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Is Side Mount the new DIR??? Building resentment towards us as a group...

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by The Chairman, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
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    I'm in Cave Country this week with a bastion of Side Mounters all over the place. It's like mecca for me, in that regard. I was at one of the favorite gas stations (no, not petrol) and happened upon a couple of great friends. Mind you, we like to tease each other and it shows. But then, my teasing took it just a bit too far when I made a comment about their (shudder) two sets of back mounted doubles in their car. I didn't mean for it to do that, but all of a sudden ice was in the air and I was wearing shorts.

    To say I was perplexed was putting it mildly. Like I said, teasing is such a part of our friendship and I couldn't really figure out what I had done. So, I prodded them. Wow. They dumped on me. They dumped on me hard. But as I thought about it, I really couldn't blame them. It was obvious to me during the conversation that Side Mount had become the defacto current DIR. What? Side mount? That free stylin' no holds barred method of diving has gone all gestapo on us?

    Yes, it has.

    Let's discuss why I think that. DIR divers were known for being fanatical about their movement, insistent that there was only one (their) way, quick to disparage all other forms of diving and fond of hijacking any and every thread or discussion they could to promote their style of diving. We jokingly referred to it as a religion and boy did they bristle when we called them acolytes or similar.

    Sounds a lot like today's brand of Side mounters to me. One of my friends at the dive shop commented "I don't feel compelled to comment on their gear, why do they have to comment on mine? Why don't they just leave us alone?" Yeah, why don't we? I was just reading in new posts how a guy had come back to SB after a two hiatus. Couldn't wait to get back diving and buying gear. First comment? "Have you tried our Lord and Savior, Side Mount, yet?" OK, he didn't say Lord and Savior, but it kind of fits. Moreover, I can't tell you how often I read one side mounter tell another that they weren't trained correctly or how this bottle placement is all wrong or... Jeez, Louise! When did Side Mount develop all these self proclaimed experts with all their petty rules? When I first started side mounting (10 or so years ago?), the whole point was to figure this out yourself and to develop what worked best for you. No one thought that they had the only way to side mount because we were all figuring it out as we went. It was fun. It was thought provoking. There was acceptance, corroboration and even tolerance. Where the hell did all that go???

    I guess it got popular. Too popular, in my mind. Now I see people using it where it would seem that back mount would be more appropriate. At least it would for me. When I got on the boat for last year's Spree4All, the first couple of comments were "Where's your sidemount?" My comment to them was that it was the wrong tool for the job. We had wicked calm seas that week, and I was quite happy with my selection of twin, back mounted LP85s as my gear of choice. Hell, I was even sporting my Kydex BP and camo wings which I hadn't worn in years. Without fail, the peeps who made comments about it not being side mount when they saw the pics were Side Mounters! I felt like they were pointing their collective fingers at me and chanting "Sinner!" When I suggested it was the right tool for the job, it was like I knocked the chip off their shoulder. They were intent to show me how wrong I was and that I should have been in Side Mount... at least if I weren't such a stroke. No, they didn't use the "s" word, but then, they didn't have to.

    It's apparent to almost anyone, other than the converted, that Side Mount has become a religion for a number of us. We've become overly exuberant about our new found passion, convinced that it will save those poor lost back mounters. Maybe it's time we re-assessed our fanaticism? It's not the message in this case, as there are a lot of places where Side Mount makes the most sense. It's actually the messenger this time.

    So Side Mounters... in the name of all that is good, and to steal a great quote from Sgt Hulka:



    Lighten up, Francis!
     
  2. Dive Right In Scuba 2

    Dive Right In Scuba 2 ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Illinois
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    While I haven't been in the "cave/tech" realm nearly as long as you I have also seen this paradigm shift in attitudes towards equipment configurations, and towards sidemount in general. I initially got into sidemount out of curiosity and eventually found it to be a better choice for me because I have lower back pain and carrying back mounted dubs just made me cringe in pain. Of course, back then there were only a couple of commercially available sidemount rigs available and it really was a "figure out what works best for you" environment. As with anything, the more that adopt a certain new"er" style, it will develop a faithful following. I'm hopeful that the day will come what we can all just get along and enjoy blowing bubbles.
     
