The Avelo, an innovative lightweight scuba system that uses water to manage your buoyancy, was unveiled at this year’s DEMA Show in Orlando, Florida.
The Avelo system consists of a hydro tank and a back plate. The heart of the system is the hydro tank. Inside this carbon-fiber tank is a bladder which contains your air. The attached jetpack has a battery and a pump connected to it to power and put water into the system. The water manages your buoyancy. It had been originally announced as something under development at last year’s DEMA Show, but the actual product itself was officially unveiled this week.
Since the water powers your buoyancy, your buoyancy control is not depth-dependent, according to Avelo Marketing Manager Jennifer Idol, who chatted with DeeperBlue.com about the system:
“So from the surface to 60 feet [18m], you are perfectly neutrally buoyant. Or 100 feet [30m] or wherever you’re going. The system is rated to 200 meters [656ft] which is deeper than we’re going but we just give recreational depths as a guideline.
“One of the freedoms of being able to do that is you don’t have to manage your buoyancy, there are no uncontrolled ascents, no uncontrolled descents, this allows for ample opportunity for enjoying your dive, because the system is almost half the weight of a standard scuba system. It’s also very, very lightweight because of the carbon-fiber nature of it.”
Consequently, you don’t need a BCD, she added:
“There is no BCD. The BCD is what causes the uncontrolled ascents, it’s what every few feet expands and contracts, and every few feet you have to hit the inflator/deflator. With this, you don’t — you just dive.”
The backplate and harness is “one-size-fits-all” that goes all the way up to XL. There is a separate harness for XXL, but the main one goes all the way down to child size, she said:
“We’ve worked with people who are experts at building these kinds of harnesses. It’s multifunctional, we’ve even accounted for things like accessories, it’s got a MOLLE system so you can add key rings and attachments, a safety sausage, whatever you need.
“My backpack actually weighs more than this.”
The pricing will be comparable with standard scuba systems, according to Idol, although they aren’t releasing the pricing just yet.
The only way divers will be able to use the Avelo system at first will be in 2023 through the company’s dive trips in Maui, Hawaii (where Avelo is headquartered), she said:
“We’re offering week-long dive trips on Maui, and through this trip we also have the certification so as part of the trip package on the first day of diving you get your RAD [Recreational Avelo Diver] certification. It’s a specialty certification so it’s only open to already certified open water divers. But even a new open water diver can come take a specialty; in fact, we tested it with new open water divers and then on their first dive outside of earning their certification they dove the Avelo system, taking our training and then they were mad at us because they didn’t want to start with the regular system,” she said with a chuckle.
“They were like, ‘Well why didn’t you just start us with that?’ and it was important for them to have that understanding that it’s set up as a specialty certification. It’s a two-dive course with an online training component, so you take that your first day and then you spend four additional days of diving the system in a variety of environments. We lead small groups for these so that as a diver if you’re really interested in something in Maui, you have the ability to direct the tour to where you want to go, the sights you want to see, the animals you want to see while enjoying and driving the system.”
Following the training day, in addition to the additional four days of two-tank diving there will also be a number of cultural activities to honor the roots of the product’s development.
“So we take people through a guided tour of the [Maui] Ocean Center on the second day of their trip to give them context for what they’re seeing.”
The big draw of next year’s courses is that participants will be the first persons in the world to earn their RAD certification publicly outside of Avelo’s own diving team, according to Idol.
The system is designed to work within standard scuba specifications; there will be normal annual inspections along with the five-year hydrostatic inspection just like with any other standard scuba tank, she said.
“Dive shops don’t need to do anything different to run the equipment from what their normal operations are. They do need to charge the batteries at the end of each dive day, just like you would with any other dive light or anything like that. But you don’t have to do it till the end of the day so this will give you easily a whole day of diving if not more depending on the experience of the person using the system. You only use as much battery as you use, and since you only use the pump maybe two to three times per dive, it gives you a lot of dives.”
Toward the end of 2023, Avelo will start announcing their initial additional destinations where people can dive the system, she said.
“Because it has limited availability, you will want to dive it in a place where you can enjoy it.”
Former Divers Alert Network CEO Dan Orr has been working with Avelo as one of the initial product testers, according to Idol:
“He likes to tell people about how he . . . piloted the system as part of the pilot program and that he had to go to Tanzania and put on 100 pounds of dive gear and he was not happy with us [laughs] because he was like, ‘Why can’t I just dive this?’”
In the future, the company will be announcing the first Avelo Dive Centers, i.e. dive shops who have signed up to offer the product.
“To do that it’s a fourfold process: you we need to have a product, you need to have instructors to teach the system, you need your people to be certified through our education program before they can qualify to be instructors which is the beauty of the Avelo experience because any Avelo pro, any person who wants to teach the system must first have their RAD certification before they can qualify for taking our Avelo Pro course to be an instructor to teach the system. They also must have 10 dives on the system.”
Consequently, if you sign up for next year’s dive trip, that experience will provide both the certification and your 10-dive qualification.
“So somebody coming out of the trip will be one of the first to qualify to take our Avelo Pro program, which we also have available. Right now we have . . . five Avelo instructors and two Avelo instructor trainer trainers and certifiers.”
To learn more about this really cool new system, go to diveavelo.com or check out the video below.