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Where to start ?

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by gunner863, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. gunner863

    gunner863 Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: FL
    8
    0
    1st off I only have 28 dives under my belt as a OW diver. But I have been considering going side mount. I own on my current gear including 2 Hp100. standard dive gear purchased from LDS after checkout dives.

    My long term and I mean LONG term is to enter cave training. With that said i figure why not go side mount now and get more time on the system.

    So where should I start ? Should I go ahead and take the AOW class with my current set up or take the side mount class and purchase a new set up? Is there a reason why most recreational divers don't dive side mount ? Cost ? Training ? Experience ? Or is it because it looks so intimidated and technical ?
     
  2. Mike1967

    Mike1967 Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, Australia
    1,517
    747
    For the same reason most recreational divers don't dive BM twins, most recreational dives don't need that much gas.

    If you're thinking about it just do it, you ll love it.

    Your next decision is what rig you want, check out the XDeep Stealth 2.0 Tec.
     
  3. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    2,249
    1,425
    Sidemount is more involved on land, and also a bit more involved underwater with reg switching. OW does not use it as it is a few more things to mess with, and new students do not need that complexity. OW class can use it, in various agencies, but it is more to mess with particularly if using two tanks.

    If you're using full-size tanks it is also more weight to carry each time you stand up. You can also do it with half size tanks, but then you may have twice the fill cost. And more clutter on boats.

    One option is to do a try dive in sidemount with different systems at Cave Adventures in Florida. They sell, and should rent, the main systems, and tanks. A few hours there with an instructor would be well worth it. They can get you oriented and also assess your skill level.
    Cave Adventurers - Training & Education - Shop & Training - Marianna, Florida USA - Never Undersold!

    Their training site: CAVE ADVENTURERS

    I'd read through the sidemount forum on differences between different tanks and rigs. And which tanks (HP, LP, AL) go well with which rigs.

    Plus, how long term? What type of diving will you do in the meantime? How amenable is that to sidemount? I like sidemount, but it comes with more complexity.

    ETA: Thinking that you need to wait a few hundred dives before shifting gear is excessive.
     
  4. OceanEyes

    OceanEyes ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Hollywood, Florida
    375
    407
    Before you invest more in gear, I suggest that you make a few hundred more dives with what you currently own and get extremely comfortable with it, the environment, and refine your newly learned skills. Continue to train, but go gradually into each new phase. AOW or the agency whose aegis and protocols your local instructor/LDS offers as an equivalent course might be a prudent next step, and there's no reason not to earn a Nitrox cert. As a new diver you've got enough going on to just enjoy the sights and sensations that are now open to you. Gradually incorporate new tasks, tools, and challenges and enjoy the experience.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  5. Mike1967

    Mike1967 Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, Australia
    1,517
    747
    That's BS!
    Yeah ok, you've done 5000+ dives but it could take the OP ten years to do "a few hundred more dives".
     
  6. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    8,009
    7,518
    Just dive, man. You've got 28 dives. You barely know how to breath underwater at this point. In July 2019, you posted that you had 12 dives. That's eight 2-dive trips in nearly 2 years and you live in Florida where you're never more than a few hours from a scuba spot.

    Take AOW, dive a **** ton, take rescue, dive more, then maybe consider reevaluating your equipment should you decide to transition to technical stuff.
     
  7. gunner863

    gunner863 Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: FL
    8
    0
    I do agree with getting more diving in as a new diver. I included my dive count to get a correct analysis of were my skill it at, thus a more reliable response of my questions. Like I stated I was considering side mount. And wasn't sure if it made since to transfer over early or stay with current configuration. I grasp the whole task loading and how it will negatively effective me this early and beyond.

    All replying... I appreciate your responses. I dont know what I dont know. It never hurt to ask.....
     
  8. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    2,249
    1,425
    Expanding on my answer:
    If you are a smooth diver already, sidemount can add some more flexible grace in the water plus gas redundancy. Go for it, it is a lot of fun in the water. I'd take IANTD rec. essentials in sidemount with your instructor.

    If you bounce off the bottom, yo-yo up and down, kick up the silt, dive at 45 degrees like you are riding a bicycle, and are unsure about your depth and orientation control, then sidemount will not improve that situation. A good class like GUE fundamentals, UTD essentials or IANTD Rec essentials will. And that is what you should concentrate on in (single tank) backmount.

    We don't know where you are in that range. Someone at cave adventures can tell you after seeing you in the water. If your IANTD instructor is a cave diver, they likely can teach you rec. essentials.
     
  9. gunner863

    gunner863 Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: FL
    8
    0
    Smooth..LOL nope. I have although gotten a whole lot better with my buoyancy. I literally spent hrs at the springs just hovering while removing and installing my spare mask and clearing . And then once that became boring i would just breath and watch the fish. I never considered those "dives" based on the 10/15ft depths. I chose to be really effective at the mask skill, being a contact wearing man. I literally do it with my eyes closes so i dont flush out my contacts. My wife kicked my mask off our 1st dive outside of training and i lost 1 contact while retrieving it. So i just put a spare mask in my BCD pocket.

    My finning is so so. Have not really tried different kick styles. Have not been taught.

    It would benefit having a instructor evaluation, I mean most new divers believes they are "good enough" but sometimes reality checks in and says hello.

    Sounds like the verdict on SB is to just keep diving for awhile. Before making any changes.
     
  10. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    1,252
    965
    Sidemount is great but you need the basic diving skills in place to get the most from it.

    Go diving! Get the beginner courses out of the way: AOW, nitrox, "deep". Aim to do the Rescue Diver course which should be challenging and represents your move into intermediate dive skills. Then wave goodbye to PADI.

    Sidemount is a natural move away from the single tank + BCD mob. It gives you great balance, streamlining and redundancy, but at the cost of complexity. It helps if someone shows you how, so a good sidemount instructor will really help.

    Have fun
     
    bradymsu and Cdncoldwater like this.

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