The Scuba Doctor Holiday Gift Guide 2014
For a more up-to-date gift guide, please see Scuba Doctor Holiday Gift Guide 2015.
Santa Lloyd and his Elfin Assistant Hannah are loading up the sleigh and fattening up the reindeer for a delivery of a slew of the hottest diving gifts to give (and get) for this holiday season! Cheryl has been bringing Christmas cheer to the dive shop, and then we have Peter as our resident grinch.
Yes, it's that time of year again. Family, friends and colleagues know you love scuba diving but have no idea what you already own (apart from 'everything' if you ask other halves). They generally have even less idea what they should buy for a diver. Here we've got the perfect gifts for the Scuba Diver, Snorkeler, Freediver or Spearo to pass on as a gift guide.
Our Top Staff Requests For Santa This Year
Our staff get to play with all the toys so we asked them, "What do you want for Christmas?" Here are their top picks that are mostly within a reasonable budget. And for those of you who don't already have the extensive range of dive gear each of our staff members have, we also asked them about their top recommendations.
Our Price: $179,
You Save $20 (10%).
Lloyd still wants a H2Odyssey Torid-Pulse, the super underwater toy designed to shoot a high-speed bubble, like a smoke ring, very long distances underwater. Of course Lloyd considers it to be an extremely useful device to signal dive buddies underwater, or the support cover in the boat on the surface. He'd never say he just wants one so that he can play underwater tagger style games, or have some really serious fun while spending long times on the deco bar!
LED Dive Lights
Dive Perfect Stubby LED-1000 Dive Light - 1000LM
Our Price: $135,
You Save $60 (31%).
Hannah still wants one of these super bright 1000 lumen dive lights if only to not feel left out because Lloyd, Cheryl and Peter each already have one. This rugged and dependable dive torch is great as a backup light on technical dives, and as a primary dive torch on recreational dives. Our customers have dived with these lights to 154 metres, and easily get 3 hour burn times while cave diving using just 3 x AA batteries.
For absolute novices that are either about to embark on qualifying, or have just qualified, as an open water diver, then the essential pieces of basic kit are a dive mask, snorkel and fins. Remember you can normally colour coordinate these three items, so if the recipient is keen on their appearance, you may earn extra brownie points for this. If you are unsure try this short test, ask them what car they drive. If they answer with an answer along the lines of 'a blue one' then you should aim to colour coordinate!
A mask with a quality, soft silicone skirt will generally fit all face types. Cheaper masks made using siltex won't conform as well to the diver's face and thus may be more prone to leaking. But we don't sell any silitex dive masks, so fear not!
Tusa Freedom Ceos Mask
Our Price: $119,
You Save $21 (15%).
This is the mask we strongly recommend and sell the most of for divers with petite to medium sized adult faces. It has one of the best fitting, most comfortable skirts on the market.
Apollo SV-2 Pro Mask
Our Price: $89,
You Save $40 (31%).
This is the mask we strongly recommend and sell the most of for divers with medium to large sized adult faces. It's a real winner for comfort and style.
Tusa Freedom HD Mask
Our Price: $145,
You Save $25 (15%).
Lloyd prefers to dive with a single lens mask, so he likes this mask for it's great view. It suits divers with medium to large sized adult faces.
Apollo SV-1 Pro Diving Mask
Our Price: $99,
You Save $20 (17%).
Lloyd also like s this mask for all of the same reasons and it's what he currently dives with, if only because it works better when wearing a helmet. It also suits divers with medium to large sized adult faces.
Why Black Skirt Diving and Snorkelling Masks Are Better
Clear skirts on diving and snorkelling masks are popular because they minimise the claustrophobic feeling some people get when they wear a mask. Nevertheless, clear skirts actually interfere with vision. Extraneous light entering through the clear skirt makes it more difficult for the eye to focus and causes reflections that obscure vision. Demonstrate this by looking out a window from a lighted room at twilight. You will see better by cupping your hands around your eyes as you press your face to the window. For these reasons, knowledgeable divers and snorkellers seeking the best possible vision prefer masks with black skirts. And we do too!
