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I Tried Sidemount for the First Time

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by 73diver, May 21, 2014.

  1. 73diver

    73diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    I started Tech training back mount and instantly found out that valves seemed miles away even if I wasn't a stiff 67 years old, wearing a dry suit and a 4th Element undergarment. So, I put the Tech training on hold and signed up for some side mount training.

    I've completed one dive so far. My first experience with a pair of LP95's and Nomad harness was favorable. The underarm bungees were a little tight and I had trouble with the remove and reconnect drills. When I let the tanks hang without the bungees (i.e. just the snaps) I was a little better at it.

    I have a feeling this may be my solution to continuing Tech training. When one adds a 40CF EAN50 deco bottle and perhaps an O2 bottle, how difficult is it to get to the leg pockets to deploy a DSMB or retrieve the spare mask?


    KellyAsh likes this.
  2. KellyAsh

    KellyAsh IDC Staff Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
    It sounds like you're going to end up loving the sidemount configuration. One great thing about sidemount is that it is a very versatile platform to build a mission specific configuration on. Your tanks can be hung almost anywhere on your rig, as long as you are familiar with the configuration and don't screw up your NOTOXs.

    S-drills are instantly turned into a big joke when coming from backmount to sidemount. My best time on backmount for an s drill was around 25 seconds. On sidemount the longest time I took was 14 seconds.

    You can also do a bubble check by yourself if you're solo diving since your pertinent gear is right in your lap.

    To remedy the difficulty with thigh pockets when you've got 4 or more tanks on your sides, which were meant for back mounted divers btw, a lot of sidemount divers use a fanny pouch that hangs from the ass end of the harness. When I have only 2 tanks on, I still find it fairly easy to access cargo pockets on my shorts. I just have to wiggle my arm in between my tank and my body and I can access them alright.
  3. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Why would being sidemount affect the time for an S-drill? (I suspect you mean valve drill.)
    alewar, Doppler and syntaxerrorsix like this.
  4. KellyAsh

    KellyAsh IDC Staff Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
    Yes, some people call them S-Drills, or safety drills, or shutdown drills, or valve drills. It's all just switching over to a good valve and shutting down, and isolating, if need be, the bad valve in order to conserve your air supply and regain a good air supply.

    In backmount gear, you have to reach way over and behind your shoulders to get to the valves and the isolation valve. It's pretty uncomfortable and if you're not flexible enough in your shoulders it could be altogether impossible to accomplish.

    In sidemount gear, there is no need for an isolator valve so you have one less valve to shutdown, which simplifies the whole process in a big way. Your other 2 valves are right in front of you which makes operating each one so much easier. This is one reason sidemount is becoming more and more popular.
  5. syntaxerrorsix

    syntaxerrorsix ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    S-Drills and Valve Drills are different. The terms are not interchangeable.
  6. KellyAsh

    KellyAsh IDC Staff Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
    Explain the differences for me please.
  7. syntaxerrorsix

    syntaxerrorsix ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    An S-Drill is used pre-dive and is an air sharing drill. It ensures that team members don't have any trapped hoses and can breath off of both second stages.

    Valve Drills are used to isolate your air source in the event of gas loss.
    KellyAsh, DevonDiver, Mike.D and 2 others like this.
  8. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    S-Drill is a practice of the donation of the long hose (or whatever you use).
    Valve Drill is a practice of the manipulation of the valves.
  9. dbulmer

    dbulmer DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK,Windsor
    And please don't use the words fanny pouch - for Brits it means something different to what you intended :)
    KellyAsh likes this.
  10. Mikko Ilari Laakkonen

    Mikko Ilari Laakkonen Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Helsinki, Finland, Finland
    S-drill is the donation of long hose where buddy breathes from it. Modified s-drill stops when you're breathing from your second with long hose regulator extended towards your buddy and made sure it is not restricted by other hoses, webbing etc.

    - Mikko Laakkonen -

    I love diving and teaching others to dive.
    KellyAsh likes this.

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