Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Sidemount Diving in Asia

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech announces the graduation of Darees Meril from his SDI Sidemount Diver course and Rodney Gibbs from his SDI Sidemount Instructor Course conducted by SDI Instructor Trainer Ben Reymenants on Koh Tao Island off the coast of Thailand.

What is sidemount scuba diving..?
Diving in sidemount configuration is the process of taking one or two cylinders and placing them on either side of your body, rather than mounting them on your back, (traditionally known as backmounted). But Sidemount diving is much more than just a change in equipment. In fact, with the right training, you will find it to be a vastly more rewarding and enlightening experience.

Why use sidemount equipment configuration vs backmount..?
•    Enables a unique method of buoyancy control which results in a more streamlined profile, reduces drag and makes finning and moving through the water much easier and more efficient. Get as close to the free-diver experience as possible with Scuba!
•    Offers a greater comfort level. Sidemount equipment and harness are custom fit to each individual, accommodating divers of all shapes and sizes.
•    Great for divers with any disabilities, as you carry the cylinder(s) separate from your harness to the water. Cylinders and weights are then mounted and attached in the water, making the entries and exits to dive sites much easier.
•    The safest option in terms of air management. Sidemount allows provides you with easier access to your cylinder valve(s), first stage(s) and alternate air source should a problem arise.
•    One harness and BCD does it all! This statement is now 100% true! Your Sidemount equipment can also be used for more advanced types of diving i.e wreck, technical and cave diving, providing you get trained correctly at each level.

Why has sidemount diving not become popular until now..?
To answer this effectively, we must first understand a little history. Sidemount diving first attracted attention, in the 1970’s, used by a man named Woody Jasper. Today, it is regarded as the only way to explore very small sections within a cave system, with therefore only a handful of cave divers using sidemount equipment configuration. This enables them to squeeze through tight spaces, in order to get through parts of a cave that someone equipped with backmount would be unable to access. Cave Diver’s call these sections “restrictions”, and Cave diving in sidemount is currently considered an extreme form of technical scuba diving.

Ask a Scuba Diver about Sidemount, and you’ll find that most of them have never seen or are even unaware of Sidemount scuba diving, what it is, or how it works. This means that up until now, only people who were interested in the advanced forms of Cave diving were being given the opportunity to dive in Sidemount configuration. Subsequently, (at the time of writing, early 2009) only two manufacturers were currently making a BCD and harness system suitable for sidemount diving. For more detailed information on these and other systems, please visit the equipment section.

However! It is now a well known fact that equipment manufacturers (and also training agencies such as SDI) are becoming heavily involved with Sidemount scuba diving as a “Great way” of diving for all divers. This includes the recreational diving industry. The following will show the advantages of diving Sidemount, and also some specific details of the SDI Sidemount Specialty Courses that we offer. By attending these courses, not only will you be exposing yourself to a fantastic new way of diving, it will also allow you to dive wearing this unique configuration. All you need is your Advanced Open Water Diver certification (or equivalent) and to be 18 years old. More detailed information can be found in the sidemount courses section.

What specialty courses do you offer..?
•    SDI Sidemount Diver Specialty Course
•    Technical Diving Courses in Sidemount Configuration
Once I have your specialty certification what will this allow me to do..?
•    Conduct all your future dives in safety whilst experiencing the ease and freedom of wearing sidemount equipment configuration!
•    Be equipped wearing sidemount configuration during your future training courses!

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