Corrective Lens Dive Masks
If the diver usually wears glasses while on their surface interval (that's when they're not diving), then it would be wise to get them a gift voucher so that they can get a dive mask with corrective lenses. We have a good selection of Corrective Lens Mask Packages available.
'Bifocal' or 'Gauge Reading' Lenses
If the diver usually needs reading glasses, then they could benefit from a dive mask fitted with 'gauge reading' or 'bifocal' corrective lenses.
Tusa Freedom Ceos Mask with Corrective Lenses -+B
Our Price: $234,
You Save $42 (15%).
If you need a bifocal mask and have a petite to medium sized adult face then this is the dive mask we recommend. This is a top quality mask suitable for scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving and spearfishing. It fits a wide range of face shapes, plus has the greatest range of normal and bifocal corrective lenses available.
Apollo SV-2 Pro Mask with Corrective Lenses -B
Our Price: $160,
You Save $69 (30%).
For those divers with medium to large sized adult faces who need bifocal corrective lenses, we recommend this great dive mask. It's our top selling mask and comes in a great range of colours with bother clear and black skirts.
Diving Snorkels are very much one size fits all, the only exception being younger teens and petite ladies who may prefer a smaller mouthpiece. Some divers prefer as simple a snorkel as possible. Others prefer a snorkel with devices to help stop water getting in, or to easily purge any water that does get in.
Apollo SV Dry Flex Silicone Snorkel
Our Price: $32,
You Save $18 (36%).
This is our favourite diving snorkel this year. It's high quality, and low cost. It has a splash guard that eliminates 90% of any water entering the snorkel while on the surface, plus a purge valve for easy water clearing once surfaced. You can pay a lot more money and still not get a snorkel this good. Plus it's available in a great range of colours.
You will need to know the persons foot size to purchase dive fins. However the first choice is whether to go for full foot fins or adjustable heel fins.
For warm water diving (i.e. where you get in the sea without screaming or taking a sharp intake of air), your diver will appreciate a pair of full foot fins.
Tusa Solla Full Foot Fins
Our Price: $75,
You Save $35 (32%).
These are our preferred choice of full foot fins as they combine excellent value for money with good propulsion. Plus they are light for travelling, which makes them a great choice for both scuba diving and snorkelling in the tropics.
In cooler waters, or where the shore diving is rocky, they will probably need some neoprene dive boots and a set of adjustable open heel fins. There are a wide range of dive boots, from thin 'sock' like ones through to all terrain rock boots. The thickness of the dive boot used effects which open heel fin size is required.
Apollo Bio-Fin Pro Fins with Spring Straps
RRP: $395, Our Price: $335, You Save: $60 (15%).
We prefer open heel dive fins with stainless steel spring straps and these our our favourite. They are rated the world's number one dive fins for very good reasons. And when Apollo provide a FREE mask and snorkel valued at $169 when you plunk down your money on a pair of the Apollo Bio-Fin Pro Fins with Spring Straps, you're getting a great deal.
Tusa Solla Open Heel Fins
Our Price: $159,
You Save $41 (20%).
These are value for money fins that are great for both scuba diving and snorkelling. They come in a great range of attractive, fashionable colours.
If the diver you're buying for already has a set of open heel fins that have the more common rubber straps, they might really like the gift of a set of bungee or steel spring straps to convert their dive fins to this safer, more easy to get on and off setup.
Newly Qualified Divers
If you are buying for a relatively new diver then (rather worryingly) dive knives are very popular. Generally new divers will have the basics, but will be yet to accumulate the extras. Other good accessories include a dive bag, dive torch, or if you want to really impress, a dive package.
Dive bags are quite easy to buy as there is really only one decision to be made, is it transporting your gear for travel, a wet dive boat bag, a dry bag, or a catch bag?
Dive Travel Bag
Cressi Cargo Dive Travel Bag with Wheels - 145 lt
Our Price: $395,
You Save $70 (15%).
