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What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
07-05-2005, 12:21 PM,
#1
What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
Was there a single event that made you drop everything and go DIR all in one single act? (perhaps hearing the infinite wisdom of GI 3  Wink )?

Was it an evolution toward a system that worked for you and your group?

Was there an actual event that turned you away from DIR (and NOT just the rantings of the internet divers who are just GI3 spouters)?

Firstly, I am not a complete DIR diver, though I am drifting more that way all the time.
For me it was a change in my dives that prompted me toward a hogarthian gear setup. 
Ice diving proved to me that my Zeagle Ranger was too bulky and cluttered on the chest. 
Wreck diving made me switch to a long hose, as it became clear that in a serious OOA situation, the standard 36" hose wasn't going to cut it.  Wreck diving also gave me the rule of 2 backup lights, which fit in nicely with the 2 strapped b/u on the hogarthian rig.
Diving doubles rather than a pony was a matter of $$, but as soon as I started doubles, I scrapped the pony for a fully redundant system with a bungied backup.

The book "Fundamentals of Better Diving" filled in many of the holes in terms of standardized hand/light signals and practices.

A good buddy has always been pretty important to me, so that fitted in quite nicely with the DIR concept. 

To frame DIR in the simplest terms (for me) basically it all boils down to:

1) standardized gear placement makes it easier to save your buddy (or for them to save you) no confusion of straps and regs.

2) be a good buddy, expect the same from your team members.

3) constantly strive to improve your skills, expect the same from your team

4) plan your dive, dive your plan.  All with the appropriate safety measures.

While I still dive with a computer (not yet Adv EAN/ Deco certified)  I am well aware of my gas consumption at a given depth.  I also admit to diving on air/EAN deeper than the true GUE guidelines allow.  My next step is to take my ADV EAN/DECO this fall and when that happens I will definately go to tables/decoplanner for my profiles.

This post is NOT intended to start a bitch/brag session about DIR, I'm just interested in hearing where people are and how they got there.

Smile
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07-05-2005, 01:14 PM,
#2
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
Good topic Scubert, perhaps we can get some constructive posts on the issue instead of the typical he said/she said bunch of nonsense. 

I am not DIR to the nth degree, but I guess my diving style and the group of people I dive with have a more DIR mentality than not.  As evident in some of my other posts, I often step up to try to explain something that works well.  I first traveled down the DIR trail when I took Deco Procedures and Advanced Nitrox with Gert at Deep Blue.

When I came to the course, I had a set of doubles with a BP/wing, but my normal configuration was a "tech bc" a single tank with an H-valve, and a pony bottle strapped back where I couldn't reach it  and there was a bungied long hose on it as well.  I had a 3 mile long high pressure hose, an air integrated computer in a console and I might have even used my drysuit to control buoyancy :-[  That last one is just a rumor...   

The first dive of deco procedures felt like it was the first dive I'd ever done.  I had changed to a BP/wing rigged in proper DIR/Hogartian style, got a new drysuit, and used the wing for buoyancy.

The first DIR instance I remember was when I saw was Gert checking his SPG on the 24" hose, unclipping and clipping it in what was a matter of a few seconds.  Heck, you can blabber on the internet and tell me to read whatever all you want, but if you can show me how well something works, I'm more inclined to try it.    From that point on, the system made more and more sense to me.  I took the DIR-F class and got the full-blown GUE treatment and it progressed from there.  On a side note, If you haven't taken the course, for whatever reason or excuse you can think of, I highly recommend it.  Even if you still think your way is better in the end, they will have made you think about all of the so-called training you have had previously and you might end up feeling ripped off.

The best thing that DIR has done for me is getting nearly everyone I dive with on the same page.  Our gear is the same, our attitudes are similar, and we have had similar training.  My normal (OK normal is not appropriate word) typical buddy Todd and I have done our training together from Advanced Nitrox to Advanced Trimix.  It is very reassuring to know that we are on the same page when my stupid light fails right before a 200+ foot dive.    It is a good thing I know that my back-up lights are stored on the shoulder straps of my harness, and his as well, so that not only are they easy to access, but my buddy can see if one happens to get turned on during a dive.  If it were in my pocket, it may stay on until the batteries are dead, and then not be ready when I need it.

