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DIR- GUE Fundies buddies

Discussion in 'DIR' started by Wstern5, Jun 10, 2021 at 3:39 PM.

  1. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    I can't believe you described almost to a T what happened in my Fundies class back in 2014.

    Except it was a diver with 40 years experience (since being a teenager), with a new drysuit, who could not maintain any depth as soon as asked to task load, couldn't reach her valve with multiple attempts each day, cried many times, had a drysuit leak on her arm each morning and refused to do the 2nd dive all but once (in mid-60's water), and couldn't accept any helpful advice from instructors. Those instructors, btw, were patient and understanding beyond belief.

    She had excellent trim, a good back kick, and remembered the steps of skills well.

    The 3rd teammate, with a small amount of dives over 4 years, was in the process of doing AOW and was recommended 2 days earlier by that Instructor to take Fundies, learn basic skills, and then come back and finish AOW.

    It was her first day with a bp/w and long hose, she was not able to maintain any depth for even moments, flailed her hands and fins constantly, and an Instructor repeatedly found her unknowingly low on gas. She went up, down, and swam around to keep position when she was supposed to watch the instructor or a teammate doing skills.

    She had a great frog kick, however, and could articulate her ankles and clap the backs of her fins better than either of us. She also had pretty good trim (when not task loaded), a great attitude, and was very willing to learn.

    Similar. The 2 Instructor Trainers split up after the first day, and one worked with the newer diver individually for the remainder of the course.

    I could not believe that 3 days later, when we all did a fun dive together, that diver was a completely different diver, maintaining position, calming her hands and fins right down. It was an incredible transformation.

    The best advice that I was given by a Tech 2/Cave 2 mentor as I was about to do Fundies was not to let what anyone else is doing "mess you up."

    He said to "keep an eye on your teammate and an eye on your computer" (demonstrating with his hands out front at eye level across from me). He tapped on the imaginary depth gauge on his wrist and said, "This is your only reliable point of reference. If they go off depth, don't follow them or the Instructor can't know if you're blindly following or trying to help. You keep your depth and do your skills, and signal them to come back, down, up, hold, whatever, but don't go with them."

    What you'll find out quickly is that they expect you to give your teammate(s) a lot of signalling to get them to come back into position, "clean up" (stow the long hose), maintain trim, etc., yes, without following. Situational awareness is key, especially while task loaded. The Instructor will do a lot of that at the beginning, but will expect more communication and team skills as you go along.

    In the end, everyone is evaluated individually, whether everyone is in singles or doubles or in a mixed team.

    Even with the momentary u/w frustrations, it was an amazing course, I learned a lot, and made great friends. We all laughed a lot and had a great time. Having to deal with a wayward teammate while keeping myself on task made me a stronger diver.

    I've seen many great team mates in other classes, but only one other diver that needed a lot of attention. Hopefully your class will go off without a hitch. Good luck! :)
  2. ginti

    ginti DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    Hi @Wstern5, usually I would say it doesn't matter too much. True, lousy team members happen, but you will learn and get your rating with the right attitude.

    What I think is more important is that you want to go for the tec1. Here's the thing: if you live in a place with many GUE divers, you will find many people to dive with and train with, so no problems.

    But if you live in a place without many GUE divers, training could be a problem, and having a partner with the same plan (e.g. taking fundies and T1) may help. In this case, it makes sense to do the course together, to dive together after the course and to take T1 together. But again, that main reason is to dive and train with buddies having similar approaches and goals, nothing more.

    That said, I agree with previous comments in general.
    Wstern5 likes this.
  3. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    We had a few issues. My instructor was actually a fairly new instructor. Though he did a good job of handling the situation, I believe with more experience he would have handled it differently. The GUE instructor friends I have likely would have had handled it a little differently. Probably pulling the guy on the side and having a serious talk with him. The guy was almost bad enough to be dangerous. The biggest issue though is this guy just did not pay attention to anything. He was absolutely clueless. He walked away not passing. The scary thing is, he's convinced he will come back in a couple of months and get a tech pass. None of us have any clue how this guy could think he has any shot of passing. I would find it hard to imagine he would even get a rec pass unless he hires an instructor to just baby sit him.
    As for the second instructor, that was another point of contention. Going into the class I actually specifically signed up with that instructor because I've seen them teaching at dive sites and like how they control their classes. After signing up, I was told that instructor's fairly newly minted co-instructor would be teaching the class. I was always under the impression that every fundies class included the primary instructor and either an assistant or a videographer. So between my assumptions and how the primary instructor worded their emails, I was under the impression that both would be teaching the class and that the more experienced instructor would be observing. (Hope that's not too hard to follow as I'm trying to be vague to not identify the instructors). In the end I was actually very happy with the newer instructor, but halfway through day 2 (dive day 1) two of us were ready to drop the class due to the combination of feeling we weren't honestly explained who would be teaching and the horrific diver in the class. Luckily we both came together as teammates and supported each other's frustration and moved forward with a good outcome.

    As for how to handle the horrible student, that was a little bit of a cluster as well. I'm friends with quite a few gue divers and instructors and know that teamwork is the hallmark of gue diving, but my friends also told me that your personal safety is more important than maintaining a team when someone's a cluster f. So we tried our hardest to maintain a safe team, but not completely strand the horrible diver. The main issue is that our instructor never gave us direction on how to handle the situation, and more importantly never actually discussed teamwork and team dynamics as part of the lecture or pre-dive discussion. I actually would have thought that was standard in all fundies class, but apparently not. On the last day when the more experienced instructor showed up, they actually were surprised to see nobody in the team was watching and helping each other kit up and that once someone had their gear on they'd just wander to the water and leave the others behind. It surprised me, but I didn't say anything as I felt it wasn't my place. The senior instructor made sure to point that shortcoming out to the instructor and students and made sure we all went to the water as a team.

