A Career in Diving / Dive Travel / Sidemount Diving

First Side-Mount Instructor for the Maldives

Side-mount Diving is quickly taking it place in the ever-evolving scuba diving industry. Not just for technical diving but also for recreational diving, divers across the globe are adopting Side-mount to not only extend their dives but also to allow them to experience the streamlining and total customization you can achieve through using the side-mount configuration.

The Maldives is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean and harbors some of the most amazing diving on the planet. It is truly a honeycomb of coral island and atolls, with an endless number of swim through’s, caves, overhands it was surely only a matter of time until side-mount made it way to its shores.

After spending over 15 years working in the diving industry within his home island country, Maldivian PADI Instructor and professional photographer Mohamed Shafraz Naeem (AKA The Shaff) began seeing the benefits that side-mount diving could bring to local divers there.

Together with Carl Fallon, PADI Course Director and Side-mount Instructor Trainer, a plan was drafted to complete the first Side-mount Instructor training course the Maldives had ever seen.

At the start of June, 2013 Carl arrived in the Maldives and boarded the luxury live-a-board dive vessel the MY Maldives Siren. They then departed the port and headed for the protected atolls to the east and south of the capital Male.

Mohamed Shafraz Naeem Learninng the Theory of Sidemount Diving

Starting with some theory sessions and practical application drills running through the specialized equipment configurations used in Side-mount, they began the student level training on the path towards Instructor level.

Once the initial confined water sessions had been completed they began to venture out into the shallower reefs and continued to drill. Under the guidance of Carl, Shaff continued to refine his skills over the next series of dives. During the dives Shaff had to not only complete the formal skills of the training but also had to handle all situations and problems that Carl created on the dives to help test his expertise.

Demonstrating Perfect Trim

Once the student level had been completed, they continued through to Instructor level training. This involved Shaff running a series of mock skills, classroom sessions and workshops to continue to polish his skills through to Instructor level. During these sessions Carl continued to push Shaff’s capabilities and problem-solving skills by introducing student level problems throughout the training, which required quick Instructor intervention. In complete professional style, Shaff’s capabilities where waivered and he kept control and safety of all drills and skills 100% of the time.

Upon graduation Shaff showed complete understanding and comprehension of all elements of the PADI Side-mount course and has set himself up as not only the first but also the leading Maldivian PADI Side-mount Instructor.

Well done to Shaff, as a new PADI Side-mount Instructor, and we look forward to hearing about the first students to be taught by you in the near future.

Sidemount Diving in the Maldives