Say what you like, and call it what you want too.  The system works for my buddies and me.
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07-05-2005, 01:49 PM,
#3
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
I am not DIR but have picked up many of the practices associated with DIR from watching practical applications and from my own experiences.  For example, I went with a long hose and bunged octopus after about 5 real OOA situations where I found that the person running out of air tended (50% of the time) to yank my regulator out of my mouth anyway.  I have plenty of other examples.

Conversely, I like my air-integrated computer (a true canoe paddle on a hose) and have not given it up.

I keep diving and trying configurations that look like they make sense to me.  Some of you know that I do a little underwater photography.  Some situations with a camera do not lend themselves as well to DIR.  For example, not all camera lighting systems are canisters.  I am sure that the tether that I use for the camera is not a preferred configuration, but it has been handy in several emergencies.

Finally, I am a real believer in dive and try.  Continueing to learn what works for me.  And I continue to learn from all of you guys.

Just a few of my thoughts.

Doug

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07-05-2005, 02:13 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-05-2005, 02:16 PM by schultz.)
#4
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
If any of you remember Aquanaut 's Techdiver email list (you know, in the before-time, the long, long ago - pre 2001, and certainly before this board), I remember a close friend of mine always getting into arguments with GI 3. It was often hilarious since in his own words, my friend "just loved hitting the hornets nest to see what would happen." Those times have passed (or have they?), but it was my first exposure to the DIR world.

That being said, at the time, it did not seem to be right for the style of diving I was doing at the time. I had just purchased a bunch of equipment. Much of it was two of whatever it was I bought. One could argue it was for redundancy, but in reality, the other set was for my wife. We tended to do a lot of recreational diving in the Caribbean, and around the state, and for that reason, DIR remained a definition in my SCUBA vocabulary.

Now I'm starting to do some diving that requires a little more than the equipment I initially bought or made. I've got the BP/wing rigged in Hogarthian style, but it still needs some improvements. My wife is even considering a similar set up for here own purposes - especially after talking to a woman in the Seattle area that does a lot of underwater photography (her only complaint about the BP was it was designed for men's shoulders - not those on a petite woman). For the both of us it seems like a natural (not via forced lessons, or dogmatic lectures) progression. I've gone a little bit further than she cares to with training, but she even acknowledges that she's outgrown some of her equipment.

My thanks for Gert and his training techniques. He is a patient instructor, and knows how to safely get you to realize why this stuff is necessary. He's got enough knowledge and experience to throw even the most educated divers. It took me two years to find and interview an instructor I could trust, but Gert was certainly worth the wait as well as the mileage from driving from Madison to Milwaukee all the time.

I would say my diving style has progressed to the point that now it's handy to adopt many, if not all the aspects of DIR. The distinction I make is that it depends on the situation. If I'm tooling around in 5-10 feet of water trying to help the Union get their piers in, I'm not necessary going to go DIR all the way. Carrying my bulky, rectangular camera housing with it's multiple flashes on elongated arms does not  necessarily agree with the philosophy of being streamlined. And I'm certainly not going to use all this equipment during pool sessions. While it may attract some newbies that eventually become great divers, It can and has scared some people away - especially with all this men-among-men-manly equipment. Like high performance cars you may see on the street, it makes others think I'm over-compensating for the lack of something else...



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07-05-2005, 02:29 PM,
#5
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
(07-05-2005, 02:13 PM)schultz link Wrote: While it may attract some newbies that eventually become great divers, It can and has scared some people away - especially with all this men-among-men-manly equipment.

Good post Schultz, but DIR is supposed to be simple and streamlined, the basic kit shouldn't be intimidating at all.  BP/W, reg with a long hose and necklace, an SPG, and hopefully some rockin' trim to finish off the package.  I can see where the camera may look initimidating, but what has been your experience with the other equipment?  I agree that you need to dress for the dive.  Don't show up with stages to put in a pier ;D
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07-05-2005, 02:36 PM,
#6
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
Last I read DIR had not addressed the basics of camera attachment, but we can deduct from their general guidelines a few things.

