Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

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lamont
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby lamont » Sun May 19, 2013 12:04 am

On OC, i'll tend to use my drysuit first and my wing second. So I'll be dumping or adding every couple feet with the drysuit, but then shifting gas between the wing and drysuit about 10 feet give or take. Also shifting gas to either inflate the drysuit and warm up, or sometimes with the suit heater it feels good to let it get a little squeeze on and push the heating pads against you a bit (the latter is probably counterproductive from an overall thermodynamic perspective, but it feels good). I stopped needing to consciously think about it years ago...

Oh, with the CCR, of course, I'm back to having only the swing weight of an Al80, and as soon as I start running 18/45 in the bailout gas then my swing weight will go down to less than an Al80 rec diver's gas. So, I've only been using the wing on the surface recently.... Although, when I started out overweighted then I was having to manage CL, Drysuit and Wing all at the same time for awhile which was kind of annoying...

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby kdupreez » Sat May 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Agreed, pick what works for you based on your own preference and what makes actual sense in the long run.. not what agencies or individuals shove down your throat..

people here offer guidance and can give you the reasons behind "why" and it should not be a "because it makes me feel better", but it should be based on something logical that makes sense, not opinion..

I picked my systems based on what works for me what makes logical sense on the way I dive. In fact every piece of gear I dive, is picked based on logical reasoning with a credible answer to the "why" question.. If someone tells you do to something one way and they cant give you very credible answer to the "why" question.. then I'd say, turn and run..

so.. ultimately, make your own informed decision.
Last edited by kdupreez on Sun May 19, 2013 12:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Gdog » Sat May 18, 2013 2:16 pm

This is an excellent thread. Great input by all. Really shows the value of a forum like this, especially if you are a newer diver. Kudos!

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Tom Nic
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Tom Nic » Sat May 18, 2013 9:33 am

Great post Peter!

And I do remember hitting my chest with two fingers on my first dive on a Bonaire trip. :)

When I am properly weighted in the tropics, in warm enough water, (84 degrees in Bonaire), shorts and T-shirt, I will put air in my wing for the surface swim, dump and descend, and not touch the inflator button on my wing the whole dive - lungs/breathing being all the control I need. Our dives were mostly above 60-70fsw, so it worked great. I didn't set out to do that, it just sort of happened by accident, as in "wow, I haven't used my wing the whole dive and it has been just fine!?". Lots of fun....

Of course wearing a wetsuit that likely wouldn't work.
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Peter Guy » Sat May 18, 2013 7:54 am

+1 on "doing what works."

I'm one of those that started out trying to use my drysuit only (full neoprene one) and it worked OK but then concluded it made more sense to use my BCD primarily with enough gas in the suit to not be squeezed. (And, with an uncompressed neoprene suit, one also needs to fight the loss of buoyancy from the suit compression so gas in the BCD is almost mandatory at any depth.)

Eventually, I, along with TSandM, was "encouraged" to use the dry suit as the primary bouyancy device (and by then was using either a compressed neoprene or bylam suit). I now use my BCD (wing) solely on the surface OR when I have extra weight (doubles/stage) OR when I'm diving wet.

One hears a lot about "muscle memory" and how it can be better to just use one system -- but I'm not at all sure that is really all that important -- once you are competent at both. It seems to me the issue of "muscle memory" is really an issue of practice and competency.

For example, driving a car. IF all one ever learned is to drive an automatic, there would be issues switching to a stick -- however, once one has become competent with the clutch/shift, there is probably very little issue of going back and forth. YES, one might find an occasional "oops" coming to a stop with one or the other, but generally something that is very quickly corrected.

The same is true, in my (perhaps uninformed?) opinion. For example, when I first dive wet after months of diving dry, I do find myself hitting the "button" on the front of my wetsuit (with no effect somehow) before remembering that I need to hit the wing inflator button (not always, but sometimes, especially when I'm on auto-pilot -- yes, there is some "muscle memory" carry over). BUT, that only happens once or twice and then I'm back to, "Oh, right, I'm diving wet and I'll use THAT set of memories" and then everything is back on auto-pilot.