  3. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
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    Damn Pete, every time I read stuff like that it makes me glad I don't live down there ... way too much politics going on. Seems like Democrats vs Republicans in scuba gear. Seems like you're condemning everybody who dives sidemount with those comments, by the way ... way too broad a brush there. Your stereotype sounds every bit as hostile to me as the folks you're complaining about.

    I dive both, depending on a number of things from profile to conditions to which tanks I have available at the time to what I feel like on a given day. Like everything in scuba diving, there's benefits and drawbacks. When I need doubles, it's sidemount ... because 64 years of wear and tear on my joints won't let me manipulate manifolded valves anymore, and if you can't do valve drills you don't belong in backmounted doubles. So sidemount's the right choice if I need more gas than I can get out of a single tank ... or if I'm solo diving and not in the mood to sling a pony (which doesn't work as well anyway for a lot of macro photography situations).

    Yeah, I like sidemount. I like the way it feels in the water ... way easier for me to get and maintain a position than backmount. I like being able to take my tanks down to the water first, then come back and get into my rig, and stage the tanks in the water. But I mostly shore dive and it can be a real pain in the arse if conditions are rough ... and let's not even talk about diving out of a RIB or other small boat where you have to figure out whether to clip in one, both or neither tank, depending on how the boat's set up before backrolling in. I've done it all three ways, and no matter which you choose it's not as easy as slipping into a backmount rig and backrolling off the boat. But the tradeoffs may be worth the hassle, depending on circumstances.

    But you see Pete, I've had just as much grief coming from the other direction ... and not from the DIR folks either. I've encountered dive boat operators who are downright hostile as soon as they see you walking on board with a sidemount rig. I've listened to self-righteous backmount divers deriding everyone who dives sidemount as doing it because "it's the cool new thing". I've put up with know-it-alls who proclaim that sidemount has no place in open water diving.

    Fortunately, I'm at that point in life where I don't much give a sh!t what other people think. But if it makes 'em feel better, bless 'em ... the DIR folks around here gave up trying to tell me how to dive years ago. Eventually these other folks will get tired of hearing themselves talk and go bother somebody else too ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  4. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
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    OK, nicely played. I'll pick up the gauntlet.

    With me it has only come from rebreather pilots, my bubbles destroy their reverie.
     
    Dive Right In Scuba 2 likes this.
  5. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,826
    23,169
    113
    Bob,

    Lest I be misunderstood, I am writing as a sidemount diver. I do a fair amount of backmount diving, but I'm probably known more for side mounting. I've seen side and back mounters on the same boat. Dive what's good for you. The problem I have is the growing animosity... and I think it's preventable.

    FWIW, they said the anti-backmount sentiment is even worse in the panhandle.
     
  6. Bennno

    Bennno Banned

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
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    I think I know what you mean but I don't think you can really compare it. DIR has more substance as an actual system... a SM diver is just someone that bought a rig and in some cases is super excited about it.

    I think some of the SM super fans just found out about it and are under the impression they just found out about a better new way of diving and they wanna tell everybody.

    They kind of had a point though... the DIR style rig is better than the average rig you would see 15 years ago, at least in Europe. You should the see the rig I was trained on in my trimix 1 course, steel stage hanging from double enders and a AL80 twin set... that was the rental stuff they gave me.

    Well, yeah, but how often do people argue over the use of AI, how deep you should dive on air, what course you should take... #AIsucks

    Don't you think, if we 'experts' wouldn't like to argue over stuff there would be only like 8 people on this board?
     
    rjack321 likes this.
  7. tkdgodess

    tkdgodess PADI Pro

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Canada
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    i bought a sm system, its in my garage, waiting for me to vis my tanks, reassemble some regs. My number 1 bm double buddy doesnt know and he's going to implode when pics pop up on facebook. I have 2 awesome sm buddies who are going to mentor me. I have grown to appreciate the advantages watching and diving with these 2 effecient, minimalist, clean, fast sm divers.

