Recently I bought a Custom Divers Sportster Wing. There is hardly any information to be found on the web. I could not find one review. The Custom Divers site or the Owner’s manual (which is not on the Custom Divers site) does not contain a lot of information.
Even Scubaboard does not have an opinion on this wing. Perhaps starting a discussion would be nice, since this will probably evolve in a backplate discussion. Since the Sportster has a small backplate of synthetic material instead of steel or aluminium it does not cater to the BP/W folks.
So I decided to put a few of my experiences here. I’m just a recreational diver and sometimes assist at a diving course. So don’t take it too seriously
I have a SeaQuest Pro Unlimited vest. This vest is, at least for me, a nice vest. Even after dozens of swimming pool sessions (chlorine) it is hardly faded, and I don’t rinse it every time. It’s stuffed with options, buoyancy is good …..but it’s heavy (about 4.5 Kg) and especially bulky, and thus takes a lot of space in the travel-case.
Size and weight
The Custom Divers Sporster weights slightly over 3 kg, which is more “travel friendly”. But even more travel friendly is that it folds into a nice little package.
The BCD inflator unit is rather heavy. It really tugs at the wing, so the hose retainer becomes necessary. For a travel wing, perhaps the use of less metal would have been better. However underwater it is fantastic. The hose is much longer than I’m used to, but it operates nicely. The inflator is also a pull dump valve.
There is one attached to the inflator and one in the lower back. I was used to dump valves on the right. Left is fine too. However I find the lower dump valve a bit tricky to find. I liked my two dump valves on my SeaQuest where the cords were lead to the front. Hose pull dumping is not something I use.
Back Comfort pad
The optional Back Comfort Pad is sucking up water like a sponge. After a day of drying the wing is completely dry, but not the comfort pad. A slight press on the comfort Pad and water pours out. The use of some quick drying material would have been better.
The site (not the manual) shows an Adjustable anti wing wrap stay. I had no idea what that was. Anti-wing? Wrap-stay? It took me some time to figure out that this is something helping against wing wrap. Fortunately there was one place (that’s all I could find) where this is explained Wing Wrap explained
In short, if the bladder is too big… it floats up and wraps around the tank….. so you then find it difficult to dump.
It would have been nice if this feature was in the manual and explained. And since it is a small single cylinder wing, wing wrap seem highly unlikely…. Perhaps I’m wrong.
The first dive the wing was tilting me sideways, which was rather uncomfortable. The second dive I moved my tank somewhat higher as well as my weight-belt (I’m still waiting for my weight pockets). This solved the problem completely and it behaved excellent under water. Since then I’ve used it at a PADI openwater course, during the open water sessions, which is fine. In the swimming pool I prefer my vest for now.