The Goodman Handle
Commonly, any handle used on a canister light head is referred to as a Goodman handle. However the design and purpose of the Goodman handle is very specific and many fall short of these requirements.
In the 1970’s Bob Goodman, a Florida local, designed a hand mounted light that allowed divers to retain full use of their hands—very important in caves where it can be necessary for divers to pull their way through high flow sections. The other main advantage is the ability to use both a primary light and primary reel with the same hand—which was increasingly important as the use of scooters during exploration became common place, allowing divers to use a primary light, reel and scooter simultaneously.
Goodman handles must be rigid. While the primary light is usually on the left hand, it is sometimes necessary to temporarily switch hands, e.g. to dump gas, reference an SPG or retrieve something from the left pocket. The rigid handle allows the light to be moved into the right hand (holding it by the ballast) and then quickly and efficiently replaced on the left hand. Soft/elastic handles, while feeling secure when in place, make this more cumbersome and time consuming, requiring the strap to be wiggled back over the left hand.
Another important property of a Goodman handles is a flat low profile metal frame. This allows the frame of an exploration reel to sit flat against the Goodman handle in the palm of the hand and is very stable. The round handles found on many lights need to be ‘held’ by the fingers, reducing dexterity and full use of the hand and are very unstable when used with a reel.
Many explorers add a thumb loop to the light head which allows the right thumb to hold the light if required. Thumb loops are excellent for scooter diving when the fingers of the right hand are in use but the thumb is available.
So that’s it! A Goodman handle has a rigid and flat, low profile metal design for maximising utility in various situations and to maintain dexterity and use of the hands.