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  1. #1

    Default Sidemount- Specialty or the new normal?

    So...as I looked thru the thread on cave mentors, I noticed that Sidemount was listed as a specialty.

    It is my belief tha SM is really not so much a specialty anymore, it is in fact the standard.

    The last two years it's been obvious to anybody that has been diving in cave country that SM has become the most popular method of gear configuration. In the last year virtually all of my potential students have expressed the desire to do the course in SM versus BM.(not a large group but I don't teach for a living anymore)

    Now, I am NOT saying that anybody who hasn't had formal training in SM won't benefit from it, they REALLY will...

    But should we be considering SM as a specialty?

    Chris Richardson

  2. #2
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    Default

    I dont think its the standard but its becoming not just a specialty anymore. Maybe in our cluster of the woods in florida its getting close to as common as backmount, but our recent trip to europe showed how uncommon sidemount is everywhere else. We had people staring at us and taking pictures.

    Now maybe when you put out your rumored sidemount system at an affordable price and its good it will start to surpass bm in our area.


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  3. #3

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    The way I interpreted this is that the reference was to dives actually requiring sidemount in order to pass through restricted passages, rather than simply diving backmountable passages in a sidemount configuration. Don't most agencies encourage training for the complications that adds?


  4. #4

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    hehehehe reminds me of a few years ago when some of you BM guys on the forum we always saying SM will never be the norm etc.. I think almost anyone who tries it never goes back to BM, IMO as I have said n the past the days of BM are numbered and for cave diving it will be sooner than latter BM really makes no sense in caves. you could argue BM is better in deep ocean diving, diving from rough seas on a boat, but cave diving yeah right, BM in cave diving really will have no place in the near future there are no advantages and only disadvantages to BM in caves when compared to SM.
    SM can be dove in any passage however you can cross of your list about 60 to70% of all caves if you only dive BM, not to mention a logistical headache in remote locations.
    I think the only thing a nice backplate is good for is carrying tanks to the water edge or in the jungle.
    heheheheh BM will soon become a specialty

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  5. #5

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    GUE will always be there to teach BM to people.

    From what I understood at the meeting was that the SM specialty was needed for true side mount passages not the Back mountable caves that people to use side mount in. SM is an acceptable configuration just like back mount so you can dive either but if more training is required to do the dive as in true SM/NM then you need the specialty. That is how I understood it. But I have been known to be wrong.


  6. #6

    Default

    Does Ginnie asks for proof of sidemount training as they do for doubles?


  7. #7
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    Default

    No. I dive ginnie sidemount and no one has asked.

    skip

    "Learning the techniques of others does not interfere with the discovery of techniques of one's own." B.F. Skinner, 1970.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cerich View Post
    So...as I looked thru the thread on cave mentors, I noticed that Sidemount was listed as a specialty.

    It is my belief tha SM is really not so much a specialty anymore, it is in fact the standard.

    The last two years it's been obvious to anybody that has been diving in cave country that SM has become the most popular method of gear configuration. In the last year virtually all of my potential students have expressed the desire to do the course in SM versus BM.(not a large group but I don't teach for a living anymore)

    Now, I am NOT saying that anybody who hasn't had formal training in SM won't benefit from it, they REALLY will...

    But should we be considering SM as a specialty?
    There are two differences. There is sidemounting and sidemount configuration. Most people who have shifted to sidemounting are basically back mounting but with their tanks on their side-this is sidemount configuration. Sidemounting,or the act of using this configuration in small,restricted situations,really does involve a specialty. A sidemount diver knows how to enter/exit restrictions with partial or complete gear removal,knows how to communicate to their buddy in tight conditions with zero visibility,knows team mechanics in very small cave,capable to self rescue/extrication etc etc. There is really a true knowledge base that comes with using sidemount in small cave,and people who don't understand how to sidemount,but assume a side mount configuration is enough to see themselves through tight conditions,may be putting their lives at risk. We have seen two fatalities from people who got over their head in sidemounting.

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  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cerich View Post
    But should we be considering SM as a specialty?
    Insert "stage" or "drysuit" here.

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  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cerich View Post
    It is my belief tha SM is really not so much a specialty anymore, it is in fact the standard.
    Interesting observation, Chris. A thread was just started on another forum that implied the most current configuration now in cave country is CCR, then sidemount and then backmount. I disagreed that rebreathers have become more common than OC, but I haven't been down there for a while. The statement supposedly came from observation at shops and fill stations. Anyone care to comment? Sorry if that is a sidetrack, but I think it's somewhat related.

    Ken



 

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