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Product Review Scubapro Geo Travel BCD

Product Evaluation

By Dean Eldrid Pro Photographer

After coming back from a trip to Borneo in May 2010 with Perth Scuba I realised two things myDean Eldrid tries the Scubapro Geo BCD Scubapro Knighthawk BCD was way too big and bulky for travelling and that the airlines really need to cater for us divers who may want to live in something a little more than the same t-shirt and shorts for 10 days. Having said that Air Asia have got it right by allowing you to buy extra weight up to 30kg unlike some other airlines that will sting you first chance they get. Actually they will sting you first, second and third chance they get.

The only other alternative was to buy gear that was light and a lot less bulky. I already had the Scubapro Nova Sea wings which are great travelling fins and the Scubapro 0.5mm Profile steamer for tropical diving but it was really the BCD that was letting the team down. Don’t get me wrong the Scubapro Knighthawk is an awesome BCD but not travel friendly and is a bit of a suitcase hog.

I was fortunate enough to be invited on a live aboard  trip to Komodo about 5 weeks after returning from Borneo so was keen to find a good light weight hassle free BCD. There is a number of light weight BCD’s on the market that would suit the travelling diver. Lee Johnson, co-owner and manger of Perth Scuba as well as member of the elite Borneo A-Team suggested that I might want to trial the new Scubapro Geo that had just been released for 2010.  Needless to say I jumped at the chance to give this beast a solid workout though it isn’t so much as a beast more of a sleek, unassuming covert assassin.

On first glance it looked well constructed made from a lightweight nylon denier material with enough strong aluminium D rings to suit the most concerning diver and all the other usual bits of paraphernalia you would expect to see on a modern day BCD. Colouring was fairly standard as far as BCD’s go with black being the dominant colour with a splash of blue and light grey. On closer inspection it would seem Scubapro hadn’t skimped on much and had the scuba divers comfort in mind with padded back plate and padded neck trim, fully adjustable cummerbund and front adjustable rotating quick-release shoulder buckles allowing for variations of fit, regardless of the thickness of your wetsuit. With 3 dump valves you can dump air from a variety of underwater positions. About the only thing it really lacked was weight integration but if you really felt compelled you could put weights in the two zippered cargo pockets.  Though keep in mind that in the event of an emergency accent you may find yourself with an extended stay in Davy Jones’ locker. Just some food for thought.

Dean Eldrid Scubapro Geo BCD Perth ScubaProbably the best part of this BCD is it folded up into a really neat parcel which you could secure with its own dedicated buckle tucked away in a small pocket towards the back of the BCD. Once folded it slipped into its own carry bag.  I was thinking WOW this is so cool.

Perhaps it may also be pertinent to mention that if you have an AIR 2 on your primary BCD like I did then it is quite simple to swap them over as the GEO only comes with a standard inflator hose. Drop into Perth Scuba and ask the boys there nicely if they wouldn’t mind changing them over, they have this neat little tool that lets you unscrew you BCD hose quickly.

Excited about my new found love of everything small and light I got into my wetsuit and tried on the Geo. Very easy to get on, it sits really nice and snug but comfortable, I had a look in the mirror and thought damn how is little BCD going to hold up my 100kg frame or at least keep me neutrally buoyant?  I was overcome with doubt and almost decided to take the Knighthawk to Komodo with me but faith in the Scubapro product prevailed and I decided to take this little Geo, but I really have to say from the moment I left on the plane to the moment I did my backward roll off the side of the zodiac I was having some very serious doubts about this BCD’s ability to perform to my satisfaction.

Our first dive was on Angel Reef, Moyo Island. The weather was picture perfect conditions couldn’t get any better. Maximum depth was 30m and I was a little pre-occupied with how the Geo was going to stack up against the tried and tested Knighthawk.  With fins and mask on, regulator in the mouth and BCD fully inflated (I wasn’t taking any chances) the war cry from the Divemaster came loud and clear, “GO GO GO” and over the side we went, what seemed like an eternity and a bucket load of turmoil swishing through my head to my surprise I came back to the surface bobbing like a cork in the ocean. Wow all my fears were put to rest the Geo held its ground, perhaps it is true some great things do come in small packages.  However, the real test was still to come how was the Geo going to perform when it mattered the most?

As I ascended to the crystal clear waters and the abundance of marine life I had almost forgotten all about the Geo in fact you hardly noticed you had a BCD on at all.

I made a couple of adjustments to the front shoulder straps, inflated the Geo to get the appropriate buoyancy and away I went, all fears were soon distant memories, this little BCD  was as good as you would expect any Scubapro product to be.

Not withstanding that perhaps it still a little premature of me to get too excited over the Geo as there was still one more seriously BIG test I hadn’t put this baby through yet and that was the dive with the sharks at Takat Toko where the currents are strong enough to rip your mask clean off your face and suck out your eyeballs….this dive will test the Geo to it’s limitations or at least that’s what I thought.

I bought a reef hook from the boats store in readiness for the big dive with the sharks.  I attached the reef hook to the big D ring on the shoulder with the spring loaded clip that came with the reef hook. Same procedure as all previous dives our group piled into the zodiac and made our way to the drop off point, the war cry came and over the side we went, with my camera handed down to me and tethered to the other D ring on the Geo it was ready set go, we swam against some rather strong current to get the best seats in the house, once we were in the right location out came the reef hooks and we hooked in and let the current do it’s thing. As we hovered over the reef with the current hell bent doing some nasty things to us the little Geo was holding firm like the Little Engine That Could it to was saying “I think I can I think I can and with any doubts the Geo really could.Dean Eldrid tries the Scubapro Geo BCD

Conclusion

If you’re planning an overseas dive trip and want to claim back some suitcase real estate and save on excess baggage then look no further the Scubapro Geo is the only BCD worth considering. Weighing in at 1.9kg it really is a no brainer.  It truly is a very capable and reliable BCD that can take a lot of punishment.  I did 25 dives with the Geo and it never faltered once.

My only criticism would be that it is not weight integrated but to me that is not a major factor compared to the other benefits that this BCD will give you and when you consider that most diving destinations are in the tropics, you are wearing a shorty or T shirt and shorts anyway so there’s not a lot of weight required.

Head to Perth Scuba and try one you will not be disappointed in fact I guarantee you will buy one.

The Scubapro Geo BCD retails for $699 – Perth Scuba’s price for Manta Club members is $640 – Bring your membership card!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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