1) shouldn't be a metal to metal attachment.

2) should be easy access but stowed in the slipstream already created by shoulders.

3) shouldn't dangle or be a snag hazard.

When my camera was working ( a WHOLE other story) I had it weighted to neutral and double-ender clipped on a short leash to my right chest D-Ring.
This way it would glide into the area between my arm and chest when not in use, wouldn't mash any coral or snag anything, and be easy to unclip and hand up when getting back into a boat.  I didn't however have multiple strobe arms to contend with, so YMMV.
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07-05-2005, 02:49 PM,
#7
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
(07-05-2005, 02:29 PM)Chris H link Wrote: Good post Schultz, but DIR is supposed to be simple and streamlined, the basic kit shouldn't be intimidating at all.   BP/W, reg with a long hose and necklace, an SPG, and hopefully some rockin' trim to finish off the package.   I can see where the camera may look initimidating, but what has been your experience with the other equipment?   I agree that you need to dress for the dive.   Don't show up with stages to put in a pier ;D

Yeah, I know that, I was talking more in line with the whole stage bottle thing. Seeing divers at Wazee with these things can be very intimidating for newer divers.

As far as experience with other equipment, given all the body types (height, weight, and the whole male/female thing), in my opinion, it's a little more difficult to re-size a BP to accomodate these variations during an OW class than say that of a generic BC.

I'm not opposed to introducing the material, or letting people use my own, it's just the practical utilization of the BP equipment in a pool session or checkouts when you have a groups of 10-20 people.
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07-05-2005, 03:19 PM,
#8
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
(07-05-2005, 02:36 PM)scubert link Wrote: When my camera was working ( a WHOLE other story) I had it weighted to neutral and double-ender clipped on a short leash to my right chest D-Ring.
Yep, that's how I carry mine.  I just have a small Sony camera/housing with no strobes.  I have a bolt snap tied to the attachment point on the housing with no extra dangly stuff or lanyard's etc.  It's very accesible and easy to restow on the right chest d-ring on my harness.
Lonnie<br />wiscuba.com Admin
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07-06-2005, 02:43 PM,
#9
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
I got into the whole DIR thing after trying everything else first.

Long before there was DIR, TDI, IANTD, zebra mussels, or the internet we used to dive all the deep wrecks with what would be considered some pretty horrible set-ups by today’s standards. Information wasn’t widely available so trial and error, reading some of the few books that were around, long distance calls to tec divers in other states to get ideas was the norm. Over time my gear slowly started to change as certain gear failed and other things just seemed to work better.

My old solo/deep air set-up consisted of double independent tanks with double BC’s, which was long before OMS was ever around and we used to double stack Zeagle bladders on backpacks, a butt-mounted Diverite Neutralight and more crap bungeed off to the sides of my tanks than I would care to admit. Wink

I used 3 computers because one would always fail it seemed, and it always did so when I had at LEAST 45 mins of deco left to do. It wasn’t until Dr. Richard Boyd clued me into Canadian Navy tables that I switched to them- as I never did trust the US navy tables after seeing so many divers get bent on them. I now use other tables but those got me through a lot of deep dives.

My regs and SPG’s were color coded to match the tank they came from and my camera was clipped off to the D-ring on the left side of my chest- this is where my stage bottles would now go. You can imagine how much simpler things became with a set of doubles manifolded together. There weren’t any isolation manifolds back then and we didn’t have complete trust in the Benjamin manifolds because you could have a tank neck o-ring blow out and lose all of your gas, so we cobbled together these set-ups for complete redundancy.