    Hopefully my comments don't lend the impression I had a horrible class. Even with an instructor who was a little green and a horrible teammate, I still learned. It took 2 of us making sure we focused on working together, while balancing trying not to alienate the horrid diver. It was a great class, but had some very very huge hiccups. Oddly enough, knowing I can perfect the skills for a tech pass while dealing with a bumbling idiot as a teammate was empowering. I know that when I move onto dives with competent teammates, it will be a breeze.
  4. beester

    beester DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Belgium / Italy
    In my experience the focus on team, and SA (situational awareness) are hallmarks of GUE courses. However yes (having done as well a course with quite a lot of disimilarity between experience, and skill levels, due to various reasons), I believe in Fundies it can take a bit of a back drop, versus all the other stuff you need to go through. All depends on the students.

    However having done a lot of other GUE courses, the things you see in a fundies class you will also see in technical classes. Focus will be even more on team and SA, but you'll still have different levels of skill and experience, no matter if you know eachother or not.

    C1: One of us 3 (a big guy) felt very claustrophobic, and the first cave dive during the course was called on gas after 8 min in the dive. This improved a lot and it was an amazing experience but we did not all pass the class on first try.
    T1: One of us 3, had very bad situational awareness, was task overloaded during the full course, but specially during the experience (deco) dives. Not turning on gas, going over min gas, etc we did not all pass the class.
    DPV1: Fun course, just fun, just f*cking around having fun!
    C2: One of us managed to **** up our instructor (a very laid back guy normally) telling after the first evaluation dive... This ******* valve drill **** is the last I'll ever do in a GUE course (he was T2/C1 at the time)... I can tell you I NEVER did as many valve drills, valve failure scenarios in a lot of different situations as during this Mexico C2 course :p We all passed, but we all still joke about this one!
    T2: Just a wonderful class really... easy peasy!! Didn't expect it, but me and my buddies were so on the same line and level, that all just clicked and was just super easy. Immediately after the course with the same buddy team we did 70+m dives without any issue or concern. Very strange that!

    All teams were mixed and with the exception of 1 all international, where at least one (sometimes both) of the other divers in the team I didn't really know before. Every course was a different instructor. Some of my class members have become live long friends!

    Fundies was the hardest though... really a tough one! But every course had it's highlights, its laughs, its cries and its moments of utter destruction and tiredness :p
    Ayisha and ginti like this.
  5. ginti

    ginti DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    Very sorry to hear your story, @rddvet. In my experience, cases like yours are sporadic... but my experience is limited.

    A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal.
    (Team - Wikipedia)
    If somebody actively chooses to not work together, as the guy who didn't pass your course, this person is not in the team. So take care of these people, but only as long as you're safe - I perfectly agree with your friend's suggestion.

    NOTE: team-working can be complicated; sometimes, you can have different opinion and to discuss them underwater is a challenge. This happened to me during both T1 and C1 courses. But

    I took fundies a lot of time ago, but I do not remember any theory about the team, just a lot of talking about awareness. However...

    ... my instructor wanted us to help each other, wanted us to enter the water together, wanted us to communicate underwater, and he made it very clear during the course. GUE is pretty clear about it: for instance, when I got the rec-pass, the instructor pointed out two reasons why I couldn't get a tec pass. First, the ascent was not very well controlled (at least, not to a tec pass level). Secondly, my team awareness and my communication underwater were not good enough. In other words, not being sufficiently focused on the team is a sufficient reason to fail a tec-pass.

    I suspect that the "green" instructor was very unlucky in getting such a hard student in one of his first classes, and in the end, he managed to give a decent course if I understand you correctly. At least these are good news :)
  6. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    No, I understand. The frustrations of those moments u/w didn't cloud the whole class for me either. It was an amazing experience, I learned a lot, and made some great friends. We all laughed a lot and had a great time most of the time. The newer diver and I have kept in touch across countries and even been on a liveaboard together. She bears no resemblance to the diver she was the first day.

    Attitude, awareness, and the ability to accept what videos show and accept constructive criticism are so important in being able to move forward.

    Yes, that experience will make your experiences with competent teammates a breeze. :)
    SD Climber likes this.
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Tech Instructor / Captain ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Livonia, MI
    You didn't miss much. I was in her fundies class, she had her own horrible diver to contend with.
  8. SD Climber

    SD Climber DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Diego, CA
    Just finished Fundies this past weekend with David Watson. We had a "mixed" team, two divers single/wetsuits and me in doubles/drysuit. We did one dive together before class to meet and see what we were like in the water. My teammates were already pretty calm and stable so I had no worries going into class that there might be some huge disconnect in baseline abilities (we all had approximately the same number of dives going into class). We also really clicked personality-wise, which was great. I'd rather have that than clashing personalities and equal skillsets and goals.
    Ayisha and rjack321 like this.
  9. Ulfhedinn

    Ulfhedinn Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: So CAL
    What happens if a class that forms only has you and the instructor on the day of class?
  10. ginti

    ginti DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    The class cannot be done without partners. But this scenario is unlikely: the other teammates would lose the money they have already paid. More likely, they would inform everyone in advance and try to reschedule the class.

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