover of a SD diver holding a turtle with such a foat with an inflator hose protruding from the wet suit --apparently using a a USN bladder.

There was also an article in SDM about making a interior float from 1/8 inch wet suit material in the early 1960s..

It is oftened questioned when the first BC was marketed and what was the first commerical diving BC

SDM

Slonda828
August 16th, 2009, 11:27 AM
FYI

The SPG was marketed first in 1954. I some how suspect most of the posters were not diving or alive at that time

WW11 surplus "Maewests" were used by Kalifornia divers almost from the beginning of Scuba diving in the US--1948..They were not used as a BC rather as an emergency floatation device.

The dark blue US Submarine model was well made and well adapted to use as a float. The USN bright yellow US Navy air craft version was double bag construction, small,& compact. The bags were often removed and insatalled under the wet suit for streamlining especially for free diving spearfishing.

There is a SDM cover of a SD diver holding a turtle with such a foat with an inflator hose protruding from the wet suit --apparently using a a USN bladder.

There was also an article in SDM about making a interior float from 1/8 inch wet suit material in the early 1960s..

It is oftened questioned when the first BC was marketed and what was the first commerical diving BC

SDM

I have to be honest Dr. M, how is the fact that the SPG debuted before most of were diving or alive relevant to the discussion? Also, you mentioned that it was often questioned when the first BC was marketed, yet you did not tell us when it was. So, when was the first BC commercially marketed? I don't mind you stimulating the conversation, but if you are going to do so, then give us the details!

sam miller
August 16th, 2009, 11:40 AM
I have been searching my files for an old article of mine--"You can't go home again" which contrasts 1950 diving with modern diving...It might have gone bye bye along with other articles and vintage equipment after a visit from a couple of crooks..but I still have it in my mind and will some day rewrite it.

So I will present "The mask." This article is familar to my good friends Captain and Nemrod who probably read it on "The legends of diving" web site (www.portagequarry.com)--There are several other articles on that web site which may be of interest to dive history buffs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
'The Mask,

One of the great pioneer divers of all times was the late Charlie Sturgil. "The Old Walrus," as he was affectionately known, started his diving career in 1929 in the frigid waters off Northern California where he hunted for abalone by a method he described as "feeling for abalone." He would dive on a reef, feel until he found an abalone and pry it off, without the use of mask, fins, snorkel or thermal protection.

Charlie began diving with a mask using a Japanese mask in the late 1930s which was loaned to him by his good friend Bill O'Conner. A few years later after the end of WW 11, Charlie, a master tool and die maker and an inventor of sorts, developed the necessary tooling to produce masks on a semi-custom basis for himself and a few close friends. I consider myself very fortunate to have been included in the latter category.

In early years during the genesis of recreational diving the masks were either too large, too small, too stiff or after a few dives, would rapidly deteriorate into a gummy, sticky mess. This did not make for comfortable diving! After using a number of the masks of that era,the Japanese imports, and the American made Sea Net, I decided it was time to contact Charlie to ask him if he could make one of his custom masks for me.

After checking my meager finances, found I could possibly afford one of Charlie's masks, so I gave him a call. "Sure, Sammy, I'd be happy to make a mask for you, come on over", Charlie replied to my request. Within moments I was off to the temple of Southern California diving, Charlie Sturgil's garage.

I was met by this jovial hunk of a man with his infectious, ever-present smile. "Hey ya, Sammy" was always his cordial greeting. Alter a few moments of catching up on the diving scene it, was time to get to work. "Sammy, I'm now making two masks; the original for $6.00 and a new oval model for $8.00", Charlie explained. After considerable soul searching and penny counting, I opted for what I felt I could afford, the original round mask for $6.00.

Now, Charlie's garage was something to behold. It appeared to be in total disarray, and the best way to describe it would be the day after a big sale in a bargain basement. Diving equipment in various stages of repairs, pieces of metal, lengths of stainless rods scattered about... Omnipresent was the huge metal turret lathe and miscellaneous metal working machines. But to Charlie, it was his arena, it was where he excelled in turning these seemingly scrap pieces of metal into custom spear points, spear shafts, yes, even masks.

Charlie knew the location, size, shape and type of everything in his garage. His storage system was logical and certainly workable, but it still defies the imagination how he managed to find anything, let alone make anything, but he did.

Charlie went to work with the speed and skill of a emergency room surgeon. He immediately uncovered a length of 5 inch O.D. soft rubber World War 11, surplus firehose, from which he cut a 4 inch piece. He placed the piece of rubber hose in the wooden mold and proceeded to his trusty bench grinder where he slowly cut a 1/8 inch wide, 3/32 deep groove all around the edge for the glass. This was followed by the rough contouring for the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip. He then went to his metal rack and withdrew a piece of 3/4 x 16 inch 22 gauge stainless steel, which he placed in his specially constructed mold and carefully, yet skillfully, forced the stainless steel around the mold forming it into a familiar round mask shape. His next step was to form the band evenly and smoothly around the mold creating the lip for the compression hand with light rapid laps of a hammer. Using silver solder, the welding process of the era, he soldered the tabs for the strap and the compression screw tabs to complete the band. A piece of pre-cut 1/3 inch glass, the same kind used for window glass, was taken from the shelf and fit into the groove; the compression band placed around the mask and the compression screw tightened.

At last, the mask was assembled. My own custom Sturgil mask! Charlie proceeded to take some cursory measurements of my then youthful face, and returned to the grinding wheel, skillfully grinding a little here, a little there, another trial fit, a little more grinding. Finally, a perfect fit. A final hand finish with fine sandpaper, attaching of the strap, cut from a truck inner tube, and I was the proud possessor of a real genuine Charlie Sturgil Original Style Diving Mask.

This occurred many years ago when diving as well as life was much simpler, a time when pride in workmanship and ownership were at a premium. Charlie made almost 40 of these one of a kind custom dive masks, however only three are known to have survived the rigors of our disposable society, mine, Alex Pierce's of Toronto, Canada and Charlie's widow's Laura's mask which now on loan and rests in a Southern California museum. And indeed they are museum pieces... the three remaining masks are all almost sixty years old and represent an era which was experienced by only a precious few which will never be experienced again upon this earth.

Charlie has reverend position in the fraternity of diving pioneers; he won the world's second Spearfishing contest in 1950 with a pole spear, was a LA County Underwater Instructor and serendipity developed much of the spearfishing and SCUBA equipment which has become mainstream in todays diving.

I will never forget Charlie, nor will anyone who ever knew him.... nor will there ever be another mask like a Sturgil Mask.

Dr Samuel Miller
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
post script;

Charlie passed on November 15 1984, His devoted wife Laura passed on a few months ago at the age of 90. If Charlie knew you and liked you he always addressed you in the familar; Ie Sammy, Bobbie, Jimmie,--Those he didn't have great admiration or didn't know well it was formal Sam, Bob or Jim.

His daugher Laura Lee was married to Billy Meistral, one of the twin brothers who founded Dive and Surf and the very sucessful Body glove. Billy also passed on several years ago. Brother Bobbie was honored at the "Legends of diving" this past August along with the first female instructor in the US Dottie Frazier.

A SoCal spearfishing club has been presenting the Charlie Sturgil spearfishing meet for about 30 years...It came full circle when Charlie's grand daughter, Laura Lee Gonta won the meet several years ago using one of Charlie's legendary pole spears.

So now you know...

SDM

sam miller
August 16th, 2009, 01:29 PM
I have to be honest Dr. M, how is the fact that the SPG debuted before most of were diving or alive relevant to the discussion?

see below

"Allenwrench;

Any old time divers out there? Back in the day of no pressure gauges and the J valve; what was diving like with no BC?

Did they use less weight? And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist. Did they even have J valves from the very beginning?


GypsyJim

Not being able to check your remaining air while on the dive was always a hassle, and there were a couple of times that the #%&*@# J valve had gotten tripped in surf entry or caught on weeds and was tripped. Course I never knew this till suddenly the reg started pulling real hard, and I reached for the wire to pull it, for that last 500# or so, and ...OS! No safety stop today folks!....

It wasn't until the BCD, the submerable pressure guage, alternate air source (a second reg?, can you imagine that!?) all came into use that we knew how bad we had it before...."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Also, you mentioned that it was often questioned when the first BC was marketed, yet you did not tell us when it was. So, when was the first BC commercially marketed? I don't mind you stimulating the conversation, but if you are going to do so, then give us the details!

I don't known when the first "BC" was first marketed...perhaps YOU can research the question and report back to this thread?

sdm

captain
August 16th, 2009, 02:00 PM
Although I don't believe it was marketed as a BC originally (the term buoyancy compensator had not yet been coined), the Fenzy may have been the first with the features that now define a BC, oral and power inflation, overpressure/dump valve. I found this.

The ABLJ (ajustable buoyancy life jacket) was developed by Maurice Fenzy in 1961. [3] Early versions were inflated by mouth underwater. Later versions had their own air inflation cylinder. Some had carbon dioxide inflation cylinders, a development which was abandoned when valves that allowed divers to breathe from the BC's inflation bag were introduced. Since 1969 most modern BCs have used inflation gas from one of the diver's main gas cylinders, in addition to an oral inflation tube which is used at the surface in the event the diver has no high pressure gas left. In 1971, ScubaPro developed the Stabilizer Jacket, the first jacket-style BC, and in 1972 Watergill developed the Atpac wing.

