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Vintage Scuba – Sportsways “Hydro-Twin”

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Hi guys, Alec Peirce with Vintage Scuba! Isn’t that beautiful? I have to admit they’re obsolete, but the two-hose regulators were certainly a beautiful device: chrome-heavy; a big, beautiful black hose; mouthpiece. They were gorgeous. This is a special one. This is another one of our series that Kevin and I have been doing on some of my special two-hose regulators. This is special to me personally and it’s also a special piece of scuba history. Let me explain.

This is the Sportsways Hydro-Twin. Sam Lecocq was the founder of Sportsways: a big company and one of the big five located in California. Sam Lecocq was very experienced by this time: he worked for Healthways; he worked for Healthways; he worked for US Divers in production and engineering and development. He was very innovative and gained a lot of experience and knowledge, and then he opened his own company, Sportsways.

 I should mention that Sam is gone now but I’d like to say he’s a friend of mine. I met him on several occasions, and we laughed and had a really good time reminiscing about the old days. I had a piece of equipment made by Sam and sold by Sportsways: an odd little piece because he would do that: he would make odd little things. On a boring afternoon, he’d design some little thing and make it. I had a piece of equipment that was very unusual and rare. I had it with me one day, and I pulled it out, and said, “Sam, do you remember this?” The look on his face was priceless. He said, “I don’t believe there’s still some of those around! I just made those for fun one day!”

This is one of his regulators. This was their two-hose regulator and they had three models. This model was well known, the original Hydro-Twin; some called it the Hydro-Twin One because at the time there was only the Hydro-Twin. (Like how Rambo is now called Rambo One – know what I mean?) This is a really interesting regulator. If you look at my other video about Sportsways – the New England version rebranded as the same reg – you’ll remember that the first stage is actually the first stage of Sam’s quite well known waterlung single-hose regulator. He had a series of single-hose regulators prior to making this one that were very good: rugged, easy breathing and very popular; used by the Navy and lots of divers. He took the first stage from his single hose regulator and stuck it onto this nice chrome box, put a lever and valve inside with a diaphragm and made it into a two-hose regulator. At that time, in the ‘60s, two-hose regulators were very common and he wanted to have a share of that market, too.

It’s a beautiful regulator. This one has been sold, hence this video, to another chap who has become a friend of mine, Dick. He’s a good guy and like me. He’s been around a lot and I don’t know how he does everything he does, but I don’t how I manage all I do with the ranch and animals and everything else. Dick has a dive store, Dive Toledo, in Louisiana near Anacoco, which is a little northwest of New Orleans. You’ll get to see his museum: he has a nice collection of two-hose equipment as well. This regulator, plus the one I featured earlier… Dick bought both of these from me. Very astute in my opinion because these are one-offs – there are no other regulators like these in the world.

This particular one is brand new. The hoses are good and a little stiff because they have not been moved or changed a bunch. The mouthpiece and everything else is absolutely perfect: the chrome is unmarked and this regulator has never been wet. You might notice on the front case you can see the “Waterlung”. I mentioned in my previous video that Sam Lecocq has the distinction of being one of the few people who was sued by US Divers and he won. They wanted him to stop using the word “Waterlung” because it was too much like “Aqualung”. On the case above, you’ll see that black. It’s Sam Lecocq’s signature. I had this regulator at a vintage event and Sam happened to be there. I pulled it out and said, “Sam, would you do me a favor? This is a brand new Sportsways Hydro-Twin you developed and sold in the ‘60s, and I’d be honored if you would sign it for me.” That’s what I mean when I say this regulator is very special and I’m sure Dick will appreciate that as well.

So there you are, folks: a brand new Sportsways Waterlung Hydro-Twin regulator with Sam Lecocq’s signature on it. It’s the only one. We talk about rare occasionally and this is not rare. It’s the only one. Both of the regulators will be going to Louisiana to Dick’s vintage museum.

Hope you enjoyed that, guys. Alec Peirce with Vintage Scuba. We’ll talk to you soon.