MORE THAN WEIGHT BELTS
Several DEMA’s ago I came onto the SeaSoft booth. To me, these were the guys who made those soft weight belts… I mean, I knew nothing else about these guys.
I remember meeting their President, Bruce Justinen – a big guy who’s clearly been around the dive industry for a long time. At that time their booth mostly contained the soft weight belt, soft weight pouches, gloves, booties (“boots” as they call them) and hoods. I told Bruce I was a diver in SoCal, and I was tired of neoprene gloves that would only last one lobster season and then fall apart.
Bruce smiled and walked me over to their gloves, and spent the next 20 minutes going through their line. WOW. Who knew I had so many choices in gloves! He turned them inside-out, walked me through the seams, the construction, the cut, the neoprene selected (several types on some gloves, each with a specific purpose), the 3 or 4 different palm and finger coatings to meet the specific task I had in mind.
We played tug-o-war with a glove (he’s bigger so he cheated ) This guy is passionate about gloves. I bought a couple right there. I’m still wearing one of the pair I bought years ago – the other I ended up giving to a buddy.
WHY IS SEASOFT DIFFERENT?
Bruce shared that SeaSoft looks at things a little differently than some other companies. Instead of backing into a retail price point (say, $29.99 for a boot) and selecting the materials to meet that price point (which would require a less-robust sole, smaller zipper, fewer seams on, etc.) they look first to build the best quality product.
The net result is, yes – their stuff is a little more expensive than the other gloves and boots in the store. But this is one of those wonderful cases of “you really do get what you pay for.” SeaSoft has completely spoiled me for all other wet gloves, as their gloves I bought several DEMA’s ago have already outlasted any other pair of wet gloves I’ve ever had.
MY RETURN TO SEASOFT
So its now 2007 – and SeaSoft has blown up. Sure – they still have the killer gloves, and belts and hoods and boots. But there is a line of BC’s, drysuits and some other cool stuff. I couldn’t wait to get back to see Bruce and his crew.
HBDiveGirl has seen those super gloves, and I know she has complete glove envy. So my first order of business was picking up a pair for her – she has just wrecked her gloves and Lobster season is here.
Next, I’ve recently moved out of wearing Rock Boots with my drysuit, and moved to a Wet Suit bootie over the DS sock foot so I could move from the humongous Turtle Fins to a more reasonably sized SP Jet. I went tmy local dive shop and bought the boots they had in stock. No lie – I’m on my THIRD pair of wetsuit booties. Each of the ones I’ve tried over the last 4 months have either split or the zipper broke or the sole shredded… basically, they all suck. So I’m looking to SeaSoft.
I hook up with Bruce and he takes me on another 20 minute tour – this time, being the glove expert that I am now, we talk “boots” (don’t call them booties!) In their booth they have a cut-away SeaSoft boot, exposing some of the unique construction methods employed. A REAL insole that won’t rot and fall into the rinse bucket in a few weeks. A REAL arch support (not just a raised sole…an arch support on the INSIDE of the boot!) A hard sole (think SoCal rock hopping), a raised heel, a phat zipper (#10 – think sleeping bag zipper as opposed to baby-clothes zipper) that can still be opened when its caked with sand, 6mm neoprene for warmth, etc, etc.
As with the gloves, dude made me a believer. A minute later I’m on the cell calling Claudette from the booth. “Hi. Me again. Calling from SeaAoft. Uh. I’m also getting some boots. You’ve seen me murdering all those lame boots I’m using for my drysuit… I think these SeaSoft’s are the real deal.”
She wants a pair. In fact, we both bought two pair – the boots we use for our wetsuits are falling apart, too.
My current “warm” hood is shredded, too. I was going to replace it this March, as I’ll be using the Otter Bay 12mm helmet through winter. With the quality in SeaSoft’s gloves and boots, I figure their hood is in the same league, right?. I try one on. SCORE! Great fit right out of the pack, no chin seam (thank goodness) and a hidden vent to keep me from going all Gumby Head by the end of the dive.
I load up my arms and I pull Bruce over to thank him. He looks at all the stuff I just bought (4 sets of boots, 2 pairs of gloves and a hood!) and he thanks me. The sad thing is this: I probably won’t need to go see him for replacements for another 4 years!
These guys SeaSoft (in Washington State) are the real deal. They make the best gloves I’ve ever used, and their boots and hood are super comfy, fit great and have more quality construction elements than any other off-the-shelf products. I highly recommend these guys – go check them out at www.seasoftscuba.com. If you pick up their stuff and you like it, be sure to send Bruce an eMail at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him Ken from Dive Matrix sent you over. Good people, great stuff that lasts and lasts.
Ken as SeaSoft Man, sporting my 4 year old gloves, my new hood and new boots. Huge thanks to my man Ziheedie Swan at SeaSoft for hooking me up with the Tee