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Do you feel more effective guiding/leading in back mount or side mount? Why?

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by MichaelMc, Sep 30, 2018.

Do you feel more effective guiding/leading in back mount or side mount? Why?

  1. Back

    2 vote(s)
    6.3%
  2. Side

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. Don't guide, but want to vote, back

    2 vote(s)
    6.3%
  4. Don't guide, but want to vote, side

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Other

    2 vote(s)
    6.3%
  6. This is a stupid question

    17 vote(s)
    53.1%
  7. I'm not a side mount diver, so back

    5 vote(s)
    15.6%
  1. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    1,392
    731
    113
    Assuming you're experienced in both, do you feel more effective guiding/leading in back mount or side mount? Why? With similar gas loads, not small back vs. 2x big side. ETA: Do you see one as a more suited tool for that role?

    I've shadowed post-AOW students many times and lead a few groups of post-AOW friends, all in back mount. Yet I've started diving sidemount myself. For people experienced in side mount and back mount, I'm curious how they have found leading divers, of any type, to differ when you yourself are in back or side. If people are leading divers, I assume they're also assisting or teaching and thus interact with groups while wearing at least back and possibly side. I've seen one comment on supervising in side vs. back mount but no other remarks.

    Redundancy might be a difference, but back mount can be redundant with little extra load with either a pony, back or slung, or tiny doubles, AL40/LP50.

    I'm not talking about teaching itself, where compatibility with student gear is an issue. ETA: But being leader, if not necessarily navigator, for some less experienced folk, in OW, that you are responsible for.

    Edit: Changed from ‘capable’ to ‘effective”, as in more suited tool. Can’t change the poll title though.
     
  2. RainPilot

    RainPilot completey delusional scientology snowflake Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: UAE
    3,995
    3,537
    113
    All opinions expressed below are my own, so therefore probably wrong:

    A big factor for me on a "working" dive, is task loading. In order to minimise said load, I always prefer to dive in the configuration that requires the least thought and attention from me. In my case, that would be side mount as it is the primary way I dive, so the equipment handling side of things is below the cognitive threshold for me these days.

    Another factor is the redundancy side of things. In SM there is no single failure that can take away all my gas, so I am self-sufficient to an extent that I am not in any other config. In a situation where I am leading divers, they are usually inexperienced divers at best, so in my mind I treat it as a "student" situation, in that I don't expect any of them to be looking out for me and relying on them may not be optimal.

    I also take my self-imposed burden of care (too) seriously. If I am leading divers, I ensure that I have a means of bringing them all up if things go horridly wrong. In my case, I have 2 extra QC6 on my SM tanks, with 2 slimline regs on the female connectors in my pocket.

    That gives me the option of having 4 divers at once on my gas supply if Murphy gets a little over-enthusiastic. I KNOW this is totally unnecessary overkill, but it does set my mind at ease, which in turn lowers my mental loading allowing me to devote more attention to what the clients want from me (safety, peace of mind, fun and critters)

    YMMV etc etc etc
     
    MichaelMc likes this.
  3. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    15,681
    7,007
    113
    I only "lead" the first dive when teaching which is a skills checklist evaluation. The next 3 dives, the students are leading and we follow them around while they do navigation courses and I try to avoid "leading" other divers unless it's in something like a cave or a wreck and we're buddies, but I'm more familiar or happen to be "dive leader". Very different.

    When I'm teaching, I prefer to be in doubles. Equipment moves around a lot less when in weird positions, you can get right up next to a diver with a lot less effort, and getting in and out of the water is faster. No issue being in singles either, just personal preference to dive doubles. Nothing to do with extra gas or redundancy, I just find it generally more comfortable for me.

    I voted stupid question because it's not about being more capable, it's about being more effective, and I believe I am more effective when diving doubles than I am sidemount.

    I've been sidemounting almost as long as i've been diving doubles *8yrs vs 9yrs* and have comparable hours logged on both and consider myself primarily a sidemount diver so it certainly has nothing to do with ability or comfort diving one configuration or the other. It is simple which is the best tool for that dive, and for teaching, sidemount is not the tool IMO
     
    MichaelMc likes this.
  4. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    8,963
    2,815
    113
    I lead other qualified divers all the time (sometimes they lead me). I would never choose my gear based on this, I dive what I feel like at the time and what makes sense for the conditions. Sometimes that BM-singles, BM-doubles, SM, BM-CCR, SM-CCR, sometimes its just to get hours for me (CCR), sometimes its because I want to be minimalist and have the least amount of encumbrances to be first in, first out and provide the maximum amount of energy towards helping my friend/buddy/mentee
     
    MichaelMc and northernone like this.
  5. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    3,793
    3,390
    113
    Like @rjack321 when I lead dives I'm picking the gear configuration based on the environment/plan.

    If I don't need complexity, I do simplicity.
     
    MichaelMc likes this.
  6. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    8,963
    2,815
    113
    Usually do that too. But if I'm leading divers with 600 lifetime dives under conditions they are accustomed to, and I feel like diving my CCR to log a few hours - I just dive the rebreather.
     
  7. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    3,793
    3,390
    113
    Confession time.... me too. Buddies get to put up with my shakedown dives, odd configurations or going bubbleless if I'm wanting to sneak up on something.

    ...That's if they are solid divers and I don't need to babysit.
     
  8. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,602
    2,600
    113
    I voted stupid question. I really appreciate you making that an option and wish most polls included it. :)
     
  9. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    2,325
    2,500
    113
    Clearly, @MichaelMc has led us to how polls should be constructed regardless of whatever configuration he chooses to dive.
     
    MichaelMc likes this.

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