The growing popularity of sidemount diving may very well revolutionize the way recreational divers explore the underwater world, which is why the PADI organization is expanding its tec course offerings to include the PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course. Launching in late third quarter 2011, the PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course is yet another way PADI Tec Revolution is taking the dive industry by storm.
Originating in the cave diving community, the advantages of sidemount diving have generated a surge in interest among recreational divers. While a PADI Sidemount Diver Distinctive Specialty has been available for more than 10 years, the organization is now mainstreaming the course to meet growing demand. Diving with a sidemount configuration – that is, with cylinders positioned on diver’s sides instead of on the back – allows for easier equipment transportation when topside, reduced lower back strain and a redundant gas supply.
Mark Caney, vice president of Rebreather Technologies in the PADI Technical Diving Division said, “Sidemount diving was first thought of as a way of allowing better access to certain types of underwater caves. But, a lot of divers have discovered that, when carrying two or more cylinders, it makes sense to do so on the hips rather than the back. Personally, I far prefer it. Cylinders can be carried separately on land and removed and replaced in the water, if needed, valves are easily accessible underwater, and it’s easier to assemble a tec rig when travelling. Add the ability to finely control your trim underwater and this is a winning combination, making the PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course a perfect fit into the PADI TecRec course line-up.”
Equipment manufacturers are meeting increased recreational diver demand with dedicated buoyancy control devices, harnesses and regulator configurations for sidemount diving. Soon, with the PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course, recreational divers can easily obtain the training necessary to safely enjoy the benefits of sidemount configurations.
The PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course will provide structured training for recreational divers learning to use equipment in this configuration. Knowledge development and practical application will be included, allowing divers to learn how to properly set-up and configure sidemount kits. Divers will also participate in a series of open water training sessions to learn how to get the most out of this approach to diving.
For more information regarding the PADI Tec Revolution and upcoming PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course, contact your local PADI Technical Consultants.