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Old 10-10-2019, 02:03 PM   #16
kodama
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

I guess the Salvimar Atlantis knifes serve a similar purpose. They donít have a guard but a rubber/plastic loop that helps retaining the knife in your hand.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:38 PM   #17
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

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Originally Posted by kodama View Post
I guess the Salvimar Atlantis knifes serve a similar purpose. They donít have a guard but a rubber/plastic loop that helps retaining the knife in your hand.
Yes, that would do, in fact I will buy one as all you need is the loop to catch onto with your fingers as you draw it and then wiggle your fingers into it while wearing dive gloves. Thanks, I had completely forgotten about that knife.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:55 PM   #18
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

Just ordered one from Scubastore. A good feature. "The knife can be fully disassembled for maintenance and cleaning."
https://www.scubastore.com/scuba-div...knife/137373/p
All kelp divers should have one. A different blade option would be good for those who only carry one knife, although I always carry two.

A more rigid and slightly more open loop might be better in terms of quickly sliding your gloved hand right in when operating purely by feel and in a big hurry, but I will find that out when I try it out. Still have a vague memory of a rubber D-guard knife with a colored handle as part of the main grip from possibly the late sixties or early seventies, but was probably a flop at the time and as some knives corroded the tang inside the soft grips and cracked the handle over a period and then such knives were soon headed for the trash.

Last edited by popgun pete; 10-10-2019 at 07:43 PM. Reason: extra comment
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:19 PM   #19
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

Although not a general purpose knife some time ago I bought an Aldi ceramic kitchen knife for about 5 bucks, mainly because it was sitting there on the sale table. Sometime later I had to cut up heavy duty cardboard cartons and boxes to pack in a recycling bin and on an impulse decided to try out the ceramic knife. There was a huge pile of thick wall boxes and the ceramic blade went through them all like butter. Thinking that I had probably done for the blade I washed it off and then tried it out on cutting a tomato for a sandwich for lunch. To my amazement the tomato cut like I was using a razor, so these ceramic knives are hard and sharp! Also brittle unless you buy a 200 buck zirconia yttria reinforced ceramic blade, but these things should be great for slashing kelp and there ain't nothing to rust. Just need a sheath of some sort as the supplied scabbard is just a blade cover.

https://www.ceramics.net/ceramic-mat...zirconias/ytzp
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:21 AM   #20
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

Ceramic blades perform great and have a long edge retention. But they are a bitch to sharpen. You need a set of decent diamond stones to do so.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:40 AM   #21
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

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Ceramic blades perform great and have a long edge retention. But they are a bitch to sharpen. You need a set of decent diamond stones to do so.
For 5 bucks a pop I would throw it away and just buy another one, Aldi sell them cheap because they are just plain zirconia. Still have a proper diver’s knife for those other jobs like prying things and bashing them with the hammer butt as well as my death stickers (brain surgery, etc.).
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:30 AM   #22
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

The Salvimar knife is okay. I prefer a lanyard. Often I need to use my hands freely. It’s nice to drop the blade and have full dexterity. With a short lanyard I can invert my hand and get a perfect grip on the handle with one hand.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:02 PM   #23
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

2x
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:46 PM   #24
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

Not to be a naysayer, but I'm gonna go down as being against the idea of a knife 'retainer'. For starters, it wouldn't work strapped inside my calf because it would hit the other leg. Anywhere else and it would bang against stuff or hang up in kelp, oil rigs, etc., possibly getting pulled out and lost.
Another issue is time. I have a set of ski poles with hard rubber retainers. By the time I got off the lift and into those retainers my buddies were halfway down the mountain. If UR stuck in the kelp, low vis, surge, you don't want to be fiddling, you want to be cutting.
Ditto for the strap. Don't want to be fiddlin' with the strap, and it is going to dangle/hang up on stuff etc.
I like the idea of a small guard to keep fingers from sliding forward over the sharp blade.
I dropped a dive knife once becuz it had a tang knob that screwed onto the back that came unscrewed. Managed to grab the blade sans handle and knob as it fell. Replaced the knob with a couple nuts epoxied in place and made some hard plastic handles.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:37 PM   #25
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

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Not to be a naysayer, but I'm gonna go down as being against the idea of a knife 'retainer'. For starters, it wouldn't work strapped inside my calf because it would hit the other leg. Anywhere else and it would bang against stuff or hang up in kelp, oil rigs, etc., possibly getting pulled out and lost.
Another issue is time. I have a set of ski poles with hard rubber retainers. By the time I got off the lift and into those retainers my buddies were halfway down the mountain. If UR stuck in the kelp, low vis, surge, you don't want to be fiddling, you want to be cutting.
Ditto for the strap. Don't want to be fiddlin' with the strap, and it is going to dangle/hang up on stuff etc.
I like the idea of a small guard to keep fingers from sliding forward over the sharp blade.
I dropped a dive knife once becuz it had a tang knob that screwed onto the back that came unscrewed. Managed to grab the blade sans handle and knob as it fell. Replaced the knob with a couple nuts epoxied in place and made some hard plastic handles.
Well it would be a belt knife and you wear the guard flat against you, not sticking out like it does on the Atlantis knife. I have lost loaders fished out by loops snagging on projections when squirming along the bottom when I was not paying attention, so now they go on my wrist. Each to his own as we all dive in different territory, this is more about ideas rather than inflicting my choices on anyone else.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:02 PM   #26
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