This large and spacious travel bag is also the Scuba Diving ScubaLab Best Buy 2014. So it's just not us that thinks this one is great!
Dive Wet Bag
Trident Ballistic Mesh Dive Gear Bag
Our Price: $59,
You Save $16 (21%).
If the recipient wants a wet bag, where they keep their kit together on a dive boat but it can drain easily after the dive, then go for mesh bag. This one is our favourite because it's spacious and tough. It also comes with carry handles and a shoulder strap for easy carrying. This is by far our best selling mesh dive bag.
Apollo Catch Bag - Spring Loaded
Our Price: $69,
You Save $10 (13%).
If your diver wants to be able to grab you a feed of scallops, abalone or a crayfish, then they'll need a good catch bag. This is our favourite because it's simply the best catch bag available. It's a no brainer. If your diver doesn't have one, they need one.
A dive torch is a simple but really great gift. Underwater colours disappear quickly as you go deeper, but by using a dive light a seemingly dull grey rock can spring into view under the beam as a vibrant red or orange coral. They are also useful in and around wrecks to see hidden marine life.
Dive Perfect Stubby LED-1000 Dive Light - 1000LM
Our Price: $135,
You Save $60 (31%).
We think this makes a great primary dive torch for the new diver. And if the diver already has a dive torch, it also makes for an absolutely brilliant backup dive torch. So you can't go wrong with this value for money gift.
We offer a few different dive packages:
- Regulators - the bit with all the hoses you breathe through underwater
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) - the 'bladder' which keeps them afloat at the surface and deflates to allow the diver to descend.
- Complete Scuba Packages - which include regulators, BCD and gauges
Cressi XS Compact Pro MC9-SC Regulator Set with FREE Octopus
RRP: $650, Our Price: 395, You Save: $255 (39%)
This is our favourite regulator of the year. And right now we're offering it with a FREE Octopus regulator worth $178! (The octopus is the name used for a backup second stage regulator. That's the end the diver puts in their mouth.)
This great Cressi regulator package, with its environmentally sealed first stage, has been designed for the more extreme diving environments of both technical and recreational divers, but it's equally suitable for warmer waters. This regulator set delivers outstanding flow rates, plus it's extremely comfortable to use, all essential qualities for any regulator.
Cressi XS Compact MC5 Regulator Set
Our Price: $349,
You Save $60 (15%).
For recreational divers seeking value for money regulator performance we recommend this regulator set. Right now, this quality compact regulator set also comes complete with a FREE Octopus regulator worth $178! Lightweight and compact, this is an ideal reg set for the rigors of local diving, plus great for the traveling diver.
Eventually they will need the Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) too, but your budget will determine if you can include this. Don't worry if you can't, all BCDs are compatible with all regulators, so they can easily be added later. One note here, if you are buying for a lady make sure you get a package with a ladies BCD.
Cressi Back Jac Elite Rear Inflation BCD
Our Price: $735,
You Save $129 (15%).
For both new and experienced divers we strongly recommend you look at a rear-inflation jacket BCD. This one is a great choice. Rear-inflation BCDs provide better stability and allow the diver to obtain better trim in the water.
Cressi R1 Weight Integrated BCD
Our Price: $529,
You Save $93 (15%).
While you can buy a wide range of traditional jacket BCDs with wrap around inflation bladders online, our favourite for 2014 is still the Cressi R1 Weight Integrated BC. It's made rugged and durable to take the rigors of frequent diving, and is more feature packed than comparable jacket BCDs.
Someone You Really Love
This section also is applicable for people buying for divers who have incriminating information or photos on you. You really need to prove your love so unfortunately (for you, not us or them) you will be required to invest some serious cash (read plastic). Seriously, there are some really great items in this category and you'll be relieved to know this is possibly the easiest category to buy for:
The first thing to suggest would be a dive computer. It allows them to stay under water longer and provides greater safety.
Cressi Leonardo Nitrox Wrist Dive Computer
Our Price: $299,
You Save $125 (29%).
