Same old same old, qualified divers come and go and 90% of them debate the fact that they shouldn’t have a scuba tune-up, refresh, review, whatever you want to call it. “I know how to dive, I’m not waisting money on that nonesense, I have all the gear so I know it all.”
Papua New Guinea is slightly different, I have already seen these characters but what I have found is that with a more mature clientele they are more inclined to listen. So what’s the point? Well, quite frankly, don’t be that arrogant to believe that your skills are too good to continue learning, especially as a diver.
As a Dive Pro I get the same questions asked regularly, “why do I have short bottom times?” or “I have issues with my ears on descent” or “I keep crashing into the Coral” the most annoying comments tend to be along the lines of “I have hundreds of dives, my buoyancy is fantastic, I’ve dived to 50m no probs” usually accompanied with that previously mentioned air of arrogance and the performance in the water of a land living creature that is blindfolded, drunk and bordering on having a seizure.
The one common fault that all of these divers have is buoyancy issues. The divers themselves aren’t solely responsible for their lack of control and understanding, we are all only as good as the tuition we have received. Clearly some pro’s out there really don’t care (I’m glad to say that these are a serious minority, but they do exist). One key element that fails us all right from the off is HOW these crucial elements are taught and the belief that overweighting is best. All of the certifying agencies have their own adaptation on one common theme, when you perform basic skills as a newbie you’ll be negatively buoyant (as I say, usually overweighted) kneeling on the base of a pool or the seabed. The exercises used to perform neutral buoyancy will be a fin pivot and (from a kneeling position) into a hovering ‘Buddha pose’.
Straight out of the bag, the Fin Pivot is crap! Here we are as dive pro’s educating our customers in Coral conservation and preservation but teaching them how to be in completely the wrong position in the water…. The results, Coral decimated by fins and a constant need for band aids.
The Buddha Pose, more crap, OK so someone can put sufficient air in their BCD to hover whilst grasping their Fin tips, but to get there they are up, down, up, down. Who in their right mind would dive in a feckin Buddha pose?? Leave it for the Lycra clad yogis on the beach at sunset.
Both so-called skills have the new diver by the balls, priming them to mess up the reefs we profess to protect, exacerbate ear and sinus squeezes and in some cases induce panic. Think about basic science for a mo, if you are feet down in the water then the surface area available to the water beneath you is minimal, therefore less resistance means you sink quicker. If you are lay horizontally flat in a ‘Trim’position (head to knees straight and a 90° bend at the knee) then that surface area offered is to the max and therefore creating the largest resistance to descent. The diver can see in all directions comfortably and should a squeeze issue occur then a flick of the fins and a minimal ascent can be performed. Near the corals a diver in Trim can ACTUALLY use a slow prolonged intake of breath to move away from impact without kicking ten bells out of the reef or Nemo’s head.
Why oh why are we teaching and demonstrating these drastically poor positions that shouldn’t even be called skills? In my current position I insist on reviewing the basics with ALL of the customers we have at Tufi, and guess what??? So far I have had nothing but gratitude for improving divers performance and skill-set, to quote “I’ve never learned so much in diving before” Now that’s not me blowing my own trumpet (well maybe a little) but when you can take a guy’s best dive time from 38 mins to 73 in only 3 days it speaks volumes.
PADI, SSI & RAID all offer great courses, but in my opinion, when it comes to buoyancy you cannot beat RAID, all skills are performed neutrally buoyant throughout all elements of an open water course, with a weighting towards Tech diving you just cannot beat it. The results speak for themselves, you can spot a newly qualified RAID student a mile away when diving. These are the SKILLS I teach, for free to all of my qualified customers and with correct weighting I never have to carry spare weights.
Buoyancy is without a shadow of a doubt the most important element in diving, so if you want to improve and spend longer, more enjoyable times under the water without ear issues then get with the program and find someone willing to assist you in dumping the shite you’ve attempted for all of 2 minutes, years ago and practice real buoyancy skills.
For more information on Tufi Dive Resort or any questions feel free to comment or message me, or if you have an opinion that you’d like to debate then also feel free to comment below.