By Carly Sisson
AirBuddy makes diving simple and allows for easy ocean exploration
Scuba diving enables people to explore fascinating underwater worlds. It’s also a complex activity that requires hours of training, extensive certifications, and complicated equipment. But what if you could combine the limitless freedom of diving with the ease of snorkeling? The AirBuddy ($1,759) is a tankless diving system that aims to do just that: giving recreational divers the freedom to experience the underwater without hassle. It has a total weight of 21 pounds (about 60-70 percent lighter than other dive gear on the market) and its compact design can easily fit on a boat or jet ski and can be transported on a plane.
AirBuddy’s inventor, Jan Kadlec, states: “We created AirBuddy to provide an easy alternative for self-guided shallow water diving. We aren’t trying to replace SCUBA; it’s still great for deep dives and cave diving. We want to make diving just as convenient as other sports, a sport where you just grab your gear and go.”
AirBuddy features a rechargeable 12V battery, which powers an air compressor that pressurizes surface air. Divers are provided with fresh air from the surface for up to 45 minutes at depths of up to 40 feet. A second hose can be attached to the system, allowing two people to dive for 45 minutes at 20 feet. While a single session for scuba can cost up to $50, AirBuddy simply requires a battery recharge and it is ready to use. A one time buy versus repetitive hire, AirBuddy is an investment that will save recreational divers thousands of dollars over time.
Extensive safety features provide for worry-free diving. The maximum depth attainable is not enough to run a serious risk of decompression sickness, according to AirBuddy, so divers can surface immediately in case of emergency. There are two backup systems in place, as well: 15L of compressed emergency air and a redundant egressor/pony bottle (purchased separately).