You loop the lanyard around the bottom of the sheath. This also helps hold the knife in place. If you need it super quick then don’t put the lanyard on. I wear mine on my calf just fine in kelp, reef, and rigs. Rig the lanyard with a knotted loop through the handle hole and a separate knotted loop for your wrist. This way when you grab the lanyard and tug it pops the retaining band around the knife.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:05 AM   #27
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Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

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You loop the lanyard around the bottom of the sheath. This also helps hold the knife in place. If you need it super quick then donít put the lanyard on. I wear mine on my calf just fine in kelp, reef, and rigs. Rig the lanyard with a knotted loop through the handle hole and a separate knotted loop for your wrist. This way when you grab the lanyard and tug it pops the retaining band around the knife.


That is exactly what I do. Works great.


When I pull the knife my hand goes true the elastic cord first moves upwards and draws the knife out. One fluid motion and you can let go of the knife after you brained the fish and are dealing with the stringer.

Last edited by kodama; 10-14-2019 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:28 PM   #28
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

I have never had to cut myself out of kelp, but I would imagine a serrated knife would work best. I've dove the usual crazy thick stuff where you almost feel like you can walk on it at low tide. The most annoying thing is that piece that always grabs the heel of your fin as you descend and ruins your perfect dive.

Worst case, I would drop my weight harness or whatever else I was hung up on. Without accessories, their is little for the kelp to latch on to.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:50 PM   #29
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

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Is there a particular tool that is good to have on you to cut yourself out of kelp if you get stuck?, I feel like knives are too slow but correct me if I'm wrong.

I've been diving with surgical type shears on me for this purpose, but they seem too small to really do the job fast. Maybe I should practice cutting at depth with them.

I'm thinking something more heavy duty with knife-sharp blades like a gardening shear

any other ideas?
A couple things worth considering: First, giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) snaps really easily if you bend it over on itself. Provided you pay attention to your surroundings and don’t spin around in circles, it’s rare that you’ll ever find yourself so tangled that you can’t weave yourself through or snap your way out of it. The understory algae can be a lot easier to get tangled in and are also more difficult to break free from.

Second, when it comes to knives vs. shears, I’m firmly in the knife camp. I find them faster and easier to operate, especially under stress and with gloves on. That said, most dive knives are garbage for anything safety-related. I love my Salvimar (same one someone posted above) for braining fish, but those stiletto blades are useless for slicing. Because the edges are so straight and taper so aggressively, you have no slicing leverage, and anything slick (like mono or kelp) just tends to slide down the blade. I’ll always have my Salvi on hand as a kill knife, but as a safety cutter, something with a little more belly would be great.

Back in college, I did a lot of kelp harvesting on research dives. I had a little dinky scuba knife as my main, but for slicing through kelp I carried a SOG Seal Pup. That thing rusted like crazy and took up a laughable amount of real estate on my leg, but it made short work of kelp, 550 cord, dyneema, fishing line, and just about everything else. As an added benefit, because of the blade geometry, it took a better edge than my Salvi.

I’ve never carried the SOG freediving for obvious reasons, but the more I dive with a reel, the more I’m thinking about carrying a dedicated line cutting knife for safety. One option I’ve been considering is the Spyderco Jumpmaster 2. The blade is H1 steel, which is supposed to be extremely corrosion resistant. The blade has a decent amount of belly, it’s a good length, and the serrations are just aggressive enough to help without being so large that mono catches in them. It was originally designed for airborne troops to cut parachute static lines.

My biggest hangup with the Spydie is the cost. I think it’s close to three times the cost of my Salvimar. But the more I think about it, the more I think that’s a dumb excuse. People spend a lot of money on carbon fins, carbon guns, and all sorts of specialized gear. It doesn’t make any sense that I’d accept less out of my dive knife than my fins or my EDC knife.

It probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an option if you’re not happy with your current knife/shear selection. If I end up pulling the trigger on one I’ll let you know how it goes.


As a side note, there’s some type of gardening shears that a lot of guys swear by for cable (although as a caveat, I’ve never tried them for that purpose and can’t promise they actually work). I forget the name of them, but Half Moon Bay Nursery sells them. If you’re facing the register, they’re on the wall on the right hand side. I think they start with a “J”.
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:42 PM   #30
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Re: Tool to cut yourself out of kelp quickly?

Lots of great information here, to echo what everyone else has said the Salvimar ST has saved me from some very close calls while commercial freedive spearfishing on the oil rigs. It also makes slight work out of dyneema cutting fish out at depth 80-120’. I have used it rarely with mono but I prefer dyneema in situations where shooting like gets frayed or even cut from one big fish. With the ST I found I like to keep it just to the side of my belly button on my belt, that way it doesn’t get in the way of my water entry. Which as you all know if 50% of freediving. Even when scuba diving on wrecks thick with fishing line down deep, I keep it zip tied to my inflator hose or on belt if using it. Keep the good info coming, I hope to dive the kelp one day soon.
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