A beginner's guide to sifting through the nonsense
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Well Roturner, it seems obvious that you are having serious gear issues and should be denounced as a troll.
All sarcasm aside, I agree that I do tend to find a bit of piling on happening. I do scroll rather quickly when I see that the responses are all the same. In fact, I don't even bother to respond when a question seems to have been answered well...mostly.
Now go get that BP/Wing, long hose, non pony bottle setup and be happy.
Very interesting, but I'm not that bright, so I kept it even simpler.
I found posts from people with more experience then me who were in my area, then dived with them.
Yes, I actually watched them dive before I judged their advice. The diving skill tells everything. Then, when I saw how superior their skills were to mine, and to most of the other divers I'd seen, I started listening to them.
I made gear changes and training changes and technique changes.
So, I saw people I wanted to dive like, and then listened to them when they posted.
Lynne, I know why you say the things that you do, and if I were in your fins I'd say the same. There will come a time, though, when you will cease to be a student and you will become a diver.
You have been incredibly lucky to live where you do and dive with, and learn from, great instructors. But, you have yet to dive with great divers... and... when... you... do... you will find that instruction and equipment choices are secondary to the challenge and true excitement of making your way through a "real" dive that no instructor or buddy of yours has made. After such, then you can be the one telling the bold story...