Sidemount configuration is one of the newest ways to dive. It dates back over 30 years and is the preferred equipment configuration for extended range dives, cave dives, and deep exploration dives, and is quickly becoming popular with recreational reef, wreck, and wall diving.
At Abyss, we teach a 2 day Open Water course. One of the biggest benefits I have seen from this course is that students seem so much comfortable after just 2 days of training, rather than the traditional 3 or 4 days used by most other dive shops for training. This is due to 3 open water dives being completed on the second day. On a traditional 3 day open water course, a student would complete pool/confined water training on the first day (usually Saturday), then complete 2 open water dives the next day (Sunday), have 5 days off, and then come back to complete the final 2 dives on the following Saturday. This usually meant the student would have forgotten half of what they learnt the week prior, and would then spend most of that final day trying to get comfortable again. So logically, a 3 dive day makes sense – the more dives you can complete in a single day, the more time a student has to rapidly develop themselves.
With Tec / Sidemount diving, this is similar. As a sidemount / technically trained diver, you have mastered the use of twin cylinders (either sidemount or twin back mounted configuration), along with the use of a decompression cylinder with a higher EANx content.
Whether completing technical training in backmount or sidemount, the student needs time in the equipment to get comfortable. This is why there is a discover (introductory) tec program. It allows the student to spend some time getting used to tec equipment, before actually tackling the skills and performance requirements of the Tec program. At Abyss, if a student completes the tec program in Sidemount, they complete the Sidemount Specialty Diver course prior, which ensures they understand the equipment configuration before tackling these skills and performance requirements of the tec program, and negates the need for any pre tec training. By completing 3 sidemount dives on the first day of the sidemount specialty diver course, they quickly develop confidence in this configuration. They then complete a final dive early the following day to cement their understanding of the configuration.
Similar to a traditional Open Water dive course, we traditionally completed the first level of the tec training (Tec 40) as 2 dives on the first day, and 2 more on the second. This ensured that if a student had not been diving in the sidemount configuration for some time, then they would have extra time on the first day to get familiar with setting up the equipment again, and getting comfortable in the water again.
At Abyss, we have developed a new program that benefits everyone. By starting the Tec 40 dives straight after the Sidemount Course, there would be no need for extra time in the equipment, as the student has just spent the last 2 days diving in Sidemount.
Based on this, we have created a combined Sidemount & Tec 40 course, allowing a diver to become Sidemount and entry level technically certified (Tec 40) in just 3 days, instead of the previous 4. This benefits you, the diver, in the best way. You complete the course in the most efficient time, in the most cost effective way, and you become a better diver because of it! WIN WIN! Check out the Combined Sidemount & Tec 40 course options