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Recreational Sidemount ...

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by BCSGratefulDiver, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. tomfcrist

    tomfcrist NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia, USA
    The material in the padi course.

    As far as self learning to efficiently dive side mount, maybe 4-5 dives. It's really not rocket science.
  2. gekodivebali

    gekodivebali Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Padang Bai
    I strongly disagree with you Tom. There are so many different ways in which you can tweak your gear, that it would take dozens of dives to try. Changing the height of your cam bands alone could take 5 dives to figure out on your own.
    A good instructor will give you starting points that you can then further refine on your own. If you believe you can progress no further after a mere 5 dives self taught, then you must be some kind of almighty sidemount god...
    victorzamora likes this.
  3. tomfcrist

    tomfcrist NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia, USA
    I guess I'm a side mount god then. Lol. Once again, it's not rocket science.

    Are there some people that need to be spoon fed? Yes.

    But the majority of serious divers have the mental capacity to use deductive reasoning and a basic understanding of underwater physics that will allow them to self learn BASIC side mount configuration and skills. As I said before there are some things like tech overhead specific stuff that is better learned under instruction, but still not 100% nessecary. It's like diving mixed gas...is it easier to learn from a kick ass instructor..yes. Can it be learned safely by your self..yes.

    When you are diving tech, the risks are too high in my opinion to not get competent training. But for recreational dives...self taught gear configuration is just fine. Once again..just my opinion.
  4. kwinter

    kwinter Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Jersey
    I don't mean to sound flippant, but what does everyone mean by sidemount training? People seem to be arguing about sidemount while they have hugely different pictures in mind of what it is. Some have differentiated sidemount configuration from sidemount diving. And others talk more about the configuration and tank placement than the skills of regulator switching and gas management.

    Long before I ever heard the term sidemount or saw a rig designed for it (even before the Transpac) I was diving back mounted independent twins. They were not called doubles because they were not manifolded. So there were 2 regs, long and short, using gas switches, etc. just like sidemount today. Should there be separate courses about the configuration and the gas management? There was no one around to teach me back then, and I am only now starting to play with sidemount configuration on OC. I never needed a card to dive BM independent twins. Do I need one to move the tanks to my side? And I've been carrying my bailouts in a sidemount configuration for years. Yet I don't consider myself a sidemount diver.

    So how about discussing a definition of sidemount instruction before deciding whether it should be limited to the technical realm or included in recreational? Configuration? Gas management? Regulator management? What makes sidemount?

    Please pardon any typos. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    I guess that would make me a not very serious diver then. I had what I considered to be an extremely well-taught sidemount class, but there were things that I needed to discover on my own simply because the class was taught in cave country, and we didn't cover them. Things like boat entries and trimming out different styles of cylinders, for example. They took some experimentation ... and some of that proved to be more time consuming and aggravating (to more than just me) than it needed to be.

    Little about diving is rocket science ... but people pay for expertise, they pay for real-time feedback and solutions that reduce or avoid altogether the trial and error that comes with self-instruction. They pay for the opportunity to learn about the different types of configurations, the pros and cons of each, and in some cases the opportunity to try those different rigs before they decide which one to sink their money into. Trial and error can cost you more in re-purchasing equipment you discover doesn't really suit your needs than a class would have cost.

    Some people are tinkerers, and learn best by experimentation ... most are not. It has nothing to do with "serious", or a "need to be spoon fed". It has everything to do with learning styles, and the value some people place on their time and someone else's knowledge. You're welcome to your opinion ... but the fact that you need to express it using such terms reduces its value, to my concern ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)

    ---------- Post added March 12th, 2014 at 04:26 AM ----------

    ... that's the very subject I started this thread to talk about. It's been discussed in maybe only three replies so far ... #56, #91 & #92 ... because the majority of those who have so far posted are more interested in telling us why they think it's not needed than in responding to the questions I posted in the OP ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
    gekodivebali likes this.
  6. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

    I guess we need to start anew by saying that we're talking about diving in a sidemount configuration, not "sidemounting." The seemingly arbitrary difference has been brought up before, and a line should be drawn for the purpose of clarity. Sidemounting is diving places where sidemount is required, and removal of some or all tanks is required or highly beneficial. Diving in a sidemount configuration is just that, diving with tanks hung off your sides instead of strapped to your back. I believe the latter is what we're discussing, as we can all agree that equipment manipulation means very serious overhead instruction.

    Once we agree that we're talking about diving in SM configuration, we need to discuss what this entails. In my mind, diving in SM configuration entails far more than a main and a pony of equal sizes, slung like stages. In my mind, SM involves:

    1) Properly trimming tanks parallel to your body with the valves up and into your armpit as to provide a flat profile.
    2) Trimming a diver to horizontal in the sidemount configuration.
    3) Proper gas management to keep balanced tanks, for the purpose of lateral balance AND redundancy.
    4) Failure drills, analysis, and building of muscle memory for such failures. Eventually: the ability to cope with any two simultaneous failures.
    5) The various types of gear with pros and cons of each.
    6) I think the most important element is the what AND THE WHY of every point I detailed above.

    Edit: Feel free to add to, discuss, or critique my list....but by starting with a cohesive list we'll be able to get more of this done and keeping it on topic.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  7. reghunnicutt

    reghunnicutt Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Midland, NC USA
    Except I don't dare enter the water with even a single tank. I don't walk around with an 80 on my back because of my weakened discs. It is just as easy to set each in the water or clip it off on a line and fasten two tanks once I am buoyant. Who ever got angry because there was excess gas?

    Reggie in NC

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  8. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    Victor, I like your list. As I mentioned previously, I'd like to see some sort of exercises involving rescue tows and techniques, since these can be different in sidemount than backmount.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
    gekodivebali likes this.
  9. theskull

    theskull Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: St. Louis, MO
    Hi Bob,

    Here is a synopsis of the skills required in the PADI OW Sidemount class (after a classroom session covering fit, configuration, hose routing, procedures, etc.):
    Confined Water
    Shallow Entry, Don Cylinders while standing
    Buoyancy Check, Descent, Read SPGS
    Make Reg Switches, Swim w/ Flutter & Frog Kick
    Reg Recovery, Hover 1 Minute, 50 ft. OOG Swim
    Valve Drill
    3-minute Safety Stop (Hover)
    Deep Water Exit, Removing Cylinders in Water
    Helicopter Turn & Back Kick
    Disconnect One Cylinder at Back, Swim 60 ft. & Reconnect
    Exit Water, Deep Water Entry wearing Cylinders

    Dive 1: (20-60 ft.)
    Entry, Buoyancy Check
    Flutter & Frog Kick, Reg Recovery
    Valve Drill, Safety Stop, Tired Diver Tow 80 ft., Exit

    Dive 2: (20-60 ft.)
    Entry, 50 ft. OOG Swim, Hover 1 minute, Valve Drill
    Disconnect One Cylinder at Back, Swim 60 ft. & Reconnect
    Safety Stop, Exit

    Dive 3: (20-100 ft.)
    Entry, 50 ft. OOG Swim, Hover 1 minute
    Safety Stop, Exit
    BCSGratefulDiver likes this.
  10. Wookie

    Wookie Curmudgeon Apprentice ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    If they are different, why isn't the technique being taught in OW class and rescue classes? Is the requirement valid to send OW divers back through sidemount training so they can be a proper buddy? How can we expect a instabuddy pair to take care of one another if everyone isn't getting this training?

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