Walter
August 16th, 2009, 06:14 PM
how is the fact that the SPG debuted before most of were diving or alive relevant to the discussion?

I find it interesting that the SPG is 2 years older than me.

Slonda828
August 16th, 2009, 07:53 PM
I don't known when the first "BC" was first marketed...perhaps YOU can research the question and report back to this thread?

sdm

Sorry Doc, BCs are like body work and American cars, I never mess with them unless I must!

I found your article on the mask fascinating.

I wonder why people are so turned off by J valves?

ZKY
August 16th, 2009, 11:58 PM
A better quality neoprene. You can still get suits made from it, but it can be hard to find.

Actually I found it. It's Rubatex G-231 skin both sides, they still make it, nothing's changed.
I got an email directly from rubatex corp. with prices and thicknesses.

The material that had nylon or lycra on one side or lycra / plush is a thing of the past. Apparently you can still get it but the glue holding the lycra on went from a solvent based to a water based material and doesn't hold up to immersion service.

But skin both sides is what you want anyway to be truely vintage. I have a lead on getting late 50's early 60's beavertail patterns and it's just a matter of obtaining the neoprene cutting out the panels and glueing together a suit.

Slonda828
August 17th, 2009, 12:03 AM
Actually I found it. It's Rubatex G-231 skin both sides, they still make it, nothing's changed.
I got an email directly from rubatex corp. with prices and thicknesses.

The material that had nylon or lycra on one side or lycra / plush is a thing of the past. Apparently you can still get it but the glue holding the lycra on went from a solvent based to a water based material and doesn't hold up to immersion service.

But skin both sides is what you want anyway to be truely vintage. I have a lead on getting late 50's early 60's beavertail patterns and it's just a matter of obtaining the neoprene cutting out the panels and glueing together a suit.

If you get that worked out, let me know. If you have a guy do them I would like to buy one and sell them through our store.

Walter
August 17th, 2009, 06:22 AM
Look at the links I provided in post 18 for suits (including beavertails) made from Rubatex G-231.

Nemrod
August 17th, 2009, 09:15 AM
Look at the links I provided in post 18 for suits (including beavertails) made from Rubatex G-231.

They are were I got my nylon two sides Rubatex G-231 suit made. It is a decent suit, very warm, very little compression, however, the workmanship I have to give only a B minus on. Kind of expensive and for that I expect better work. N

Zieg
August 17th, 2009, 09:42 AM
I find it interesting that the SPG is 2 years older than me.

Well maybe it's time to think about getting a new one.

sam miller
August 17th, 2009, 10:44 AM
Although I don't believe it was marketed as a BC originally (the term buoyancy compensator had not yet been coined), the Fenzy may have been the first with the features that now define a BC, oral and power inflation, overpressure/dump valve. I found this.

The ABLJ (ajustable buoyancy life jacket) was developed by Maurice Fenzy in 1961. [3] Early versions were inflated by mouth underwater. Later versions had their own air inflation cylinder. Some had carbon dioxide inflation cylinders, a development which was abandoned when valves that allowed divers to breathe from the BC's inflation bag were introduced. Since 1969 most modern BCs have used inflation gas from one of the diver's main gas cylinders, in addition to an oral inflation tube which is used at the surface in the event the diver has no high pressure gas left. In 1971, ScubaPro developed the Stabilizer Jacket, the first jacket-style BC, and in 1972 Watergill developed the Atpac wing.
__________________
Captain;

A recent article in the local news paper questioned the accuracy of on line information sources and presented examples of gross errors as well as some items that were totally correct. I will not question the validity of the source but will offer the following;

There was a fellow Antonio Ribera from Barcelona Spain who was very active in early diving. He was one of the early translators of JYC's "Silent World" from English in to his native language --not Spanish, but Catalonian, a Spanish dialect which contains a little Italian, French and what ever else tossed in. (Not for your information I know you know it-- but FYI others the "Silent World" was first printed by Harper and Rowe, NYC in English, later French and now 23 different languages)

Also at that time Antonio was collecting the red corral that profusely grew in deep water off the coast and marketing it for jewelry--it was highly prised and very expensive . (FYI I have a Pukka Strand with the red coral interspersed in it.! wow showing my age)

One of his many problems was buoyancy.

He solved it by creating an air bag to which he attached a hose and a crude mouth piece from a double hose regulator. this gave his buoyancy at depth as well as a personal lift bag. Very little was made of his SAID ---aka Specific Adaptation to the Imposed Demand, for at that time in the early to mid 1950s very little attention was given to buoyancy. It was not needed since most who were active in diving had been HS/College swimmer athletes... as the sport progressed and currently most who enter the sport can barely swim and certainly were not athletic, so later on buoyancy became a serious issue that had to be addressed by diving manufactures and certainly welcomed by the occasional vacation diver.

About the same time that the BF became popular Nemrod also offered a large yellow well made almost inflexible horse collar with a long inflation tube which possibly came from the Nemrod double hose regulator--It is also noted at that time Antonio was an official with Nemrod...As I recall the National or International Sales manager.

He was a prolific writer , wrote for various diving and sport magazines, had translated the Silent world, and I think he was the one who wrote or was a major contributor to the "History of Nemrod"...I saw the book only once it was very complete and had a bright red cover--

Don't have a copy of the Silent World in Catalonian nor do I have the History of Nemrod.--some day !

<I also don't have any books in French-- they were stolen by a couple "researching information" for a book--that never will be published>

SDM

captain
August 17th, 2009, 11:33 AM
Hi Sam, how have you been.
I did have a Nemrod BC with a small inflation bottle similar to the Fenzy that I bought in the early 70's. At the time the Fenzy was quite a bit more expensive than the Nemrod BC. I can't recall which came on the market first but it seemed the Fenzy got a lot more press for whatever reason.

sam miller
August 17th, 2009, 12:24 PM
You are correct..

I recall but have not verified that the two vest (BCs) appeared on the American Market about the same time

I think the Nemrod line had previouly such a difficult time in the US and were probably under capitlized for the US market. Therefore did not have the advertising buget. BF was a new company therefore had considerable advertising buget to enter the US market place

I had one of the first Nemrod's in our area, I can't recall the rep's name, but he gave it to me to dive. I didn't like the inflator system so had a SeaTec installed...by the way check "Passings" Just posted on Harry Ruscigno, the founder of SeaTec.

All is well...have had a sick computer...Rooted for LSU's base ball team...only one in family to back them and LSU was the winner! Going to South Bend to attend ND game this year..

Nemrod
August 17th, 2009, 12:31 PM
Well maybe it's time to think about getting a new one.

I was in first grade when mine was made.

N

Walter
August 17th, 2009, 01:53 PM
I almost bought a Mares reg with a Scubapro SPG yesterday at Goodwill for $9.99.

Thalassamania
August 17th, 2009, 02:03 PM
The rubber for the original wet suits came from Kirkhill ruber company in Brea California. It was WW11 surplus, having been manufactured as a covering of vechicle and airplane gas tanks.

As diving became more popular more companies began manufactureing the rubber. The divers demanded that it be thicker and more flexible.

sdm
The wetsuit was invented in 1952 by Dr. Hugh Bradner of U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Bradner and a few of his colleagues created a small company to market what was called the "EDCO Sub-Mariner" suit, $45 for the short version and $75 for the "full suit," as an ad in a 1954 edition of Skin Diver magazine put it.

I still routinely dive a skin two side Rubatex GN-231N suit, far warmer and far more comfortable than any of the "modern" material suits.

Zieg
August 17th, 2009, 02:03 PM
I almost bought a Mares reg with a Scubapro SPG yesterday at Goodwill for $9.99.

Hmmm, hadn't thought about checking Goodwill.

Walter
August 17th, 2009, 02:14 PM
Nancy picked up a steel 72 for about $8.

subcmdr
August 18th, 2009, 03:43 PM
Based on what he calls "vintage" diving, we were still doing it in the Navy in the late 70s. Horse collar BC with no inflation (other than blowing into tube). CO2 cartridge inflation for emergencies. Oval masks that were crazy hard to clear. Hard backpack (single or twin steel 70s). J-valve on single, manifold valve on twins (yikes!). Stiff paddle fins with no ports. Single stage regulator that breathed real hard at depths greater than 60 feet. Beaver tail wetsuits.

Someone out there may miss this gear. I don't.

I love my overbalanced reg. I love the fact I have an octo. I love that newfangled low pressure inflator valve on my BC. I love fins that make me go fast with way less effort. I love a mask that clears in a single puff. I love staying warm in my fancy wetsuit (and fancier drysuit).

Anyone who says they love the old days is either a masochist or they don't remember the way it really was....

Zieg
August 18th, 2009, 04:35 PM
Based on what he calls "vintage" diving, we were still doing it in the Navy in the late 70s. Horse collar BC with no inflation (other than blowing into tube). CO2 cartridge inflation for emergencies. Oval masks that were crazy hard to clear. Hard backpack (single or twin steel 70s). J-valve on single, manifold valve on twins (yikes!). Stiff paddle fins with no ports. Single stage regulator that breathed real hard at depths greater than 60 feet. Beaver tail wetsuits.

Someone out there may miss this gear. I don't.

I love my overbalanced reg. I love the fact I have an octo. I love that newfangled low pressure inflator valve on my BC. I love fins that make me go fast with way less effort. I love a mask that clears in a single puff. I love staying warm in my fancy wetsuit (and fancier drysuit).

