Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Sound

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spatman
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby spatman » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:31 pm

I moved to sidemount after ~100 dives in backmount doubles. My back and knees are much happier as a result.

The switch to the new configuration was simple, though dialing it in took some work. That was largely because it was extremely new at the time and involved a lot of internet research and trial and error. These days there are several people diving sidemount and plenty of advice and opinion to help streamline the process.
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thefeve
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby thefeve » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:32 pm

Super interested in the discussion on this thread. It's interesting to get everyone's take. I have a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder and an SI joint sprain that tends to recur often. So, the idea of side mount is very appealing. I'm just hesitant to switch configurations again after still being pretty new to back mount doubles. Thanks for everyone's insight!
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby Grateful Diver » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:26 pm

There are a few sidemount rigs that are suitable for local diving ... the Hollis SMS100, the Halcyon Contour, and the Dive Rite XT, which is what I use. The Razor, Stealth and Armadillo are more suitable for warmer water, due to their limited lift capacity and in some cases configurations that were really designed for people who aren't wearing thick gloves.

I can't really speak to the efficacy of the UTD Z system as I've never used it, and don't really care to. Seems to me like an overly complicated solution in search of a problem. Switching regs is really not a big deal ... hopefully a skill we all learned in Open Water class.

Gas management in independent doubles does vary somewhat from single tanks or manifolded doubles, but it's mostly an awareness issue and not a skills issue. There are different approaches that work well in open water ... either switching on gas imbalances or on time ... I find using timed switches easier, and both approaches get you to essentially the same place which is to keep your tanks reasonably close to each other in terms of pressure. Given that in open water you always have the option of a direct ascent, it's less critical than in overheads like a cave ... but developing a good gas management approach still matters.

There are several valid reasons why someone might choose to dive sidemount on local recreational dives. Not least among them is "because I want to". The important thing is to understand that no matter what approach you choose it comes with benefits and drawbacks, and it's important to understand what those are before sinking a bunch of money into purchasing equipment. For that reason I'm always happy to talk to anybody who's considering sidemount.

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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby CaptnJack » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:06 pm

BillZ wrote:
CaptnJack wrote:
Linedog wrote:Sorry for the slight highjack, but I have a question. When diving a side mount system, do you switch regs as the pressure drops in each tank?


Yes to balance out the consumption. Which reg you start out on and how often you switch is not a universal thing though. People have their own thoughts on that. But you need to reserve enough gas in both tanks for you and a buddy to ascend. In theory if everyone is sidemount there's no way for someone go OOA. In practice we all reserve gas for a buddy and have the ability to donate.


Or, if you use the UTD Z sidemount system there is no need to switch regs - You would still dive a longhose as your primary and a bungee back-up.

:stir:


Instead of switching regs you have to turn tanks on and off. The second stage will draw from whichever reg has the higher IP, even if they are trivially different the usage won't be equal. Turning valves on and off throughout the dive seems like a recipe for an extruded Oring to me.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby BillZ » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:40 pm

CaptnJack wrote:
Linedog wrote:Sorry for the slight highjack, but I have a question. When diving a side mount system, do you switch regs as the pressure drops in each tank?


Yes to balance out the consumption. Which reg you start out on and how often you switch is not a universal thing though. People have their own thoughts on that. But you need to reserve enough gas in both tanks for you and a buddy to ascend. In theory if everyone is sidemount there's no way for someone go OOA. In practice we all reserve gas for a buddy and have the ability to donate.


Or, if you use the UTD Z sidemount system there is no need to switch regs - You would still dive a longhose as your primary and a bungee back-up.

:stir:

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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby CaptnJack » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:42 pm

Linedog wrote:Sorry for the slight highjack, but I have a question. When diving a side mount system, do you switch regs as the pressure drops in each tank?


