It’s the middle of fall as I sit down to type this piece. As a California diver who works in the sport diving industry this time of year typically means two things to me: right now is when we’re enjoying some of our best local diving conditions, and DEMA, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association annual trade show.
With regard to local diving, our late fall and early winter water often serves up our best conditions. And this year has been exceptional! We have enjoyed unusually warm water, some fantastic conditions, and the appearance of a number of not commonly seen species including green turtles, smooth hammerhead sharks, blue marlin, wahoo, pufferfish, yellowfin tuna, by-the-wind sailors, pyrosomes by the boatload, and even a sighting off Catalina Island of the world’s largest fish, a whale shark. What a year indeed!
Here’s the even better news: Conditions have lingered, and the great diving and unusual sightings are not over yet! Of course, these conditions won’t last forever, so if you possibly can, get out there and take advantage of what Mother Ocean has to share.
For those of us that work in the diving industry the DEMA show is the one time of year when the professional community gathers together to discuss ideas regarding the state of the industry, service existing customers, meet and make new customers, introduce new products to the marketplace, and catch up with friends. Every year in the various social gatherings I hear someone saying something along the lines of “nothing new here, you know diving, same ol’ thing.” Early in my diving career that type of comment used to concern me. But now it humors me.
Every year innovations in diving make our sport more accessible, easier, safer, and in general, better. Often those changes are incremental, not revolutionary. Incremental changes are often harder to see. But just as a few examples, if you look over the history of diving and all of the changes in basic equipment, the common acceptance of diving computers and nitrox, and the resorts and live-aboard dive boats that have made so many remote destinations accessible, it is easy to see what I mean.
I don’t know what this year’s new offerings will be. That is one reason I look forward to attending the show, so I can find out. What I am certain of is that there will be innovations, improved existing products, a selection of new products, and more places and ways to dive than ever before. It happens every year.
By the time you read this, the show will be over. My bet is that if you stop by your local dive center shortly after that there will be a different kind of buzz in the air. That, too, happens every year — and it’s one thing that is the same ol’ same ol’ in diving. The staff in your local dive center will be excited about diving and eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with you. Drop in and see what’s new.