For a new diver, plus the experienced recreational diver, this dive computer has got all of the essentials, yet is simple to use and ideal for those who 'just want to dive'. This value for money, dive computer was awarded Scuba Diving ScubaLab Best Buy 2014.
Cressi Giotto Mixed Gas Wrist Dive Computer
Our Price: $475,
You Save $86 (15%).
A more experienced recreational diver, or beginner technical diver, would be better off with a mixed gas dive computer. Designed for serious divers, the Cressi Giotto is loaded with features, including audible and visual alarms, a deep stop option, and a gauge mode for technical diving.
You may have noticed that we prefer and recommend wrist mounted dive computers. However, we also have both the Cressi Giotto and Cressi Leonardo dive computers available in a two gauge console with a matching surface pressure gauge (SPG) to also tell the diver how much air they have left.
Another brilliant gift is a dive camera or video unit. They range in price from about $500 upwards, but make for a superb present. These waterproof cameras or video units allow underwater images and memories to be captured forever.
Underwater Video Solutions
For a video solution, we'd suggest you get them a GoPro Hero4 Black or Silver edition. You really can't go wrong with this choice, plus it can be used to take photos as well. The included GoPro Standard Housing is waterproof to 40 metres (131 ft), which is fine for recreational divers. If your intended receipient is a technical diver, you might consider getting them the GoPro Dive Housing accessory, which is waterproof to 60 metres (197 ft).
One easy way to use any GoPro underwater is to have it mounted on the dive mask. The Octomask makes this possible. The Octomask offers divers a great way to shoot incredible video while diving in addition to keeping your hands free. Works with ALL GoPro models! We also have Twin Lens and Freediver versions of the Octomask.
Light & Motion GoBe+ Action Camera Kit
Our Price: $629,
You Save $70 (10%).
If your diver wants to take great videos then they'll need underwater video lights. This is the ultimate turnkey imaging setup for a GoPro or other action camera. The package includes two GoBe+ 700 Wide Lights, two Locline Arms, two Locline Mounts, a CNC milled Action Camera Tray will transform desaturated underwater video footage into impressively vibrant, high definition imagery. Wide flood beam pattern for a large pool of light to optimise overall visibility.
Underwater Camera Solutions
Olympus Tough TG-3 Diver Kit
RRP: $973, Our Price: $875, You Save: $98 (10%).
Get amazing macro images with the Olympus TG-3! In microscope mode, this camera will get crazy close-up to the smallest sea critters, without the use of an accessory macro lens. The camera is waterproof on its own to 12 metres (40 feet) without a housing. Put it in the supplied Olympus PT-056 Underwater Housing and its good to 45 metres while diving. Add the Light & Motion GoBe 700 Wide Video Kit for incredible macro still images and video. It's THE perfect starter rig for the budding underwater photo!
Sea & Sea YS-01 Underwater DS-TTL Strobe
Our Price: $505,
You Save $54 (10%).
For the serious underwater photographer the Sea & Sea YS-01 Strobe features a circular beam angle of 100 degrees x 100 degrees and a guide number of up to 20. The YS-01 is a new compact-type slave strobe that can be used for all applications from wide-angle to macro photography.
Underwater Video / Photo Lights
Underwater LED lights for video and photos have rapidly improved in recent times, and we have the best available. Chances are the diver you're buying for would love a new high quality light for their new or existing photo or video setup.
This is a small, convenient diving LED underwater video light with a powerful 2200 Lumen, 100° wide angle beam without any hot spots.
We're predicting that the Intova Galaxy Video Light will be the top underwater video light on the market for some time to come. It's pure Intova, great performance and quality at an amazing price.
You are going to need to come up with something either new, or non essential, as the chance is the diver in question has everything they already need to go diving.
Good options in this category would be the safety items, books, and stocking stuffers that follow.
If you are unsure, a good option in this category is to consider a gift voucher as it allow the recipient to choose what they want.
You want you loved ones to come back from their dive adventures safe and sound. Given most divers tend to overlook quality safety devices, giving them as a gift is a great way to let them know you love them.
AP Diving Buddy Self-Sealing Delayed SMB
Our Price: $85,
You Save $20 (19%).