The key, in my opinion, is to be competent with whatever configuration you have and then, when/if you change, make sure you take it easy for a dive or two after the change.

So, pick a system, get competent with it, and THEN, if you want, play with change.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby kdupreez » Sat May 18, 2013 12:09 am

If you have a properly weihghted configuration, you should only have enough air in your wing to compensate for the weight of the compressed gas you will be breathing during your dive.

So in a single small tank, thats very little air in your wing.. and people get away with just using a drysuit..

as you move forward in your diving carreer and decide to dive doubles, stages, etc. your suit aint gonna cut it.

when you go diving tropical, you dont have a drysuit.. then you need to revert back to flying your wing..

I tend to keep things simple and keep building one set of muscle memory for single tank cold water, double tank cold water, single tank wetsuit, etc.. and thats diving my wing for primary buoyancy and only use my suit for elimanting squeeze and keeping me warm..

And as others have mentioned.. managing an overly large bubble in a suit is uncomfortable..

If you start diving longer dives and boat dives, your little argon bottle wont last for suit inflation on multiple boat dives if you use expensive argon for buoyancy..

and +1 for "to each his own".. but those are my reasons for not wasting argon on buoyancy and keeping one set of muscle memory sharp..
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby CaptnJack » Fri May 17, 2013 10:09 pm

Gdog wrote:+1 on drysuit. One less gas source to manage, and the size of the bubble is negligible if properly weighted.


Not if you have doubles and stages on...
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Mortuus » Fri May 17, 2013 6:11 pm

spatman wrote:
Mortuus wrote:To answer the OP, just use whatever works for the type of diving you are doing.


+1. And whatever works for the individual as well.


That was implied, since I was only talking to one person. I was telling the OP specifically to do whatever worked for him for the types of dives he is doing. But yes, as a general rule of thumb, just do whatever works.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby spatman » Fri May 17, 2013 5:11 pm

Mortuus wrote:To answer the OP, just use whatever works for the type of diving you are doing.


+1. And whatever works for the individual as well.
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Mortuus » Fri May 17, 2013 4:34 pm

Jeremy wrote:One solution I've found that works well is to skip the drysuit.


Not all of us are so well endowed with bioprene! =P

To answer the OP, just use whatever works for the type of diving you are doing.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Gdog » Fri May 17, 2013 4:30 pm

+1 on drysuit. One less gas source to manage, and the size of the bubble is negligible if properly weighted.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Jeremy » Fri May 17, 2013 4:13 pm

One solution I've found that works well is to skip the drysuit.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby LCF » Fri May 17, 2013 3:55 pm

I started out using the suit for buoyancy, as I had been taught, and I found it quite difficult to manage. It seemed as though I was always getting too much air in my legs or feet and being unable to dump fast enough. I had several uncontrolled ascents, which were scary.

I switched to using the BC for buoyancy and only adding enough gas to the suit to relieve squeeze (and I tolerated a lot of squeeze!). I was cold, but I wasn't unstable any more. As time went on, I learned to be able to put a little more gas in the suit, and then I took a Rec Triox class with the instructor who started the whole "20 foot squeeze" thing -- and HE wanted me to use my suit! At that point, I found out I could, and I was warmer.

Nowadays, I do what makes sense for the dive. In cold water with a single tank, all the gas is in the suit. With doubles, I have to put some in the wing. In a cave, it's almost ALL in the wing, because I know at some point, I'm likely to have to go head-down, and I may not find an opportunity to drop my feet to get the air out of them later.
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Jeff Pack » Fri May 17, 2013 3:50 pm

I dive a Whites Fusion, and predominantly use the suit to take off the squeeze,or for fine tuning buoyancy. But the bulk of my buoyancy is my wing.

