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Thread: Personal gear for a beginner

  1. #1
    TadPole
    Join Date
    08/04/2009
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    19

    Personal gear for a beginner

    Hey Guys,
    So for my open water cert class, I need to provide my own Mask, Snorkel, Boots and Fins. From all I've heard, it's better to get a mask at my LDS so I can try out the fit, so I was planning on getting it from there. I'm also planning on getting my boots from them because I'm a size 9.5 shoe, so I'm not really sure what would be best. What I would like to do is get fins and a snorkel from here. I'd like to come in under $200, but I really don't want to sacrifice quality/futureproofing for a few bucks. For the mask, I'm expecting somewhere around ~$50.

    For the snorkel, I'm thinking the "Splash Snorkel" for $12.50:
    Splash Snorkel reviews and discounts, Tilos

    I've been snorkeling many times and have no trouble clearing, so I don't need a dry valve or anything, just a simple snorkel will be fine.

    My other question was for fins. The three that I'm looking at right now are:

    $95 Mares Raptor: Mares Raptor Fins reviews and discounts, Mares


    $125 Mares Avanti Quattro: Mares Plana Avanti Quattro reviews and discounts, Mares

    and the $110 Avanti Superchannels: Mares Avanti Superchannel Open Heel reviews and discounts, Mares

    All the reviews I've read say that each is good, I'm just wondering what your thoughts are. Are the superchannels worth the extra $15? Are the Quattro's worth an extra $30? Are there any other fins you can recommend?

    Thanks in advance guys

  2. #2
    Grouper
    Join Date
    08/09/2007
    Location
    United States
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    472
    Hi Sammy!

    Welcome to the wonderful world of diving.

    My advice is to contact ScubaToys and ask them to put together a package, and compare their offer with your LDS. Don't be intimidated into wasting $$ without good justification and comparisons.

    I purchased multiples of the equipment that I needed and made several expensive mis-steps. Scubatoys has become my trusted 'go-to' scuba equipment resource.

    Here are a few of my thoughts:

    A dry snorkel is good...imagine bobbing on roiling ocean surges with your scuba gear donned...I want to know that I don't get a mouthful of salt water if I'm in a stressful situation.

    Skip the split fins, and 'need for speed' type fins...when you are watching marine life along a reef, you don't need to put it in passing gear. I have Dive Rite fins and like them better than any others I have had...Springs are great for easy donning and doffing of fins.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Guppy
    Join Date
    11/06/2007
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    United States
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    96
    You might check with the shop that is doing your training, but some shops expect you to purchase those items from them as part of the training package. Not saying it's right and not saying it's wrong...just saying.

  4. #4
    Grouper Damselfish's Avatar
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    I think the truly "dry" snorkels are better suited for snorkeling, they can be bulky to have on your mask or stash anyplace. That Tilos snorkel actually looks pretty decent for either snorkeling or diving, though I prefer the rollup snorkels I can stick in a BC pocket. (You'll discover many people never wear a snorkel after class, if they carry one at all - it sort of depends where you dive.)

    I'd lean towards the Quattros, they're a real classic, but any of those fins would be fine. (I think people lose way too much sleep over fins.) But to choose between the fins you list, you first need to decide if you want split or paddle fins. People tend to have a strong preference for one or the other. See if you can try each style in the water somehow, even if not the exact fins you want to buy. Or at least do a search here for "split fins" and read the hundreds of arguments for and against to get an idea of if you would even like them. (You'll probably have many people come along and recommend Jetfins, they're cheap and popular especially among some cold water divers. They may or may not be right for you; I will say if you plan to travel by air to dive they're a bit heavy for that.)

    Probably somewhat at scubatoys could tell even you which boots would fit you and which fins would fit over the boots. But I think getting the mask locally is your best bet.

  5. #5
    Grouper
    Join Date
    07/04/2008
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    917
    What type of diving will you be doing? From your location, I would guess wrecks? I would say get Apollo Biofins if you can (your 10$ coupon and 10% off brings it down to around the others). I have them and they are absolutely amazing. One strong kick and you go speeding through the water.

    I have a pair of the super channels although in full foot form and they are very nice fins. Easy to paddle with, similar to the Biofins.

    For a mask, I would strongly suggest going to the LDS for those since it needs to be a perfect fit. However, if you're willing to take a chance, the Tilos Frameless Mask is wonderful. Low profile, clears quickly, and CHEAP! Only ~35 dollars.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Spammer Founding Member
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    07/11/2007
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    All good choices, including that snorkel (which I own a couple of, they're good snorkels). I lean towards the Avanti fins (either) over the Raptor, because splits don't work with certain types of kicks.

