DIR- GUE Reflections on Fundamentals

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AJ

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IIf I was a gue fundamentals diver, I would do tech1 and ccr1 again. I think AN, DP, mod1 and mod2 or something like that is not cheaper and/or faster. Also the quality of the gue training and possibility to join a gue project is a great.
I'am a GUE Fundies Tech certified diver. The reason I will not pursue CCR 1 is that I have to take Tech 1 first, which I have no interest in. Besides that, I do not like the GUE CCR config (too heavy and cumbersome in my opinion). I do like GUE training, but it just does not fit my needs and because of the rigid structure there is no way to speed up things to gain experience with CCR and save a lot of costs on training/diving I'am not interested in.

Pity, I would have liked GUE CCR training.
 

beester

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AJ:
I'am a GUE Fundies Tech certified diver. The reason I will not pursue CCR 1 is that I have to take Tech 1 first, which I have no interest in. Besides that, I do not like the GUE CCR config (too heavy and cumbersome in my opinion). I do like GUE training, but it just does not fit my needs and because of the rigid structure there is no way to speed up things to gain experience with CCR and save a lot of costs on training/diving I'am not interested in.

Pity, I would have liked GUE CCR training.

Until a 2 or 3 years ago you had to take Fundies tech -> Tech 1 -> Tech 2 before you were allowed to take a breather class ;-) I still believe in some ways that's not a bad idea... looking forward/intrigued in the CCR2 course tho.

Still believe that GUE OC tech courses are very valuable in it's own right... and doing a bunch of dives in that range on OC as well before you take a breather class.
 

barth

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Can we all at least agree that having clear, rigorous standards

That's completely fair, and I agree. But I have an usual case. I'm working on some filming projects in the Aegean, one that would include one of the Cousteau's. Since he dives a Prism 2, that's what I have to dive, as he said "we can't look like a bunch of guys." Remember the red beannies.

I think my best option going forward is to have workshops with a GUE CCR instructor to put me through the paces. No certification, just working on skills. Not sure if that is possible/allowed, but if I don't ask, the answer is always no.

You could also dive with gue ccr divers. If you will ever visit the Netherlands you can dive with us.
 

ELCAM

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So I’ve crossed over to GUE from UTD for their cave curriculum. There is no real way of pursuing cave training with UTD..they just don’t have many cave instructors in the US..with a no presence in Florida. Having done UTD training from essentials to tech 1 and now most recently GUE fundies-tech endorsement…GUE training is more intense but also excellent. Biggest difference is they demand more precision versus muscling through drills. If you slow down it’s an attainable bar moving from UTD to GUE.
Just consider your end goal when choosing an agency as some curriculums are harder to pursue/schedule then others
 

barth

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AJ:
I'am a GUE Fundies Tech certified diver. The reason I will not pursue CCR 1 is that I have to take Tech 1 first, which I have no interest in. Besides that, I do not like the GUE CCR config (too heavy and cumbersome in my opinion). I do like GUE training, but it just does not fit my needs and because of the rigid structure there is no way to speed up things to gain experience with CCR and save a lot of costs on training/diving I'am not interested in.

Pity, I would have liked GUE CCR training.

I did start with air/nitrox as dlilluent. The first 25 dives after the training the jj was a lot of taskload for me. I was thinking that fundamentals was enough lo learn ccr diving.

But honestly after this 25 dives it wasn’t much easier! Doing deco stops in poor visibility with a lot of current and trying to do stops and keep the team together. Doing a dpv dives with poor visibility and get entangled at 40 meter in fishinglines. Trying to plan a overhead dive with 18/45 dilluent, ean32 stage and 1 or 2 decogasses… I was really happy that I was a cave 2 and tech 1 diver.

I didn’t buy a ccr to do dives in the 10-20 meter range. Preparing a ccr and cleaning a ccr takes much more time then oc diving. I think there is also more risk involved. It’s more expensive then oc diving if you don’t need trimix.

It did change my diving. When I go to mines or easternscheldt I do only 1 long dive. But for cave 1 dives or fundamentals dives in openwater a ccr doesn’t make sense for me. If I would do only that kind of dive I would stop using my ccr.