    Maybe i need a new toy, maybe i get tired of dealing with hp 100's. One of them lent me a full system, i took it for a long ocean dive, the surface swim was ridiculous, and my trim and propulsion was dumb easy. Sold.
     
    shoredivr and Coztick like this.
  8. drydiver

    drydiver ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Philadelphia, PA
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    Sweet mercy. There was a bigger picture theme to that conversation :)

    I have only been diving 8 years, however in that short time I have been the recipient of a pretty constant barrage of pejorative commentary about my configuration. I am not talking about genuine interest or curiosity, I have engaged in many of those conversations as well. I am talking about completely unsolicited negative comments. It started with my long hose, continued through GUE config and now it is simply back mount. At no time have I offered unsolicited commentary on another persons rig.

    Basically it just gets old. I typically say nothing, because I don't care what other people think. But because I feel comfortable in your company, I shared my frustrations. I apologize if I came off as hostile, I know I can be colorful at times. :facepalm:

    Have a great week of diving, I'll probably see ya at Ginnie!

    Ps- we got 3rd at Trivia tonight.

    Edit: Remember what you said you liked about me ages ago? Something along the lines of me telling ya exactly what's on my mind...if memory serves me, lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  9. Kairoos

    Kairoos Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
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    I'm really interested in sidemount diving for recreational diving, I like the inherent redundancy (I carry a pony now) and it seems like it would be more comfortable configuration. Doesn't seem like it would go well with spearfishing though.

    One day I plan on trying it out :).
     
    Jordan Trotter likes this.
  10. OrangeCountyScuba

    OrangeCountyScuba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Orange County
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    Firstly, I have been on and off SB for many years, however I felt like due to my age and the length of time that I had been diving, I had nothing worth while to contribute. I have been diving for 14 years and have been an instructor for 7 years, I am 27 years old live in California and beach dive almost every weekend of the year (weather permitting). As describe by a lot of my students throughout the years, I can be a bit rough around the edges but never offensive or rude, just strict. Safety has always been my biggest concern, as it should be for any instructor, therefore I have never just taught to the standards. I have always gone above and beyond so that my students have the best training that I can provide at that level(I will not name names but who's hair brain idea in "some" agencies to basically make instructors read off a card like a robot is beyond me).
    Ok, stepping off the soapbox.What is my f***ing point? I, like many of you, have realized throughout the years there is more than one way to skin a cat. SM & BM & Poodle jackets are tools to complete a job, however scuba is like a swiss army knife; it can be used for the basic stuff. Yes, I understand that in certain circumstances one will be more efficient than the other but that is not the point. Lets just focus on OW diving, since more than 90% of the entire diving community dives in shallow easy access high visibility areas. The same 90% is wearing poodle jackets, short primary, octopus(unless they are super cool and use an Air 2), and an Air Integrated computer that they blindly follow. They will only have one tank with hoses coming from the 1st stage and more often then not they do not have a pony bottle, or any type of redundancy. Since this is where the majority of the griping is coming from, how is diving in a "traditional" style any better than SM. Do not say, well of course they can wear a poodle jacket in basic diving because it has been proven to work, again explain to me how that is safer than single tank sidemount. IMHO it would actually be safer to teach SM vs "traditional" to the non diver looking for classes, at least we are getting students to learn how to use a long hose from the get go. Is this necessary that they learn in a "DIR'ish" way, no just look at the scuba masses, but to condemn SM is just closed minded. SM is the new kid on the block and it is completely normal that the new kid will get picked on until its worth is validated. It is only right people are being critical of SM, I would rather that than people just doing it because its cool(which is happening far to much).
    I completely understand that when you get to the tec levels that certain rules dont apply and additional rules are needed for the diver to be safe. If someone can give me a valid reason as to why SM does not belong in OW or OW classes, I would love to hear it. I am not above someone telling me a better way of diving, especially if it may save my life.
     

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