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So who is the better diver?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by uncfnp, May 6, 2014.

  1. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    Sorta, kinda...

    Really poor trim means that you can't cease all motion, go "quiet", and just hang. You (meaning anybody in poor trim) will eventually turtle around your axial or radial axis of rotation. My cave instructor remarked that this is a "trademark" of the average NE Atlantic diver. I started to protest, but failed the "show me" test. I got through cave training due to flow, not very happy to admit it either. I shall return.

    Trim does not imply perfect frog position, being in trim in flutter is fair game too.

    I would encourage you mess with your gear placement until you can just hang "tank up" in ANY form of trim. 45 degrees is fine. Go quiet, drift for a bit, and focus on "situational awareness". Really quite fun, addictive behavior.

    divin'dog likes this.
  2. BRT

    BRT Giant Squid

    You have to give extra points to the divemasters who carry enough extra lead to hold anybody in their group down if needed and yet can appear to go to sleep on a safety stop whether they loaned out the lead or not.
  3. divin'dog

    divin'dog Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New England

    To me it's about being in the water and "hanging out" not thinking of my buoyancy or trim or my kicks or my buddy (why I like solo sometimes) and being totally in the moment of enjoyment, taking in the experience. When I talk to non-divers and try to explain in layman's terms how nice it feels, it really is trying to explain the zen of diving to them.

    When everything for me is settled, my gear, my disposition, my attitude, etc, then all else is not noticed. Separating the skills out for diving is ok when learning because you need to know buoyancy, trim, kicks, and all the other skills that make up diving, but to me a good diver then takes all his/her separate skills and puts them into their WHOLE skill of diving and does not consciously think about them. Good divers just do... which is like hanging quietly (because everything else is in place).

    As lowviz says, diving quietly, being still, drifting/hanging as part of the environment is just a great feeling... Basically it's just feeling as if you are really part of the water. When I was finally able to do that, that is when I "got it".
    lowviz likes this.
  4. Derek S

    Derek S Divemaster

    Quoted for emphasis (and truth).
  5. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Once you have the feeling of neutal buoyancy down, you can pretty much replicate that in a very short amount of time regardless of the equipment you are using. The advantage of your own gear is that you are there, immediately.
  6. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA

    There are so many different factions and styles in diving.
    I never even heard the word "trim" as a diving term until 10 years ago.
    Before that people were just known as "really good divers" or "not so good divers".
    As far as I can recall, the fanatasism about perfect trim was started by the DIR group.
    That was one of their core requirements for cave diving. Hanging around in a skydiver position with my feet up flipping my fins around and my hands clasped isn't my idea of anything usefull.

    As a California open water diver, I don't particualrly care that much about holding perfect trim. Can I, yes, but the type of diving I do doesn't really require it. In fact, my style would require much more of a dynamic composition being that I'm a hunter and a cruiser.
    I tend to like to strap on a huge tank and cover a lot of ground with a very minimalistic set up, and my trim would consist of orienting my body position towards the direction of travel identical to a freediving with my feet straight back kept within the slipstream. If I'm climbing a hill my body is oriented towards the slope of the hill. If I'm dropping off a wall my head is down pointed towards the direction of travel. My whole goal is to optimize my hydrodynamics and keep my body within a narrow slipstream for the most efficiency and least amount of drag. As you know I've even designed gear around this principle. This is what I do when I hunt.

    When I take photographs I will add a wing to the equation so I can hover and concentrate on sitting in one spot lining up for the perfect shot.
    When I just sight see I will most times also have a wing on and just putt along and look at things.

    One style is not better than the other, they are all different, but they all have their specific application. I've never caved or wrecked so I don't know any specifics, but I know those activities require yet another set of protocols.
    Anyone that tells you that any particular style or gear choice is the end all and everyone should be that way is an idiot.

    For the second part of your post regarding an ideal diver:

    High experience level doing many different dives in many different environments and LEARNING from those dives.
    Comfort in the water.
    Very high panic threshhold (lacking in todays basic training due to elimination of basic mild harrassment).
    Knowing when to call a dive and not being to proud or macho to ignore your gut.
    I've called dives many times just because I didn't like it, something just didn't feel right, so I turned around and went into the shallows and collected empty baby abalone shells that the Cabezon puked up.