Tech 1 is about deco, ascending, handling a stage, gasswitch, (valve) failures and more. I did need that skills and theory in the 150 dives I did since November 2019. Most of the dives were deeper then 30 meter and/or deco dives.

The gue ccr is heavy, but for most of my dives I still have to carry the weight. I need bailout in a stage or backmount. I prefer to carry my bailout backmount.

For what kind of dives do you want or need a ccr ?
 

AJ

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For what kind of dives do you want or need a ccr ?
Long answer :) First I want to make clear I do like the GUE style of training and diving, but at this moment it does not suit me due to personal and work circumstances. I'am hardly able to take holidays right now, let alone longer abroad. Doing Tech 1 means traveling for two weeks or more. If I'am able to travel for one or two weeks, I need to relax and do fun dives at most. Tech 1 is not relaxing at all for me and does take too much time.

The reason I want to go rebreather is a sort of pension plan. I plan to retire somewhere in the next four to five years. After retirement my goal is to dive Chuuk and Bikini. Logistics on these remote locations is easier on a rebreather. Furthermore I plan to do more deeper dives (plan is 75 metres max. for now) in Norway, Italy, Croatia, etc. Last but not least, rebreather diving intrigues me. Having been in IT for more than 30 years I'am somewhat of a nerd (not technical for a long long time, but there's still an interest in the technical side). One more reason for not wanting to dive the GUE config is that I can use a standard JJ-CCR everywhere and GUE CCR is heavy. Maybe too heavy for my aching back, D12 is giving trouble with valve drills already.

So do I need a rebreather? No, not at all. Do I want one? Yes, absolutely. Costs are not prohibative, time and back issues are. The Tech 1/CCR 1 route would take four or five more years to do Tech 1 and then CCR1 if even I would manage it. Doing a non GUE rebreather training, I could start as early next spring nearby (when it gets a little warmer in the Netherlands). It would give me an advantage of four to five years CCR experience, maybe even get MOD 2 level whereas with GUE in that time. GUE would take me a lot of extra years with no gain I can foresee. Furthermore, the non GUE setup has an advantage not having to do valve drills and the weight is more distributed which is an advantage for my back.

So all in all, my GUE path has ended with Fundamentals which I'am very glad I did. Next stop will be rebreather and maybe Cave in Mexico in the future.
 

mer

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Been a while since I looked at the standards, but, I believe that the normal progression is to take fundies, get your rec pass, dive at least 25 dives before you move up to attempt a tech pass. Which should give you the time necessary.

That said, I personally believe many attempt the tech pass right away which dooms them.

THIS!!! Focus on the learning, skills, and improvement, the "levels" will fall in place when you're ready. Focus on the journey and the goals will actually come to you more easily.

If anyone makes it this far down in this thread... a couple things to make sure are clear in this thread:
- Cards expire every three years, $30 to renew, the renewal funds go to the non profit org, honor system usually on logs, easy to renew, and there is a bit of a grace period if you miss your three year
- If you haven't done on average 8 dives a year at the level you want to renew, you DO NOT have to retake the class. You contact an instructor at that level and can do a requalification, how long that takes depends on how long you've been out and how much has changed in the meantime. In some cases this could be just a dive or a day, sometimes it's more.
- There is no time limit to go from Fundies-Rec Rating to Fundies-Tech Rating. 25 dives aren't required either.
- There is no such thing as a provisional tech rating. If you just barely miss the tech rating, it's a rec pass. You passed the class, YAYAYAYA!
- Provisionals expire in 6 months, but there is a bit of wiggle room in some situations, ask your instructor.

