Two CB70 Square Grouper with a Nauticam 5DMK4 Housing, Nauticam 5DMK4, and a Nauticam 5DMK3 Housing  for size reference.

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The idea of a better bag to carry our underwater housings came during a trip to the Mexican island of Isla Mujeres while photographing

migrating whale sharks.

 

A typical day on Isla Mujeres usually looks like you are taking your golf cart to the marina early in the morning before heading out on a

boat in the search or whale sharks. If you are lucky your golf cart has a big tray in the bag to hold your wetsuit, mask, fins and of course your housing.

 

It was that moment an idea was born. Instead of holding on to your precious cargo on your lap while riding the golf cart or seeing it bounce around in

the back of the cart we needed a better form of transportation for our best friend. ( our underwater housing)

 

Here is a list of the initial features that were important to us:

 

  • durable materials that can handle a salt water environment

  • zippers that are proven to last in salt water 

  • big enough to carry a housing with a jumbo dome port like the Zen 230

  • exterior pouches to store sunscreen, sun glasses, hat, hotel keys, bandana, and water bottle 

  • big enough for a completely assembled housing yet small enough to fold into your dive luggage

  • exterior loops or hooks to attach the bag to the boat

  • see through mesh pouches for small items, and accessories.

First concept drawing of the CineBags CB70 Square Grouper  2015 by Brian Wong

CB70 Square Groupers on the dock in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  (L)     A set of four CB70 Square Groupers in the golf cart bucket Isla Mujeres, Mex.  (R)

We chose a heavy duty tarpaulin for the material.  It is the same fabric you have seen being use in these super durable North Face base camp duffles that we have been traveling with for over a decade.

 

Zippers had to be of the highest grade so only the best YKK zippers would do. For the zippers to handle the harsh salt water environment, we chose the same kind used on Bimini tops for boats.

 

At the time when we designed the bag I was using a Nauticam 1DX Housing with two Sea&Sea 250 strobes.  This setup is pretty much one of the bulkiest and biggest setups you can shoot with underwater. So we figured if my housing, strobes, and a big dome port fits, then it will pretty much hold 95% of the housings out in the market.

First technical drawing of the CineBags CB70 Square Grouper 2015 Brian Wong

The exterior mesh pouches are a great way to keep your small items, especially the once you will frequently use while out on the boat.

 

We came up with a special way to fold the bag (see video here) to make it as collapsible as possible. There is no point of having a boat bag if it is too big to fit in your dive luggage.

 

The Square Grouper might not be a bag you think of as being an essential bag to have on your dive trip but I have seen the envy of so many underwater photographers when they see us rolling into the marina with our Square Grouper while they carry their gear loosely in their hand and over their shoulders.

 

More so I have found the Square Grouper to be a great way to establish my real estate while on the boat.  It will hold my t-shirt, towel, hat, wetsuit or any other gear I leave behind while in the water and it protects my housing.  It especially protects my dome port from scratches when I am back on the boat.

 

The Square Grouper was designed on location, like all of our products, by photographer and trip organizer Gregory Sweeney, designer and photographer Brian Wong, and underwater photographer and cinematographer Markus Davids (owner of CineBags and CineBags Underwater).

 

Visit your local CineBags Underwater dealer  and ask them to demo the bag for you.