* Prices may differ from that shown
=== Why do you need an octopus holder? ===
When scuba diving it is now usual to dive with two regulators (the mouthpiece that you breathe through). The purpose of this is to have a back up air source if for any reason your main one stops working. It is also used so that if someone that you are diving with has a problem (running out of air, equipment failure etc.) two people can breath from the same cylinder. This is why the secondary air source, usually called an octopus, is usually a bright lurid yellow to make it easy for another diver to see, locate and grab in an emergency.
As explained above the octopus needs to be accessible quickly and easy to remove from where it is stored. This is where an octopus holder comes in and there are a range of designs which do this and it is essential to explain where your octopus is located and how to remove it to any dive partners prior to diving.
The main types of octopus holder that I have come across are the 'scumball' type as I am reviewing here, the magnetic type where you just pull to release it and the simple rubber loop which loops around the mouthpiece. The magnetic version is the best and easiest to use but by far the most expensive. The rubber loop can be difficult to remove and replace an octopus as it gets tangles a little around the mouthpiece. I've used all of these types in training where you practice changing a mouthpiece and breathing from a partners gear. I've now upgraded to a magnetic style octopus holder although dived with my 'scumball' type until recently for about 3 years.
===What is the scumball holder? ===
The main component of the scumball octopus holder is a rubber 'pot' which is a sort of tulip shape with a circular opening at the top. The rubber is flexible and a regulator is secured by slotting the mouthpiece of the regulator into the opening.
The rubber pot is attached permanently to a belt type clip which is in turn connected to a plastic spring clip that can be used to position the holder in a suitable location on your dive jacket (BCD, stab jacket or whatever you like to call the inflatable jacket worn for diving)
For safety the belt holding the pot and the rubber pot are a bright yellow colour which makes them easy to see in the murky depths of the UK.
===Does it work===
The scumball holder holds an octopus well. I have never had the mouthpiece fall out without having to pull on it intentionally. I have used it when teaching students and they have had no problem removing the octopus quickly for use (although many have problems with swapping it over into their mouth).
The scumball holder has lasted very well and shown no signs of degradation over 3 years of use (it's rubber so I wouldn't really expect it to).
I have had issues with getting the octopus back in. In order to hold the mouthpiece in the opening is smaller than the mouth piece and it can take a bit of fiddling to push the mouthpiece into the opening. It's not as tricky as a simple rubber loop, but much more annoying than using a magnetic holder.
At £9ish from cetecea this holder compares well to other brands making similar products. For a lasting piece of kit that works reasonably I think this is a reasonable price to pay. If you can afford it opt for the magnetic style costing around £30 (which I'll review soon), however this holder does the job and is a more than acceptable product.