Failed my Day 1 PADI Pool Training

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lowwall

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A more expensive regulator set (regset) doesn't necessarily mean a better breather, especially at pool depths. They all can deliver far more air than your can use, the minimum standard is to supply 2 divers working hard at 30m and pretty much any name brand can do much better than that.

But incipient panic can make it feel like even the best tuned, highest performing reg in the world isn't providing enough gas. What you need is practice. I'd use your wife's regset to do it. Start on the couch, then in the tub, then floating and swimming on the surface of the pool, finally sitting and lying on the bottom of the shallow end of the pool.

And then use that regset when you retake the course.

Big picture, the stuff that freaked you out freaks a lot of people out: the feel of breathing underwater and water in the mask issues. But they both quickly recede with familiarity. Anyone can work on mask skills prior to the course and you have the opportunity to work on getting comfortable breathing off a reg underwater.

You should also get your fin issues sorted before redoing the course. Do some swimming with them and figure out the right booties or adjustments to make them comfortable. If you can't, try a different pair. Note that you need to do the kicking mostly underwater because the forces are higher than if you are kicking on the surface.

The other big issues people have are weighting and trim. That's not so easy to work on prior to the class. But if you are comfortable with the mask and reg and fins, you'll be in a much better position to cope with this in your class.

One tip that may help depending on the water temp is that the less neoprene you wear, the easier everything is. Another is to make sure the neck isn't too tight. Restricted circulation to the head will obviously cause issues, including inducing panic. Fighter pilots will most likely have thicker necks than others of the same general body size. You can leave the suit unzipped a couple of inches if you can't find one that fits correctly. It's one of the reasons I prefer front zip suits.
 

Miyaru

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I know this may be costly, but if there is anyway to make the breathing underwater get to as close to breathing without a regulator, that would be ideal.

I guess what I'm asking, are there some regulators that just feel like I can breathe better with less resistance? I would say that this would probably solve 90-99% of the fear I experienced.

If I have to spend $2000 on a regulator, then I'll do it if it means I can breathe easier.
...
I understand the feeling of a regulator not delivering enough air.
And considering your background, you actually already know the following:

That feeling does not come from the amount of air you're breathing in. It's caused by not breathing out completely.

Of course it's unnatural to breathe under water. A first time experience that is still out of your comfort zone, makes it harder not to react instinctively. A higher level of stress, and your breathing rate increases. CO2 builds up and your brainstem starts to tell you that you're not getting enough air.
The only way to lower that CO2 level is by breathing out longer. Doesn't matter if you have a $2000 regulator or a 2nd-hand reg of $100.
Breathing out completely has another effect: it relaxes you.

But that's a lot of information for new divers. In your course book you find the simple and short version of it:
Stop, breathe, think, act.​
So to solve 90-99% of the fear you experienced, simply consciously breathe out longer. There's another advantage to that solution: it doesn't cost any money.
 

boulderjohn

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As others have pointed out, the sense that a regulator is not giving enough air usually comes from very shallow breathing, which is in turn usually caused by a feeling of anxiety. Think of it as being as if the air you are inhaling is hitting a wall at the top of the lungs and bouncing back out. You don't get enough air when you inhale, and the carbon dioxide from the air you breathed previously stays in the body because you are not exhaling fully, either.

This initiates the panic cycle. Carbon dioxide causes panic to build. As panic builds, the breathing becomes even more shallow, making things worse. Do this long enough, and you will have a full blown panic attack.
 

Scraps

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I completely understood that in a group setting I couldn't just expect the entire class to wait for me, nor can the instructor inhibit their learning.

You CAN expect the instructor to give you enough attention--from him or from other instructors, assistant instructors, or divemasters--to let you keep up with the class or catch up after appropriate extra instruction.

Instructors who undertake to teach large groups need to make provisions for students all through that broad range of aptitude that includes the majority of students--some average, some quicker than average, some slower than average, some good at some stuff but anxious about other stuff, some quick to pick up some skills but slower at other skills.

I'm pretty sure that when you signed up for the group class, nobody informed you that you'd better catch on fast or there will be an extra charge for individual attention.

Stop blaming yourself for not succeeding in a situation where some people were bound to fail. Get an instructor who will work with you instead of showing you something once, expecting you to get it right away, and blaming you if you actually need instruction.
 

TMHeimer

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You CAN expect the instructor to give you enough attention--from him or form other instructors, assistant instructors, or divemasters--to let you keep up with the class or catch up after appropriate extra instruction.

Instructors who undertake to teach large groups need to make provisions for students all through that broad range of aptitude that includes the majority of students--some average, some quicker than average, some slower than average, some good at some stuff but anxious about other stuff, some quick to pick up some skills but slower at other skills.

I'm pretty sure that when you signed up for the group class, nobody informed you that you'd better catch on fast or there will be an extra charge for individual attention.

Stop blaming yourself for not succeeding in a situation where some people were bound to fail. Get an instructor who will work with you instead of showing you something once, expecting you to get it right away, and blaming you if you actually need instruction.
Getting an instructor that will have a small enough class or appropriate number of assistants may mean finding a shop where that occurs.
 

Jim Lapenta

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As others have said, at pool depths, the average recreational or technical diver would not be able to tell the difference between two properly tuned and serviced regulators. Whether they cost $2000 or $200.
Once you get beyond say 250-300 feet you might start to notice a difference in them. Possibly. At recreational depths (less than 130 ft) you couldn't tell. I've used a $1000 reg a friend wanted me to try and an old Sherwood Brut that I serviced myself. The Brut breathed better at the beginning. His $1000 reg had just come from service and wasn't properly tuned. Mine started to get stiff at the end of the dive but an unbalanced piston will do that as the tank pressure drops down to 500 or less.
 

Subcooled

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I know this may be costly, but if there is anyway to make the breathing underwater get to as close to breathing without a regulator, that would be ideal.

I guess what I'm asking, are there some regulators that just feel like I can breathe better with less resistance? I would say that this would probably solve 90-99% of the fear I experienced.

If I have to spend $2000 on a regulator, then I'll do it if it means I can breathe easier.

Any recommendations would be great.

I have a solution for you but you will not like it.
 

Subcooled

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Poseidon Xstream might be worth a look.
It may be difficult to get serviced though.
 

Rose Robinson

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QL,

It's already been mentioned, but one on one instruction seems to me to be the best path forward. Having your wife there either as partner support or DM if she is qualified may also work wonders.

I've been diving a long time, and have never once worn rental gear. Diving is all about being comfortable, and ill fitting suits, and leaking masks don't cut it. Invest in ''new'' quality gear. Avoid buying ''used''. Check out the large outlets, someone always has a sale on.

Become "dive shop savvy", A lot of shops, especially now, are more interested in filling the till rather than properly filling your needs.

You will get there. Stay positive!

LOL, Rose
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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