A guy starts gaining a lot of weight and spends a lot of money on ever increasingly bigger wetsuits. Then he sees something that really makes him decide to lose weight.
I was in complete denial. Even all the money I was spending on larger and larger wetsuits had not deterred me. I hadn’t missed a meal for years. I hit 4XL without breaking stride or eating stroke, and I still hadn’t faced the fact: I was gaining serious weight, and should have been seriously considering salads.
Then it happened. I was unable to avoid the fact anymore. It was a typical day on the dive boat. We were going wreck diving off Catalina Island. The other divers and myself were going out for our second dive. On the first dive, we watched one of the dive masters, Bob, set the anchor and free it afterwards. We all noticed that Bob was kind of fat and out of shape. But he managed to accomplish his task, albeit with difficulty.
In fact, most divers seem to be kind of fat. When Bob donned his gear, he struggled to get his wetsuit on, making a joke that it must have shrunk during his layoff. Same joke I have been making lately. He hadn’t been diving for a while. He was completely winded, red-faced and out of breath by the time he got his gear in place. The wetsuit looked like he had been out-fitted at a sausage factory, or painted on. On the second dive, he struggled to get the anchor up, lost his grip, and shot to the surface. He barely made it. I made a mental note to take some more water aerobics, and get more exercise than pushing myself away from a table.
Scuba diving is a relaxing activity, maybe too relaxing, but you have to be in good health. You will realize that there are times when strenuous activity comes into play, so you will need levels of conditioning. It seems obvious, but alcohol and drugs, even in minimal quantities can impair your judgment at depth and can increase your risk of decompression sickness
The answer is yes to all of the above. But how are these gloves made? What’s the difference between bodyboarding, surfing and divers when it comes to glove choice?
Webbed, fingerless, power gloves are constructed of lightweight neoprene, usually 1.5mm and Lycra, with webbed fingers to propel yourself through the water much like ducks. Bodyboarders and surfers will catch more waves with them, Bodyboarding is like skateboarding or surfing (especially shortboard surfing) – it’s all about the 360s, the 360 reverses, getting airs – which requires time and practice. For instance, trying a 360 air on a beach break wave is for sure less dangerous than on a reef break, especially since you will probably encounter fewer board surfers on the beach break wave, and no sharp reefs or rocks, as well.
Even though bodyboarders, surfers and divers will all use fingerless webbed gloves, surfers and the like will not use dive gloves since they are thick and will act contrarily to providing speed.
Which brings us to another difference between bodyboarders or “spongers”. Surfers and spongers do not really get along with each other. Bodyboarders sit closer in to the beach, and catch the wave later than surfers. That means surfers are usually on the wave sooner, and see bodyboarders as nuisances that get in the way and cut them off. Try and stay with other bodyboarders, and you will have a much more pleasant experience. The surfers, usually a localized and surly group, will leave you alone.
Surf gloves are used by 80% of the bodyboarders out there for a reason. You’ll have much more fun on account of being able to catch many more waves. And, as a side benefit, surf gloves will help keep your hands and fingers warm. If you want to try surfing, bodyboarding is much easier than surfing. Bodyboarding is lots easier to learn than surfing, and also a lot less expensive, too. But if you do graduate to surfing, you will be glad you did for a number of reasons, not the least of which you will find surfers to be a much classier group of sportsmen.
The northern islands of the Bahamas are great for shark diving, but believe it or not, you will need a heavy wetsuit, at least 6mm because the water is actually very cold.
Just as you want to dive close to sharks, you’ll also want to choose the right wetsuit, at least 5mm or 6mm for the occasion. You’ll want to choose your location and dress properly; sharks insist upon it. A little known fact is that sharks are quite discriminating when it comes to dressing properly for dinner.
Sharks are now protected within the waters of this island nation, so close encounters are guaranteed. If you go shark diving in the waters of the northern Bahamas, a close encounter of the shark kind is guaranteed. Caribbean reef sharks can grow to a substantial size. Contrary to popular belief, even though they are called Caribbean reef sharks, these northern Bahamas are not in the Caribbean, nor is the water even tropical. There are reefs, however. The water is cooled by the Gulf Stream, and can be downright chilly.
So you’ll need a thick-gauge wetsuit, as mentioned earlier. Just in case you are misguidedly thinking shorty wetsuit, or even less, forget it now. Not only will you have to dress for the cooler water, but you’ll need some protection as well. The sharks in this part of the world like to come up close and personal so you’ll need something substantial between your skin if there is a chance collision with a passing shark. You’ll be glad for the neoprene if there is a chance collision between you and the shark’s teeth, as well.