Anyone who says they love the old days is either a masochist or they don't remember the way it really was....

What I miss was that there were not that many of us around. No one tried to hold your hand. You were expected to know your business. But then again, a bunch of guys I used to dive with nicknamed me "Masochistic Matt", which probably says it all.

Slonda828
August 18th, 2009, 05:44 PM
Leave it to a Navy officer to whine and complain.

diverdoug1
August 18th, 2009, 05:53 PM
I remeber that without a BC, and a thick Farmer-John, It ws tough not to be a vertical diver when you got down enough to really compress the neoprene. I was a lot more aware of breathing resisatance (get ready to flip that valve!). I also spent a lot more time thinking about how cool and macho I was , because not many people actually dived. I remember that the former UDT, YMCA instructor for my cert. class was not what you would call a "customer service" kinda' guy

Slonda828
August 18th, 2009, 06:03 PM
I remeber that without a BC, and a thick Farmer-John, It ws tough not to be a vertical diver when you got down enough to really compress the neoprene. I was a lot more aware of breathing resisatance (get ready to flip that valve!). I also spent a lot more time thinking about how cool and macho I was , because not many people actually dived. I remember that the former UDT, YMCA instructoer for my cert. class was not what you would call a "customer service" kinda' guy

See, that's one thing I do not get. I like diving with vintage gear, but I do not think it makes me "macho" or "cool". I don't get why in diving if you use vintage gear you get a bunch of negative labels. If you own a fine vintage wine or a nice antique auto nobody say things like that to you. Maybe I don't give a crap about being macho, maybe I just living diving simpler stuff and feeling free in the water. If it was super hard or it sucked, why would I do it? I'm not alone either, there's at least 189 other people in the National Association of Vintage Equipment Divers, and we dive the crap out of the old gear.

http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/slonda828/P1010265.jpg


Doesn't this look so painful and aweful? My friend Earl (the fish) didn't seem to think so.

diverdoug1
August 18th, 2009, 06:15 PM
Hey Slonda, how about reading the post before you comment!?! I do not use vintage dive gear, I was answering the OP about what it was like "back in the day". I was saying what it was like when I was a teenager many moons ago. I said I then thought I "was cool" because not many people were diving back then. It was harder to get certified, and it was easy to think you were part of an elite crowd. I would have thought I was even "cooler" if I had the latest and greatest gear. Now that I am long of tooth, I realize that I am neither cool , nor elite.:lotsalove:

Slonda828
August 18th, 2009, 06:41 PM
Hey Slonda, how about reading the post before you comment!?! I do not use vintage dive gear, I was answering the OP about what it was like "back in the day". I was saying what it was like when I was a teenager many moons ago. I said I then thought I "was cool" because not many people were diving back then. It was harder to get certified, and it was easy to think you were part of an elite crowd. I would have thought I was even "cooler" if I had the latest and greatest gear. Now that I am long of tooth, I realize that I am neither cool , nor elite.:lotsalove:

I did read your post, I understood it, and I was speaking in generalities rather than to you. I did not for a minute think you were coming down on vintage diving, me, or the concept of diving at any level. I am very well educated, and I understand what I read. I cited your post merely as a reference for what cued me to comment. I think you got me wrong. I'd buy you a beer, but we are on the internet. Relax man. Now that Navy bubblehead, on the other hand, I was actually picking on him. ;)

diverdoug1
August 18th, 2009, 06:43 PM
Alright! a beer summit in the rose garden!:D

Slonda828
August 18th, 2009, 06:45 PM
Alright! a beer summit in the rose garden!:D

Hey man, if it works for the Commander in Chief, then it works for me. I was actually debating stocking the dive shop fridge with beer for when I inadvertently piss people off , but I am not sure what laws that violates...

It also facilitates classes in the shop pool on underwater beer drinking, which is one of my distinctive specialties.

diverdoug1
August 18th, 2009, 07:19 PM
One question about your picture Slonda. Where did you get those hoses for your vintage reg? They look like they came off a megalodon rebreather.

Slonda828
August 18th, 2009, 09:06 PM
One question about your picture Slonda. Where did you get those hoses for your vintage reg? They look like they came off a megalodon rebreather.

Vintage Double Hose (http://www.vintagedoublehose.com) , the best vintage diving equipment supplier! The ends are 1", and IIRC most rebreather couplings are usually 1.25-1.5 inches in diameter, though admittedly I am not a rebreather expert so do not hold my feet to the fire on that one.

captain
August 18th, 2009, 09:56 PM
The view of some who would never go back to using vintage equipment is no different than the driver of a modern car would never consider a coast to coast drive in a restored 57 Chevrolet even if in their youth they drove one. Some people just do not relate to the past in a positive way for whatever reasons.

Nemrod
August 18th, 2009, 10:10 PM
One question about your picture Slonda. Where did you get those hoses for your vintage reg? They look like they came off a megalodon rebreather.

Those are new production silicone hoses from Vintage Double Hose (http://www.vintagedoublehose.com) available in black, yellow, green, gray. As well, www.vintagescubasupply often has some nice neoprene hoses. These hoses are generally 1.0X1.5 which is the standard for USD/Voit double hose regulators.

I never really had much difficulty then or now maintaining good buoyancy control and a proper horizontal position. The difficulties of vintage are often exaggerated ;) because we look back and wonder how we survived and that is not unique to scuba, usually we were our own worst enemies, not the gear. N

Slonda828
August 18th, 2009, 10:26 PM
Those are new production silicone hoses from Vintage Double Hose (http://www.vintagedoublehose.com) available in black, yellow, green, gray. As well, www.vintagescubasupply often has some nice neoprene hoses. These hoses are generally 1.0X1.5 which is the standard for USD/Voit double hose regulators.

I never really had much difficulty then or now maintaining good buoyancy control and a proper horizontal position. The difficulties of vintage are often exaggerated ;) because we look back and wonder how we survived and that is not unique to scuba, usually we were our own worst enemies, not the gear. N

I have to agree with Nem. I am obviously not old enough to have been around during the time of the doublehose. Still, good divers are good divers. If you strip away everything else, a good diver can swim just with a mask and a scuba tank. He wouldn't be comfortable, but he would be underwater. My point is that if you understand how to properly weight yourself and you recognize the physics of diving, you can maintain horizontal trim and neutral buoyancy without a BC. If you train and practice buddy breathing, then you can dive a doublehose without an octo (there's no place to really put one anyway.) It's not like I dive vintage because it is hard, I do it because it is easy and fun for me. It's liberating, and it makes you recall what it must have been like when men first walked out into the ocean (or the River Marne) to dive on SCUBA. It also makes damn fine modern divers. I have amazing buoyancy control now compared to before. I really know how to breathe, how to swim, and how to listen to the forces of physics that are acting on my body. I'm telling you guys it's like a zen thing if you get it right. I just wish so many people didn't automatically think it was horrible...then again it keeps my gear costs down so I cannot really complain that much.

Nemrod
August 18th, 2009, 11:00 PM
You know, sometimes I find myself falling into the trap. There I was standing on the beach at the PD thinking it looked kinda far, maybe I should just hire a boat, maybe I need a buddy to help me, maybe I need a BC, maybe I just need to buck up and go for it--so I did. Four hours latter I walked back up on the beach, nope, I am still Nemrod, even if my hair is going gray and I still don't need no stink'n BC. N

gcbryan
August 18th, 2009, 11:25 PM
Probably a silly question but how do you buddy breath with a double hose?

Nemrod
August 19th, 2009, 12:06 AM
Probably a silly question but how do you buddy breath with a double hose?

We are not cave diving, you get face to face, you pass the mouthpiece from diver to buddy rotating the mouthpiece, you swim up, nothing to it.

N

Slonda828
August 19th, 2009, 12:51 AM
We are not cave diving, you get face to face, you pass the mouthpiece from diver to buddy rotating the mouthpiece, you swim up, nothing to it.

N

It actually is pretty easy. If you want the air to flow easier, just raise the mouthpiece. If you want it to breathe harder, just lower the mouthpiece under the level of the cans. Most doublehose regulators have such a large amount of venturi assist that they almost want to give you air at lower supply pressures (the upstream ones).

It's not like you have to worry about a runaway ascent, there's no BC with which to ascend too fast! You just grab the harness with your left arm, pass the mouthpiece with the right, and drive on. It's very much like a single hose in this regard.

sam miller
August 19th, 2009, 01:11 AM
[QUOTE=Thalassamania;4636674]The wetsuit was invented in 1952 by Dr. Hugh Bradner of U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Bradner and a few of his colleagues created a small company to market what was called the "EDCO Sub-Mariner" suit, $45 for the short version and $75 for the "full suit," as an ad in a 1954 edition of Skin Diver magazine put it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What happended between the years 1952 and 1954?

Thalassamania
August 19th, 2009, 01:50 AM
What happended between the years 1952 and 1954?

Wet Suit Pursuit: Hugh Bradner's Development of the First
Wet Suit
Carolyn Rainey
Archives of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0219
November 1998
SIO Reference Number 98-16 (http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=sio/arch)

Zieg
August 19th, 2009, 07:13 AM
Leave it to a Navy officer to whine and complain.

Just another reason for Chiefs.

sam miller
August 19th, 2009, 03:31 PM
Published this as a newspaper article almost 11 years ago. Tt seems to answer the question how was it in the very beginning--the late 1940s and early 1950s prior to the advent of SCUBA, training and even the wet suit--Well we DID have a local Manufacture of dive suits --Water wear,but both owners were killed in an traffic accident about 1951..