    Once all the core skills are mastered it becomes more of a mental mindset and awareness of trusting your gut. Not taking chances that you know are high risk chances.
    Some divers never grow out of a daredevil mindset and think that going super deep or going out on a big day and getting thrashed so people ohh and ahh think is the definition of a good diver. I think the person who has the sense not to go out on those days is a better diver.
    Good example, look at Max Bottomtime's video on the guys trying to get out off the beach at OML during some big surf, WHY???
    And yes, any good diver has the ability to take any strange gear and put it on and go dive. They have enough of an open mind to figure things out and have not been programmed to the point where they cannot think outside of a set of very strict rules.
    That includes poodle jackets.

    And I have to agree with the one-with-the-water feeling. It is a revelation and a true zen moment.
    Freediving is a very direct path towards this end. Everything must be optimal in order to be successful, including your mindset. There is no "life support" equipment to count on, it's all you.

    Thank you.
    Bob DBF and lowviz like this.
  7. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    Sounds like cave diving.

    Trim is relative. The proper trim for going through the slot at Jackson Blue is almost straight head-down. The proper trim for a manta dive in the Socorros is bolt upright, so you can spin around insanely fast and try to keep track of all the mantas. The proper trim for swimming efficiently forward is horizontal, because it presents the least drag.

    To me, an experienced diver can dive in any equipment, but may not be able to look pretty . . . if the gear's static balance is way off, you just CAN'T be still and stable. The BEST diver, though, is the person who has a great deal of humility about diving. That person is always open to the lesson waiting to be taught, whether it be by the ocean, by one's buddy, or by an instructor. That person is learning and growing all the time in the sport. If that person is also relaxed and joyful, they are an absolute pleasure to be in the water with.
  8. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    Eric and Lynne, great posts. Thank you.
  9. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    No ... in the cave diving world, emphasis on good trim existed before DIR came into existence, and is a core skill required by cave divers regardless of training agency.

    I think there's some misconception about what the term "trim" means. It doesn't refer to a specific position ... it refers to the ability to achieve and maintain a position appropriate to the circumstances without undue effort and movement. Trim isn't about hanging around in a skydiver position with your feet up ... that's an appropriate position for moving forward in an environment where anything else is going to result in silting or damage to the environment. But even in cave diving there are circumstances that require head-up, head-down, or sideways positioning in order to make your way through the cave. These are also proper trim for those circumstances.

    Proper trim is achieved by placement of your weights, and positioning of your limbs in such a way that when you stop all motion you will remain in the position you stopped in. You are effectively managing the placement of your equipment and your body to overcome the force of gravity and the buoyancy of the water without needing to fin or scull.

    This photo is an example of proper trim for the circumstances it was taken in ... attempting to get a picture in a situation where being horizontal would endanger the delicate corals around the subject. The divers in the background are also in proper trim, even though their trim is completely different from mine.


    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
  10. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    Alright, so now I guess the whole definition of proper trim is changing right before our very eyes.
    Seems to me the whole debate about the decade old buzzword of "trim" at one time meant holding a perfect flat position with feet up at 45 to 90 degrees, arms out straight bend slightly at elbows with hands gently clasped. This is (was) what was defined to me and many others as "Perfect Trim". I even know people who weren't able to get a tech pass because they got out of perfect trim on skills. One inch out of trim.

    So now I guess the word perfect trim applies to any posision that a diver needs to be in if they meant to do it and if they can hold that position whilst sitting still (as a default position that the body tends to naturally).
    So with this new definition then I guess if I wanted to stand on my head the entire dive and do it inverted "just because I want to" then I guess to me that would be perfect trim.
    Or if I wanted to do the entire dive on my back looking up to take in the view of the light coming down through the kelp forest and maybe use a mirror or something to make sure I don't hit my head on a rock or whatever, that's the new perfect trim.
    Or what about this: what if a diver decides they want to do the whole dive verticle whilst flailing their arms all over doing hand swimming motions. According to them maybe they need the arm excercise and they have a bad neck so laying flat isn't an option. They have set their weight perfectly so they can maintain a perfect verticle position. Never mind the violent finning and the dust storm, they meant to do that, it keeps the brittle starts moving and is good for removing sediment and keeping the bottom dusted and clean.

    OK thanks for clearing up what the new trim is.
    I don't really worry too much about buzz words, I just dive.
    Bob DBF likes this.

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