by Joshua Norris:
The dive industry is just like any other massive group throughout the world. The military, corporate America, medical personnel, college athletes, spelling bee champs and many more examples all have one thing in common: there are complete and utter a**holes within each of these groups. Within the diving world, there are those of us who want to learn and experience new and exciting things. Then there are those who simply want to have a collection of cert cards that would rival any hardcore “Magic: The Gathering” pro / nerd / virgin. Some are in it for that once-in-a-lifetime vacation and some start diving because they are just no good at golf. Whatever the reason for being a SCUBA Diver is, there is nothing stopping us from taking the next step needed to go on that amazing 230ft dive that you’ve heard so much about. While many of us have gone as far as we want on the sport diving side, what is stopping us from continuing on to begin technical diving? This is where the industry becomes self-defeating in many ways.
When I first began diving in 2008, I clearly remember looking around at smaller tanks (40s), 7ft hoses, dry suits, bolts and snaps and wondering what all of it would be used for? When I asked, I was immediately told by a very old man sitting in the corner that I had no business being in the “real diver” section of the dive shop. I was unaware that the knight had taken a vacation from guarding the Holy Grail and decided to take up diving. Instead of telling him that, it is not my fault that he is a miserable person, I decided then and there that I would go through the diving that I wanted to (Open Water, Advanced, Deep and Wreck) and then just stop. After all, who wants to turn into that guy? In the grander scheme of things, who in the hell would want to be a diver at all after being told something stupid like that? Here I am spending close to $600 dollars to take a class to learn how to become a diver, and then I am not allowed to go into certain sections of a store because I am not a “real diver?” I don’t know if his dad hugged him too much or not enough. After completing the course with that group, I found a new dive shop to work with and it was filled with great people who wanted to simply go diving and have a great time. This is my kind of place.
As time went on though, I noticed that none of us were really advancing anymore. Sure we looked great in the water with our basic kits that were held together by duct tape and prayers, but we weren’t learning anything new. After even more time, I found that I could actually fall asleep in the water on a 30ft drift dive if I wasn’t paying attention. I then realized one of the most important lessons that any diver could ever learn other than never putting your mask on your forehead (which is apparently treason to some people):TO EXPAND YOUR DIVE KNOWLEDGE, YOU MUST DIVE IN DIFFERENT PLACES AND DO DIFFERENT THINGS!
That is when I really started to look into technical diving. All you have to do is to go a little bit deeper and learn a little bit more about how decompression works. If you really want to go to the next level, you could even learn about how trimix works. Aside from that, diving itself doesn’t actually change very much.
In saying that, there is some math involved and the planning must be done the right way. However, there is nothing stopping any of us from learning how to do it. So why are so many people so reluctant to get into tech? The answer is easy. Take any five tech divers and one of them will likely have the attitude that, “not everyone can be a tech diver.” So when an individual approaches that person about it, they are probably going to be terrified by the time they leave the conversation, and truly believe that they are never going to be ready for technical diving. Some shops are scared of losing customers so they intentionally keep people away from the idea with scary stories and false pre-requisites. TDI has opened the door to these individuals on a massive scale.
- Intro to Tech
- TDI Advanced Nitrox
- TDI Decompression Procedures
These are the fundamentals of changing a person’s way of thinking into a more tech driven state. Just by taking the introductory course, or by sitting with someone who is not a complete jerk for a while, you will begin to understand that tech diving is not something to be scared of. Going diving on the Speagle Grove should not be the end of one’s diving adventures just because someone else dictates what you can and cannot do. Take a deep breath (see what I did there?) and go see the bottom of the Oriskany below 200ft. From there, you will have the greatest certification of all times. You will be able to find the people out there just like you and explain what tech diving truly is. You will also be able to go rub it in the face of anyone who said you couldn’t or shouldn’t do it.
In 2015 you should absolutely challenge yourself. Instead of listening to all of the reasons why you shouldn’t be a tech diver, take a look at yourself and find out what the real story is. There is no need to have 100 dives prior to taking an Intro to Tech Course. You don’t have to run out and purchase $10,000 worth of new gear. If you really want to though, please contact Air Hogs SCUBA in Garner, NC.
So what is the big deal about technical diving? On the actual diving side, there are so many more options that become available to you. On the academics side, there is NO big deal at all. If I can go to Florida right now and never have stepped one fin into the water, and be an Instructor for some agencies four weeks later, why the hell can I not go down to 180ft and beyond? Challenge yourself in 2015. Make Intro to Tech the one course that you want to take. At least then you will be able to truly make a decision as to if technical diving is a route you want to continue down. If not, keep listening to the Holy Grail knight explain how you are not good enough for some reason.