You all are probably some what familar with Divers Cove in Laguna Beach, California but possibly never relized that there have been a number of changes to the area and the divers who have populated it in the last fifty plus years..

A little history-that has survived against the call of the running tide-
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN…”
By Dr. Samuel Miller

This summer I visited with some relatives and old friends to reconnect with my roots down in southern California, in “smogsville,” as the smog shrouded area of Los Angeles and Orange County is known by most Californians who reside in other areas of the state.

This visit certainly verified the message in the Thomas Wolfe book “You can’t go home again” which I found so difficult to comprehend as a young college student. Yes, Thomas Wolfe was correct! You can’t go home again.

I spent a very early Saturday morning at Diver’s Cove in Laguna Beach, the fountainhead of American sport diving. It has been a popular diving location since recreational diving began along the California coast in the early 1930s. “The cove” as local divers refer to it, was catapulted from obscurity into international diving fame when it was chosen as the location for the world’s first competitive spear fishing meet in June 1950. The Compton, California “Dolphins Spear Fishing club”, won the meet with a three man team consisting of Ken Kummerfeild, Paul Hoss and Pat O’Malley.

Lots of changes have occurred in and around Divers Cove with the passage of fifty-seven years.

In the 1950s the rolling hills surrounding Diver’s Cove were devoid of housing and covered with dry chaparral, which emitted the classic California golden glow always associated with the “Golden state.” Now when viewed from the cove the hills appear almost surrealistic emerald green, blanketed by modern multi- million dollar homes on well-manicured lawns interconnected labyrinth of roads.

It is no longer possible to drive up to the edge of the cliff at Diver’s Cove and park haphazardly. Parking places are now regulated. They are neatly identified with white stripes on the concrete and crowned with a row of coin eating parking meters; silent sentinels waiting for the next quarter for fifteen minutes of violation free parking.

Also absent is the steel cable that provided beach goers and divers to access to the beach. It was a much-appreciated gift from some unknown beach lover who spent their time; money and effort to securely bury one end of the cable in cement and dangle the rest of the cable over the cliff to create a Tarzan style hand over hand beach access. Now modern stairs complete with handrails and a drinking fountain welcomes the divers to the beach

The beach scene I remember so well from my youth is now only a distant memory, but they are memories of gold as were the hills surrounding the cove.


In the genesis of recreational diving the beach was populated with young athletic sun tanned male youths clad in the diving costume of the era, baggy long underwear, tucked in to equally baggy swim trunks, round diving masks on their faces, short green fins on their feet and the weapon of choice a “Jab Stick” unceremoniously stuck in the ground.

Like ancient tribes returning from a successful hunt they stood in small groups, wrapped in surplus WWII olive drab army or navy blue blankets, shivering and blue lipped from the cold of the water and the chill in the air. Roaring bonfires fed by WWII surplus tires added much needed warmth as it belched fourth thick heavy black smoke into the clean crisp smog free Orange County air.

Divers Cove has now become a popular diving destination for dive training classes. It is populated every Saturday and Sunday morning by young certified diving instructors who have arrived before 7:00 to conduct an ocean check out dive for their classes of aspiring divers. Under the ever-watchful eye of their SCUBA instructor, young and old, male and female don the costume of modern diving. Bright colored wet suits have replaced the long underwear for thermal protection; clear form fitting twin lens masks of clear silicone replaced the black round rubber masks; multi hued long lightweight split plastic fins now adorn their feet replacing the short green Churchill fins. Not a spearfishing weapon is insight, since this area has been a game reserve for over a generation.

Yes, there have been a lot of changes in the last fifty plus years. Tomas Wolfe’s message has been verified. You can’t go home again, but you can relive fond memories from the distant past and dream and hope for the future of recreational diving.



Only the sea, the eternal sea, has relentlessly remained the same

DR, SAMUEL MILLER, 111

diverdoug1
August 20th, 2009, 09:44 AM
I never really had much difficulty then or now maintaining good buoyancy control and a proper horizontal position. The difficulties of vintage are often exaggerated ;) because we look back and wonder how we survived and that is not unique to scuba, usually we were our own worst enemies, not the gear. N

Before I was able to get the horse collar (thanks Santa), Bouancy was pretty tough. I would need about 12 pounds to get down with my thick wetsuit, but below 70' I could take my weight belt off. I needed to kick to keep myself from sinking. The horse collar was a great step in the right direction for efficient diving in cold water. When it was warm enough for no wetsuit, life was easy (and so were some of the girls in my school that year:eyebrow:). I wish I still had all my original gear. Unfortunately, the ravages of time took its toll on the neoprene and rubber, and I got rid of it in favor of more modern gear. Looking back, I wish I had held on to it. Man, I really miss those orange rubber full foot fins and that old voit mask! We used to buy all our dive gear at the local sporting goods store. It was all in small room behind the fishing rods. Boy did that room reek of new neoprene and rubber! It smelled like heaven to me! I would go there at least once a week to see if they got any new stuff. Much more intimate than ordering from LeisurePro like kids can do now.

Slonda828
August 20th, 2009, 12:19 PM
The real trick to cold water diving is to find a suit with very little buoyancy swing. If you dive a soft suit, then you are going to be heavy at depth (or need a BC). It's pretty much the same thing if you dive anything other than vintage tanks. People didn't dive steel 120's back then because there were not any. I can lung a single 72, 80, or a set of twin 50's. You can also use a vintage drysuit. I use a hydroglove, and it works great because you can equalize the suit with your mask and not have to worry about buoyancy swing at depth.

Here's a picture of me in the hydroglove with a steel 72 at about 55 feet in 61 degree water while at the Legends of Diving. For cold water diving with no BC, it's the cat's pajamas.

http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/slonda828/P1010273.jpg

slackercruster
August 20th, 2009, 05:27 PM
I like today's suits better. I certainly don't miss donning a 3/4 farmer john with beaver tail top. They were bulky and harder to move around in. They also let water flow more easily. While the thermal protection is slightly sacrificed (no big deal in Texas) the Hyperstretch's are awesome suits. I have a 3mm and 7mm.

Thanks for ALL replies.


Those old wetsuits must have been like weaning an inner tube. They must have let in lots of water. I can only surmise from the photos and old movies though.

Thalassamania
August 20th, 2009, 07:56 PM
Thanks for ALL replies.


Those old wetsuits must have been like weaning an inner tube. They must have let in lots of water. I can only surmise from the photos and old movies though.The original Kirkhill rubber was a bit stiff and when combined with a nylon lining it could not be fit very well. Rubatex skin two side was (is) a whole differnent story. It's rather flexable but not very compressible, it puts all of the "modern" materials to shame in terms of fit, comfort and warmth. That is until you put a lining on it. Our best solution for a "modern" suit was Rubatex GN-231N, smooth skin in with 4-way stretch lyrca out. Way better than any hyperstretch made, at least for real cold water diving, in warmer water the difference is not that marked and you might as well get the strechier material.

slackercruster
August 26th, 2009, 01:04 PM
Based on what he calls "vintage" diving, we were still doing it in the Navy in the late 70s. Horse collar BC with no inflation (other than blowing into tube). CO2 cartridge inflation for emergencies. Oval masks that were crazy hard to clear. Hard backpack (single or twin steel 70s). J-valve on single, manifold valve on twins (yikes!). Stiff paddle fins with no ports. Single stage regulator that breathed real hard at depths greater than 60 feet. Beaver tail wetsuits.

Someone out there may miss this gear. I don't.

I love my overbalanced reg. I love the fact I have an octo. I love that newfangled low pressure inflator valve on my BC. I love fins that make me go fast with way less effort. I love a mask that clears in a single puff. I love staying warm in my fancy wetsuit (and fancier drysuit).

Anyone who says they love the old days is either a masochist or they don't remember the way it really was....



Yes, after being trained with a mouth inflator, I remember how thrilled I was trying a horseshoe BC with a power inflator back in the 80's. Never tried the oval masks though.

Nemrod
August 26th, 2009, 04:38 PM
It was like this, people were happy and we had fun:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Misc%20pics/clip_image002.jpg

Now it is like this:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Misc%20pics/stroke_15.jpg

OH, BTW, the diver in the pic above, he considers himself a minimalist diver, yeah, OK. Don't be "that guy"!

N

David Wilson
August 26th, 2009, 06:50 PM
I agree with Nemrod. Snorkelling back then was all about having fun too, as this photograph from Peter Small's "Your Guide to Underwater Adventure" (1957) illustrates:
http://www.bsacforum.co.uk/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=791&d=1250157296
The caption reads: "If underwater swimming is not fun, it's not anything". Modern developments such as "free diving" suggest more "points-scoring" than simple recreation.

As for good old-fashioned oval masks and rubber full-foot fins, you can still get them today fresh from the manufacturer. My current favourites are my Mexican-made Escualo Clasica fins and blue-skirted Ixtapa mask:
http://www.escualo.com.mx/_wp_generated/wp081b8361.png
http://www.escualo.com.mx/_wp_generated/wp9d567730.png
Blue certainly makes a change from the usual choice of clear and black mask skirts nowadays!

As for orange fins, they're still in production too, e.g. Greek-made Eurobalco Sprints:
http://www.leaderfins.de/images/product_images/popup_images/20010549_0.jpg
They're wonderfully comfortable, broad-fitting rubber fins, popular with European swimmers in training.

