Thought i had a handle on this, until....

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TomZ

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The concept of untrained drysuit divers "trying out" suits is like:

"I'm licensed and can drive a car pretty well. I want a motorcycle, so let me go to the dealer and hop on bike and try it out. There will be a motorcycle instructor there to help me out."

This isn't a knock on the OP at all. I just don't get the concept of "drysuit day demo events" for those unfamiliar with drysuits.

I know I felt like an idiot on my initial drysuit training dives. The analogy between cars and motorcycles is fair, I think. Both vehicles go down the road, but qualaity training on a bike is strongly indicated (in my mind anyhow). The road rules are the same, but the skill set required to operate the motorcycle is more demanding.
 
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traveler218

traveler218

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This is one of the complaints I have with demo days and newer divers or divers with no experience in using the gear. The fun is taken right out of it for a number of people because the instructors are often there to sell gear. Not give instruction. Or to keep people from killing themselves. And that hasn't always worked either. Demo days need to be separated into two different sections. One day or time period for experienced divers and maybe just those experienced with the gear being demo'd, and one day for those who have never tried it at all. On that day instructors should actually use the time to teach, even if it's just the bare basics, and actually show people what to do. And no instructor should have more than one buddy team at a time. They should be treated just as if they were doing a discover for the first time. Just because of what happens or may happen.

You did seriously overload yourself. Who told you about this event or encouraged you to try it? If it was a shop or instructor they did you a disservice. If it was your own idea I'd advise you to go back to your manuals or your instructor and ask them about too many changes too soon.

What happened to you is unfortunately not unexpected given your level of training and experience. I'd have been surprised if it didn't given the circumstances. If you were my student I'd have advised you against doing it unless I was there with you. And if I was running the event and could not personally accompany you or make sure another instructor could, I'd have told you sorry. You need to get more experience as a diver in general or bring your instructor with you. I would not have let you do the demo cold like that.
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One of my local dive shops recommended that I attend. Of course they were also one of the event sponsors. In hind sight I have to agree with you about being overloaded and unprepared. I guess, based on my recent dives, I was feeling confident in my ability and had no idea how much different It would be. At the time I sort of discounted the change in the BC, since I am used to renting one and so have a different one for each set of dives.

This will definitely go down as a learning experience.




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00wabbit

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When you do go dry make ssure to get properly measured or a suit. Don't let them just sell you what they have in the store. You don't want any more material than necessary in a drysuit because that just makes for a bbigger air bubble to move around inside the suit.

I have a whites fusion and like it a lot. It keeps the air bubble more compressed in the suit so it doesn't move around as quickly. Also it's designed to fit a wide range of sizes so if you loose or gain weight it my still fit you.
 

covediver

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Yu have joined the "I learned about diving from this experience" club. To look around Scubaboard I sometimes get the impression that it is a club with a very exclusive membership as people have lots of experiences and little learning.

When I was a young diver 30 years ago, I tried to use a bc as a recovery bouy to bring an anchor to the surface. Trouble is, I was still in the bc. They are called "anchors" for a reason, which became apparent as my reg gave up its last tentative breaths in 50 feet of water off San Diego. I survived but swore that i would need to take a more learned approach to diving. Thirty years later I am still learning.

I commend you for showing up not knowing anyone. Some of my best learning has been from chance encounters with divers better than me. The secret is to figure out what works for you and incoprporate it and reject that which does not. Just because someone does something differently than me does not make it right or wrong. Drysuit diving can be a challenge, especially for the uninitiated. You seemed to have learned a lot about trim, bouyancy, weight capacity, etc. I will disagree with people who say you need 20 dives on a drysuit before feeling comfortable. Divers up here get ow certs using drysuits so maybe we are different. If you keep all your other equipment constant, it should not take that many dives, at least in my experience.

I am a bit troubled that you felt from the outset that you might be criticized for sharing your expereince. Guess there are a few flamers left. I got to where i am because a lot of people a lot better than me had the patience to show me things i might not otherwise know.
 

Tigerman

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Theres pretty much 2 ways to become comfortable diving a drysuit..
1. Do your OW course in one (too late for you)
2. Dive it, dive it and dive it some more.

It really is not rocket science, but its all about practice.
 

TSandM

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You learned an extremely valuable lesson from this, which is cool. When you change stuff, change one thing at a time, and then set yourself up for the least stressful conditions you can find to see what the change has done to you.

If you look through the Near Misses forum, you'll see a lot of stories (some of them definitely mine!) about lessons learned from experience. No class can teach you everything about diving -- we all learn through doing, and one of the best things about ScubaBoard is that people bring those lessons back to share them with people who haven't had the experience yet. You have shared a great cautionary tale with other new divers. Thank you!
 

elmer fudd

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I've heard a lot of people say that it took 20 dives in their dry suit before they felt they were back at the level of competence they were before. And a demo event where people are being marched through, and the instructors are completely uncompensated, is not the best venue for getting careful attention and assistance.

I wouldn't feel bad at all. You added a significant layer of complexity to your equipment with essentially no advice or assistance, and you didn't hurt yourself. Altogether not a disaster at all.

It took me a lot longer than that and I still don't think I am as good a diver in a drysuit as in a wetsuit, just a warmer one. Of course at some point the cold starts to interfere with your diving ability too.

---------- Post added April 22nd, 2013 at 09:37 AM ----------

If your dive buddies are experienced divers they'll often be the best teachers. Not that there's anything wrong with instructors, but a regular dive buddy often has more time and can stick around with you and give you pointers while you get your weighting right and will be there again for your next dive and the next... An instructor on the other hand is probably more knowledgeable than your buddy, but he/she is likely task loaded looking after multiple students and only has a couple of days with you as part of a group.
 

fnfalman

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It's not easy diving a drysuit much less diving a drysuit that's not truly fitted to you and weighted for you while having only a handful of dives out of OW.

When I took my drysuit course, I had nearly 200-dives and the transition difficulty wasn't even noticeable but I also had the rest of my gears and did weight check before I actually went diving.
 

ADeadlierSnake

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Relax. Drysuit diving takes getting used to. What you described is something that every drysuit diver went through at one point (assuming they switched from a wetsuit).
 
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