To complicate things, diving a rebreather gives me 3 air pockets to manage(counterlungs/loop).

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby KneeDeep » Fri May 17, 2013 1:40 pm

+1 Norris

I started out with only using wing, then I started to added air into suit... at first it was VERY task loading for me. Plus my suit was a bit big, so the bubble, at times, creped up and I couldn't always exhaust quick enough. But I also always kept air in my wing just for that matter.

That was with a shell suit, so proper sizing is vital. I have now moved to a Fusion also and love the bubble management and only dump air out of wing to drop below and use suit for every thing else.
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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby JasonDiver » Fri May 17, 2013 11:41 am

I agree with the trim too. It now feels natural to only use the suit. The main issue for beginners using both, is that as soon as put any air in the BCD you commit to having to manage both BCD and SUIT air exhaust on ascent due to expansion. Thanks for all the feedback.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Tom Nic » Fri May 17, 2013 10:56 am

What Norris said. :calvin:

As others have mentioned, at the beginning I used my wing exclusively and only enough in the dry suit to eliminate squeeze.

Several hundred dives into it I thought, "Hmmm.... why not try it with only the dry suit?" I did, and have never looked back. Once you are used to how it feels I find that trim is easier, venting is easier (I only have to raise my left arm as opposed to finding the inflator lifting it, hitting the button, etc) and I only have to deal with one air space.

For a new dry suit user I would recommend not using the suit for buoyancy, just getting used to the second air space, then down the road trying it and seeing how it works for you.

There is no one "right" way to do it - as long as you are safe and moving well in the water column.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Norris » Fri May 17, 2013 10:49 am

When I first started diving a drysuit I tended to use my BCD. I would put just enough air into the drysuit to lose the squeese and use the BCD to control trim. This was easier for me as adding and releasing air with the BCD was simpler than adjusting my body to relieve from a shoulder valve, and then overfilling.
After diving for a while I find that my BCD is only used for surface swims and when I need to stay up top. I empty my wing, descend, while adding air to the drysuit to slow my drop. Once I reach my desired depth, I stop adding and dive, using only my suit. I also find that once you learn how to use the air in your drysuit to your benefit, it can greatly help your position.
So in my opinion it may be easier for newer divers to use the bladder as its easier to empty, cause you usually have more than one option to burp the wing, while a drysuit requires a little more skill in positioning your body correctly to release air. I think that most steer towards using only the drysuit after numerous dives.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby JasonDiver » Fri May 17, 2013 10:47 am

Thanks for the input. I thought the bubble may come into it. I am one that just uses the suit, but I have the Whites Fusion and the compression layer keeps the air nicely dispersed. Maybe that it why it seems easy for me.

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Re: Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby Jeremy » Fri May 17, 2013 10:40 am

If you use only the drysuit the bubble can get pretty large and can be difficult to handle...esp for someone new.

Almost all divers I know use both. Add to your suit to take the squeeze off, then use your wing to fine tune further.

Some people do just use their suits, and some don't even wear a wing at all.

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Drysuit Training - BCD, Suit or Both.

Postby JasonDiver » Fri May 17, 2013 10:06 am

I find that some divers learned (and instructors teach) to dive a drysuit by only using the drysuit for buoyancy which is easy. Others teach to regulate both, using the air in the suit for loft and the BCD for buoyancy. The second method means you are always regulating to sources and I worry that that could get complex in an emergency for newer divers.

I just watched some new drysuit/OW students learn and thought it would be easier for them to learn with the first method of emptying the BCD and just concentrate on the air in the suit for both loft and buoyancy. I was thinking that after they mastered that, then they could make the choice of methods for general diving.

I sort of think that suit type and sizing may play a part in this decision, but am not sure.

Questions: Is there any downside to the simple method of just use the drysuit air for both while underwater (as long as you are properly weighted and your suit fits well)? Do any agencies require that you teach them using both BCD and Drysuit.

Thanks
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