I also agree with Slonda828 about the Hydroglove suit. Mine keeps me dry and warm during the spring, summer and autumn months when snorkelling in the cold waters of the North Sea, without binding my arms and legs in the way some wetsuits can do.

On the general matter of vintage versus modern diving gear, I recall an early 1980s TV series here in the UK designed to introduce the microcomputer to the widest possible audience. One of the presenters, a guy with great "people skills" as well as computer expertise, produced a fountain pen, emphasising how important it was not to buy wholesale into everything modern just because it's modern. He insisted that everybody should retain, and continue to use, at least one item dating from an earlier technology, such as his favourite fountain pen. Well, I do enjoy using the latest computer technology in 2009, but I also enjoy retaining, and continuing to use, the kind of snorkelling equipment prevalent from the 1950s to the 1970s because that's when I first developed my passion for breath-hold underwater swimming. It's my link with the past. I also associate the natural materials from which vintage diving equipment was made with quality. They're live, tactile, odorous, multisensory materials, unlike the ubiquitous synthetics used in today's gear, which to me represent something sterile and dead.

diverdoug1
August 27th, 2009, 09:12 AM
Those are my old fins! I am going to google now, to see if I can order a pair.

diverdoug1
August 27th, 2009, 09:18 AM
Crap, they don't seem to have on online presence.

captain
August 27th, 2009, 10:47 AM
Crap, they don't seem to have on online presence.

Buy $77 Voit UDT Fins Duck Feet Vintage Scuba Diving Masks (http://www.vintagescubasupply.com/maskfin.html)

diverdoug1
August 27th, 2009, 11:10 AM
Thanks, but I am looking for the orange rubber fins.

David Wilson
August 27th, 2009, 12:01 PM
Thanks, but I am looking for the orange rubber fins.
http://fruugo.scene7.com/is/image/Fruugo/39841?hei=260&wid=280
(Euro)balco Sprint fins are sold by swimgear retailers in Germany and Scandinavia, e.g.:
Aqua Sphere (Germany)
Schwimm Shop Online Shop für Flossen Schwimmen Rettungsschwimmen Triathlon Wasserball Orientierungstauchen Unterwasserugby - Gummiflossen sprint rubberfins rubber fins with stronger finblade Gummiflossen rubberfins russian rubber fins finswimming fin (http://www.schwimmen-shop.de/products/de/Zubehoer-Flossenschwimmen/Gummiflossen-SPRINT-balco.html)
Essenuoto (Finland)
Balco Sprint räpylät - (http://www.essenuoto.fi/epages/Kaupat.sf/fi_FI/?ObjectPath=/Shops/Essenuoto/Products/Balco/SubProducts/Balco-0001)

Orange rubber full-foot fins are much more easily obtained in continental Europe than in the United States, where I see you are based. Below are a couple of examples of other models available east of the Atlantic:
Tanga (Made in Malaysia)
http://ww2.sport-thieme.de/y/450Pixel/1139206.jpg
Flippers Pair £ 11.61 - Sport-Thieme.co.uk (http://www.sport-thieme.co.uk/RL/r=27081728271684906/-271721772/art=1139206)
Francis Falcon (Made in Italy)
http://www.steiner-schwimmsport.de/media/images/flossen-epsam_big.JPG
Flossen - Vollgummiflossen - Schwimmsport Steiner (http://www.steiner-schwimmsport.de/trainingszubehoer/flossen/flossen-vollgummiflossen.html)

If you're reluctant to order from abroad, your options are much more restricted if you are set on orange as your fin colour. If so, consider American swim retailer WBHSwim's offering below:
http://www.wbhswim.com/DiveFins.jpg
ALLSWIM.COM - Training Aids - Leggs & Feet (http://www.wbhswim.com/training_aids-legs-feet.html)

If you're prepared to consider another colour of fins, then you might try the light blue American-made variety from Oceanways, which are modelled on Cressi Rondines from the early 1970s:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/214XQ7HNV2L._SS500_.jpg
Amazon.com: Oceanways Aquapro Full Foot Rubber Fins: Sports & Outdoors (http://www.amazon.com/Oceanways-Aquapro-Full-Foot-Rubber/dp/B000GG8FNW)

Hope there's some food for thought here!

mksmith713
August 27th, 2009, 03:32 PM
I love threads like this.
I dive in Fla and with the exception of Jan & Feb, I dive with no exposure protection whatsoever and only 3/2 full then.
I dive a BP/W setup but feel like I could dive sans BC if I could pop a rock or 2 in my pockets to ditch at depth.
Currently, I add a puff of air when I get to around 60 feet or so just to keep me off the bottom.
That would be an ideal place to ditch the rocks......same results.

Other than the surface swim being hairy, being forever away from the boat (most dives are drift dives here), I think I could go vintage.
I'm already diving 40 year old regs.

mksmith713
August 27th, 2009, 03:33 PM
Scratch that.........I still want my SPG......:)

TN Traveler
August 27th, 2009, 03:38 PM
You can still dive vintage with an SPG - just need to use a banjo fitting.

Nemrod
August 27th, 2009, 09:25 PM
I love threads like this.
I dive in Fla and with the exception of Jan & Feb, I dive with no exposure protection whatsoever and only 3/2 full then.
I dive a BP/W setup but feel like I could dive sans BC if I could pop a rock or 2 in my pockets to ditch at depth.
Currently, I add a puff of air when I get to around 60 feet or so just to keep me off the bottom.
That would be an ideal place to ditch the rocks......same results.

Other than the surface swim being hairy, being forever away from the boat (most dives are drift dives here), I think I could go vintage.
I'm already diving 40 year old regs.

I did a solo beach dive a few weeks ago at the PDO that went for nearly four hours with no BC. I wore about two pounds on my belt to offset my neoprene rash guard and shorts. At the beginning of the dive I was a little negative, by the end slightly positive. For the swim back in I pulled my belt off and hung it on my inner tube dive flag float. Now I was very buoyant and comfortably snorkeled back in. Don't need no stink'n BC. The max depth was around 35ish feet give or take so did not need a spg either. It was a lot of fun.

Fun, modern scuba:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b395/JRWJR/Misc%20pics/outdoors.jpg

N

David Wilson
August 28th, 2009, 02:33 AM
BP/W - BC - SPG

Now there's another reason why I prefer vintage snorkelling: too many pesky acronyms to look up the meaning of in modern diving!

Thalassamania
August 28th, 2009, 03:11 AM
You can still dive vintage with an SPG - just need to use a banjo fitting.Or a DACOR K-valve.

herman
August 28th, 2009, 07:47 AM
I love threads like this.
I dive in Fla and with the exception of Jan & Feb, I dive with no exposure protection whatsoever and only 3/2 full then.
I dive a BP/W setup but feel like I could dive sans BC if I could pop a rock or 2 in my pockets to ditch at depth.
Currently, I add a puff of air when I get to around 60 feet or so just to keep me off the bottom.
That would be an ideal place to ditch the rocks......same results.

Other than the surface swim being hairy, being forever away from the boat (most dives are drift dives here), I think I could go vintage.
I'm already diving 40 year old regs.

If your regs are 40 yo then they are vintage, just find yourself an old backpack and dive them, nothing wrong with single hose vintage diving, you don't have to do it in a double hose to be vintage....but it is more fun. I am sure some of my DH brothers will disagree but you have to start somewhere....(don;t worry guys, this is a gateway reg to get him hooked. :) ) If you are properly weighted and diving with no wetsuit or most likely the 3/2 you won't need the rocks. You may have to swim down the first few feet with the 3/2 on but that is no problem. You need to give it a try, you will be surprized at the freedom and streamlining you get by dropping the wing. I had to put on a wing on my BP for a class a few weeks ago, I had not been in one for a while and realized that I now hate the thing.
Surface swims are not that big of a deal either. You will be a little on the positive side at the end of the dive if you are properly weighted. This is esp true if you are wearing a wetsuit you had to swim down some at the beginning.

"Try it, you'll like it"....to steal a vintage add.

mksmith713
August 28th, 2009, 01:50 PM
Still, there's some feeling of security when you're down about 70 feet or so tickling lobster and you can look at your SPG.
My SAC goes even higher when I get excited trying to finese those bugs outta their holes.
I guess having a wing, knowing you can blow and go plays into that feling of security as well.
I might consider going naked on a really shallow or shore dive shooting pictures.
You know....just to get my feet wet.

Lone Frogman
August 28th, 2009, 02:14 PM
Keep it simple. Just add mask and fins. Go diving.

Nemrod
August 28th, 2009, 07:07 PM
Sears had a flashlight that had a led that would light up when the battery was dead. I kind of figured I could tell the battery was dead if I turned it on and the bulb did not shine. I figure my tank is empty when air don't come out of it any more.

N

gndpdr
August 28th, 2009, 07:56 PM
it brings back some memories ..i also like to look around on vintagescubasupply.com

Phossilman
August 28th, 2009, 09:33 PM
Reading this thread brought back some long forgotten memories. I had been away from diving for quite some time and started again a year ago. I started diving in the early 70's. Equipment names like WhiteStag, Farallon, AMF Voit and US Divers ruled. My first depth guage was a USD wrist mount capillary, what a conversation piece that would make aboard a dive boat today.

herman
August 29th, 2009, 08:00 AM
Reading this thread brought back some long forgotten memories. I had been away from diving for quite some time and started again a year ago. I started diving in the early 70's. Equipment names like WhiteStag, Farallon, AMF Voit and US Divers ruled. My first depth guage was a USD wrist mount capillary, what a conversation piece that would make aboard a dive boat today.

