Appeared in DIVER August 2006

BC Buddy Trident
THERES A LOT IN A NAME, as AP Valves, the owner of the Buddy brand, found out when it introduced a wing-style BC. It was called the Buddy Trimix, and I reviewed an example in these pages 10 years ago.
I liked it so much that I got one for both my wife and myself, and we have used them regularly ever since. Two of the five wings used for our recent deepwater regulator test were those 10-year-old Trimix BCs, and the other three were new Buddy Tridents. There was little to choose between them, because the immensely strong Trimix BCs had lasted so well.
So what is a Buddy Trident Well, it seems that 10 years ago few divers were certified to use trimix, so potential customers were unwilling to buy a Buddy Trimix for fear of being ridiculed. So AP Valves changed the name to Trident, but its still the same tough wing-style BC.
The only reason for the choice of name was that it sounded a bit like Trimix. In its current form, this jacket is a typically Buddy two-part bag, with strong outer material protecting the replaceable inner bladder. We measured 27kg of lift at maximum inflation.

Armed patrols
The harness looks a rather cumbersome affair at first. It wraps around the divers torso and looks like the sort of waistcoat worn by armed police patrols at British airports.
In fact it is very convenient because there is only a single pinch-clip to fasten, and the width of it resists any tendency for the tank or tanks to slip around your body. Its very comfortable, as well as tough.
Add to that the standard Buddy quick-release buckles at the shoulders, easily undone when the time comes by using alternate hands, and eight strongly fitted stainless-steel D-rings just where you want them to be, and you have an effective item of kit.
You dump air by operating the top right shoulder dump or the bottom shoulder dump by pulling on the respective weighty toggle-ended pull cord, which hangs down to be just where you would expect to find it.
David Parker founded AP Valves by making valves for a BC, naming the company after his wife Angela. When you dump air using the shoulder-mounted valve, little water comes back in the other way, and this is one of Davids original concepts.
Dumping air sets the Trident apart from many other wings. Because the harness attaches to the buoyancy-cell at the very top, the top exhaust valve is always positioned where it needs to be.
During an ascent, the Trident dumps without fuss or even conscious thought.
While standing vertically, the top of the wing is never higher than the regulator youre using. While floating at the surface, this puts all the displacement by the buoyancy-cell low in the water, where its needed. The divers mouth is at this time correspondingly high above the surface.
Another optional extra is the Buddy AutoAir, a combined inflator and breathing regulator. If you dont want that, you can always opt for the standard AP200 inflator. This comes on the end of a very long corrugated hose designed to be cut to length by the user, and simple reusable connectors are supplied to this end.
Members of the Parker family have always been keen divers, and this shows in the way the kit works. The Trident has a conventional Buddy ABS backplate through which the harness and camband or cambands are threaded.
It also has several fixed loops of Velcro that can be used as runways to wrap the hoses of those items not constantly called into play.
I have always used the Trimix/Trident in conjunction with multiple tanks and it is quite happy lashed to independent twin 12 litre cylinders by means of a set of Buddy Twinning Blocks and Bands. However, this is a wing-style BC that is just as happy with a single as with twin tanks.
The massive mask-pocket always raises some comments. It does look a bit handbag-like, but you can unthread it from the waist-belt if you prefer. I prefer to use it.
Originally intended for a spare mask, I find it valuable for stowing important items such as the lens cover for my cameras dome port, and a fixed plastic loop inside makes it ideal for stowing a back-up computer.
The zip is of a large gauge, never seems to jam and opens conveniently, via a large toggle, for a right-handed person. It also has a secondary pocket closed by a Velcro-covered flap. Extra features include weight-pockets on either side of the harness towards the back. These look a little untidy once closed up, with only a couple of small block weights within, but they are intended only for altering your trim.
The top flap is closed and sealed with Velcro, while the bottom is closed with a pinch-clip and buckle. I suppose you could reach round and drop these weights in an emergency, but its fiddly. You can opt to have larger pockets, suitable for rolled-up SMBs, if you wish.
There is also a sleeve for the unique Buddy 400ml crack bottle that is an optional extra.
For years a fixed part of the heritage of British diving, it is interesting to see that the German market is beginning to discover these auxiliary inflation bottles some time after we ended our love affair with them. Crack the cylinder open and it will fill the BC several times. It is not my recommendation that you use this while under water!
The Buddy Trident is no lightweight, and it takes up a lot of space in the dive-bag. Its bulky harness does not look appealing but the four hardened divers who wore them with me during our regulator test soon got to see that the design was a triumph of function over appearance.
The Trident always looked neat, with no sign of the buoyancy cell billowing while under water.
The Buddy Trident in its most basic form costs £354 (Twinning Bands, Auxiliary cylinder and AutoAir are extra cost options.) It is available in sizes S, M and L.
  • AP Valves,

  • Divernet
    Simple Velcro-fastened cummerbund
    crack bottle alongside rather untidy-looking trim-weight pocket
    pinch-clip buckle and shoulder dump
    + Good air dumping
    + Good surface support
    + As happy with one tank as two

    - Bulky harness
    - Quite heavy