Appeared in DIVER February 2008

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John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.

BC BUDDY TEKWING

WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. I recently told you about my experiences with the Buddy Tekwing Lite. It was a unique report in that I spelt the name wrongly (with a ch, not a k) and also managed not to find the pockets for the trim weights.
The Parkers (who own the maker, AP Valves) were very good humoured about it and sent me the full version of the Tekwing to try, with a view to getting the details right this time.
I was off to Sudan to revisit the wreck of the Blue Belt. For this I like to use two independent cylinders, one filled with air for the deeper part of the dive and the other with nitrox 36 to speed my decompression once I get shallow enough. I used Buddy Twinning Bands on the Tekwing to do this.
Before anyone writes to say Im taking the nitrox deeper than its maximum operating depth, I stress that I do this to add safety. Otherwise I would be doing the dive on a single cylinder.
And before you say I might put the wrong regulator in my mouth while at depth, its as likely as trying to breathe off the direct-feed hose to the BC. It could happen, but if I did it for long enough to have a detrimental effect, that would be Darwinism at work.
The fact that youre reading this probably means that I can tell the second stage of an Atomic T2 from a Scubapro G250V.
The Buddy Tekwing delivers the whole nine yards on features and performance. The only thing against it is the amount of space it takes up in a bag. Apart from the pretence that it is for the travelling diver, I cant fault it.
Add the optional redundant second wing and it will need a dive-bag all of its own. Guess what It comes with one!
The Tekwing has a lot of optional features. Integrated-weight pouches can be substituted for cargo clips that would otherwise be attached to SMBs. You can choose the Buddy Auto Air alternative air source instead of the standard AP200 inflator.
Naturally, another option is the Buddy 400ml auxiliary air-inflation cylinder, not forgetting the Twinning Bands and Blocks that allow you to use any two independent same-size cylinders. You can also add extra D-rings easily if you want them.
So where do you put the trim-weights
I bet a lot of Tekwing owners have never discovered this feature. The buoyancy cell is
a double-bag affair, with the tough outer shell protecting the airtight inner bladder.
Run your hand along a rear seam of this outer bag and you will find that part of it is not stitched but held together with Velcro.
Split this seam open and there are the trim-weight pockets, one each side. Each takes up
to 3kg of lead. Its the same with the Lite version.
Regular readers will have read my review of the Lite, so I wont go over it all again. Suffice to say that the Tekwing has a larger buoyancy cell that easily accommodates the needs of a twin-set diver, but otherwise uses the same harness and operates in exactly the same way.
There is a tendency for the buoyancy cell to wrap itself around a single cylinder, but
because the dump valves are so well positioned, this will just make you a little untidy under water, rather than affecting your ability to jettison air efficiently.
It was a pity I didnt have any pockets with the one I tested, because I had nowhere to stow my current hook - and I sorely needed it on a few occasions on the reef plateaus of the Sudan.
That said, my main reservation is that this is a very bulky item of kit that seems to weigh
a tonne both when you are packing it and washing it.

Comparable wings to consider:
Halcyon Explorer £360
Poseidon Besea W100 £434
Zeagle Advanced Tech £509



Divernet
SPECS
BUDDY TEKWING
PRICE £295

STYLE Wing
DRY WEIGHT 5.7kg
POCKETS Cargo clips are interchangeable with optional weight pouches
INTEGRATED WEIGHTS With trim weights. Weight-pouches optional (40)
TWINNING BANDS Optional (25)
AUTO AIR Optional (40)
AUXILIARY CYLINDER Optional (30)
D-RINGS 6
MAX LIFT 27kg
SIZES one fits all
CONTACT www.apvalves.com
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