You have no idea, esp if you are also in a DH reg, old backpack and no BC. On Bonaire this year, I set up my reg like that then set on the opposite side of the dock to listen to the comments, some got quite interesting. Oh and they still rule. :)

Ketchup
August 30th, 2009, 05:59 PM
I have just started to get interested in this style of diving myself.
I love the simplicity of it all and see it as a little bit like classic cars versus modern rubbish (which obviously have there uses)

I tried a simple dive last week with just a backplate, tank and single reg and it was great tho I was a little bouyant at the end of the dive so had to carry a couple of rocks. Just need to get my weighting sorted properly and then buy some proper vintage gear.

Slonda828
August 30th, 2009, 06:25 PM
I have just started to get interested in this style of diving myself.
I love the simplicity of it all and see it as a little bit like classic cars versus modern rubbish (which obviously have there uses)

I tried a simple dive last week with just a backplate, tank and single reg and it was great tho I was a little bouyant at the end of the dive so had to carry a couple of rocks. Just need to get my weighting sorted properly and then buy some proper vintage gear.

If you think that is fun, wait until the bubbles come out behind your head!

gndpdr
August 30th, 2009, 06:52 PM
it's even more fun if the dam co2 bottle gets fired

Nemrod
August 30th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Remove the CO2 cartridge and plug with a 3/8 regulator plug. Besides, at depth it is much to do over nothing. N

Rhone Man
August 31st, 2009, 10:39 AM
I came in at the very end of what I regard as the "vintage" era - I had a single hose regulator, but no SPG and no BCD.

The main thing I remember (apart from the need to get your weighting right) was you dived pretty conservative profiles (except we didn't call them that). We didn't often go below 40 feet and you thought long and hard about going below 60 feet. There just a much more realistic risk you might be have to swim like buggery for the surface.

I remember reading about some guy diving on the Andrea Doria using a J-Valve in the 1960s, and he went to pull it and found it had already been pulled, so had to swim like a lunatic for the surface from 200 odd feet. I remember reading that and saying to myself that's why we stayed shallow.

captain
August 31st, 2009, 04:41 PM
I came in at the very end of what I regard as the "vintage" era - I had a single hose regulator, but no SPG and no BCD.

The main thing I remember (apart from the need to get your weighting right) was you dived pretty conservative profiles (except we didn't call them that). We didn't often go below 40 feet and you thought long and hard about going below 60 feet. There just a much more realistic risk you might be have to swim like buggery for the surface.

I remember reading about some guy diving on the Andrea Doria using a J-Valve in the 1960s, and he went to pull it and found it had already been pulled, so had to swim like a lunatic for the surface from 200 odd feet. I remember reading that and saying to myself that's why we stayed shallow.

Everyone brings up the old pulled J valve routine. I guess it's like the non motorcycle riders telling the motorcycle riders about the motorcycle accident they saw.

How ever many times you check your SPG should have been the same number of times you checked your J valve position. Plus to the educated ear you can tell by the sound of the air rushing through the valve if the J valve is or isn't in the reserve position.

Rhone Man, you don't look old enough to remember a J valve much less having depended on one.

Rhone Man
August 31st, 2009, 05:52 PM
Rhone Man, you don't look old enough to remember a J valve much less having depended on one.

I started diving in 1981 - I think SPGs were becoming standard in the US at that time, but we are a little bit backwards down in the Caribbean. By 1984 (when I did my open water) my regulator had an SPG - my tank still had a J-valve, but it was left in the pulled position.

captain
August 31st, 2009, 07:28 PM
I started diving in 1981 - I think SPGs were becoming standard in the US at that time, but we are a little bit backwards down in the Caribbean. By 1984 (when I did my open water) my regulator had an SPG - my tank still had a J-valve, but it was left in the pulled position.

Considering SPG's came out in the 1960's it must have been a slow boat taking them to the Caribbean.

Luis H
August 31st, 2009, 10:58 PM
In 1971 everyone I can remember was already using an SPG in Puerto Rico and I thought it was fairly common when I traveled to the Virgin Islands also (but I didn't visit the VI as often as I wish I did). I sold a lot of regulators while working at Divers Service Center (in the San Juan area) and the SPG was always standard equipment (inflators became popular later, late 70’s and octopus even later).

One of the main reasons I didn’t always favor my Royal Aqua Master double hose in the early 70’s was because I couldn’t use an SPG. I never saw a banjo fitting back then.

scubapro50
September 1st, 2009, 12:26 AM
When I started diving in the mid 60's Houston had only two dive shops ...... Blakers and Ken Lee's. In the 70's a 3th dive shop opened up 'BlueWater Divers' and the owner Joe Jordan became a friend of mind. Diving was more of a challenge back in the beginning. With doublehose regulators and no gagues you had to plan out you dive profile without the use of a computer. Everyone had a copy on the "New Science of Skin and Scuba" which was the bible of diving because it held the dive tables. We were using 71.2 steel tanks rated at 2200psi so our time down was short compared to todays standards. Many of us dove the oil rigs in bluejeans and sweatshirts because we couldn't afford a wetsuit. No BC not even a CO2 vest ..... just regulator, tank and a steel pack holding the rig together with a couple of straps. Our weight belt not only held our weights but usually a 7 to 9 inch knife to keep us company.

Rhone Man
September 1st, 2009, 07:49 AM
Considering SPG's came out in the 1960's it must have been a slow boat taking them to the Caribbean.

Not sure how fast the boat was - I learned to dive on the equipment my Dad brought with him when he emigrated from East Africa in the 1970s.

gndpdr
September 1st, 2009, 07:55 AM
remember diving in sneekers? i used a pair of chuck taylor hightops....

Luis H
September 1st, 2009, 08:04 AM
remember diving in sneekers? i used a pair of chuck taylor hightops....


Many dry suit divers use them over the dry-suit socks instead of rock boots now-a-days... Some things have changed but some have stayed the same.

David Wilson
September 1st, 2009, 08:24 AM
remember diving in sneekers? i used a pair of chuck taylor hightops....

Here's a picture from "Skin and Scuba Diver" by Borgeson and Speirs (1962):
64615
I've often used this image to show "modern" divers and snorkellers that full-foot fins aren't always worn barefoot!

gndpdr
September 1st, 2009, 08:30 AM
yeah brother...lmao..we also used "navy" dive socks the all wool pairs that seemed to weigh about 10 pounds when wet..

DCBC
September 1st, 2009, 08:51 AM
Any old time divers out there? Back in the day of no pressure gauges and the J valve, what was diving like with no BC?

Did they use less weight? And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist. Did they even have J valves from the very beginning?

Clue me in on what it was like...from the hassles to the nostalgic memories.

I started my SCUBA course when I was 11 and was certified one year later (1965). My Instructor was George Burt (NAUI 98?) and Ben Davis (NAUI 101). A 30-40 week course seemed to be normal at the time for clubs operating in Canada.

Diver swimming standards were higher with 600 Meters required, 15 minute drown-proofing, tread water 5 mins hands and feet, 5 mins hands only, 5 mins feet only with a 25 Meter underwater swim. I remember that my legs were really wobbly afterwards and I had to sit down for a couple of mins to recover. :-)

At the end of the pool training process we had an in-water test that interestingly enough included 2 lengths of the pool underwater, breathing from the SCUBA tank with no regulator... LOL

Openwater utilized a 1/4 in wet suit (talc required to get it on), 71.2 cu ft bottle with "K" Valve, Healthways double hose, single stage regulator, knife and a capillary depth guage. You certainly respected buddy distance and communication much more than the sport diver seems to in today's age.

I remember when I purchased my first vest a U.S. Divers model with a 16 gram CO2 cartridge. Years later, I graduated to a Nemrod with an air cylinder (refillable from the SCUBA tank). I even had a SPG and a Dacor 800 with the J valve on the Reg. Man was I equipped, nothing but the best! LOL

Thanks for the question. It was a journey through memory lane.

gndpdr
September 1st, 2009, 03:26 PM
and ya know what i just tossed an old u s divers backpack in the dumpster about 2 months ago..:peepwalla:

Nemrod
September 1st, 2009, 09:10 PM
and ya know what i just tossed an old u s divers backpack in the dumpster about 2 months ago..:peepwalla:

The vintage ninja hit team has taken out divers for less. :no:

N

Phossilman
September 2nd, 2009, 10:34 AM
I recall buying my first set up in 1973, I couldn't afford the extra $5 or $10 the J valve cost and my instructor always told us the extra bucks were better spent on a SPG than on a J valve. Our instuctor also had an power inflator hose for his BC and an octo rig, at the time we students couldn't understand the purpose of the octo rig since he made us practice buddy breathing every time we hit the pool.
Thank you Mr. Martinez, taking your diving class was the best $35 I ever spent.

gndpdr
September 2nd, 2009, 09:34 PM
you don't see many people do it any more but do you remember checking the air in the tank by using a white cotton t shirt by placing it over the tank valve and giving it a quick burst and seeing if the shirt had a discoloration on it ?