This is our favourite surface marker buoy. It features closed-circuit (one-way valve) construction, which prevents air spill at the surface. Inflate on the surface to attract visual attention, or use as redundant flotation. Inflate at depth to send up as a surface marker. You can chose between all red, all yellow, or combined red and yellow coloured Buddy Self-Sealing SMBs.
Buddy Pocket Reel - 40 metre (130 ft) Line
Our Price: $110,
You Save $30 (21%).
This reel is the perfect solution to the problem of bulky and cumbersome SMB/navigation reels. Weighing in at only 205 gm, the Buddy Pocket Reel can be easily stowed in your BCD pocket or clipped unobtrusively to a D Ring.
Sonar Little Buddy 7.5 cm BCD Dive Knife Deluxe - Chisel Tip
Our Price: $15,
You Save $15 (50%).
This knife has a short 7.5 cm blade length with semi-blunt tip. It features a high quality, corrosion resistant titanium coated blade. Real divers don't have big flashy dive knives, they use practical, compact ones like this.
Emergency Air Source
If you ask any commercial diver for a tip on how recreational divers can dive more safely, they typically reply that we should all have an emergency/redundant air source. So Lloyd has put together a suitable EAS for when he's in recreational diving mode going no deeper than 30 metres. (Taking one of his aluminium S80 stage cylinders on such a dive would be a bit over the top.)
Catalina S19 Aluminium Cylinder - 2.7 litre (19 cu ft) - 207 bar
Our Price: $319,
You Save $30 (9%).
This 2.7 litre (19 cu ft) capacity, 207 bar cylinder will provide even air hogs with plenty of air capacity to make it back from 30 metres on a recreational, non-deco dive. It's a compact size, being 111 mm (4.4 inch) in diameter and just 435 mm (17.1 inch) long. Plus this Catalina cylinder has superb buoyancy characteristics for use as a stage/pony cylinder.
Cressi XS Compact MC5 Regulator Set
Our Price: $349,
You Save $60 (15%).
Combine that cylinder with this very rugged and reliable, lightweight and low cost regulator set and we have the basis of a super reliable EAS setup. These easy breathing regs are EN250/2000 certification for cold water which means they can be relied upon totally.
Miflex Tech Brass and Glass SPG White Face - 300 bar
Our Price: $80.50,
You Save $20 (20%).
So that he can tell how much air is left in the Catalina cylinder, Lloyd would one of these gauges. He'd put it on a
Miflex Carbon HD HP Hose
RRP: $64.50, Our Price: $52, You Save: $12.50 (19%)
that is 15 cm (6 inch) in length and coloured Carbon Black. He'd use a
Air-Spool with Viton O-Rings and Standard Shoulder Design
RRP: $15, Our Price: $12, You Save: $3 (20%).
He uses this SPG setup on all of his stage/pony cylinders.
Mini Button SPG
RRP: $40, Our Price: $32, You Save: $8 (20%).
Of course, some divers would be content with just adding a mini button SPG.
Best Divers Stage Strap Kits - 140-180 mm
RRP: $86, Our Price: $69, You Save: $17 (20%).
We now need to consider how to carry the emergency air source. Even Lloyd's recreational BCD has D-rings suitable for attaching stage cylinders, so he'd just add one of these quality stage kits to the Catalina S19 cylinder.
Northern Diver Stage/Pony Cylinder Clamp Kit
Our Price: $274,
You Save $61 (18%).
Divers with a more typical recreational BCD would probably prefer to use this pony clamp setup. It's a secure quick-mount, quick release, alloy pony cylinder attachment clamp with jubilee clips and tank protectors. That means the diver can use it to fix the Catalina S19 cylinder to their main dive cylinder on their back.
An EAS setup like this is great for improving the safety of solo divers. And we all know you're diving solo if you or your dive buddy is more focused on taking underwater photos, shooting the next great underwater video, or hunting for scallops, crays and/or abalone.
Our favourite books include:
Down Under Magic
Our Price: $20,
You Save $29 (59%).
