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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!
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    You are a tough sell Frank. Lol.
     
  2. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    We're still living in different worlds, Frank ... you're thinking instabuddies and numpty divers, I'm thinking two equally-trained sidemount divers going out for a dive together. Wouldn't it be a good idea if they had a clue what to do if one of them got into trouble?

    As for why the technique isn't being taught in OW and Rescue class, I answered that question in the first post ... because I work for an agency that views sidemount as "tech" gear, and trains accordingly. There's a lot about their agenda that's wholly inadequate for divers in Puget Sound ... fortunately, they allow me to create my own materials and train divers suitable to dive here ... just not on gear that they define as "technical".

    NAUI has made a business decision to cater to the divers in your world, while letting their instructors in mine fend for themselves. I've been happy with that approach till recently ... when it got to the point that they're not just a passive partner, but more of an obstacle. And I'd still be content to just let it go and not worry about that class if I weren't watching what passes for training by some of the other instructors out there who work for agencies that allow them to teach that class. I'd like to offer an alternative for those who come to me asking for sidemount training ... but apparently it's going to take me going to work for a different agency to get there.

    As for your world ... well, I just don't have that many vacation divers coming to me for classes. So I'll let someone else worry about that ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)

    ---------- Post added March 12th, 2014 at 05:29 PM ----------

    Bill, do you cover configuration differences, e.g. Razor vs Nomad vs SMS? Or do you only go over how the configuration works on a particular rig?

    I'll be working at a shop that sells Hollis and Halcyon ... and I currently dive a Nomad. While the differences are in some ways not very substantial, they are more so than a typical backmount rig. I'm thinking I'd like to be able to at least discuss the pros and cons of different available rigs ... including the UTD system. Although it's not my preference, it is a viable option and should be part of the conversation.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  3. theskull

    theskull Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: St. Louis, MO
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    The only configuration difference regularly covered in my class is the difference between the ring bungee system, the standard bungees, and the old school bungee loops. I have only been teaching students in Hollis and Dive Rite rigs, because those are the ones that we sell and/or rent for the class. I consider these two rigs interchangeable, and don't try to steer students toward one or the other, though I will mention my preference for the Hollis based on very minor differences. I sometimes mention the Razor if my students are pondering tropical SM or Mexican caves, which is very rare; we are predominantly cold water, drysuit, steel tank divers. I will only address the nightmare by UTD if I have an internet research diver who has come across it and asks about it--extremely rare.

    I do discuss a great deal of hose routing options. My preference as a method is to teach them using the same routing I have come to prefer, but also illustrating many variations and urging them to consider and try other options once through the class. If they come to class predisposed to a different routing method they have read about I am all for them starting that way, as long as it includes a long hose on at least one of the regs. The majority of my students have been local divers whom I will continue to dive with or at least run across from time to time, so the cert class is a starting point from which we continue to compare notes as we all evolve our rigs.

    theskull

    ---------- Post added March 13th, 2014 at 12:54 AM ----------

    Hey Bob,

    When I began teaching Sidemount it was a distinctive specialty for PADI, designed by Jeff Loflin, and only available through his blessing. Of course it is a mainstream standard specialty now. Does NAUI have the possibility of proposing a distinctive specialty class?

    theskull
     
  4. Mikko Ilari Laakkonen

    Mikko Ilari Laakkonen Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Helsinki, Finland, Finland
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    How about those hoses? Should there be some standardization on what we teach or is it OK to just tell something about few options and then mainly teach what we prefer.

    I like to tell them few options but in the end a tell them more about my preferred configuration. I use long hose on the left, down the tank, back up, behind the neck, clipped on d-ring while not in use - short on right side bungeed on neck, straight from 1st to mouth. Valves pointing towards my nipples and spgs down.

    Why I question this is that I recently got two ow sidemount students who went to cave training in Mexico and the instructor (IANTD I think) forced them to change the longhose left. I am yet to find any good arguments on why this more traditional way would be better. However should there exist some industry standard for basic training configuration that the students then can modify on their own preference but all the courses would be in the same, at least someway familiar hose routing?

    - Mikko Laakkonen -

    I love diving and teaching others to dive.
     
  5. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Those of us who also dive backmount (in caves) often put the long hose on the right tank and the short hose on the left. Then its consistent with hogarthian backmounted doubles hoses. The long hoses also route across the chest the same way and the short hose goes behind the neck before entering from the right side without necessarily needing an elbow fitting (although I personally have one, non-swivel).

    I don't think there's anything wrong with your routing, I just don't see the benefits. The (only slight) benefit of long right/short left is consistency with backmounted doubles and their hose patterns.