Yes to balance out the consumption. Which reg you start out on and how often you switch is not a universal thing though. People have their own thoughts on that. But you need to reserve enough gas in both tanks for you and a buddy to ascend. In theory if everyone is sidemount there's no way for someone go OOA. In practice we all reserve gas for a buddy and have the ability to donate.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby Linedog » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:33 pm

Sorry for the slight highjack, but I have a question. When diving a side mount system, do you switch regs as the pressure drops in each tank?
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby CaptnJack » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:58 am

As far as equipment goes, I tried a Razor and was disappointed in it. Its not a good choice for steel tanks and a drysuit (despite what you might read from its proponents)

I have been quite happy with my hollis SMS100 with the old school bungie system installed. I also have a homemade Grendel that uses AL80s or lp45s only and a MSR dromedary bag as a wing. Its quite dreamy to dive but also very impractical for most cold water diving.

It's great that you are helping people shorten the learning curve, I have quite a few "spare" hoses of various useless lengths in my garage now.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby Grateful Diver » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:31 am

To answer the question, I teach a workshop ... my agency does not offer a formal sidemount class for recreational divers.

The workshop offers information on the pros and cons of sidemount, different configuration options, basic setup, and four dives that teach basic safety skills and to help you "dial in" your configuration to get the most benefit out of the equipment.

It's primarily for divers who have already made the decision to go that direction and have either already purchased sidemount equipment or are strongly investigating equipment options.

My interest isn't in promoting sidemount diving ... it has both advantages and disadvantages for local diving ... it's to help people who have decided to pursue that option do so in a safe manner and to shorten the learning curve. I decided to offer it after seeing the results of "self teaching", as well as some poor configuration and technique as a result of instruction by some local instructors who took a few dives in a sidemount rig in order to "qualify" to add it to their repertoire of offered classes.

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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby spatman » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:24 pm

Just plain ol' curmudgeon, really.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby CaptnJack » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:10 pm

spatman wrote:I've been divng sidemount for several years almost exclusively and love it. Getting everything dialed in took some time, but I won't ever go back to back mounted doubles in cold water again.

EDIT: I'll leave my statement in place, but after thinking about it, the OP asked about instructors, not opinions on sidemount diving.


I dive a CCR too and its an even bigger pain in the arse :rjack: I'm an equal opportunity curmudgeon :luv:
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby spatman » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:37 pm

I've been divng sidemount for several years almost exclusively and love it. Getting everything dialed in took some time, but I won't ever go back to back mounted doubles in cold water again.

EDIT: I'll leave my statement in place, but after thinking about it, the OP asked about instructors, not opinions on sidemount diving.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby fmerkel » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:13 pm

Interesting to hear an argument against it. I've had a few people show up once on some of my dives but not a second time. Wondered about that.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby CaptnJack » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:29 pm

I think Bob is now (Grateful Diver).

Although I have to ask why you would bother. After sidemounting for 4 years now, I have concluding sidemount is a royal pain in the arse. You still have to carry your tanks to the water and if there's any waves the sand will pack itself into every nook of your regs and valves if you stage them there. You can skip staging tanks if you carry both at once of course (a ton of weight on your arms...), but if you have a scooter you now need a 3rd hand. Not to mention carrying tanks by your arms sucks, it pulls on my trapeziuses something fierce. How easy it is off a boat depends on the boat. Off RIBS its terrible since you have to partially lay the tank on the tube to gear up and it wants to slip off. Or gear up in the water and you run the risk of dropping the tank and also end up having to splash without any breathable gas on you yet. Then you end up with minor but annoying issues like not having access to your drysuit pockets worth a damn, and needing to clip a pouch with your SMB, spool, dive-alert, wetnotes etc to your butt.

Personally sidemount has a place, in sidemount caves or where you need more gas but can't carry doubles since its a major hike to the water. In those cases, I put each sidemount tank in a backpack to hike it in (back on my back which is a lot easier to carry weight with than my arms). Sidemount at Cove2 is just a silly waste of money and effort honestly. Your back is a perfectly good place to put tanks :) It is all the rage right now, but I personally think there are better ways to spend scuba units that actually allow you to do new or more interesting dives instead of the same dives just with 2 tanks on you. E.g. still or video cameras and/or scooters if you don't have those.
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Re: Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Soun

Postby BillZ » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:14 pm

I think Bob Bailey (greatfuldiver)teaches rec sidemount.

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Anyone teaching recreational sidemount in the Puget Sound

Postby JasonDiver » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:08 pm

Who, if anyone is teaching recreational sidemount courses in the Puget Sound? I am thinking of putting a class together and would like to find the best instructor.


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