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Training and Gear

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by nvs, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. nvs

    nvs Garibaldi

    I've been doing research into side mount, i'm about to do some training.
    Alot of the research seems to always end in "purchase the razor" or "purchase the stealth" I'm from Melbourne and i can't find anyone who actually teaches these systems(which alot of people recommend if buying these two)

    Stealth classic
    Stealth tec

    These 3 seem to be the go to side mount harness and wings. I'll be diving steels and also diving dry.
    i dont believe i'll benifit from the extra functions of the stealth classic such as: easily removing of the wing for tight penetrations etc

    I've found someone that dives the apeks which seems similar to the razor and stealth.
    So i have 3 options/questions the way i see it:
    Is the stealth tec a pretty straight forward harness to set-up and learn in. Even if the person teaching has never used this set-up
    Is the razor really as hard as what many make it out to be to set-up and is a razor instructor/diver really that needed?
    Or should i just go for the apeks and learn in something that the person assisting me knows about and actively dives in.

    I'm currently leaning towards either the stealth/apeks

    Just how similar are the 3 or not at all. Any suggestions or input are greatly appreciated
  2. Remy B.

    Remy B. Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rotterdam
    All are "similar", it is the system approach of training, not a gear brand in particular, you buy what you like and you learn it's way around and get familiar and proficient with that particular sidemount gear.

    I like APEKS quality, but never seen one of their sidemount systems in person.
  3. claymore

    claymore Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Minneapolis Minnesota
    Some of the Sidemount systems are better for AL tanks and minimal or no exposure protection and some are better for use with steel tanks and lots of exposure protection. The main differences are size and lift of the wing. If you will be diving steel tanks and a dry suit you will probably need more lift than many of the minimalist Sidemount rigs provide.
    BeijaFlor likes this.
  4. nvs

    nvs Garibaldi

    I understand what you mean here, i was just curious in terms of set-ups and learning the gear to begin with. I'd imagine there is some difference between the stealth tec and Stealth classic in terms of set-up and maximizing the classics differences

    I figured the Stealth tec and also the APEKS WSK-45 would be suitable with this
  5. MSargeant

    MSargeant Nassau Grouper

    Imagine a cross between something like a Razor/Diamond and the XDeep Stealth. Nice combination.
  6. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    What does your potential instructor plan to teach you with? He certainly should show you and at least discuss many different systems and guide you in purchasing the best one for your needs.
  7. nvs

    nvs Garibaldi

    He has a few different set-ups which he said i'm more than welcome to try out. He currently dives diverite and i'll probably learn in that. I think in the end of the day until i start diving SM frequently i'm not going to know which harness/wing will work with me and my dive style. I'm going to pick a harness and wing that people have recommended for what i need and what many dive around the caves in my area(lots of phone calls have been made!). Untill i know SM to a degree and have a fairly large and decent amount of dives under my belt in SM i will then try some different rigs from that point. See if i'm missing out on anything or not!
  8. BeijaFlor

    BeijaFlor Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chesapeake Bay
    DiveRite worked well for me in the beginning; I learned with a Hollis SMS100, and the transition from that to reconfiguring my veteran TransPac to Nomad-style sidemount configuration went pretty well. What's more important, in the beginning, is learning how to adjust and trim your rig -- which is something I found more troublesome, and more important, than handling trim in my prior back-mount rig. If you already have a TransPac, you can re-configure it to work pretty well with sidemount.

    You mention the caves in your area ... what is your area, if you don't mind my asking?
    rjack321 likes this.
  9. mddolson

    mddolson Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Belleville,Ontario, Canada
    ....reconfiguring my veteran TransPac to Nomad-style sidemount configuration went pretty well.
    That's the route I went as well.
    I started with Transpac, went to Backplate & wing doubles, then converted my TP to a nomad for sidemount.
  10. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    1. XDeep Stealth Tec/Rec*
    2. Apeks WSX-25/45*
    3. Razor 2

    *depending on buoyancy requirements

    That'd be my order of choice, having used and taught many divers using all three options.

    The Razor was the trail-blazer back in the day. It's possibly (allegedly) optimal for a specific environment (Mexican caves), but it's not a 'final evolution' for most divers in varied dive environments.

    The Apeks copies a popular approach (minimalist UK/Mexico Cave style) , but doesn't particularly innovate anything special. It does win on materials quality though... except that the hardware is massively too heavy for what's supposed to be a lightweight approach to sidemount.

    XDeep are innovative with their kit. They've done the best job so far (IMHO) at eliminating the 'beach ball' wing effect when the diver is very negatively buoyant. Their hardware is lightweight and suited to purpose. The weight solution is deft and common-sense (and now, much copied).

    However, it must be said that any rig is only as good as you've configured and fitted it. Getting true expert advice is critical for accessing the benefits of any sidemount rig. The attention-to-detail needed for optimal configuration can't be over-stated.

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