AirBuddy – Battery Powered Surface Supplied Dive Gear

  • 2021

  • Product
    Sport and Lifestyle

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Jan Kadlec

Designed In:


AirBuddy is a compact, battery-powered and surface supplied dive product that provides fresh air from the surface for 55 min (+reserve) to one or two divers. Designed in Australia specifically for self-guided shallow water diving, this “Hookah” is ideal for exploring reefs, hull cleaning, boat maintenance, lobster diving or underwater photography.

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Image: Martin Benko
Image: Martin Benko
Image: Martin Benko
Image: Martin Benko
Image: Martin Benko
Image: Martin Benko
Image: Jan Kadlec
Image: Jan Kadlec
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  • Unlike many other sports, SCUBA diving is not a "grab-and-go" activity. It requires preparation and logistics. Renting (or filling) air tanks at a dive centre takes time and costs money. The gear is heavy and bulky. It becomes a logistical nightmare when there is a significant distance to the dive centre, outside of business hours, when sailing on a boat, remote islands, etc. Moreover, existing SSBA (Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus) is large, heavy (35-40kg), cumbersome and expensive. The challenge was to design a small, lightweight, and user-friendly dive gear that provides independence of the infrastructure and is travel-friendly.

  • AirBuddy bridges the gap between snorkelling and SCUBA. The battery-powered floating dive compressor can be recharged at home from a standard socket or 12V car/boat outlet on travels. It does not require any air refills, rentals, complicated logistics or bulky gear, yet it enables diving for almost an hour to one diver up to 12m deep or two divers up to 6m deep. No air refills or tank rentals, logistics or bulky gear. It's compact and weighs about 50-60% less than other dive gear on the market. The battery recharge costs only about $0.1 (vs. ~$20 single air tank hire).

  • AirBuddy is gaining popularity among recreational divers around the world and inspired other brands to innovate their diving products. We are at the birth of a new product category. With the rapid evolution of battery technologies, we will see even more powerful SSBAs in the future. AirBuddy makes diving easier and more accessible. When more people explore and appreciate the beauty of our marine life, they also become aware of the ocean problems, such as coral bleaching, plastic pollution, overfishing, acidification, shark finning, etc. Greater awareness, especially through personal experience, is key to individual action towards environmental protection.

  • Surface-supplied diving (SSBA) has been around for longer than SCUBA, the first divers explored the seabed using surface-supplied units already back in the 19th century. We combined this almost 200-year-old diving principle with the latest technologies, materials and innovations and created a compact, user-friendly unit. We designed AirBuddy for maximum performance, comfort, and safety at the minimum weight and size. The innovative features of AirBuddy previously not found in any other SSBA include: (1) Integrated reservoir with 16L pressurised air for safe ascent in case of emergency (2) Water cooled air compressor for maximum performance at minimum size (3) LiFePO4 battery for low weight, long run-time, and highest Li-Ion safety (4) Low battery underwater notification system (5) Secure magnetic switch with detachable key (6) Recoil hose for better position control and kink-resistance (7) Elaborate airways to prevent intrusion of splash water (8) Position switch and electronic system to prevent water ingress (9) Centre of gravity below water-line acting like a keel on a boat