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Ron
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1980 Stab jacket rig

Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:35 pm

I've never owned a stab jacket, and I've wanted one for a few years. I finally found one in awesome shape, from the first 3 years of production. It came with a 2nd generation AIR2 as well for bonus nachos. Bryan sells kits for these, so I rebuilt it, and took the BCD apart and cleaned it. When I dive modern gear, I'm a dyed in the wool backplate and wing guy, but man is this stab jacket super fun to dive. We did a wreck dive today on tribal land and this stab jacket was like back when I first started diving fun to use. I ran it with a DUI weight harness and a Scubapro 7MM semi-dry suit. At one point, I slipped the BC off, and I had a tiny bit of air in it to make it neutral and I was pushing it in front of me with one finger. What a simple, reliable setup.

I paired it with a 90s Sherwood Maximus. The Maximus came equipped from the factory with a 40" hose and a swivel, so it's perfect to run with an AIR2. I ran my old Suunto Vytec wireless air integrated dive computer with it, so the whole setup only had 2 hoses. It's about a stripped down as you can get for a modern rig.

We had a 1/4-1/2 mile surface swim to and from the wreck site, and that stab jacket feels like a life preserver with a lot of air in it. It made the swim back almost leisurely. I also didn't realize that the way SP engineered the stab jacket it doesn't squeeze you at all when it inflates like a lot of newer jacket BCs do. It inflates outward, which makes it always feel the same size. It's actually quite snug for a jacket, and doesn't roll around on your body when fitted correctly.

I'm not a Scubapro guy, but the stab jacket and AIR2 are officially my jam for fun modern nodecompression diving.
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Bryan
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:19 pm

That's a real STAB that inflates under the arms! Man Style...

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Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:18 pm

I used a stab jacket for years and loved it. I've probably posted this pic of me before back in the 80s but it shows my stab jacket. Very streamlined when deflated in dive mode. :D
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"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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Ron
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:54 pm

That's a cool picture. Did you run your gauges over the right shoulder back then?
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:12 am

Ron wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:54 pm
That's a cool picture. Did you run your gauges over the right shoulder back then?
Ron, I can't remember how I configured my gear last weekend, let alone in the 80's. :D
So the answer is, sure, maybe, dunno.
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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Bryan
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:32 pm

You can fix a STAB jacket with a vulcanized tire patch kit... Not factory specs but I've seen it done dozens of times.
Check out some pics of Gary Gentile (SP) diving the Doria with one and a MK7

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:53 pm

Odd how memory works. Thinking about my old stab jacket again. I remember clear as can be going to see Ron Merker at the Aquatic Center in Newport Beach to inquire about getting a ScubaPro Stabilizing Jacket. This would have been about 1978 or 1979.  For whatever reason (bigger profit margin I would guess, but Ron was also the kind of guy that would honestly want to see you comfortable in the water and happy with your gear) he inflated a stab jacket fully (no tank attached) and said something to the effect of do you really want your arms pulled back and the breath squeezed out of you when swimming on the surface? He then proceeded to extoll the virtues of the new and improved At-Pac and tried his best to steer me in that direction. I think the At-Pac was more expensive, but not by much. Since I already had a perfectly good At-Pac I declined. As much as I liked Ron, I ultimately bought a stab jacket elsewhere. I think it was at Black Bart's Aquatics in Dana Point, CA because they were having a sale at the time. I used the At-Pac for beach dives with long surface swims and the stab jacket for boat dives. Might have to look for a NOS one now. I loved that thing. Still have my old one hanging in the garage with the seams coming apart. Unfortunately I think it is a size medium and I haven't been that size in decades. I've rambled on long enough. RIP Ron. Good memories. Mark.
 
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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Bryan
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:10 pm

Can't dive a STAB jacket without one of theseImage

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rhwestfall
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:29 pm

That is COOL! (the blade!, okay, the STAB jacket too!)

I have come across them over the years, and had one in a package buy, but the damn things were for some dwarf in sizing.... I even had one with the clip on pocket. Looked like it had 3 dives on it... Never would even come close to fitting.....
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

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Ron
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:20 pm

It's crazy too, because stab jackets must be bullet proof. Mine leaks not a freaking drop of air. I've got a few dives on it now and it's the cat's pajamas. The buoyancy control with it is fantastic too. I'm actually shocked at how well the Air2 breathes too. I keep using it during my dives to see if I can overbreathe it. It's a nightmare to service, but man does it breath well for an octoinflator.

If you are 6 feet tall or less and 200 lbs or less a medium will fit you. That's what mine is.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

jconley
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:37 am

Wow, looks like it was hardly even used. I would guess it was a 1982 model.
I had one for 37 years (1980). Had been storing it in the hot garage for the last 22 years. The heat finally caused the sealant on the inside of the bag to de-laminate. Was still ok when I had checked it at the 35 year point. I'm sure it would still be going if I had stored it in the house. Scubapro really made equipment to last back then. By the way they are so tuff, I even dove double's with it. I would change out the backpac with one that had shoulder straps.
When you are weighted right and only put a small puff in the bc, it felt almost like you weren't even wearing a bc underwater.
I had the second generation AIRII on mine as well. Hasn't been serviced since 1995 and it still works.
Unfortunately, my stab jacket had shrunk and got a little tight. LOL
If I remember right the XL size had something like 77 lbs. of lift.
I would have picked up a used one. But, they don't have integrated weights. And my back can't tolerate a weight belt any more.
Great Equipment. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

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Ron
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:01 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that many folks, myself included, use a weight and trim harness for heavier weights nowadays. I wear a weigh belt for like 16 or less lbs, or when I'm trying to "look" vintage, but when I dive this stab jacket with a semi-dry I wear 22 lbs and use this:

https://www.divedui.com/collections/wei ... im-classic

It's anecdotal, but several of the guys in our club are older or of varying degrees of fitness and they use this trim harnesses fine. I use mine with a backplate and wing as up here in Puget Sound I wear 31 lbs with winter weight garments in my drysuit. Just throwing that out there. I worse my harness under this stab jacket and it worked like a champ.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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fishnbeer
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:42 pm

Ron wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:01 pm


It's anecdotal, but several of the guys in our club are older or of varying degrees of fitness and they use this trim harnesses fine. I use mine with a backplate and wing as up here in Puget Sound I wear 31 lbs with winter weight garments in my drysuit. Just throwing that out there. I worse my harness under this stab jacket and it worked like a champ.
Ron
I used a STAB jacket back in the early 80's and loved it until it no longer held air years later. It was my favorite rig back then as it was a very comfortable rig to use. Eventually it had dozens of leaks as the inside liner fell apart. I recently bought a SeaSkin drysuit and found my weightbelt tended to slide down past my butt. So I got a weight harness too and if works great. It is more comfortable as the weight is supported on my shoulders instead of my hips, works great with a drysuit.

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:21 pm

D**n you Ron. You got me scheming on a new project. Just picked this one up for $15 (probably overpaid) but it seems to hold air just fine. One area has the edging coming up for about an inch but I can glue that back down. Suggestions on what adhesive to use? Might have to go with Bryan's tire patch kit idea. :D

Image
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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Ron
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Re: 1980 Stab jacket rig

Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:11 pm

Tire kits and Aquaseal.

I even use Aquaseal to hold my Chuck Taylor's together.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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