I switched away from Poseidon regulators early on after mine gave me grief. I was doing a salvage job one winter under 4’ of pack ice with less than 6” of vis on, what is now, the island off of Summer fest. It’s no fun to be diving in really crappy vis, under ice, and then have your reg start shooting ice down your throat. I finished the dive and sold the reg. A few years later another friend of mine, who happens to be a very capable wreck diver/ boat captain/ instructor got a pretty big shock on one the winter charters out to the Willy when his reg froze up and stopped giving him air at depth. By this time most people I knew had already switched to other regs but that sealed it for me- I read about the DIR reasons against such regs at a later date but they had NOTHING to do with why I got rid of mine.

As I tried other things the DIR way just worked out better. I’ve done stages on both sides, but one side is just easier to get around with, even with a bunch of them stacked up. I used steel stages and it just plain sucked. I’d much rather have 4 aluminum 80’s tucked under my left arm than even a single steel 46 banging away at my ankle. Until I tried both ways I thought that the 46’s looked so nice and streamlined, but there’s more to streamlining than the outer dimensions of a tank.

The long hose has worked out so well when having to share air with average divers who get into trouble in a recreational dive, and weren’t even my buddy at the time, that I just stuck with it for tec dives as well. Doing the hose wrap, instead of the bungee, just made good sense.

I’ve dove 80% and pure 02 and have never heard of a good reason for 80% so I now just stick with the 100% 02 for my shallow stops since it’s so much simpler. When it comes to diving simple is a good thing.

I started with Force Fins back in 1982 because I was a skinny kid whose legs would cramp up while wearing my Healthways Scubamaster rocket fins. I should have just gone with a softer fin at the time, like a USD Rocket, but these were the softest around and I went for the overkill. I switched back to Turtle fins for my drysuit so I could dump the ankle weights and get more push from my fins when I frog kick. I tried spilt fins for a very brief time, but they kick the same way as force fins, but are longer and get in the way.

My favorite fins for all types of scuba diving are still freediving fins. You can get around inside a wreck if your careful, there are even guys who have done some pretty amazing cave dives in them, and they will give you lots of power when fighting any kind of current. The latest models will even allow you to pick the blade stiffness to match your leg strength. There is even a company that makes a fiberglass blade that’s white so you can set the white balance of your digital camera underwater with them. 

Backplates and wings were much more streamlined and comfortable than my Zeagles, Backpacks, Transpac, and other BC’s that I have owned.

A lot of old time divers I know have switched part way, if not completely, over to DIR because it’s just more streamlined and easier- you should have seen Gert’s set-up when he first showed up for my ice and rescue diving classes, but I promised him not to post those pictures. Wink

The rest of the philosophy, not diving deep air, using a proper buddy, staying physically fit, don’t smoke or dive with people who do, came after many dives and a few good “war stories” that are best shared over a beer. Wink

In the end I’ve never believed anything off the net just because it was there, but rather because I tried it, as well as other ways, and it worked for me first-hand.

BTW: I don’t know about what is considered DIR for photography, but I used to able to clip off two camera set-ups, with strobes, and a monopod onto my left chest D-ring, when I didn’t have a stage on there, and still be able to run my scooter around the Milwaukee while having that clipped off to the crotch ring on my Backplate. I never liked the “phone cord” bungee cords since they seemed so convoluted, but I have always used a short double clip lanyard an my cameras- something long enough to clip off on a small boat when climbing out, but still had an extra clip to clip it in close while scootering. On some dives where I had an extra camera with no strobe, as in one set up for macro and another for wide angle, I would clip the wide angle camera off on the butt-ring of my backplate while diving in warm water to keep it out of the way.

Jon

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07-12-2005, 06:48 AM,
#10
Re: What event made you head toward/away from DIR?
(07-05-2005, 02:13 PM)schultz link Wrote: My wife is even considering a similar set up for here own purposes - especially after talking to a woman in the Seattle area that does a lot of underwater photography (her only complaint about the BP was it was designed for men's shoulders - not those on a petite woman).

Schultz, there were a couple of companies out there making several sizes of bp.  I know Abyssmal used to do it but I don't how easily their stuff can be found at this point, I believe Fred T does a smaller plate as well.

Come on WI divers, I know more of you have real feelings about this issue...
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