    I think SM instructors whether OW, recreational or otherwise need to be cave divers honestly, otherwise just about anything "could" make sense from a pure open water perspective. If some of their students go on to more advanced diving they'll be forced to abandon some of their open water practices when then could have learned a cave friendly configuration and skills from the get-go. Un-learning bad habits is never good. So I would put SM instruction in the same category as something like cavern. The instructor needs to be at least cave trained (although not necessarily a cave instructor) to impart good configuration, form and habits.
     
  6. Mikko Ilari Laakkonen

    Mikko Ilari Laakkonen Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Helsinki, Finland, Finland
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    I do not see the difference in consistency with backmount procedures. With longhose on the left the donation is exactly the same as it is with his on the right side. I see the hose crossing my chest as a disbenefit because it is unnecessary. I also don't like how in traditional configuration I've got two hoses coming exactly in the same way behind my neck, over my right shoulder.

    I have heard this argument of course but it doesn't make sense to me because as I see it, I am perfectly consistent with backmount and other configurations.

    I already have inflator, drysuit inflator and xdeep stealth be bungees on my chest so I think that benefits of not having more stuff across my chest greatly overcome the cons (which I don't see any) of this configuration.

    - Mikko Laakkonen -

    I love diving and teaching others to dive.
     
  7. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    Thanks for the info. The impetus for this with me right now is that I've recently rejoined a shop I used to teach at ... and they are a Halcyon and Hollis dealer. So I'll be teaching in those rigs. I currently own the Nomad, as you probably remember from our Great Lakes trip. But given the shop situation I'll probably be teaching in a Halcyon rig. Back when I was looking for my own rig I tried the Hollis, but the webbing was a bit too flimsy for my taste. I understand they've corrected that situation, so I'd like to give it another look too.

    Like you, I'll be training people who will be using the rig primarily for local diving ... in Puget Sound and Lake Washington mostly. Some of these will be ... like I was ... people who already have some level of tech training, but who are interested in using sidemount for aggressive recreational diving. And as is the case with many of my students, some will be people I dive with before and after the class is over.

    I've heard through the grapevine that another NAUI instructor has already submitted a program to NAUI for their consideration, and that it needs "blessing" from the BoD. I'm not sure where that stands, or whether it will be given consideration. I'm willing to wait a while to find out, but probably not too long as I'm already on staff at the shop (as of a couple weeks ago) and I have inquiries from students wanting to take a class. If NAUI gives the OK to teach sidemount at the recreational level I'd certainly be in touch with that instructor, evaluating their material. But if not, I'm already looking into other options. One way or another, I intend to be teaching sidemount at the recreational level for those divers who are interested in taking the class.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  8. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Good question, and I suspect that, for most, the answer is the latter option. If we have a good reason, be it logic, experience, or just habit, for what we do, we will have a tendency to emphasize that approach, and there really isn't anything wrong with doing that.
    A number of sidemount divers who came from backmount diving adopted the more traditional 'long hose on the right post' approach for sidemount, as rjack321 points out. I certainly did. And, although i have subsequently tried different configurations (5' hose on both cylinders; or, 7' on the left, 33" on the right, etc), I have gone back to that for the sake of consistency - internally, as I dive both BM and SM at times, and externally, to match other (BM) divers that I dive with.

    However, there are several, very experienced and well-regarded sidemount divers / instructors, who have moved to a 'long hose on the left' configuration, so you are not alone in that preference. Brian Kakuk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n5RMSLdwI8) and Lamar Hires (Dive Rite TV channel, diving videos, dive gear videos, training videos: Dive Rite Scuba) come to mind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
    shoredivr likes this.
  9. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

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    One advantage of having the long hose across your chest and then wrapped fowards is that you already have a little bit of extra wiggle room for hose donation. That's why I keep it on my right post despite the potentially cleaner routing of long hose on the left.
     
  10. Mikko Ilari Laakkonen

    Mikko Ilari Laakkonen Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Helsinki, Finland, Finland
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    Yes my intention was not to start the debate about what is right but to address the educational matter. There are at least 4-5 "major" hose routing options. Should we all sm instructors just do what we feel best or should the instructor community try to reach some agreement on the matter.

    I guess that same question would apply to upper attachment. Loop bungees, ring bungees, continuous loops or whatever.

    We can of course say something about different configurations in the class but we really can't teach all the options thoroughly.

    I think we should either standardize some "basic teaching configuration" or try to come in to conclusion that instructors should allow certain modifications as long as the students can do the skills. For example the consistency example of long hose on the left, as a student I could easily demonstrate how it does not affect my performance in OOA at all. Also these standardizasions either way should be done on multi agency level and be written in curriculums.

    - Mikko Laakkonen -

    I love diving and teaching others to dive.
     

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