  7. #7
    TadPole
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    08/04/2009
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    Raleigh, NC
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    Wow, one post and I already know I'm in the right place! Thanks for the info guys!

    My LDS doesn't require that I buy any equipment from them, but I will go ahead and buy the mask, as per everyone's suggestions. I'm leaning towards the Avanti Superchannel. I think I'll go ahead and get boots from ST as well. I'm thinking about these: Tilos Hard Soled Short Booties Reviews

    Vast majority of my diving will be done locally, so weather is relatively warm. Other than that, doing travel dives in tropical climates, so I'm thinking the Tilos will be a good fit.

    thanks again guys!

  8. #8
    Shark Founding Member
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    SAmmy, here is my advice on this matter (and it is a common question). You have an idea of what you want. Now, find out what brands you dive shop carries, go in and try stuff on. Find out what fits and what you like. NOW, go to scubatoys and price out for the exact same items.

    Now is the hard part. Go back to your LDS, armed with all this information, and ask them to come down on price. They may not be able to match, but if they can at least come close then buy frmo the LDS. This is a shop you may be using quite a lot in the coming years, it would benefit you to start out good with them. Give them the opportunity to make a sale.

    If the LDS starts a tirade about online scuba gear, begins brow-beating you for even asking for price reduction, or simply refuses to try to come down on price then buy from ST, and find a new LDS after your OW course.
    Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

  9. #9
    Shark Founding Member
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    07/10/2007
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    For the snorkle go with something like you linked that is just a tube. No need for the extra $ on a dry snorkle. I spent the money on one and I have never used it...

    For the booties I would want to know what other local divers wear? The linked booties are 3mm, are other divers wearing about the same thing, thicker, thinner? I have never dove in NC even though I lived on the coast for a few years and then up just outside of Raleigh for a few years so I do not know what most other divers are wearing as far as booties go. Just a good thing to ask about if you do not already know. For wetsuit booties I have a pair of 1mm short top boots (look like slippers) and 5mm high tops, so that I can pick and choose depending on Water temp. If I was only going to have one I would go thicker. You feet getting to warm is better than them getting cold.

    For fins I have no experience with any of the linked ones, but I do recommend spring straps. They are AWESOME!!!! I spent $35 on a new set of fins when I got certified and I still wear them when I am diving in my wetstuit and they work great. My fins are Genisis Response Fins. About 4 or 5 months after I got mine they got a few good reviews in magazines and magically the price went up. Scuabtoys does not have them listed on their site but they may be able to get them. It would be worth a phonecall or email to fine out if you are interested in them. A buddy of mine bought a pair a few months for Drysuit fins after using mine (He has small feet) for a while and really likes them. Just worth check out...

    Phil
    For current Midwest Diving Conditions go to www.midwestmuckdiving.com. They cannot be current unless you help. Please post any updates that you may have for whatever quarry or lake you just came out of...

  10. #10
    Grand Master Spammer Founding Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire diver View Post
    SAmmy, here is my advice on this matter (and it is a common question). You have an idea of what you want. Now, find out what brands you dive shop carries, go in and try stuff on. Find out what fits and what you like. NOW, go to scubatoys and price out for the exact same items.

    Now is the hard part. Go back to your LDS, armed with all this information, and ask them to come down on price. They may not be able to match, but if they can at least come close then buy frmo the LDS. This is a shop you may be using quite a lot in the coming years, it would benefit you to start out good with them. Give them the opportunity to make a sale.

    If the LDS starts a tirade about online scuba gear, begins brow-beating you for even asking for price reduction, or simply refuses to try to come down on price then buy from ST, and find a new LDS after your OW course.
    There are some ethical considerations to using a local shop as a changing room, just to try out the gear, with full intent (and plan) to try to buy elsewhere. That's using the store's expenses in stocking items and paying employees to assist with the gear's fit, etc. and I think you owe them more than just to write down model numbers and then try to strong-arm them down.

    Unless the prices are REALLY outrageous, I'd do as the OP plans... buy the mask locally, no questions asked. That one item is far more personal than all the others. You can tell if fins fit. The OP has already selected possible models before setting foot in the place. The mask, however, needs to be fit from available options that are on the shelf.

    I would buy the mask, no questions, from the LDS. Going in and telling them outright that you plan to buy elsewhere risks bad blood... do you really want your instructors to be annoyed with you before you even start? Just say you already own fins that were a gift from you aunt when she heard you were starting diving. That line is REALLY hard for a store to take exception to.

    Future gear, feel free to haggle more, once you've established a friendly relationship, but I wouldn't recommend starting things off with a contentious move like that.

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