AND most importantly:
- Before you go trying to practice your butt off before taking Fundamentals, contact your local/destination GUE instructor of choice for advise on how to prepare, because:
  • Fundamentals isn't a test, we teach you how to do the things in the course.
  • Okay, the swim test is a test... if you haven't practiced that before (and given your instructor a heads up if there are issues so they can connect you wil resources to improve then) you're doing yourself a disservice
  • There is such a thing as practicing the wrong things and making the class even more challenging
Finally, in closing, A TIP FOR Y'ALL:
- Do not try to "do all the things" at once. Meaning, if you are currently a single tank wetsuit diver who wants to take Fundamentals, do not try to learn all the Fundamentals skills (including BP/wing, longhose, team diving etc), doubles, and drysuit all in one Fundamentals class. Take Fundies in the tank-type and exposure suit type you are currently diving, then upgrade from there. Only exception being classes in cold water (quarries with warm surfaces in the summer don't count IMHO) where you need a drysuit to actually be productive in class; in which case, I'd recommend the drysuit primer before Fundies. Otherwise, rock that Fundies class in a single and a wet suit and for those so inclined, your future transition to doubles, drysuit, and badass aquanaught will be much, much easier once you master that Fundamentals stable platform.
 

acreichman

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AJ:
I'am a GUE Fundies Tech certified diver. The reason I will not pursue CCR 1 is that I have to take Tech 1 first, which I have no interest in.
I don't want to derail this conversation but it seems like it's already going in this direction. I also have a Fundies tech pass and a goal of eventually getting to a rebreather. The reason I've heard for the Tech 1 requirement is that if you have to bailout, you need to know how to complete the dive on OC. How do you (or anybody else) think about developing the OC skills you might need without taking T1, or a similar class from another agency? Do non-GUE CCR classes also include OC decompression training?
 

CptTightPants21

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I don't want to derail this conversation but it seems like it's already going in this direction. I also have a Fundies tech pass and a goal of eventually getting to a rebreather. The reason I've heard for the Tech 1 requirement is that if you have to bailout, you need to know how to complete the dive on OC. How do you (or anybody else) think about developing the OC skills you might need without taking T1, or a similar class from another agency? Do non-GUE CCR classes also include OC decompression training?

You have a couple of different points of thought woven into here.

1. All CCR courses have a bailout ascent as part of course standards.
2. CCR training might cover some basic decompression procedures, but the primary focus on ccr is not learning decompression procedures--it is learning how to dive a ccr. When you are diving CCR you run the risk not only failures specific to ccr diving, but also failures you would encounter in OC tech diving.

It isn't practical or responsible to teach all OC Tec and CCR in one course.

Different agencies have different standards, I don't believe in the MOD 1 no deco ccr cert. A CCR student should have AN/DP in OC and get a MOD 2 CCR deco certification--ideally with a helitrox or recreational trimix so they can get 21/35 in the dil bottle. A student who can't get that from the start shouldn't be looking to dive ccr at this point in time. Practice, get some more experience, better skills, and try again.

GUE's CCR 1 cert is technically a no-deco course. The official stance is the card will become the same as a tech 1 card--ccr normoxic trimix after 25 ccr dives. Of course there is nothing on the card the explicitly says that and it reads trained to the level of normoxic trimix 21/25, 18/45, deco--yada, yada, yada
 

DiveDay

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The reason I've heard for the Tech 1 requirement is that if you have to bailout, you need to know how to complete the dive on OC. How do you (or anybody else) think about developing the OC skills you might need without taking T1, or a similar class from another agency? Do non-GUE CCR classes also include OC decompression training?

I'm the OP so not a rebreather diver at all, but it strikes me the requirement for T1 comes from a more conservative philosophical approach on OC vs CC usage. Until recently T2 was required before CCR1. Here is a quote from the GUE RB80 course workbook (2011, pg.8):
  • Rebreathers are NOT toys
  • If there is a doubt if you need it - go OC
  • If you can't do a dive OC - don't do it on the Rebreather either
I was curious if similar language occurs in mode recent course materials, here's an excerpt from GUE CCR1 Chapter 6: Safety (2018, pg. 8):
  • Four-to-ten-fold increased risk of death compared to recreational OC scuba diving
I couldn't find language quite as strong so maybe the stance on "valid" use cases for CC diving softened, but as noted by another poster CCR1 is a minimum deco class to a max of 100ft, which extends to 170ft and 30min deco after 25 CC dives (i.e. Tech 1 diving limits) so that's probably where the requirement comes from on a purely technical level, 50 dives are required before continuing to the next CC class.
 
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