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  1. #1
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    Why is sidemount so popular?

    I've been trying to think of a way to make this post not sound like a troll but in truth this is a genuine question from someone who doesn't understand why sidemount diving is as popular as it is. My views are that sidemount diving belongs in an environment where there is limited headroom and as such backmount is no longer an option. But I see more and more people diving sidemount in open water. Personally my time from owning a twinset to diving a twinset with a single stage was very short as with the way qualifications used to be structured it seemed like most peoples step into technical diving was when they did advanced nitrox / deco procedures. As such twinset and a stage was standard kit on most boats.

    In the UK I do not see the point in the qualifications for sidemount as the only caves we really have are sump diving like what the folks at the Cave Diving Group do which I imagine is very different training from your "new" sidemount course. But this is pure speculation on my part.

    Do people class sidemount as technical diving? I think I do, in the past I would have said most peoples journey through technical diving would have been:

    Single Cylinder
    Twinset (Air)
    Twinset & 1 Stage (Accelerated Deco)
    Twinset & 2 Stage (Normoxic Trimix)
    Twinset & 2 or more Stages (Hypoxic Trimix)
    Rebreather (MOD 1, 2 & 3 etc)

    I'm not sure where I would place sidemount diving in the above list. To do any extended bottom times type diving you would require three stages (and large ones at that). I've dived with three stages many times and "This is so easy and comfortable" has never once crossed my mind. "F**k me there is shit everywhere" is more like it, admittedly the only time I've done that I've also had a twinset / rebreather too which may be an unfair comparison.

    I do not think diving sidemount is cheaper than owning a twinset infact looking at the prices of some of wing systems I would say it is more expensive since they seem to hold a premium. I kind of accept the argument that in remote places in the world it may be easier to dive sidemount than it would be to dive a twinset since anywhere that offers diving will have access to Ali80s. But honestly do people go to sidemount diving just for this reason? You seem to be able to get rebreather support in some of the most remote places so I imagine getting a twinset is easier than this.

    On the plus side I would say that the sidemount training seems to be very good, I know several divers who dive sidemount and they are all very good divers infact I do not think I've seen a bad sidemount diver yet. However it's interesting in that these divers already hold qualifications to do deep diving e.g. trimix and seem to choose to deep dives the traditional way but they use side mount for there recreational diving which I find intriguing since in all honesty it does look a bit of faff compared to just using a twinset.

    As I said earlier I'm not trying to troll people, I have offen wondered if a student said to me "When should I do sidemount?" I wouldn't know how to answer that question? As soon as they want? After 100 dives? Not sure?

    What are peoples thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Pros...
    It's convenient to carry single cylinders around. It gives full redundancy. It's easy to use. It's utterly sublime in the water as it's not trying to turn you over. You can hold yourself in any position (sideways, up, down). You're streamlined. You can get through holes where backmount snags. Everything's to hand, especially the valves. It's essential for tight overhead environments. It's easier to portage between sumps. You can push the tins forward if you're really in a tight hole. It works very well on a RIB. Can use any size of tins, especially small ones.


    Cons
    It's as fiddly as feck to initially configure -- so many adjustments and fiddle-faffing to do to get it right. Once learned, it's just as easy to get kitted up in Sidemount as backmount. You're wider on the boat. Big tins are quite hard to carry any distance if clipped to your harness.


    But most of all, it's hated by the whinging backmounters and box lovers as they're jealous of how great you look in the water. That alone's good enough.


    Sidemount per-se isn't technical. How you use it is. If using it for a bimble on a typical open water dive, that's not really technical. Using it for cave/mine diving or penetrating a big wreck most definitely is.

    Of course it's whether or not you subscribe to the "Tecreational" style of diving; using tec kit and techniques in a recreational setting. For example buoyancy, trim, finning techniques. Learning how to use Sidemount is a bit easier than learning how to use backmount IMHO. It's a lot more obvious that you're using two tins; breathe a bit from one, switch over to the other. Donations are slightly different as you might be breathing from the short hose, in which case you need to unclip the longhose to donate. Nothing too onerous.


    Personally I love the diving trim and comfort. The buoyancy's over the small of your back and there's no massive weight behind you. Turn sideways and you stay there. Finning upside down's easy too.

    It's nice and a lot better for a bit of wreck penetration action.
    Last edited by Wibs; 18-09-2018 at 06:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Established TDF Member MikeF's Avatar
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    I'd have thought the techie journey used to be

    Single Cylinder
    Single cylinder plus pony
    Twinset (Air)
    Twinset & 1 Stage (Accelerated Deco)
    Twinset & 2 Stage (Normoxic Trimix)
    Twinset & 2 or more Stages (Hypoxic Trimix)
    Rebreather (MOD 1, 2 & 3 etc)

    and now seems to be

    Single cylinder plus pony
    Twinset & 1 Stage (Accelerated Deco)
    Rebreather (MOD 1, 2 & 3 etc)

    I confess I just don't get open water sidemount as a concept. I'm equally baffled by why anyone would bother unless planning on serious wriggling in confined spaces.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    I'd have thought the techie journey used to be

    Single Cylinder
    Single cylinder plus pony
    Twinset (Air)
    Twinset & 1 Stage (Accelerated Deco)
    Twinset & 2 Stage (Normoxic Trimix)
    Twinset & 2 or more Stages (Hypoxic Trimix)
    Rebreather (MOD 1, 2 & 3 etc)

    and now seems to be

    Single cylinder plus pony
    Twinset & 1 Stage (Accelerated Deco)
    Rebreather (MOD 1, 2 & 3 etc)

    I confess I just don't get open water sidemount as a concept. I'm equally baffled by why anyone would bother unless planning on serious wriggling in confined spaces.
    You forgot, 12l, 15l then pony, indie twins then a manifold, and being sent away for two years between courses....

    I had a go at side mount in warm water and it was nice and comfy, but I donít want to be crawling in the holes to need to use it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Established TDF Member nigel hewitt's Avatar
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    I did a sidemount course and it was interesting but I didn't feel any benefit in taking it further.
    Helium, because I'm worth it.
    Waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay sounded like a radical holiday opportunity until I looked it up.

  6. #6
    Last of the Mohicans gobfish1's Avatar
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    Is it popular ,
    None diver as of 2018.

  7. #7
    Established TDF Member Paulo's Avatar
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    Why is sidemount so popular?

    Marketing!
    Remember anything you read on the internet was probably written by some guy sitting at home in his underpants! Including this !!

    Illegitimi non carborundum

  8. #8
    Established TDF Member
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    Emperors new clothes ...

  9. #9
    Established TDF Member
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    Hands up who actually dives with sidemount... Not the marketeers, they'll be diving with i3 BCDs

  10. #10
    Established TDF Member Doomanic's Avatar
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    What about people who can't do shutdowns anymore due to illness/infirmity? Should they give up altogether?
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisch View Post
    Seriously, forget about sidemount - it's bollocks.


 
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