Smart Stage Rig

One of the things keeping divers busy these days is catching up with repairs, service and and enhancements to our dive configurations.

My little DIY project: The Smart Stage Rig by Jaime De La Puerta

Many divers, including me, have always preferred buying ready made accessories from a shop or online but, truth be told, making your own accessories or adjusting it with DIY hacks and modifications is something every tec diver should get a hold off early in the tec diving career.

For this very reason I have become a fan of learning those tricks from more experienced (and creative) divers: your computer strap, the primary light holder, tank straps, mask straps, find straps, solutions for pouches, survey slates, pig-tails, and more. These are just every day examples of things you might want to produce yourself, a piece of bungee is the key to most things.

My latest course in Cave Decompression and Stage Diving was at the beginning of the year in Tulum. Jaime De La Puerta at Protec took me under his wing to teach me this exciting course and he showed me a way of rigging the stage that he’s improved and modified from previously known versions of stage rigs. The particularity of this rig is that instead of having the lower clip of the rig fix on a set string, the clip is attached to a bungee that runs through the clamp and holds itself with the own tension of the bungee material. The difference? Well staging and picking up stages in different moments of the dive can prove to bleed your knuckles and thumbs, literally, but being able to losening the bungee prior to unclipping and clipping makes all the difference. It makes space for you to operate between the tanks, behind them, etc. It becomes EASY, even effortless after you practice a few times. And you use the weight of the tank to yank the bungee back and forth as needed in order to tighten it or losen it. It requires more technique than strength and it’s just smart, convenient and efficient. The other advantage is that the bungee will always keep the stage tank tuck to the body, no matter whether it’s empty or full and its buoyancy varies.

Jaime teaching us Cave Decompression Stage Diving in the classroom at Protec Tulum

After my course ended I approached the guys at Protec to obtain the “Jaime Style Rig” but as they are mostly DIY and fidgety guys themselves their answer was “why don’t you make your own?”. I felt it was more an invitation than a suggestion, go ahead, try it. And so I did.

With the help of Skanda to find the one key piece I was missing and taking advantage of his wonderful array of string bits and pieces I managed to build my own rig. I put the project off for a while being that we are locked down and chances of me diving have been getting slim, but being out of the water for over a week just made me want to do something diving related. I must admit there was a bit of sadness when I finished my rig and couldn’t mount it on a tank to go diving. But that won’t take long. You can watch the fun little video I made on my IGtv How I made a stage rig! Or on my IG account @Cenote_Girl

Stage diving is like having a longer curfew when you’re a newish cave diver. You get one more third to your dive, you get to go a tiny bit further. You get to explore new depths, new lenghts, and your ability to multitask increases as well as your stability and control. Your dives also become a tiny bit more expensive, and you do need more gear (another reg, a rig, etc.) without mentioning you need more space on your truck and more time to get ready, more things to check and avoid forgetting! During this particular course we could not fit enough tanks for the three of us to conduct a deco stage dive, plus equipment on the same truck!

Ready to go outside the shop, birght and early.

I personally love training and I admit it usually puts me on edge although I know I can manage it and learn and grow as a diver, but there’s always a piece of me that breaks down with training, as if the previous version of myself would no longer fit in the mold. And then at the other side of it there’s me again with newly acquired sense of self awareness and awe.

If you need a rig for stage diving or training, do definitely get in touch with these guys, they might have ideas and solutions you’ve never thought of before.

This is Jailhouse, the scenario for many cool dives, and now even cooler with a stage!

Wishing everyone a safe and fun luckdown, feel free to share with me your DIY projects or hacks you’ve come up with during training, diving and teaching. It’s never to late to learn and share. You can send me a message through the contact form or on social media! Thanks for reading!

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