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GUE Fundamentals Class

Discussion in 'DIR' started by gkrane, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    I am really interested in taking the GUE Fundies class in the near future. After reading the posts about peoples experiences with the class it has me a bit nervous. It seems like it is somewhat difficult to pass with a rec pass rating the first time. With course costs, travel to Dallas, lodging, and other expenses it seems like multiple attempts to pass could become very costly. A lot of the suggestions seemed to mention that someone should not take the class until they have done 25 dives in the exact gear configuration they will be using for the course. Since I have zero experience diving with a 7' or 5' primary hose this may be a bit overwhelming for me to try on my own. I was hoping to start the use of the long hose during the class so I made sure I did not develop any bad habits on my own that I would need to break.
  2. lv2dive

    lv2dive Formerly known as KatePNAtl Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake City, FL
    When "they" say have at least 25 dives in your gear configuration, they mean don't go out and buy a set of doubles and a drysuit and then try to take the class using them both five dives later.

    North FL is another option for Fundies - the expenses for the class here run significantly less than in other locations. Not to mention several great instructors... although it's my understanding Texas has a few of those as well :)
  3. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    Ahh OK, that makes sense. I would just be taking the class with a single tank and a wetsuit.
  4. rongoodman

    rongoodman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Albany, NY
    The long hose won't be an issue, holding your position in the water column while task loaded will be.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  5. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    It's challenging in a single tank and wet suit. But I've seen people with like 20-25 dives get a rec pass, it's not impossibly hard and the instructors are very good. Tech passes are much, much harder for most people, I've been told it usually takes at least a year of practice after a rec pass to get a tech pass.

    If you get a provisional (which is fairly common) you don't need to take the entire class again. You just need to show the instructor that you have managed to gain an appropriate level of skill in whatever they felt you were lacking, which is typically an afternoon kind of thing. Or it it's something on the written test that you just din't get it can sometimes by done on the phone.

    There are a lot of courses in High Springs, and accommodations are pretty reasonable. I know Meredith has some deals on housing and there is a house managed by either Extreme Exposure or GUE that is a good deal if there is a room free. But after all the other expenses don't know if it would be cheaper.
  6. Boike

    Boike DIR Practitioner

    As a disclaimer, I'm guessing that the GUE instructor you are referring in the DFW area is the same instructor I took Fundies with (Jason) about 3 years ago, and he has since become a close personal friend, so I may be a bit biased. Also, be sure to go to authoritative sources (i.e., your instructor and/or GUE docs) for a final answer to any questions.

    A couple of suggestions based on your posting, from my experience, that apply classes with any GUE instructor:
    • Take fundies - it is worth it, even if you don't have any desire to go into tech/cave, or even stay with the GUE gear configuration. The control you will have in the water on the other side of the training is well worth the time/money "just" to look at pretty fish at 30' in warm, blue, salt water (and I do enjoy that type of diving a lot!)

    • Talk to your instructor BEFORE you spend a lot of $$ on gear. In some/many cases, there can be an opportunity to rent the gear so you can get a feel for it and then start changing your gear piece by piece, in an intelligent manner, to meet your goals. Glancing at your posting history, I wouldn't pull the trigger on a BPW or spool before I talked with the instructor. Not that you can't make a lot of different gear work, but they can guide you so you purchase efficiently (in the long run, this saves a LOT of money.)

    • Be candid about your concerns about budget, etc., with your instructor. I can't imagine you will get a discount on the tuition from any GUE instructor, but they can often offer suggestions on logistics, timing, etc., that can save you from spending needlessly.

    • Don't worry about ratings (provisional, rec, tech pass) while you are in the class. This is easy to say, not so easy to do, but if you will focus on learning what the instructor is teaching, improving your skills, and ENJOYING the process, the improved diving skills you come out with are FAR more important than a piece of plastic. The improved diving skills will translate to a Tech pass over some dive time and coaching. I tell myself this every time I take a GUE course - and sometimes I even follow my own advice...

    • Talk to your instructor about your goals for Fundies - they will have a lot of experience helping people achieve their goals in the most efficient (and enjoyable) way possible.