This book by Bill Silvester is packed full of adventures, involving life-threatening experiences on shipwrecks in Southern Victoria. Using explosives to wrench non-ferrous metal in highly dangerous currents, this book will hold your attention as it recalls a diver's life in the 50's, 60's and early 70's using the primitive equipment available at that time. We cannot do anything like this now!
Shore Dives of Victoria (3rd Edition)
Our Price: $26,
You Save $3 (10%).
This excellent book by Ian Lewis covers some 120 dive sites from Cape Otway to Wilsons Promontory, including Port Phillip and Westernport. Site descriptions and historic information of wrecks adds to the value of the book. Quite superb.
Great Stocking Stuffers
These items are just great for giving as simple little gifts, confident that any diver would appreciate receiving them.
Best Divers Magnetic Octopus/Regulator Hose Holder
Our Price: $21,
You Save $5 (19%).
This is the quick and easy way to secure your octopus or dive gauge console. There are similar but inferior products on the market. Most use low strength magnets and thus the hose breaks away when you don't want it to. The high power magnets in this product ensures they perform the way you want them to.
This quality multi tool has the allen keys, and flat and phillips screwdriver tools needed to save a dive. The aluminium body makes it light for travel, and the tools are of tough galvanised steel.
Best Divers Hex Multi Tool - Stainless Steel
Our Price: $47,
You Save $12 (20%).
This quality stainless steel, compact hex multi tool is the perfect accompaniment to any divers tool kit. With it you can remove and replace the most common scuba hoses.
Best Divers Multi Wrench Tool - Stainless Steel
Our Price: $28,
You Save $6.50 (19%).
This multi tool wrench is made from stainless steel and built to last. It fits most of the major manufacturers hose fittings and has a lovely ergonomic feel to it!
Sonar Abalone Tool Pro with Square/Blunt Edges
Our Price: $30,
You Save $30 (50%).
Help the diver in your life put food on the table as a more efficient hunter gatherer, with this specialist abalone tool with a webbing sheath and leg straps. The sheer size of the blade provides plenty of cranking leverage to make even the biggest of abs come away effortlessly.
Baker Shoulder Saver Ventilator Wetsuit/Drysuit Hanger
Our Price: $45,
You Save $5 (10%).
Every one of Lloyd's wetsuits is hung using one of these hanger. They are simply the best way to hang a wetsuit or drysuit. Easy rinsing. Faster drying. It eliminates stress in the shoulder area allowing garments to hang to their natural shapes. It's also great for use with other heavy garments like motorcycle leathers, foul weather gear, leather coats etc.
Northern Diver Steel Cylinder Tank Carry Handle - Fixed
Our Price: $20,
You Save $2 (9%).
Yes, this seems like a strange thing to be giving someone as a gift. But trust us, they'll really appreciate it. Once you've used one of these fixed tank handles on a steel scuba cylinder, you'll want to have them on all steel cylinders you have to carry. That's why we put them on our hire steel tanks. These are simply the strongest most durable tank handles available. Don't even think about the flimsy alternatives most other places sell - they're rubbish.
The Scuba Doctor also has a great range of Novelty Gifts for scuba divers.
TankH2O Water Bottle
Our Price: $29,
You Save $16 (36%).
The TankH2O Water Bottle is a 750 mL, 100 percent BPA free, food grade, stainless steel water bottle for Scuba Divers and ocean adventurers. Give your scuba diver a TankH2O water bottle so they can show their love of sport diving and the dive lifestyle.
Things Not To Buy
Unless you are absolutely sure what size the diver is, avoid wetsuits and drysuits. You have more chance of guessing the lottery numbers than someone's suit size.
Still Not Sure? Get Them Gift Certificates
The Scuba Doctor Gift Certificates - $5 to $1000
If you still can't decide on a gift for the diver in your life for Christmas, then why not give them a Gift Certificate from The Scuba Doctor. You may think they already have all of the dive gear they could possibly need, but they WILL be hankering for something. This way they get to choose what's most important to them.