HOW I HAVE GOT INTERESTED

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article commenting on how the Tecline people had advanced wing and harness technology by returning to the early days of technical diving for inspiration.

With their new Peanut series they have come up with a totally new but no less significant approach, with a design that is radical and innovative. It also captures the imagination. I noticed this at the ADEX dive show in Singapore this year when the Peanut was unveiled to the Asian market for the first time. I was impressed by how many people stopped in their tracks as they passed the Tecline stand and saw the display. The variety of the people that were interested in the new products was notable too. It wasn’t only male technical divers in black tees. A lot of ladies were drawn to the look of wing and harness, and especially intrigued by how small it seemed. Many wings are much too large for divers with a smaller frame and Tecline have obviously recognised this. The Peanut is perfect for divers whatever their size and shape. They even have a version specially for children and young teenagers, which is an admirable and innovative idea. Too many kids have to learn to dive using adult gear, which is bulky and uncomfortable for them.

PEANUT WING SET

What really made a huge impression on everyone in this region, where almost everyone flies to dive, was how little the Peanut wing and harness system weighs. At under 3kgs for everything, as a travel BCD it is almost unbeatable and it’s not as if the low weight comes at the price of a compromise on quality. The wing is double layered and both layers are made of extremely durable material and all the D-rings, slides and the harness buckle are premium stainless steel. This is good quality stuff.

There are also two cylinder bands, which is something I love. I don’t understand why all BCDs don’t have two cylinder bands. The safety benefit is enormous as with two bands it is impossible for the cylinder to drop out during a dive.

It is clear what the designers have done to bring the Peanut’s weight down and you wonder why nobody has thought of this before. The aluminium H-plate is the key. It is a revolutionary breakthrough in backplate design. It is strong where it has to be and has all the features you would want in a backplate but there is no more metal than is absolutely necessary. Everything surplus to requirements has been trimmed off to reduce weight and bulk.

PEANUT IN ACTION

So I had to take the Peanut out for a couple of dives. Was it as good as it looked?
Well, the short answer is YES, but I’ll leave the really big news for later.

The wing has been designed so that it doesn’t restrict backward head movement and yet still allows the corrugated hose to be attached to a point on the wing at head level. This is very clever. While you are diving and there is very little air in the wing, the two side flaps curl up to each side of the cylinder and sit flat, creating minimal drag. What air is in the wing sits well in the wider section at the bottom, keeping your legs up and allowing you to get into perfect trim effortlessly. And, as you might imagine, when you are on the surface, the 21kg lift keeps your head nice and high above choppy waves.

WEIGHTING

Diving with the Peanut for the first time. I felt unusually heavy and had to put more air into the wing at depth than I usually do. Which made me think, hmmm…

At the end of the dive, with 40 bar left in the cylinder and at 5m, I emptied my wing of air and sank to the seabed. I took out a 1kg weight and put it on the sand. I was still heavy.

So I took out another kilo weight and laid that one down on the sand too. Now I was perfectly neutral.

I did a second dive with 2kg and felt completely comfortable. As I said earlier, it is a long time since I could do that in a 3mm suit and a single ally cylinder.

CONCLUSION

So somehow, Tecline have come up with a wing and harness that not only reduces the weight of your baggage when you travel to dive, it also has less integral buoyancy in the water than most systems, (certainly any system I have tried), and enables you to lose some of the lead you carry on a dive.

Radical, innovative, revolutionary and life changing: I shall be keeping my Peanut wing and harness. Tecline are not getting it back.

Simon Pridmore

Author of the international bestsellers: “Scuba Fundamental- Start Diving the Right Way”, “Scuba Confidential – An Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Better Diver” and “Scuba Professional – Insights into Sport Diver Training & Operations.” The co-author of Diving & Snorkeling guides to Bali and Raja Ampat & Northeast Indonesia.

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