NorCal Underwater Hunters Discussion > DIY Projects

DIVE FLOAT + BACKPACK DIY

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TheKeeneroo:
UPDATE: Many people have asked for ideas on how to make dive boards so I'm updating this to share with them. I've been using this set up for almost a year and it still functions perfectly even after being battered by waves and rocks, hiked through thick brush with many lbs of fish on it, and scaled up cliffs in Big Sur.

Note: If you're not into DIY, buy a banksboard. Banksboards are much more bouyant and rugged but also come with more weight, way higher cost and less customization. This is a DIY project that is much less expensive thank a Banksboard.

The benefits of a dive board are to hold all your stuff, bring an extra pole spear/gun, have something to clip your float line to (if/when you want to shoot a big fish), bring drinks/food, keep your car keys, phone and license dry, mount a dive flag so boaters can see you and bystanders don't think a body boarder just died, and best of all you can easily glide over the top of kelp instead of needing to kelp crawl or swim under it. Kelp crawling is exhausting and dangerous. NOTE: No matter what you bring with you, make sure it is 100% clipped into the board or in a bag that is clipped to the board. Yard sales in the ocean are no fun and very expensive.

After looking at a TON of DIY dive boards, here is how I made mine:

BODY BOARD: Cheapest plastic bottom body board you can buy (although in hind sight, the larger/more bouyant, the better). I got mine from a thrift store in good condition. Play it again sports always has great deals too. I've seen guys zip tie pool noodles to the edges of the board for added flotation which might not be a bad idea. It looks funny, but is effective if you need it.

LEASH PLUGS: I used 8, but you could get away with 6. Amazon has them for cheap. Measure your body boards thickness and make sure the plugs will fit. NOTE: Since taking the below photo, I added 1 more leash plug centered at the bottom so that my fins don't slip out while hiking.

U-BOLTS: Stainless steel, make sure they come with the flat plate washer and that they will fit the depth of your board without too much sticking out the top. You'll need large washers for the top of the board. They won't catch on kelp, they won't cause water resistance, they are useful to hook your kelp clip and stringer to AND it becomes a backpack - which is my favorite part of this whole set up.


BUNGEE NET: Make sure to get one with the smallest holes you can find. I found this one on amazon for $5. 15" x 15" worked perfect for my board. I do and keep a dive bag (with metal handle) on the board too for all my random accessories while hiking down long trails. I also used a brass clip on one corner so I can essentially unclip the net to put the cargo in, then clip it back in.


GUN CLIPS: I read all kinds of reviews about velcro, metal camping twist ties, etc, but the one I saw that works really well is the tarp tie down. I used 10" tarp stays, but 6" might work too. I tied a knot 1/2" shorter than the diameter of the ball on the end and wrap the bungee around the gun and push the ball through the small hole (so many jokes to be made). I put one gun on each side and it works great. NOTE: I still clip my guns to the netting just in case a wave tumbles me on the way in/out. If the bungee came out, the gun doesn't get lost.


KELP LEASH: I have a kelp clip, but the velcro strap that came with the board works really well. so all I did was extend the leash with some 550 chord and at the point where I tied the leash to the 550 chord, i put a brass clip. This way, I can tie the 550 chord to the front, bottom ubolt, then bring it over the front and clip the leash to the original leash plug so it keeps stuff off the bottom of the board while i kick out to where I'm diving. Then, I unclip the leash (making it longer) and velcro it around a few pieces of kelp (don't just clip to one in case it breaks). The spiral in the leash acts like a bungee which means swells won't pull your board off the kelp.


DIVE FLAG: I use my flag on my board and kayak, so I wanted something that I could pop in and take out pretty easily, but also not fall off in the wind or waves. I took a 1/2" PVC flat top end cap (not the round one), drilled a hole in it so that the u-bolt could fit through and with a washer, tightened it back down. I also added some marine permanent apoxy on the bottom to help ensure it stays down. Then drilled 2 holes on the side at the bottom, to attach a key ring via zip tie. This allows the 1/2" pvc pipe that the flag is mounted on to clip to it and not fall out. This seemed like the least obtrusive way to mount a removable flag.


BACKPACK STRAP: I wanted something that I could easily put on and take off and toss in the dive bag when I'm out on the water so it doesn't catch on kelp. I've hiked far with this thing fully loaded on my back and it works fantastic. I just used some cheap webbing and a simple clasp like what is on rubber dive belt buckles


OTTER BOX: I use this to keep my car keys phone (with waterproof case for redundancy) and license in. You can find these cheap at walmart or on amazon.

STRINGER: I've since added a stringer which is awesome when you're on a long dive, catch a couple big fish and dont want them hanging on your hip while you dive. It's very nice to offload the fish. You can also stuff them in a dive bag if you want them less exposed.

OTHER THINGS TO KEEP ON THE FLOAT:
- Marine whistle
- VHF/GPS
- Thermos
- Dive Bag
- Food
- ???

I'd love to know your thoughts on the board or modifications on what you did, want to do, or should do to yours! I'm all about DIY so post your DIY projects with instructions, too!

- Eric

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