    • There are a lot of options with how the class can be structured to make the most use of your travel time/costs and vacation time. Your instructor can help guide you with what they think best for your situation, along with what they have available on the schedule. An option that is really awesome, in my opinion, is the Fundies broken into Part 1 & Part 2.

    • As you want to change from wet to dry, and add doubles, there are options for "primers" - no certifications/plastic (at least, I don't think there is), but REALLY awesome instruction towards using the gear safely and at a high level of proficiency.

    • Reading class reports from those who went before, and took the time to document their experience, is VERY helpful. Some of the awesome folks here on ScubaBoard have built a thread that is great: DIR Class Reports - A Consolidated Inventory? I don't think anybody has posted a report on a Jason class; at least I haven't seen it if they have, there aren't a whole lot of recent reports. I'm guilty of not contributing, so I can't say much. Also, here is a neat blog by some folks from Texas (at least when they started out, they moved to Florida to dive more in the process) who document their journey from considering fundies all the way through Cave 2. FrogKickers.com

    • I would not try to figure out the long hose on your own - it isn't rocket science, but there are a lot of little "gotchas" that don't just jump out and announce themselves. Learning is what fundies classes (and all the other GUE courses) are for, at least in my opinion. I am as bad as everybody else, I try to prep for GUE classes, but really, they exist to TEACH new skills, not to TEST them, and the instructor will be VERY good at helping you learn the techniques. You have it right when you say, "not develop any bad habits on my own."

    • The GUE training I've seen follows a nice progression - skills are introduced and developed logically, and make sense. They also flow the skills so that if you are having trouble with x skill, and you move along to y skill for a bit, the next thing you know, x skill has worked itself out when you come back to it (and you will come back to it, early and often, until you are truly comfortable with it.)

    • Upgrading from a provisional to rec, from rec to tech isn't a huge deal, and as best as I know, it doesn't require a full class retake in most cases (I do think that a provisional could expire after some time - months or years - but I'm not 100% sure.) I don't know many folks who nailed a tech pass the first outing, myself included. But it doesn't matter. Go dive with the GUE community, get some experience, ENJOY THE DIVING, and then schedule a day of diving/coaching with the instructor, and you'll get it sorted out. It is worth working towards. I know a few divers that have been working on a tech upgrade for some time - they are working toward a goal, and they dive and have fun while they are doing it. They are following their own timeline, and I really, really like having them as dive buddies. They are REALLY good divers, even at "only" a rec pass.

    • The elephant in the room - yep, GUE training is a bit expensive. Not any way to get around that. However, I think the VALUE of the GUE training I received is off the charts...and when looked at in terms of results vs. cost, it is among the best money I have ever spent! I have always gotten much more out of the classes than I have invested in $$ and effort. I sometimes have to save for a bit to afford the classes, but it has been worth it.

    Regarding your specific situation, I'm in the DFW area, and took fundies from Jason (rec pass, then tech upgrade a few months later), and then took GUE Rec3 (light deco/trimix) from him. In both classes (+upgrade), my diving skills REALLY improved. When my schedule opens back up, I am looking forward to taking GUE DPV from him as well. I have been fortunate enough to be able to do some of the video support for a few of Jason's classes, so I have seen his classes from the perspective of both a student and a spectator.

    Advice/comments specifically relating to Jason and the Texas GUE community would include:
    • If you and Jason mesh personality wise, and the location/logistics work, you won't ever go wrong getting training from him.

    • He is an incredible instructor, and will cheerfully work insanely hard to help you achieve your goals. (I have had a chance to meet/dive/train with a few other GUE instructors, and those that I've interacted with have been pretty dang awesome too, so I think this statement is applicable to just about ANY GUE instructor, and I will also say it is applicable to some really good non-GUE instructors I've been fortunate to dive/train with, but I am specifically applying it to GUE/Jason in response to your thread.)

