Blacktip Island Entrepreneur Repurposes Selfie Sticks As Safety Aids

selfie sticks

A prototype of Blacktip Island entrepreneur “Doc” Plank’s A Grand Eyes bamboo gauge extender. The device takes its inspiration from the ubiquitous selfie sticks.


Blacktip Island scuba manufacturer Bamboo You kicked off the new year Friday by unveiling its new line of repurposed selfie sticks designed to help older scuba divers better see their gauges underwater.

“As divers get older, their close-up vision goes to hell,” said Bamboo You founder Piers “Doc” Plank. “Gauges with bigger numbers can only do so much, no matter how far away the divers hold them.

“People keep joking they need longer arms,” Plank said. “Seeing everybody running around with these telescoping sticks, using them as gauge extenders was a no brainer.”

Marketed as A Grand Eyes, the sticks are made from locally-sourced bamboo.

“A Grand Eyes do so much more than address our customers’ presbyopia,” Bamboo You marketing director Christina Mojarra said. “Like all Bamboo You products, they’re 100 percent natural and made from a renewable island resource. They’re good for Blacktip and good for the planet.”

The new devices have already won the praises of dive professionals.

“We banned those damned camera sticks on all our boats a while back,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “People kept jamming them into the reef, and there were several unfortunate incidents when sticks got stuck in uncomfortable places on a rolling dive boat.

“Now, though, Doc found a way to turn them to a useful purpose,” Latner said. “We got a lot less divers going into deco because they can’t see their depth or time or nitrogen loading.”

Scuba divers who tested the sticks were impressed as well.

“I was about to give up diving,” said dive guest Buddy Brunnez. “This gizmo’s a game changer, though. Now I just zip my computer out as far as I need. And if my eyes get worse, well, I can zip the stick out farther.”

Some of the Caribbean island’s dive staff, however are dubious of the new devices.

“Whether it’s a camera or a gauge console on the end of the stick, they’re still a hazard,” Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Lee Helm said. “Divers are still bashing the reef, but this time under the guise of safety. It’s lipstick on a pig, really.”

Bamboo You officials remain unfazed by the criticism.

“With scuba diver demographics skewing older every year, A Grand Eyes are the wave of the future,” Mojarra said. “Divers can accessorize with extra long high pressure hoses to get gauge consoles as far away as they need to read the numbers.

“We’re marketing the sticks to island restaurants as menu extenders, too,” Mojarra said. “We expect this to be one of our best selling products, right up there with bamboo weights and nitrox snorkels.”

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Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

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