With summer quickly approaching, many of us want to find something fun and exciting to do with vacation and the coming warm weather. Water activities are generally a popular option, and that means it’s time to locate all your surf boards, sand buckets, and scuba gear from the winter hibernation bin in that dark basement.
Some of you may be thinking that your scuba gear is so bulky, you don’t even want to go diving this year. What if there was a better way? Well, I believe there isn’t – at least not yet. AirBuddy is fully funded on Kickstarter and is a special invention for all of our divers out there.
AirBuddy is the “smallest and lightest diving gear in the world.” It’s designed for shallow water dives, while bringing much more freedom to the activity than you might be used to. There’s no need to refill with air, purchase a rental, and nothing heavy to carry either. This thing can fit into your bag as well for easy traveling.
The team at AirBuddy likes to call this product a cross between snorkeling and diving. The rechargeable battery-powered air compressor provides you with fresh air from the surface. It can work for up to 45 minutes and at a maximum of 40 feet deep.
It’s nice to have the option of making a spontaneous decision to go diving, exploring the ocean at your own pace, and most importantly, saving money.
Basically, you breathe fresh air from the surface. The 12V battery powers the air compressor that pressurizes the surface air, then delivers that air to you through a hose and mouthpiece. The entire system weighs only 21 pounds, between 60 and 70 percent less than classic diving gear on the market.
More options include the ability to connect two divers to one AirBuddy, or to link two AirBuddies together. The entanglement of hoses will not happen thanks to the formation that allows AirBuddies to float together. Even if the hoses do end up crossing, it does not stop the air flow through them.
Safety was key in creating this product. It allows you to dive deep enough to explore the beauty of marine life, but not deep enough to run a serious risk of decompression sickness (aka “bends”). Worst case scenario, you are shallow enough to swim up to the surface. Also included are two backup systems in the unlikely even of an emergency.
In the near future, the AirBuddy hopes to include add-on features like a GPS tracking tool that could be available as part of a smartphone or tablet app. It would allow for tracking your dive path on a map and share it with others. Solar charging technology for AirBuddy is in the works as well.
AirBuddy can be pre-ordered on Kickstarter for about $1,269 for expected delivery in June 2018. Included is an AirBuddy, lithium battery, charger, single diver hose, harness, and regulator. A spare battery can be added for another pledge of $262.