If you haven’t heard already, Sidemount Diving is the new craze in scuba and PADI have just added the Sidemount Diver Course to their ever-increasing list of courses. So it was a ‘must-have’ at TSD and we got our hands on some of this intriguing kit as soon as we could! Given that sidemount is open to anyone with 10 dives or more, we are sure it will prove very popular.
Sidemount diving has actually been around in the diving industry for a number of years, particularly among cave and technical divers. You will already be very familiar with the traditional recreational back mounted tank configuration that we all learn in our Open Water Course. This can be very heavy, especially when walking to the dive site or the boat, and can be off-putting for some divers. Sidemount addresses this issue with a different tank configuration, having two tanks mounted one on either side of your body. For cave and wreck divers the big advantage is that it makes it possible to penetrate smaller sections of enclosed areas and to change tanks more easily.
Recently, sidemount has progressed from something only seasoned tekkies considered, and is becoming increasingly popular among recreational scuba divers. Jason is one of our our resident Tec Instructors and loves diving on sidemount. The new tank configuration is already getting plenty of interested looks and questions on our boats!
Jason, who teaches the PADI Sidemount Diver Course, says, ‘It gives you so much more freedom in the water than the conventional scuba unit. Using a sidemount system gives you great trim, is very comfortable and is easy on the back and legs! It makes kitting up much easier as you have the option of putting the tanks on in the water. Not to mention the increased gas supply and longer dive time.’
The first thing you will notice when you are on sidemount is the freedom: being able to twist and turn in ways you are not able to with the regular scuba unit. So during the course you will spend lots of time developing buoyancy control and trim.
The course takes skills you have already learnt and develops them, making you a more fine-tuned and safe diver. Some of the other skills you will learn include doning and removing tanks and propulsion techniques. And of course you will learn how to deal with having two tanks with two regulators and two SPG’s.
Knowledge development covers topics like planning, gas management and equipment considerations. Then you will complete open water dives to really get the feel of sidemount diving.
After that we are sure you will never look back! What you learn from the course will stick with you forever and you will be able to apply this to all future dives.
There are two Sidemount Courses available from PADI – one for recreational divers, and one for technical divers. So there is something for everyone and there is no need to be a technical diver. All you need is an Open Water Diver certification!