Whether you’re an experienced recreational diver or favor the more technical side of the sport, you probably remember your earliest gear configuration as a new diver. Most of us learned with rented or newly-purchased equipment, and as we worked to master both the academic work and the unfamiliar gear, streamlining may have been the last thing on our minds. As our skills improved with time and practice, we began to fine-tune the placement of weights, alternate regulators, lights, reels, game bags, and the like. For divers who progress to technical open circuit or rebreather training, new techniques and gear are added—additional gas cylinders, computers, backup lights, and reels, perhaps a scooter or underwater camera. All these variables add complexity to the diver’s gear configuration as well as to the way that equipment functions underwater. For most of us, optimizing the placement and attachment of our equipment becomes an ongoing project with a seemingly unreachable goal of perfection.
Whatever your style of diving, most of us are familiar with the long hose some divers prefer for either their primary or backup second stage. Typically measuring 5 or 7 feet in length, the principle behind the so-called “long hose” is that in an out-of-air emergency the diver can donate this regulator to a buddy and switch to a backup reg with a shorter hose. In open water, the long hose on the donated second stage allows both divers to ascend in a more controlled fashion without being closely tethered by a short hose. In a cave or other overhead environment, a 7-foot hose allows the out-of-air diver to swim behind or ahead of their buddy.
The long hose gear configuration may be the best-known example of modifying a scuba component that most recreational divers take for granted, but it’s a great illustration of how a diver can customize a hose length to more safely and comfortably serve its intended purpose. But stop for a moment and think about all the other hoses used in your rig. For open-circuit divers, there are primary and backup second-stage hoses. If you’re diving doubles, there may be a third-second stage. If you’re carrying a bailout or deco/stage bottle, there’s another reg. A hose for your BCD or wing inflator. A high-pressure hose (or two) for your SPG or integrated computer. If you’re in a drysuit, there’s an inflator hose. Rebreathers may have additional high- and low-pressure hoses, depending on how they’re configured. It’s common to find seven or more hoses on a technical rig, each one part of a critical system of underwater life-support.
Just as most divers customize their personal equipment configuration to fit personal preferences, divers themselves come in all shapes and sizes. When you purchase a wetsuit or drysuit, fit and comfort are critically important. Divers who don’t “match” a stock size often invest is a custom-made drysuit fitted specifically to the wearer. But when you purchase a hose for your regulator, drysuit or SPG, you are typically faced with choosing from a limited selection of stock lengths that may or may not be optimized for you. Hoses that are too long tend to create loops that present an entanglement hazard, or at best create additional drag as you move through the water. Hoses that are too short tend to restrict the diver’s movement, make it difficult to see gauges, donate a second stage in an emergency, or move easily between cold and warm water equipment set-ups. An adjustment of even an inch or two in hose length often makes the difference between a comfortable rig where every component is streamlined and intuitively placed and one that causes stress and increased work underwater because it never feels “quite right”.
At Monterey Bay Diving, we custom make our high-quality diving hoses in any length a diver could need. We supply high-pressure (HP) hoses for submersible pressure gauges and gas-integrated dive computers, as well as second stage regulator hoses and low-pressure inflator hoses for buoyancy devices, drysuits, and rebreather applications. We use premium-quality crimped fittings with a chrome finish that captures a full 0.61″ (15 mm) of hose on our LP and HP hoses. Each hose is tested and verified to support a 15 lb (6.8 kg) weight suspended from the hose for 15 seconds. Unlike cheap hoses that crimp easily, restricting gas flow, ours stand up to the rugged conditions faced by technical and commercial divers.
When Huish Outdoors set out to find the most rugged hoses available for their Optima 2 rebreather, they selected Monterey Bay Diving to supply their units with the best hoses available anywhere. We’re proud that some of the most demanding dives in the world are conducted using our custom-fitted hoses, and we invite you to experience the comfort, safety, and confidence that comes from owning and using equipment that fits you perfectly.