December 14th, 2007
I see many variations of the singles mounting plate on the market today. It seems every technical equipment company has something similar for adapting the hardcore doubles backplate to single tank. I’m flattered to see so many copies, but it all started with trying to make a girl happy.
In 1986, my girlfriend started diving twin 80’s for her cave class. She liked the feel of her new technical harness (that’s another story…the origin of the deluxe harness) and she also wanted to dive her tech harness with singles rather than going back to a jacket BC. I thought about how to do it. Some cave divers had cut slots into their backplate and Classic Wing in order to thread a couple of cam straps through the plate. I wanted something more finished and adaptable for the product. I knew the larger market for a SMP was to existing cave divers and not new cave divers. Experienced cave divers already had a backplate and wing and knew how to dive them, so putting a single on a sixty pound wing (not something we recommend for a new diver) would be easy for them to deal with.
Looking for a starting point I took one of our ABS backplates and trimmed it about 1 ½ inches out from the center bends and cut slots in it for cam straps. The ABS was easy to machine so I whipped out a few samples and gave them to friends and my girlfriend. They dived it, liked it and orders started coming in as divers saw the samples.
The design has not changed over the years and we see other dive manufacturers have enjoyed selling this design under their own brand name. Since the first SMP, Dive Rite has added cam strap slots to all of our backplates and wings so the SMP is no longer really needed to dive a single on a backplate. However, it looks good so some divers still prefer to use one just like I designed it in 1986 for my girlfriend. My girlfriend became my wife in 1987 and Lee Ann has made me think about women and diving ever since.
On another note the slots in the doubles wing came before we added the slots in the backplate. The Europeans had a few methods for putting a harness/wing on doubles. One method involved a molded doubles tank boot with one doubles tank band and a manifold or independents. We supply them with extra long cam straps to attach the twin cylinders to the harness/wing combination. Today many of the Europeans use the double tank band/bolts method for attaching a harness, backplate/wing combination.