Thalassamania
September 2nd, 2009, 09:52 PM
you don't see many people do it any more but do you remember checking the air in the tank by using a white cotton t shirt by placing it over the tank valve and giving it a quick burst and seeing if the shirt had a discoloration on it ?
Naw, we just cracked the valve and gave it the sniff test.

gndpdr
September 4th, 2009, 09:09 PM
it's been in my kit for yrs it was a friend of mines ..it's been a workhorse for many years..can i still get parts for it?

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c40/bunkerratt/th_IMG_1023.jpg (http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c40/bunkerratt/?action=view&current=IMG_1023.jpg)

Scott L
September 4th, 2009, 09:17 PM
Ahh the good ole days of exhaust bubbles dictating your asent rate...

gndpdr
September 4th, 2009, 09:42 PM
lol...it's been around ..it only has a sn# on the body and oceanic u s a on the yoke knob? i opened the two ports just for a look thats why the plugs were out ..i'd like to keep it in service if possible

Nemrod
September 4th, 2009, 10:02 PM
Naw, we just cracked the valve and gave it the sniff test.

Well, that is nothing, I know a guy who spritzes his portable compressor intake with Old Hawk whiskey. The air he pumps is great, you feel good, narcosis get in line.

N

gypsyjim
September 4th, 2009, 10:02 PM
I recall buying my first set up in 1973, I couldn't afford the extra $5 or $10 the J valve cost and my instructor always told us the extra bucks were better spent on a SPG than on a J valve. Our instuctor also had an power inflator hose for his BC and an octo rig, at the time we students couldn't understand the purpose of the octo rig since he made us practice buddy breathing every time we hit the pool.
Thank you Mr. Martinez, taking your diving class was the best $35 I ever spent.

Wow! A BC in 73? Not even a wet dream in my 70 experience. SPG and Octo rigs were also nothing we heard about till later. J valves, those we knew. Up close and personal.

Phossilman
September 5th, 2009, 05:09 PM
Wow! A BC in 73? Not even a wet dream in my 70 experience. SPG and Octo rigs were also nothing we heard about till later. J valves, those we knew. Up close and personal.

Yep, a BC in '73. A must have item per our NAUI instuctor. I can't recall what make it was, probably USD or Seaquest, but I do remember the old horse collar had one 16 gram co2 cartridge, a thin hose oral inflator (which really didn't have a mouth piece as such), a pocket, and a over pressure valve. The over pressure valve didn't have a manual way (the pull string) to release air from the BC, you just had to hold the oral inflator over your head to dump air.

Luis H
September 5th, 2009, 07:59 PM
Yep, a BC in '73. A must have item per our NAUI instuctor. I can't recall what make it was, probably USD or Seaquest, but I do remember the old horse collar had one 16 gram co2 cartridge, a thin hose oral inflator (which really didn't have a mouth piece as such), a pocket, and a over pressure valve. The over pressure valve didn't have a manual way (the pull string) to release air from the BC, you just had to hold the oral inflator over your head to dump air.


IMO, that wasn’t really a BC. That was better known as a surface floatation device. They were very common by 1973 and they were around in the 60’s, but were not universally popular.

Horse collar BC (with 1 inch inflation hose) were showing up in the very early 70’s but didn’t get accepted immediately by everyone. I remember debates about the danger of having an uncontrolled accent with a malfunctioning horse collar if it was used as a BC. Some divers considered that the concept of using a BC was supposed to be for advanced divers only.

Since 1972 I was using a Fenzy with its own rechargeable air bottle. Some considered it the first BC, but we used it mostly as a surface floatation device. At the time, I dove in the Caribbean with minimal thermal protection.


On the other hand the SPG was very common by 1971 to 73. IMHO the lack of a HP port on most double hose regulators was what killed most of them by 1973.

Thalassamania
September 5th, 2009, 09:32 PM
This says it all:

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=56936&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=56927&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=56935&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=56938&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57128&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57130&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57132&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57141&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57147&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57168&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57169&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57172&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57183&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57160&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57162&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57166&size=large

Thalassamania
September 5th, 2009, 09:33 PM
http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57181&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57186&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57192&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57194&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57196&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57203&size=large

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57584&size=large



And now:

http://sites.petenmark.com/packages/photogalleries/getphoto.cfm?photoid=57240&size=large

spectrum
September 5th, 2009, 09:33 PM
Most of the true horse collars that I acquired did come with the CO2 cartridge as did many snorkeling or surface flotation vests. You need to remember that the concept of diving with a bag of air tied to you was very new indeed.

Picture the current debates of using a BC and drysuit for buoyancy control. We can't agree to use one, the other or both due to the complexities of managing 2 bubbles. Managing a bubble was for most an entirely new concept in the 60's. The notion of an unintended CO2 release just added fuel to the fire.

I dove an older Sherwood BC jacket (80s?) for the first time earlier this summer. It was not until after the dive that I found the little knob that led to a CO2 cartridge tucked up inside! What a surprise that would have been at depth!

Pete

Nemrod
September 5th, 2009, 09:59 PM
Those are great pictures with the proper orange weight belt with wire buckle and the horsecollar BCs and the inflatable rubber boat with landing gear and the inflatable heavy duty rubber 3/4 air mattress (body board). Those are rare I should think now. My inflatable air mattress, 3/4 length, is orange Hypalon and it makes a wonderful surface float for beach dives, don't remember when or where I bought it. N

Phossilman
September 5th, 2009, 10:18 PM
Thalassamania, you have the same haircut and the same smile in the last piture that you have in the first picture, too cool, thanks for sharing the pics.

Luis H
September 5th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Thal thanks for the pictures. Those are great.

I remember most of the equipment in the color pictures... except for all that neoprene… we didn’t need all that neoprene in Puerto Rico. All I ever used was a beaver tail shorty.

It looks to me as at least the color pictures are from the 70’s.

I like the next to last picture with the matching color on the blue horse collar and the wet suit… and the yellow weight belt matching the trim on the horse collar. Some colorful visible gear always made sense to me, but having matching color gear… now that is special. :D

ZKY
September 5th, 2009, 10:42 PM
Wow, those are great photos!!
I love looking at stuff like that.

And they say it can't be done; nobody can dive that way like they used to. Oh yeah, watch me!

Hey, was that Monterey penninsula? The shoreline looks very familiar like Monestary and Lobos.

I also love the skin outside beaver tail suits. I had a guy make me a suit that looks exactly like those beaver tail suits in your photos. The only difference is it's lycra on the outside. I got a lead on getting skin both sides material and I'm going to make an old school suit just like those. They were the best.

james croft
September 5th, 2009, 11:07 PM
Those are great pictures with the proper orange weight belt with wire buckle and the horsecollar BCs and the inflatable rubber boat with landing gear and the inflatable heavy duty rubber 3/4 air mattress (body board). Those are rare I should think now. My inflatable air mattress, 3/4 length, is orange Hypalon and it makes a wonderful surface float for beach dives, don't remember when or where I bought it. N

You can still get those air mattressses. They were a canvas/ rubberized style that we used for body surfing. I rode a big wave at VA Beach at Dam Neck Navy Station in the 70's on one for about 800 feet or so. We talked about it at my 30 year class reunion.
Anyway I stlll have one and I don't remember where I got mine either but it is fairly new. I used a double skeg foam board for boogey boarding now but those old blow-ups did the trick. They were very bouyant.

To be honest though they were used by mostly tourists on the east coast. The locals used boogy boards made of foam.

I use a foam board for boogie boarding with twin skegs and duck foot fins.
Most grocery stores sell air matress boogie boards at the Outer Banks in NC. I don't use mine for diving support but may use a tube float if necessary.

Those are great pics.

Thalassamania
September 5th, 2009, 11:13 PM
Thalassamania, you have the same haircut and the same smile in the last piture that you have in the first picture, too cool, thanks for sharing the pics.That's not me, I'm no where that handsome, that's Lloyd Austin, the DSO at UC Berkeley.

scubapro50
September 5th, 2009, 11:34 PM
I was cleaning up my backroom the other day and found a 1967 CENTRAL SKIN DIVERS catalogue. At one time I had a whole box of such stuff from BERRY and NEW ENGLAND DIVERS but through it away years ago before the internet and Ebay.

Thalassamania
September 5th, 2009, 11:46 PM
Wow, those are great photos!!
I love looking at stuff like that.They are all photos from the UC Berkeley Research Diving Program site.
(http://www.google.com/search?q=uc+berkeley+diving+alumni&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a)

Hey, was that Monterey penninsula? The shoreline looks very familiar like Monestary and Lobos.Most of the pictures are from Monestary and Lobos, a few are from Tahoe.


I also love the skin outside beaver tail suits. I had a guy make me a suit that looks exactly like those beaver tail suits in your photos. The only difference is it's lycra on the outside. I got a lead on getting skin both sides material and I'm going to make an old school suit just like those. They were the best.I sill dive that style suit, but mine is skin two side just like you're gonna make, warm and comfortable and totally overkill here in Hawai'i.

The History of the UC Berkeley Scientific Diving Program (http://ucdivers.com/page.cfm?pageid=2592)

Scuba 101 (http://ucdivers.com/page.cfm?pageid=3256)

Thal's story about dives with the Berkeley Progam (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/3167435-post17.html)

Gilldiver
September 6th, 2009, 08:46 AM
This is me yesterday after diving the wreck of the steamer Volund in The Race between Fishers Island and Long Island NY. I used my double 72's with a sherwood 2 post manifold and a DW Mistral. The back up reg is a single hose Posidon from the late 60's. I also had a 40 of O2 with a Conshelf SE2 (not vintage - Oh well).

