The Design
The LightHawk is a back-flotation BC designed for the travelling diver. It is made from durable 420-denier nylon and has a progressively shaped rear air-cell that’s claimed to increase the wearer’s range of motion and decrease drag under water.
External elastic bungee cords help to compress the air-cell when it’s partially inflated, ensuring a low profile and assisting deflation. The harness has an adjustable belt-style webbing waist-strap with a nylon buckle.
Shoulder-straps are padded at the top and have rotating quick-release buckles that swivel, allowing the wearer to route the straps under the arms.
A two-position sternum-strap is included, and this keeps the harness from slipping from the shoulders.
There are four aluminium D-rings, two at the shoulders and two on the waistband.
The backplate is flexible and padded and is fitted with a low primary tank-band with a cam-style fastening, an intermediate support-strap with Velcro closure and an adjustable yoke-strap.
Three dump-valves are fitted, one on the right shoulder and one on the right lower inner surface of the air-cell. Both are actuated with a toggle-pull and the third, on the left shoulder, is a pull-dump built into the power-inflator.
Small utility pockets are included, their closures secured with trident clips and webbing.
The LightHawk is available in three sizes, all with a lift capacity of 13.2kg in a black and grey colour scheme with white embroidered livery.
The size M/L LightHawk (excluding the supplied medium-pressure hose) I had for this test showed a total weight of 2.4kg on a set of digital scales.

In Use
My first impressions were that this BC was a minimalist’s dream. The shoulder-straps pulled under my arms as they articulated on the rotating buckles, creating an uncluttered feel at the front of my body. The webbing waist-band snugged up nice and tight, with the weightbelt-style nylon buckle locking everything in place.
The padding on the shoulder-straps and backplate felt soft and forgiving, something I now find essential for BCs when I’m wearing a 3mm exposure suit or rash guard (my personal comfort is paramount!).
The tank-securing system held everything in position, with the two upper straps pulling the steel cylinder in line with my body.
It was interesting to note that Scubapro has deviated from its standard stainless synch-clip in favour of a nylon cam-buckle on this BC, to save weight.
Under water, the wing-style air-cell held me in a balanced horizontal position, slightly heads-up when finning forward and comfortably vertical when hovering midwater to take photos.
Air migrated around the cell unhindered as my orientation changed. The dump-valves were perfectly positioned and the toggles were easy to find, making deflation a doddle in any position.
The elastic bungee-straps that fitted around the air-cell kept everything nicely compressed and streamlined, and helped to expel air from the dump-valves quickly.
On the surface the progressively shaped wing kept the bulk of the buoyant air-cell under water, with a smaller portion above. To my delight, this seemed to have a stabilising effect, and didn’t push me forward, face-first.
The utility pockets were too small to accommodate a spare mask or a DSMB and spool. Instead, these had to be clipped to the lower two D-rings with double-ended snap-clips, my pressure-gauge and octopus-holder occupying the two on the chest straps.

Conclusion
The LightHawk is a lightweight, slimmed-down BC solidly built with good-quality materials, and at under 2.5kg it was never going to prove a problem with restricted baggage allowances.
The padding on the shoulder-straps and backplate seemed substantial, making the whole wearing experience a joy. Couple this with the ergonomics and minimalist design concept and it all added up to a fantastic travel companion.
The lack of storage options was more of an inconvenience than a problem. I could still accommodate my standard safety kit, although it was left dangling from D-rings instead of safely nestling in zipped-up pockets.
If desired an optional set of integrated weight and rear trim-pockets is available, as is Scubapro’s own combined octopus and power inflator, the Air2.

SPECS
PRICE: £259
TYPE: Back-flotation
SIZES: XS/S, M/L, XL/2XL
LIFT: All sizes, 130N, 13.2kg
D-RINGS: Four, aluminium
DUMP VALVES: Three
COLOURS:
Black/grey
CONTACT: www.scubapro.com
DIVER GUIDE 9/10

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