Sidemount diving has been around for a long time. It has always been used in the secretive world of the extreme cave and wreck explorers, allowing them to get into tighter restrictions inaccessible to back mounted divers.
Nowadays sidemount is becoming popular with open water diving for several reasons.
- If traveling it is easier to get two separate tanks than hunt around for shops with twin tank set ups.
- It is a cheaper way of getting into tec diving as you don’t need a manifold and tank bands.
- Tec training is easier as you don’t need to dislocate your shoulders when doing your shut down drills.
- Your trim is easier to achieve and maintain.
- Redundant air supply for self-reliant divers.
- People with bad backs it is easier getting in and out of the water.
We recommend you come in and play in the pool to make sure that you like this style of diving.
The PADI Sidemount Specialty Course consists of a theory and practical session (how the gear works, benefits and setup etc).
A dive in the pool to go over how the gear feels getting your weighting and trim right, skills practice, out of gas scenarios, cylinder removal and replacement, gas management (when to change regulators), deep water entry’s and what kicks to use (flutter, frog, back, and helicopter turns), we would recommend working on these kicks before the course so we can concentrate on sidemount practice.
Then there are 3 sea dives, putting the skills you learnt in the pool into action and being comfortable in the open water as well as weighting/trim, dive planning and gas management. All skills are done in neutral buoyancy.
Simon – Sidemount Instructor