    • Since gear is one of your concerns, Jason is an off-the-charts resource for gear discussions. He is a VERY capable and experienced scuba technician, certified on multiple lines of gear (and an engineer in his day job) and the knowledge he shares is invaluable. He isn't likely to just say "well, you should just buy x brand because I said so" - but he will often discuss the pros/cons of different makes/models/configurations, etc, as the time and flow of the class allows. He also understands diving on a budget. Day 1 of fundies includes an awesome overview of GUE configurations, but he usually gives a lot more than just "use a 22-inch hose for this application" type of information.

    • Jason is NOT an easy "pass" at any level. He really, really wants you to succeed, and will work really hard to give you the tools to succeed, but you will EARN any rating you come out of training with by demonstrating multiple times that you can do the skill in question to the required standard, habitually. It will not be just once and done, check the box and move on. He will clearly show you where you are in the standards, using video of you performing the skills he is rating, and then do everything he can to help you improve that rating. If you desire to move on to Tech or Cave training, I'd bet lunch that you will be well prepared to do so with a tech pass from him if you keep actively diving/training.

    • There is an active GUE community in Texas, both in the DFW area, and the Lake Travis/Austin and San Marcos area. Maybe even down your way. Most of the time, somebody is diving somewhere. Especially after you take fundies (but even before if you can) try to meet the folks, dive with them...most of the local community are happy to meet non- or new-GUE divers, and there are a few divers who are VERY experienced, and very generous with their time. I know that I am grateful for all the help and coaching these folks have graciously shared with me.

    I hope the comments are helpful. Hopefully, we'll get to meet at one of the lakes and dive together one day! Best of luck in your training, whichever route you choose.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  7. Ouvea

    Ouvea Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: CA, USA

    You're over thinking this and are getting needlessly scared. A good majority of divers that take GUE Fundamentals do not have any experience with a Hogarthian/DIR configuration. In fact, it makes the learning process far easier, as you do not have to "unlearn" of previously ingrained procedures. If you have a fair command of your buoyancy then you can take Fundamentals. Most people overlook this aspect of the course but the dive planning is as important as the in-water skills.

    Honestly, GUE courses and their communities are drug pushers. You take one course and dive with other GUE divers. You get hooked. You pay for more training and more gear. Two years down the road, you have several sets of doubles, several sets of regulators, multiple lights (yeah can't dive w/o a light anymore), and a $7-8K DPV....

    Lorenzoid likes this.
  8. guruboy

    guruboy Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    You could always hire Jason for a private lesson first instead of going straight into Fundies.
  9. elgoog

    elgoog DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco Bay area
    Since it looks like you're traveling for the class, the following option may not be the most practical for you but I'll mention it anyway since I think it's a really good option - you can do Fundies part 1 and part 2 separately so you can separate the buoyancy, trim, propulsion from the ascents, OOG, DSMB, task loading, etc. I found this to be super useful as I got a lot more time to get used to the BP/W, longhose, etc as well as get my buoyancy more under control before I added additional skills that required that buoyancy. My Fundies 1 course report is here - I did it with only ~25 dives total and that, obviously, had a big impact on my experience.
  10. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    Back in the day, before GUE offered the option of splitting Fundies into Parts I and II, it was common for people who took the full 5-day Fundies course to not get a rec pass. As you seem to be aware, it was common for them to go back and practice on their own, and then return for another session. Nowadays, GUE offers the Parts I and II route, so just figure the expense is built in. Having time in between to practice on your own and let what you learned in Part I sink in is invaluable. Don't think of having to make two trips as "extra" expense; it's necessary expense.

    You don't need much, if any, experience with the gear to begin Part 1. Being a masochist, I took Fundies (the full 5-day course) with essentially ZERO dives in a BP/W, long hose, etc. And guess what? I didn't pass the first time. SO WHAT? I learned a LOT. I went into the course heeding advice I had gotten on SB that passing should not be my goal; rather, learning/improving should be my goal. I wasn't interested in cave or tech diving, and a card that says "Fundies rec pass" is fairly useless. So I will repeat the advice I got and say don't focus on the idea of the "pass." Just take the course, in the two parts. You will do well enough.

    Here's my own Fundies class report: GUE Fundamentals (Rec) report (Part I)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018

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