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I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy one, but I have an upcoming trip where airline weight restrictions are a BIG factor. So I bought one on Friday and used it in the water all day Saturday and again on Sunday. I have to say that I really loved it.
I'm a diver at the National Aquarium (in Baltimore), and am in the water for a minimum of 3hours during the day (1 - 1.5 hours x 2 per day). One thing I really noticed at the end of the day was no lower back ache, which normally occurs for me after a long day of diving in cold water I was concerned by the placement of the tank strap on the Zuma, but along with the back padding and tank placement, there was wonderful back support.
Oh - last comment. Saturday was in salt water (10 pounds), Sunday fresh water (4 pounds)
Sunday, we were testing prospective new divers in the pool and I was in the water 4 straight hours (again with the new BC) and again at the end of the day - no back ache. This was a great test for the BC
The Zuma is very trim and very easy to swim with. I even liked the integrated weight system - I generally don't like integrated systems. It will easily take 14 - 16 pounds of lead. I filled the sack to see. I only use 10 - so that was easy enough
I feel my Zuma got a great first test run - 7 hours underwater total over the weekend.
The downside is where to hang things like octopus, safety sausage and gauges, but I'll figure that out. There are 4 "D" rings, so I don't anticipate any problems.
Last edited by NAIBdiver1; June 21st, 2010 at 10:36 AM.
Reason: add last comment
Thanks for that advice NAIB. I'm still considering the purchase. I don't like the plastic "D" rings though. My only other concern is durability. For an additional $100 I can get the Balance and it looks much sturdier. What do you think?
The plastic rings don't bother me. I only go on diving vacation 2X a year, With that amount of use, I don't for see a problem. Also like I said I bought this BC especially for trips with "puddle jumpers". Otherwise, I'll take my main BC
I've never had one on in the pool but they look good on the wall at the LDS. A couple other Instructors I know bought them for a trip and were pretty impressed with them.
I wouldn't worry about the plastic d-rings. What's the most you'll hang on them, a spool and SMB or maybe a small light?
The only negative I heard was about the funky chest strap jamming if it got sand in it.
If weight is an issue and you're only going to dive tropics then the Zuma works. The Balance is much sturdier and will cover a broader range of diving.
One other thing that I really like is that the Zuma folds up very compact ! Folded, it fits in one of the side fin pockets of my dive bag. My "normal" BCD takes up most of the larger maim pocket. And again, this upcoming trip I can only take my dive bag and a carry on.
IF you go with the right gear you can put everything dive related in a carry on for warm water diving. Expendables like clothes get checked. You can always buy a few cheap tshirts and a pair of shorts once you get where you are going.