My wife and I just bought two Scupper Pro kayaks from the local dealer (a hardware store no less) and he loaned me a copy of your book. Wow! I'm tempted to send a check right away but will leave it to Santa Clause instead. I've been an occassional scuba diver since 1955 but have been going out on commercial group dives lately (most recently in Fiji). We bought the boats for playing in the water, maybe doing some cruising, but after seeing your book.....
I am very impressed with your writing style and your common sense. Maybe someday day we can come down and join "The Saturday Morning Gang". Thanks for the great web site. Joe
Greetings Mark! I've just read through your excellent homepage on Kayak Diving. I must admit, I was a bit puzzled by the term 'Kayak Diving' at first. I thought it was a new development on 'squirt kayaking', you know, the type of kayaking where the kayaker dives underwater and does all sorts of radical sub-aqua moves? Apologies for being brain dead, but now I'm enlightened after reading your article.
Over here in England the term Kayak Diving isn't too well known yet, but I'm sure it will catch on fast. I am a whitewater kayaker myself, but I have some friends who are into sub-aqua stuff, so maybe I could try out some maritime manouveres by borrowing their gear!
The photographs on your page are great, I enjoyed your humourous stuff and I bet your book is just as good. If I ever get into Kayak diving, it's the book I'll buy! Good luck in everything you do! Ian (Ninja)
Hi Mark, Thanks for writing a great book! I am English but live in Brazil. I bought Cayman Dagger dive kayak at the DEMA show in L.A. and have been using it all this year , along the coast line between Rio de Janeiro and Santos. This section of coast line we call the Atlantic rain forest.Its realy incredible to say the least.
I am also a NAUI diving insructor, and am preparing an outline for a kayak speciality course. I have a rough lay out already, but I would very much appreciate a little of your help. Do you know of any other people running such a course? How many dives would you include, and to what depth?how many hours (class room and water time)?
I am also planning to start a Kayak diving operation in the future,taking people on organised kayak trips (diving camping eco tourism). Any advice would be great (or if you could put me in touch with other kayak divers?). All the best from Ben in Brazil.
In addition to responding to his other questions, I directed him to David Swain of Ocean State Scuba for a complete Kayak Diving Specialty Course class outline which has already been accepted by PADI in several instances. David can be reached at:
David Swain, Ocean State Scuba, in Jamestown, RI (800) 933-DIVE
Mark, I bought your book at a B.E.N.T. dive club meeting last year. We had just purchased 2 Necky Spikes (we're both females). As far as I'm concerned it is the ONLY book for California kayakers. Thanks for providing us with the most useful (and sometimes hilarious) information on how to use and care for our kayaks. Thanks, Shayne & Jayne
I responded to Shayne and Jayne:
Dear Shayne & Jayne, Thanks for the feedback! I'm so glad you enjoyed my book, and, I'd love to hear how you are enjoying your Necky kayaks (the Rolls Royce of dive kayaks!). If you get a moment, can you tell me of any of your trials and tribulations, what you love, like, or dislike about the Spike as a dive platform?
In my book (pun intended), the Dolphin (the Spike's big brother) and the Scrambler XT are the best dive kayaks on the market. The Necky excels over the XT in many ways, although the XT also has a few features that the Necky doesn't. I think the best thing overall about the Necky is its speed. What do you gals think?
I understand that the neoprene hatch seals keep the hull of the Necky kayaks quite dry (when they are in place). Have you ever suffered a flooding?
Thanks again, and especially for any more great feedback, praise, admiration, etc. (lol) that you'd like to offer!
Shayne and Jayne wrote again:
Mark, Shayne and I have had our share of experiences in learning some of the finer points of kayak diving.
The first mistake we made was "just doing it!" After a couple of frustrating attempts at kayak diving, we decided to take the kayaks out and "play". That was probably the best help in learning what our Necky Spikes.
I guess I should back up and tell you that we worked with a friend of ours who owns a kayak shop (Xtreme Line)- that always helps. We tried different styles before we bit the bullet and got the Spikes. Anyways, I became very experenced in the "endo" manuever!! Shayne was much more graceful and confident. I soon learned - what the heck the worst is I'm going to flip. On a regular basis we leave our dive gear home and just play in the surf. This has really helped us learning to get in and out of the surf. Also after my dive gear took a beating one day from flipping in shallow water, I decided that I needed to practice going thru the surf with the weight, so i strapped a weight belt of 25 - 30# in the back of the kayak to simulate the weight. This worked out good, not to mention the workout I got from going in and out of the surf many many times.
Your book really gave us great ideas and tips. We customized our kayaks to fit our needs. We made 2 small cables run thru PVC and put clips on each end, to stabilize the kayaks for diving. It works great.
Well, we played in your web page as well as CyberSea's. Thanks again, Shayne and Jayne
My final reply:
Good to hear from you again! I'm wondering if you're talking about "rafting" both kayaks together when you mentioned the two cables run thru PVC pipe. I know that the Necky Dolphin and Spike aren't the most stable kayaks out there, but I've always said that most paddlers soon get totally used to the stability (or lack of) of their kayak. Still, you can't have too much stability at the dive site (getting to it is a different story) so rafting 2 kayaks together is a great way to drastically increase the stability of your dive platform.
G'Day Mark, Thank you for your advice and assistance, I have found your web page to be very useful and informative. I will forward a cheque in the next few days for a copy of your book, and then look forward to its arrival. We will also be ordering our first 2 Scupper Pro TW's in the next week to begin assessment of suitable dive and snorkelling sites and plan itineraries. Once again... Thanx and regards, Craig
Mark, You have a nice site. I liked your comment about the Scrambler XT being one of the best. I teach kayak diving in Monterey, Ca. and I have found the XT the best for that. I have some Swing's, Prism's, Zest's but the bulk of my kayak's(23) are XT's. I too have a PADI instructor outline and use the same one for SSI. Regards, Bill
Two other readers wrote:
This site is so great I have all ready told 6 diving friends. Love your out door pics, but where is the Newton Canyon and the waterfall. I love it. We camped this weekend at Limekiln Park ( great ling hunting to the right of the cove under the kelp ). It's 60 miles south on hwy 1, south of Carmel. They have a great water fall hike and you can hike to a nice campground.
I wanted to compliment you on a great book. I received a copy for Father's Day (great kids!) and have really enjoyed it. I have been paddling and diving for a while but have yet to combine the 2 sports, I look forward to giving it a shot. I designed my own kayak wheels that work great and utilize the scupper holes rather than strap to the bottom, same philsophy as yours as they are made of PVC pipe and the wheels were from a plastic tricycle. I will try to send a picture since they are very easy to make and have worked very well. I may try to catch up with the Channel Islands Divers since I live in Ventura and the hardest part of diving seems to be finding a dive buddy. Thanks again for a great read, I intend to put the info to productive use!
I'll add to this page as the "good stuff" keeps coming in...
Note: I would include any pertinent negative comments too, but I have yet to receive any! If you can think of anything AT ALL that I might have missed in my book, PLEASE let me know!!!!!! Thanks, MT