The tanks were pumped to about 2700 psi and the Mistral was a hard breather till about 1500 psi. Pulling myself against the current to the anchor line and down, I turned on my side a bit to just about cause a free flow to help with the breathing effort.

Down on the wreck, things were fine at the 90-96' I was at for my 30 minute bottom time. For the DECO phase on the O2, I was able to keep the double hose mouth piece controled a lot better then other times by using the Posidon "Hocky Puck" ring to hook it.

Pete Johnson

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp179/Gilldiver/Volundcopy.jpg

ZKY
September 6th, 2009, 12:14 PM
[QUOTE=Thalassamania;4685142]
I sill dive that style suit, but mine is skin two side just like you're gonna make, warm and comfortable and totally overkill here in Hawai'i.

[QUOTE]
Please, you gotta tell me where you're getting those suits made.
I could order the material and probably figure out how to make my own, but it's nice to have options. The guy that makes my other suits quoted me a price way over what I can pay for a skin x 2 suit

rligon
September 6th, 2009, 02:06 PM
For those of us who grew up wishing we were Mike Nelson, Watch TV Online for Free | Streaming Full Length Television Episodes | Fancast (http://www.fancast.com/tv) has the 1958 episodes of Sea Hunt.

Nemrod
September 6th, 2009, 02:16 PM
This is me yesterday after diving the wreck of the steamer Volund in The Race between Fishers Island and Long Island NY. I used my double 72's with a sherwood 2 post manifold and a DW Mistral. The back up reg is a single hose Posidon from the late 60's. I also had a 40 of O2 with a Conshelf SE2 (not vintage - Oh well).

The tanks were pumped to about 2700 psi and the Mistral was a hard breather till about 1500 psi. Pulling myself against the current to the anchor line and down, I turned on my side a bit to just about cause a free flow to help with the breathing effort.

Down on the wreck, things were fine at the 90-96' I was at for my 30 minute bottom time. For the DECO phase on the O2, I was able to keep the double hose mouth piece controled a lot better then other times by using the Posidon "Hocky Puck" ring to hook it.

Great report, great picture, wow! Yeah, turning on your side or back is a good trick, been there and done that, lol.

You might get yourself a PMDSV or ask Luis about his DSV design. I have both and use both for double hose tech diving.

N

gndpdr
September 6th, 2009, 02:17 PM
the also have voyage to the bottom of the sea ..fun to watch the dive sceens ..

Nemrod
September 6th, 2009, 02:21 PM
You can still get those air mattressses. They were a canvas/ rubberized style that we used for body surfing. I rode a big wave at VA Beach at Dam Neck Navy Station in the 70's on one for about 800 feet or so. We talked about it at my 30 year class reunion.
Anyway I stlll have one and I don't remember where I got mine either but it is fairly new. I used a double skeg foam board for boogey boarding now but those old blow-ups did the trick. They were very bouyant.

To be honest though they were used by mostly tourists on the east coast. The locals used boogy boards made of foam.

I use a foam board for boogie boarding with twin skegs and duck foot fins.
Most grocery stores sell air matress boogie boards at the Outer Banks in NC. I don't use mine for diving support but may use a tube float if necessary.

Those are great pics.

Yeah, I have a foam board also and use my Duck Feet for body surfing but the heavy duty rubber mattress was a good surface float for skin diving and scuba. BTW, on a recent four hour solo shore dive sans BC, I had my Boogie Board tethered to my dive flag float just in case I needed it for surface support.

Have you ever used those large foam paddle boards, like a surf board but larger, some had underwater windows in them? Kayaks have mostly replaced them now.

N

james croft
September 6th, 2009, 11:32 PM
I have used one of the surfboards before. It had a glass port in it and had a rubber skirt just like and old divers mask to put your face into to look down. I had forgot about them. I have not seen one in years and the last one I saw was used by the fire department dive rescue team in Richmond Virginia and that was about 15 years ago.

FWIW the river rescue guys use the foam boards for whte water work and they are about 2-3 times as thick as a regular boogie board and have heavy duty rope handholds along the side. They have good bouyancy and would be good for shore diving. I am not sure but think the boards may be made by Morrey. I will check on them.

james croft
September 7th, 2009, 07:29 AM
I asked a dive team guy and he told me they were Carlson Rescue boards and have about 165 pounds bouyancy. Works well in aerated water. Good for a diver doing a beach dive as well.
But kind of pricey at about 350 bucks give or take.

Nemrod
September 7th, 2009, 11:07 AM
http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=1868

Something similar. N

ProFishing
April 27th, 2012, 02:59 PM
Hello DiverDoug,
Indeed, we don't have online presence yet!...
If you still need these 2-snorkel masks, just let me know...
Thanks,
Anthony.
ProFishing Hellas Corp.
EuroBalco
BNP Corp.

scjoe
April 27th, 2012, 04:18 PM
"American made Rubatex G-231. Suits made with this material are warmer and do not compress nearly as much as the soft, stretch stuff in vogue today. As a result buoyancy shift due to suit compression was greatly reduced. Yes, we used 1/4 inch suits, roughly equivalent to a 7mm. I have a new Rubatex G-231 5/4mm suit."

I'm not sure your suit is made with new Rubatex. The company shut down in 2004 and was purchased by a German company. It was resold in 2008 and shut down again in June-July of 2010. I have not seen anything that suggests it reopened. That would make your neoprene at least 2 years old.

I realize that Wetwear advertises that it sells Rubatex suits, but I can find no other custom manufacturer that claims to do so, including those I know used to make Rubatex suits in the past like M&B. This seems odd.

Boiler_81
April 27th, 2012, 05:20 PM
You might want to take a look at the posting date



"American made Rubatex G-231. Suits made with this material are warmer and do not compress nearly as much as the soft, stretch stuff in vogue today. As a result buoyancy shift due to suit compression was greatly reduced. Yes, we used 1/4 inch suits, roughly equivalent to a 7mm. I have a new Rubatex G-231 5/4mm suit."

I'm not sure your suit is made with new Rubatex. The company shut down in 2004 and was purchased by a German company. It was resold in 2008 and shut down again in June-July of 2010. I have not seen anything that suggests it reopened. That would make your neoprene at least 2 years old.

I realize that Wetwear advertises that it sells Rubatex suits, but I can find no other custom manufacturer that claims to do so, including those I know used to make Rubatex suits in the past like M&B. This seems odd.

scjoe
April 28th, 2012, 01:43 AM
Good point. I missed that it was an old post and thread. I haven't heard of anyone in So Cal making a Rubatex suit since 2006. It still seems odd that only one manufacturer would have access to this source.

Rich Keller
April 29th, 2012, 08:45 AM
Any old time divers out there? Back in the day of no pressure gauges and the J valve, what was diving like with no BC?

Did they use less weight? And Getting back to the surface from depth must have been a chore with no air assist. Did they even have J valves from the very beginning?

Clue me in on what it was like...from the hassles to the nostalgic memories.

I dove before there were J valves, SPGs and BCs. We used surplus oral inflating vests similar to the snorkel vest of today but these were useless for buoyancy control so you needed to be weighted just right. I would start a dive neutral or slightly negative, suit compression would make me slightly negative at the bottom and I would be slightly positive at the surface at the end of the dive. You could figure your time by knowing how deep you were diving and add in a safety margin. If you screwed that up you could tell by the change in the way your regulator was breathing when you were getting real low on air. For shallow water dives I still do not use a BC or a lot of the other stuff people think you can not dive without today. These pics show what tank valves looked like before the J valve. I bought this tank used in 1970 and it is still in service today.

gypsyjim
April 29th, 2012, 08:56 AM
I dove before there were J valves, SPGs and BCs. We used surplus oral inflating vests similar to the snorkel vest of today but these were useless for buoyancy control so you needed to be weighted just right. I would start a dive neutral or slightly negative, suit compression would make me slightly negative at the bottom and I would be slightly positive at the surface at the end of the dive. You could figure your time by knowing how deep you were diving and add in a safety margin. If you screwed that up you could tell by the change in the way your regulator was breathing when you were getting real low on air. For shallow water dives I still do not use a BC or a lot of the other stuff people think you can not dive without today. These pics show what tank valves looked like before the J valve. I bought this tank used in 1970 and it is still in service today..

Bought my J valve 72steel in '70, also. Weighting, with those thick wet suits sure could be a hassle at time. The oral inflate May West vest sure helped.
Never forget that "drag" on the reg just before you hit E on your gas! Really a shock when I reached to trip the J valve, and discovered that the surf entry had done so already! Time to go!

captain
April 29th, 2012, 10:24 AM
Actually the J vale was available from just about the beginning. It is listed in the 1953 US Divers catalog. I have and still use a Voit steel 72 with a J valve that I bought in 1957. It was called a reserve valve but if you look at the catalog you will see it listed as item J, That is how it got its name J valve. Also that is how the non reserve K valve got its name, it is item K

https://backup.filesanywhere.com/vwr/ELinkvwr.aspx?&FILEID=1248311&NAME=Aqualung1953.pdf&PATH=\BLPEN163\US%20Divers%20Catalogs\Aqualung1953 .pdf (https://backup.filesanywhere.com/vwr/ELinkvwr.aspx?&FILEID=1248311&NAME=Aqualung1953.pdf&PATH=%5CBLPEN163%5CUS%20Divers%20Catalogs%5CAqualu ng1953.pdf)

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